Thursday, March 11, 2010

Cannibalism and Self-Destruction Ads

I'm getting weirder in my older age and considering going back to complete vegetarianism. My subject today is not a new trend--it's been around for a long time--but it just really annoys me, and I notice a couple of ads circulating right now that especially get my goat. GOAT! Get it?

Saturday Night Live has, for ages, done various parodies of restaurants that specialize in selling meals such as, say, chicken, or rabbit, or pork, and they've made fake ads in which the persuasive ad "character" is the animal that is on the menu. Those are kind of funny in a disturbing way. But the real commercials that currently bother me are about a cereal family, a child in a play portraying a sandwich, a talking chicken, and a fish.

First, the cereal family. They are a brand of shredded wheat squares. The parents are large squares; the children are little squares. The ad depicts the cereal family at home, with a traditional dad in his easy chair after work and the little kid square putting on the dad's big shoes. The gist is that the kid square thinks he "has big shoes to fill" if he's going to be like his dad. But the dad tells junior that he need not get as big as his parental unit. In fact, kid square is just the right size to be eaten by human kids! Such cheery news! Here's a dad pimping out his own son for human consumption! This is just so . . . not right.

Second is the school play with the sandwich. Child is dressed in a sesame-seed bun as a sloppy joe, the contents of which come from a can. The purpose of the ad is to convince consumers that this brand of pre-made sloppy joe contains "a full serving of vegetables." The bun-portraying kid taunts other vegetables on stage, namely the corn, for being a grain and not a vegetable. Do give me a break. To add insult, the second scene of the ad shows the kid's family at the dinner table with the kid still in costume eating sloppy joes. So, the kid is eating herself for dinner. That's so . . . not right!

Third, the chicken--not a costume chicken, but a real chicken--is apparently lobbying her famous-name, mega-poultry-company CEO for unhealthy food. He talks about how all their chickens only get the best feed. Then he upbraids the hen, "And no candy, Gladys," and she clucks sadly, "Uh-oh." She stars in an ad for people to eat her. Darnit. This is what she has to look forward to, and she doesn't even get to indulge herself in a little candy? Not fair! Find the peanut M & Ms and pig out, Gladys. Go for it before the guillotine gets you!

Finally, the fish. it's one of those artificial taxidermied singing plaques.

. In everyday life, I have a morbid fascination for those awful fake singing fish. If I had a really obscure basement that hadn't been renovated into a nice walk-out suite, I might actually have such a plaque, because I get guilty and shameful pleasure out of the kind of kitsch that just makes you say, "Huh?" Or "That is SO TACKY!" It's morbid fascination for the hopelessly unwanted and non-artistic. This is why I own a bunch of silly animal figures that started with a white-elephant party when I was a child. My first idiotic animal was a ceramic dish in the form of a turtle rolling around on its back with a lid made of its plastron and a way too-long tail that curled up over its tummy and its insanely smiling head curling up to stare at the tail--it just looked WRONG, and so it was hilarious. I don't even tell people I enjoy these kitschy things; friends just sense it in me and give me embarrassing stupid animal gifts. My kitchen is filled with them. I even have a braless mermaid and a wooden trout hanging in the window. And then there's e-Claire, the cast-iron cow, whom I found in Deerfield, Massachusetts, and Cam the Ram, her cast-iron counterpart, whom I use to hold open cookbooks. And Curtis, my furry buffalo statue, a gift from my husband who knows I had a childhood fear of bison. One of my dear friends calls my unnatural interest "whimsy," and brought me a solid glass turtle paperweight from Finland whom she appropriately named "Finn." He greets people in the entry hall.

Anyway, as usual I digress beyond recognition. Back to our ad's scaly friend, the fish. He sings, "Give me that fillet of fish! Give me back that fish!" And he's singing about the contents of his own body, which has been put into a sandwich. Eeeewwwww! He's wagging his fish tale while the guys who bought him in a sandwich are eating him on camera! That's . . . not right!



At 3/12/2010 4:10 PM, Blogger sputnik said...

I refuse to NOT announce that I tried like heck to add another graphic and correct the misspelling "fish tale," but Blogger refused to let me change or re-upload anything. These quirks of Blogger drive me nuts. That is one reason why I rarely post anymore.

At 3/12/2010 5:22 PM, Blogger sputnik said...

Furthermore, I made a reprehensible subject/verb agreement error: "contents of his own body, which has been . . ." Good gosh. I stand self corrected, but blogger will not allow me to change anything and re-post. Scream.


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