Bullshit Moves

« January 2010 »

Memo to the White House, Menifee prudes, and BMW dealers: YOU ARE DUMB.

I am left with the dregs of the week. There were, essentially, three significant news stories at the end of this week. I could go off on the iPad, but that would be hypocritical and wrong, because I fucking want one. I could go off on the State of the Union address, but then I'd have to read it, and every summary I've read thus far say it was one part centrist bullshit, and two parts that I will believe when I see.

Oh, sure, there were new developments in The Great Louisiana Pimpslapping, but as funny as James O'Keefe being remanded into the custody of his parents is, and as much fun as it would be to gloat about me being right that their plan was even stupider than wiretapping, and as hilarious as it was to hear Andrew Breitbart claim that MSNBC was getting billions from Obama's stimulus, and that's why they were attacking him? Horse beaten firmly into ground at this point. So all that's left is to send the Spastic Topic Monkey down to the bottom of the barrel with his handy scraper.

There's a report out today that the White House, responding to Mayor Bloomberg withdrawing his support for a New York City trial of the 9/11 terrorists, is considering moving the trial out of New York City. I guess Obama thinks his supporters aren't quite dejected enough. At this point, even if it's suddenly a good idea, it's still a bullshit move.

Obama took a lot of shit from right-wing crazies over hosting the terror trial in New York. And a lot of people - pundits and politicians and bloggers - not only came to his defense, but came to his defense based on the premise that anyone who was worried about having the trial in New York was a paranoid coward. Pull the trial out of New York at this point, no matter how rational your other reasons are, and you hand a major victory to your critics. You legitimize crazy people. You embolden the terrorized. Yes, it was maddening that Dubya never changed course even when he was making a huge mistake. But politically, that shit WORKED. Tell Bloomberg to suck it up and follow through on your plans, because a lot of people stuck their necks out for you on this one.

In Menifee, California, the Miriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary was taken away from fourth- and fifth-grade elementary school students for several days. Why? Because some prudish motherfucker found a definition for "oral sex" in it. The school board decided to keep the dictionary in the school, but are giving parents the option to have their kids use a different dictionary. This is also a bullshit move.

Childhood is a time of myriad joys. And one of those joys, believe me, is finding dirty words and/or anatomical diagrams in the dictionary. Think of oral sex as a gateway. No, let me rephrase that. Think of the phrase "oral sex" as a gateway term. To this day, I'm convinced I know what "pendulum" and "penultimate" mean because they were on the same dictionary page as "penis". Don't think of it as teaching innocent, impressionable minds about fellatio and cunnilingus. Think of it as teaching them about citrus fruit and long-armed great apes. Trust me, the blowjob knowledge will come naturally. So to speak.

And finally, a lovely little story from the vicinity of my old stomping grounds, Bridgeport, Connecticut, where a BMW dealer put up a billboard. Fair enough. Car dealers putting up billboards is like me putting up with bullshit. It's a natural part of our daily lives. But the billboard was advertising "overnight test drives", which is an awful, awful idea.

On those rare occasions where I buy a new car, I have certain expectations. If I'm going to plunk down hundreds of dollars a month for half a decade, I expect to receive a vehicle that nobody, and I mean NOBODY, has ever had sex in. With the standard dealer test drive, there is a reasonable assumption that "taking it once around the block" actually means literally driving the car once around the block. However, if prospective buyers get to "park it in the driveway" overnight, I don't care how much detailing you do before you give it to me.

In fact, the only way you could come up with a worse idea than an "overnight test drive" is if you decided to advertise it by perching a pajama-clad, full-size mannequin, complete with large teddy bear, on top of your billboard. Because first of all, it would, and did, prompt "Holy shit someone's stuck on top of a billboard" calls to 911, which I'm sure was hilarious the first time it happened and got a lot less funny real fast.

But beyond that, the last thing we need on our roads these days is more "what the fuck is that" billboards. Yes, advertisers make their money by attracting attention. I get that. But the kind of attention required to identify and make sense out of a mannequin sitting on top of a billboard? That's not appropriate for highway speeds.

It's like a billboard here in Minneapolis that says, in huge letters, "EVER HAD LEPROSY?" Thank fuck I was a passenger when I saw that, because I spent the next five minutes trying to figure out what the hell that was an ad for. It was like the first half of a bad pickup line. Were they advertising Leprosy Night at the Metrodome? Turns out it was a pro-animal-research billboard, but the "thanks to animal research, you won't" tagline was much less visible than the giant LEPROSY, and thus, I was puzzled and distracted.

By the way, I'm sure at least one of you fuckers reading this is in marketing. If I hear a story about a leper mannequin perched atop a billboard anywhere, I will hunt you down, kick you in the balls, and sue the shit out of you. That idea is ALL MINE.