You remember Saturday morning cartoons? They're the two minutes of filler between commercials for supersoakers and 16,000 forms of sugar. Including salted sugar.
Now, I don't want to get off on a rant here, but while I sometimes find advertising misleading, I do think it is necessary, as it often imparts vital information to the consumer. For example, paper towels with two plies are more absorbent. Wider gaps in tire treads help prevent hydroplaning. Fluoride fights tooth decay, and visiting foreign countries makes you shit yourself. And then you're back to the two-ply thing.
Advertising is not merely a human phenomenon, but a biological impulse found throughout the natural world. Peacocks attract the attention of a mate through a multicolored feather display. Baboons signal their sexual readiness with a pair of red, swollen buttock. And both the duck and gecko offer a broad range of attractively priced supplemental car insurance packages.
TV commercials nowadays are unrecognizable from what they were 20 years ago. Now you get these out-of-focus MTV jump cuts with a throbbing technosoundtrack and writhing supermodels in tankinis having simulated lesbian sex in the rain and a nun riding a yellow bike and a little barefoot kid in a Guatemalan village, and it's an ad for fucking pretzels.
I just wish people who wrote catchy commercial jingles in the 70's had taught at my high school -- I think I would've retained a lot more important, useful knowledge. I don't remember anything about geometry, history or science, but I do remember that when it says Libbie's Libbie's Libbie's on the label label label, you will like it like it like it on your table table table. And I swear, if I find myself alone in my car car car one more time singing, "Plop plop fizz fizz/oh what a relief it is", I'm going to hunt down the mind-control fuckwad who wrote that piece-of-shit Pavlovian haiku, and demand that he give me that part of my brain back.
You know, I'm seeing a lot more ads for medicines now. They're pushing pills for allergies that are followed by a list of side effects that read like a book of witch's spells. Nosebleeds, dry mouth, insomnia, shortness of breath, liver damage. You know what? Keep your allergy medicine. I'd rather reach for a Kleenex than have a blue arc of electricity connecting my nipples. At the top of my list of commercials I do like are the ones for the local stereo store starring either the stereo store owner, or the heavily made-up stereo store receptionist the stereo store owner is trying to bang.
You know which television commercial makes me laugh? The one with the kid sitting in his car in the parking lot, dancing like a robot to "Mr. Roboto." Genius. Absolutely no idea what it's selling.
Now, I'm all for sex in advertising, but I think it's gone too far. Steamy, provocative magazine ads are fine, but I was at the beach recently, and there was a prop plane going back and forth along the shoreline trailing a banner that said: "ADD INCHES TO YOUR TINY COCKDENNIS" And then there's no phone number.
Recent advances in digital technology now allow dead celebrities to endorse products that weren't even around when they were living. Just in case the heirs to my estate are getting any funny ideas, I want to get it out of the way right now: No matter what kind of cure for diarrhea they may discover in the year 2525, leave me out of it.
Now I might not be most objective guy to lecture you on the dangers of pervasive consumerism, given my own occasional forays into the world of advertising. But please believe me: I am just as concerned as any of you about the omnipresence of advertising, and try and take my warnings tonight as a desperately needed wake-up call... of up to 20 minutes for only 99 cents.
As a public person, I'm very picky about what I choose to endorse. A few years back I got a call from some arms dealers. They wanted me to be the spokesman for a Kalashnikov machine gun that they wanted to market to child soldiers in Southeast Asia. I said, "What kind of sick fuck animal do you take me for? You want Jon Lovitz."
You know, folks, it's inescapable. From the designer label on the protruding elastic band of the immense size-52 underpants of the man in front of you in the line at Dunkin' Donuts straining to point out the maple cruller on the bottom rack of the display case - no, no, not that one, that one with the extra frosting and the jimmies - to the drive to work where you are subjected to a flashcard-like strobing of billboards that leaves your brain stamped with subliminal impulses to fly United to Florida's Gulf Coast to take a Princess Cruise to a Radisson Hotel in the Friendly Bahamas, where you'll drink Ronrico White Rum and wear an oversized Tommy Hilfiger shirt, and Merrill hiking shoes, while getting Lasik eye surgery, having your teeth whitened, getting approved for a home loan over the phone and winning a large cash settlement for your personal injury claim. And then the light changes, and you drive a second block.
As a matter of fact, life for me is just the downtime between Chevy "Like a Rock" ads, which have now officially lasted longer than Bob Seeger's actual career. Attention, Madison Avenue: I give up. You've won. Here's my wallet, just get it over with and paint a milk mustache on the Statue of Liberty, OK?
Of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong.