Thursday, July 20, 2006

dog days

Mmm, boy. I love me some marketing.

When I walk down the street and I see something I like the first thing that pops into my head is how can I, me, and my big brain, find a way to make that irreplaceable to someone. How can I make someone need that, fall 'in love' with that and, most crucially, pay me $__ for it? Let's monetize. How can we make it a 'Furby,' net net? Let's drill down into some numbers and grow our business.

I have to not do that before noon. It thickens the blood.

Sure, it's a straw man that I'm blowing up here. I don't know anyone who likes marketing or advertising or the fact every living inch of what we see, wear, and consume seems for sale. Perhaps it's in my generation's makeup considering we've had several pop culture icons decry marketing's evils and influence (ie, Bill Hicks, 'Adbusters', Lloyd Dobler etc), but that may be simplifying things. I mean, we're all in our 30s now so, theoretically, the people making and processing said ads and marketing dollars are, well, us. Reality really does bite, Mr Hawke.

So then, is it just me--or rather--just us? Are we just skipping the groove here from the majority of the country? Many folks in their twenties (and younger!) readily share information marketeers would sell their soul (again) for on MySpace and see no harm. Most people, it seems, would rather have a NikePumaCrombieGap logo across their chest than not. We all remember when that woman sold her face to the highest bidder, but now pregnant bellies are subject to corporate brandalism as well because, really where's the harm? It's the system. Newspapers, television, movies, trees, people, they're all magnificent advertisement delivery systems.

On the other hand, maybe the tide's turning...American Apparel has built a hipster empire on brand-free clothing (unless you count softcore photographs of lithe young girls as a brand, and I think we can). TiVo has an almost evangelical devotion among my friends because it's Life Without Ads (for now).

So, to be generous, let's say 42% would rather not live with ads. I'd rather not, yet I just had a conversation with some marketing people about what content would be best to promote in our newsletter--a newsletter which of course contains ads and is in and of itself an ad itself. Most of us out in the working world, more than 42%, are probably involved with some form of selling and marketing right now, I'd bet. It's the most pervasive industry in this country. After this country goes foom all there's going to be are cockroaches and marketing executives spraying Dodge logos across their backs.

'Swastika Eyes,' by Primal Scream

I promised dance music this week (I think), but I've found it difficult to hold to that. Dance music, it seems, doesn't come naturally to me. I've got other songs I'd like to talk about or that I'd like to have provide a score to these little stories and screeds I drop off in this space, and by in large they're not easy to dance to. This song, despite its frightening title, very much is.

I've never been to a rave. Even going to college in the '90s and really starting to nurture an overwhelming music habit at the time didn't inspire me to follow the fliers and go dance for a few hours into the wee hours (see above). But this song lets me imagine the most insane, brutal rave that ever walked through Fatboy Slim's decadent id.

Multi-colored strobe lights are flashing, people are moving their bodies furiously between fire-dancers and those freaks who put glow-sticks on the ends of ropes and swing them around into surreal air-paintings. The best part? Primal Fleeping Scream is in the middle of the room, making this incredible dance-happy racket on traditional rock 'n roll instruments, drowning out all other sound. There's lost genius Kevin Shields, cradling his guitar like he's afraid of it. There's the Stone Roses' Mani pounding out a bass line against a tribal live-drum beat, and there's keyboard wizard Martin Duffy making all the bloops and bleeps that trick you into thinking this is 'electronica.' And right in the middle is Bobby Gillespe, frozen solid against the microphone stand singing some nonsense about swastika eyes as lights swirl around him. Is he angry? Is he catatonic? Is he too stoned to move? Maybe all three.

How the hell did they get here? Disregard all that faux-Stones rubbish and check XTRMNTR out. Angry dance music for angry times, and that was six years ago. Think of what they should be doing now.


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