Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Ready to feel even older?

So, which pop song's use in a commercial represents the greatest sell-out of a generation's attitudes?
  • Led Zeppelin's "Rock 'n Roll" for Cadillac?
  • The Clash's "Should I Stay or Should I Go" for Pontiac's G6 "Oprahmobile?"
  • The entire Who catalog for everything from the Hummer to cholesterol drugs?
  • Jefferson Airplane's "Volunteers" for E*Trade?

I was going to mention using Devo's "Uncontrollable Urge" in the Mitsubishi commercial, but it's hardly the first time they've leased out their tunes, and besides, more people are hearing their songs now than in their heyday. Still, there's an unpleasant attempt to sell one's irony back to the post-ironic consumer when we're told "When a problem comes along, you must Swiffer..."

And besides, when the Jeffersons recorded "Volunteers," they were recording for RCA Records, owned at the time by General Electric, the country's second biggest defense contractor. No conflict of interest here!

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Where the Streets are Paved with Gold

I went to my home town of Schaller, Iowa the first weekend of November. While visiting with the family, I went for a walk to see the uncommon phenomenon of a "bin-buster" harvest. Yes, this unappetizing-looking mess is the sign of a good harvest: so much corn there's room in the silo, so they have to pile it on the town streets. Here they're loading it for shipment as fast as trucks can line up for it. This is happening in towns across the Midwest, thanks to good weather through the spring and summer. Add to this is the fact that higher fuel prices mean it costs more to harvest, and to dry corn down at the farm, thus they leave the corn in the field longer so it dries a little more. That's why we have this scene as late as November 6. So next time someone emails that list to you of how many rat hairs can be found in a hamburger, show them where their corn flakes were before they got into the box.