Archive - Feb 2008

February 29th

Unstuck In Time

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I feel like I should do something special.

Today is the first Leap Day in You Are Dumb Dot Net history. Back in 2004, it fell on a Sunday, so clearly, there would be no column. And who the hell knows if I'll still be doing this in 2012. We may all be underwater and homeless by then, and even if my iPod is waterproof, I'm not gonna peck these things out on the tiny keyboard every single day.

But fuck it. February 29th is a day unstuck in time, so I think I'll just use it to bitch about something that's been annoying me since the Super Bowl, but which I never bothered getting around to. So, belatedly, to the GMC corporation, YOU ARE DUMB.

I wasn't actually watching the Super Bowl, but I was in the same room for a while as people who were. And I saw the Super Bowl ad for the GMC Yukon Hybrid. Which consists of an animated, somewhat abstract dude pushing a boulder up a hill. And here's what the announcer says. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"Why push? Why change? Why grow? Why dream? Questions you don't have to ask yourself when you never say, 'It's good enough.' When you never say, 'It can't be done.' When you never say never." At which point the dude gets the boulder up to the top of the hill, and it stays there.

The ad is infuriating on every single possible level. The most important one being that there's only one fuckin' guy who pushes a boulder up a hill, and that's SISYPHUS. And the whole point of Sisyphus is that he was cursed by the gods to NEVER get the boulder up the hill.

But according to GMC, Sisyphus's problem was simply that he didn't care enough about getting that boulder up. If he'd just read "The Secret", and visualized, and persisted, if he never said never, that boulder wouldn't stand a fucking chance. According to GMC Yukon, Sisyphus was a pussy.

It's not like there wasn't other, more appropriate imagery they could have co-opted for the same effect. For example, the Little Engine that Could. I mean, I'm not a marketing guy, due to my overdeveloped sense of self-awareness and ethics, but even I can see that the Little Engine that Could is (a) a vehicle, and (b) supposed to, by its own internal logic, make it up the fucking hill.

I can only imagine what it must be like to work for GMC, when Human Resources comes around with this year's motivational poster. Prometheus, chained to a rock, his liver being eaten by vultures, and the caption, in big, bright, happy letters? "HANG IN THERE, BABY!"

Also, they're pimping a Yukon Hybrid as some sort of pinnacle of human achievement. Hooray! Now people who don't need a vehicle half the size of a Yukon can feel slightly better about the twenty one whole miles per gallon they'll be getting if GMC's numbers can be believed*. Gee, thanks! Twenty one miles per gallon? That should stop global warming dead in its tracks. And here I am, stuck with all these sandbags and sunscreen, looking like the guy on January 2, 2000 wondering what the hell he's going to do with three hundred cans of beans.

You know what driving a Yukon Hybrid is like? It's like taking Mother Earth out on a date, giving her a roofie, leaving five bucks on the nightstand, and then patting yourself on the back for being such a nice guy. Well, guess what? Sisyphus never got his rock off, so neither should you.

And the kicker? The absolute topper to GMC's message of achieving the impossible, no matter what the cost, no matter what obstacles stand in your way? A little disclaimer, in block letters, beneath the beauty shot of the white Yukon on a white background:

"LIMITED AVAILABILITY".

It's a pity there's no hell, because it's a damn shame GMC's ad agency won't get to burn in it. Let's hope they last long enough to enjoy the heat here on Earth.

*Ha.