Rant #257,943 – I Must Be Too Stupid To Understand Marketing

stereotypes

I’m not very smart, but I’ve noticed a pattern. This is the average commercial:

A bitchy, smart, thin, well-dressed mom/girlfriend/wife is out at a restaurant/supermarket/Verizon store, and she’s there with a slightly (or very) out of shape male who would never be able to date/marry/talk to her in real life. The male is also pretty dumb or gluttonous or socially inept or unable to control himself, and embarrasses the woman he’s with. But then she jokes with the kids/store employee/waitress/owner and everything’s okay again because even though the man she’s chosen to be with is incredibly ridiculous/stupid/balding/soft-handed/video-game-playing/incapable of cooking, she condescends to put up with him and that makes her a better person.

Or am I missing something?

And since the goal is to sell product or make a brand known or establish a market for something that doesn’t yet exist, using unrealistic and over-the-top stereotypes must be the best way to do it.

Like I said though, I’m not very smart + I’m balding + I don’t know how to talk to anyone at a Verizon store.

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Wisdom On Our Modern Times, By Louis C.K.

This is comedy that is not comedy. We are ungrateful, ridiculous humans, people…
“Everything is amazing right now, and nobody’s happy. … Now, we live in an amazing, amazing world, and it’s wasted on the crappiest generation of just spoiled idiots that don’t care. This is what people are like now: they’ve got their phones and they’re like ‘ugh, it won’t–‘ GIVE IT A SECOND! It’s going to SPACE! Can you give it a second to get back from space?? Is the speed of light too slow for you?! I was on an airplane and there was high speed internet. That’s the newest thing I know that exists. And I’m sitting there and they go ‘open up your laptops you can go on the internet,’ and it’s fast, and I’m watching YouTube clips, I’m in an airplane! And then it breaks down, and they apologize that the internet’s not working, and the guy next to me goes ‘ugh, this is bullshit.’ Like how quickly the world owes him something he knew existed only like 10 seconds ago! Flying is the worst one because people come back from flights and they’re telling you their story, and it’s like a horror story. They act like their flight was a cattle car in the 40s in Germany. They’re like, ‘it was the worst day of my life! First of all, we didn’t board for like 20 minutes and then they made us sit there on the runway for 40 minutes! We had to sit there!’ Oh really? What happened next? Did you FLY in the AIR incredibly like a BIRD? Did you partake in the miracle of human flight, you non-contributing zero?! … You’re sitting in a chair in the SKY! Here’s the thing: people say there’s delays. Delays? Really? New York to California in 5 hours. That used to take 30 years! And a bunch of you would die on the way there, and have babies… you’d be a whole different group of people by the time you got there. Now, you watch a movie, you take a dump, and you’re home!”

A Rant: “Here, Let Me Put You On Speaker Phone.”

It’s well-known that I don’t like cell phones (see my article last year for VICE Magazine), but the truth is I don’t like any kind of phone (Not a rotary phone, not a cordless phone, not a payphone, in fact, no phone at all). I’m partial to the phrase “A phone is an appliance, not an obligation,” and I treat all phones like appliances, annoying appliances, appliances that I want to silence or rip out of people’s hands, appliances that I want to crush with my 20-ounce framing hammer.

But one of the worst phone-gadget-accessory-inventions is the speaker phone. That small insidious button is a true asshole.

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I hate being put on speaker phone. Hate it. I hate speaker phone like many people hate Justin Bieber, long lines at the super market, heavy traffic, engine trouble, or the uglier Kardashians. I have never knowingly put another human being on speaker phone in my lifetime, and I hope I never become a terrible enough person to do this to someone I love (or even to someone I just sort of like).

There are so many things I hate about speaker phone, so it’s difficult to know where to begin with this rant. Maybe I’ll just start with this one, tiny, abominable phrase:

“Oh here, Pete, let me switch you over to speaker phone so you can talk to everyone.”

Really? You’ll do that for me? You’ll just switch me over to speaker phone so I can talk to everyone? Everyone I didn’t ask to talk to? Thanks. I really wanted to talk to everyone. I really wanted to talk to everyone so badly that I called you, only you, just you, one single person, to communicate one single thing that now is going to take FUCKING FOREVER because I’ve got to navigate the Everest-size crevasse that is communication with whoever EVERYONE is.

And also, thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak to many, many people who I can’t picture in whatever size room you’re in, wherever you are right now, doing whatever you all are doing. I already had a hard enough time just picturing you and your face and your actions while we’re on the phone having a singular conversation, but thank you for giving me another mental challenge. I really wanted this phone call to be a mental Gordian Knot rather than a quick one-on-one communication to convey a message or ask a question.

Next: The sound of a speaker phone in someone’s car.

The other person’s voice cutting in and out? The mumbling? The “What did you say?” repeated over and over. The person saying, “I’m sorry” but it’s never an actual apology. Or what about the side conversations in the car during the phone call? The passing traffic sounds? The driver’s comments about other drivers? The music in the background? The clicking? The clunks? And all the while it sounds like a prenatal ultrasound machine is struggling to find a baby’s heartbeat. It’s really a great experience. I just love being on car speaker phone.

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I also love seeing fellow drivers talk on their speaker phones, leaning out their open windows, or looking directly at me while talking to their own empty cars like patients at the state hospital in serious need of heavy psychotropics. And then when they yell at whoever they’re talking to as if they’re trying to get my attention? Oh, I love that too.

Let’s see…

Another of my favorite things is when I’m apparently too stupid to detect that I’ve been SECRETLY on speaker phone the whole time. I say something like, “Oh, that’s a good question. Let me talk to her for a minute and see what she thinks.”

Then the person who I called directly chuckles at my ridiculous and obvious stupidity. He says, “You’re already on speaker phone, Pete. She just heard everything we said.”

