Tuesday, November 23, 2004

OCCIFER!!! Arrest somebody...

I want my...
I want my...
I want my M-P-G.

Get Clouseau. Call Poirot. Find Mrs. Marple.

Our story so far: Kate and her irrascible anarchist old man were ensconced on the connubial bed after a mind-altering meal of homemade from scratch chicken vegetable lentil and rice soup and french rolls. They both had a book in hand. There were two cats on the bed. It was just another Monday Night Veg in Paradise in front of the TV with McCoy and his faithful assistant du jour of great legs and amazing mind. Lenny Briscoe was there too with his loyal and hot-headed sidekick. All the usual suspects. It was well with the world until Kate realized something dastardly had happened when she was distracted with life on the Happy Planet. Something had been stolen when she wasn't watching. Heisted. Boosted. Pilfered. Pinched. Lifted. Still sounds right. Enough exposition disguised as introduction, Constant Readers? Read on.

Okay. So. There we were and I put the book aside for a moment. An automobile commercial was on... commercials: the backbone -- programming, the snippets sandwiched in-between advertising moments. I was multi-tasking. The TV-leaning section of my brain said: OH MY GAWD! It was simulcast by my mouth. I said:

"When did they remove the MPG ratings from automobile commercials?" Keys grunted and peeked over his book and the cat on his lap. "They" of course are the demigods of Madison Avenue in cahoots with the automobile manufacturers. Keys said I was right... they, those sneaky bastards, have taken away without ANYONE noticing a contemporary backbone of car advertising. No MPG ratings. No MPG on the highway. No MPG in the city. The master magicians made those numbers simply vanish.

I was dumfounded. How had I missed the sleight-of-hand-mind? So insidious, the control of the advertising "science" upon perception. I learned about this in elementary school. We learned about persuasion and propaganda. The techniques. Do they teach it anymore in school? I don't think they did when my kids were of that age. I'm betting they don't teach it now.

I forgave myself for not noticing ... I was meant NOT to notice. Check it out for yourself. The MPG ratings for automobiles were constant not very long ago, and now they are gone, and "consumers" are the stupid-er for it. Fuck the air. Fuck the lungs of our children. "We want SUVs and trucks, and we don't care how many miles per gallon those heavily-laden symbols of sheet metal get. We want. We want." Instead we get bank APRs, loan percentage rates and payment numbers. I think it's telling. Terribly, terribly telling.

Does anyone know when advertisements dropped MPG ratings in boldface type ... how long? I wasn't paying attention. Shame on me. Seriously. But... sigh... how can one person pay attention to it all? To the ever-grinding distintegration? I did a cursory search (pun intended) on MPGs and commercials and found nothing. Big surprise. The only solace I can offer is a link to buy Marshall McLuhan's "Understanding Media". I will get it to reread from the library today. Here's an interesting commentary on McLuhan's work: The Medium Is the Message.

"That ain't workin',
That's the way you do it.
Money for nuthin'
And your chicks for free."