Oh really? She was silently listening like a creep, like a stalker, like a serial killer to everything we just said, not commenting, not letting me know that she was listening, just you and her in on a little trick you were pulling on me? That’s so funny. That so chuckle-worthy. I love, love, love it when I don’t know someone is in on our private conversation.

But I get that people are busy, that sometimes they have to click me over to speaker phone, that sometimes they’re cooking or changing a baby or doing something else that might actually be sort of worthwhile or important when I call them…

Which leads me to my least favorite calling experience: When someone CALLS ME and we’re already on speaker phone when I pick up.

“Hey Pete, how’s it going?” and it sounds like they’re calling me from a public restroom, the hard sounds caroming off the stall’s angles as I’m forced to picture them squeezing off a burrito-sized log.

It’s hard for me to stay with phone calls that obviously begin on speaker phone. If you’re too busy not to multi-task, don’t call me. Don’t call me while you’re in the bath shaving your legs or slopping soap on your genitals. I don’t want to hear that watery-sudsy sound in the background.

And don’t call me while you’re peeing (which people actually do somewhat regularly with me). I don’t need to hear the force of your stream and wonder about your coffee or water intake as you ask me what I’m up to. I want to say, “Who cares?!! You’re FUCKING peeing right now, right when you called me!”

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And please don’t ever call me as you try to find something that you’ve lost. I can hear your hand sorting through that spilling-over junk drawer as you say, “Yeah I was just…” more sorting noises, then “I’m sorry, I’m just…” more sorting noises, and I have no idea why you called me, but if I wait a minute or two while you find whatever it is, I’ll get the opportunity to know what our conversation is going to be about.

Yes, thanks for calling me just now. This is great. This is a really, really, really wonderful phone call we’re having here. Thank you. Thank you so much for letting me join you on this incredible adventure with your favorite technological accessory.

On Not Owning A Cell Phone

So maybe I don’t like cell phones. At all. Maybe I don’t think they’ve added anything to our culture.

Maybe I think they’ve ruined a lot of things too, like, for example, talking to other people, hanging out without interruptions, driving cars, looking around at the world around us, going outside, being self-sufficient, knowing how to read a map, looking up every once in a while instead of staring at your stupid expensive phone, looking people in the eyes, using dictionaries, reading books on the Subway, reading books without stopping every two minutes to check a text, listening to music while staring off…

This list could go on and on and on.

Plus, I hate every cell phone advertisement ever. Why do we need phones? Why do we need them with us everywhere we go? Why does every family need a “family plan”? Why do we willingly carry a device that tracks where we are? And would we readily accept chips in our brains if they were offered to us? I think so.

Maybe my opinions are too strong, but I’ve never owned a cell phone, and here’s my new essay for Vice Magazine titled “Confessions Of The Last Human Being On Earth Without A Cell Phone” :

Click to read.

Bonus: The artist Jack Graydon drew some ridiculous pictures of me to go along with the article. I’m so ugly in these drawings that it’s awesome.

On Cell Phones and Facebook.

I realized that my-only-friend-in-the-entire-world-Jeff-Hess doesn’t understand my decision-making process.  He defended his phone and Facebook addictions.

But for me, it’s all about time.  Anything to save time, set aside time, put more time into the things I care about.

Thus, to start, no cell phone.

I know.  I’m the weird one.  What used to be seen as a cool oddity – that I don’t have a phone – is now thought of as a freakish character flaw.

To quote a lady I met recently.  “WHAT?  YOU DON’T HAVE A PHONE?!!!  ARE YOU KIDDING?  THAT’S RIDICULOUS.”

People don’t even try to hide their disgust.

So I get it.  I’m passe.  So far behind the times that I’m picking up its garbage.

But I know myself.  I can get addicted to anything.  And if I had a call anyone at any time/text as much as I want/check the internet anywhere I go/Twitter it/hand-held device, things would get ugly.  I’d be like those hunched over University of Oregon football players who, I swear, cannot walk two steps on campus without checking their phones.

Same with Facebook.  Or as the cool kids say, F-Book.

Pictures and messages and updates and three-hundred “friends”?  Really?

How much time could I spend browsing there?  Five hours a day?  Ten? Fifteen?

I already blog for two websites, check my email with the mouth-slobbering frequency of a meth addict, read inane sports posts until way past my bedtime.  So do I really need one more thing?  One more time suck?

Like I said, I understand people’s reactions.  I’m the weird one.  But I know me.

Mini-Rant.

I’ve discovered the most unattractive creature on earth.  It’s a middle-school boy in over-sized shoes, who spits and jock nods, all while talking on his cell phone.  I saw two of that species today.  And honestly, I threw up in my mouth both times.

How any female (even an eleven-year-old female) can find that attractive is beyond me.

I’m gonna go brush my teeth.

Everyday Dirtbag Entry #21.

Oh yeah, not everyone is a dirtbag:

I heard about this local climber who has 200+ first ascents in Oregon.  My friends kept telling me I should climb with him.  That he’s good.  Really good.  So I ran into him and he’d heard of me, and of course I’d heard of him, and he wanted to climb, and I wanted to climb, and he asked for my number, and I asked for his, and everything was perfect and positive and romantic until I realized that neither of us had any paper.  I naturally wrote his number on my hand, no problem, but I saw that he didn’t write mine on his.  So I scrabbled around and found a leaf that was thick and whitish on the underside and wrote my name and number right there.  On the back of the leaf.  Then handed it to him.

He looked at the leaf, and me, like I was funny.  Then he pulled a nice new cell phone out of his pocket and entered my number right there, in the cell phone.

And I realized, “Oh yeah, some people have those things now.  Those cell phone things.  New technology and stuff.  Weird.”