Tag Archives: advertising

Random Thought

There is only one thought
that is scarier to the industrialist
than “Workers of the World Unite”.

It is “Want What You Have”.

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The Light of America

America, your shadow casts a lengthy darkness where
it should serve as a lamp to guide the blind;
and those enemies you imagine beyond your hallowed gates,
fermenting with opportunities to express their angst
and shake you from your complacent sleep,
why do you seek to destroy them, wishing them dead?
Does not a worthless and weak opponent serve
to weaken your own resolve and reduce your own strength
while encouraging the illusion that you are omnipotent?

Wouldn’t the best defense against the Red Menace,
rather than castrating the Left Wing,
been to strengthen democracy,
live up to your stated ideals,
proving by example the fallacy of your evil foes claims?
Surely, America, you are more than empty words
backed by full missle tubes, aimed at any dissenting voices.

Do you believe in equality? In the sanctity of free speech?
Wouldn’t the best course be to act
as if your sacred principles were the truth?

America, your hypocrisy is that you don’t believe in yourself;
and yet, your jingo jangle rings across the globe,
your corporations seek to spread your gospel
laced with the poison of underlying greed.

There is a better way to defeat your enemies.
Make them no longer your enemies.

To fight the war of proof,
using weapons that defeat your message,
underhanded dealings,
covert operations,
corporate pandering,
strong-arm tactics,
and ulterior motives,
is to lose your self,
and without that, America,
you are just another fascist regime
that supports self-righteousness
because it entertains your illusions of profit,
at least while they are expedient.

America, yours is not a national campaign —
it is a return to the high ground that is required,
and that elevated place knows no borders
but shares its light
rather than casting a shadow.

09 JUN 2004

Pondering John Kerry’s use of Langston Hughes to convey a message of sorts, I thought I would write a poem focusing on what I think Kerry’s message should be.

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Bonzo’s Bedtime

I don’t want to say anything about Ronald Reagan. I have kept my mouth shut for two days now on the subject. But amidst the feeding frenzy on both the left and right that still is going on (the left to destroy the mythos by rediscovering history, and the right to destroy history by rediscovering the mythos), I feel it necessary to interject a little something.

First: Ronald Reagan was a man I appreciated as an actor only slightly more cardboard than Rock Hudson, whose prediliction for sentimentalism turned my stomach. As an actor, he lacked the physical charm of Burt Lancaster, the inner struggle of Gary Cooper, the sense of irony of Gregory Peck, the intelligence of Cary Grant, and the heroic flaws of John Wayne. And yet, he tried to emulate each one of their personas at one time or another.

Second: The Reagan I knew as a politician was an old man. Older than my father. And as a result, a man of a different time. The great tragedy of the Reagan years, in my opinion, is that we as a nation in the 1980s felt it necessary to rely upon someone who was so obviously out-of-step and out-of-touch with the realities of life in the 1980s. For some sad, crazy reason, our national nostalgia wanted to forget the seventies (and by extension, the sixties) and return to Ozzie and Harriet land. Well, this was the man to get us there, McCarthy witchhunts and all. We (well, actually my parents generation) asked for it, and he delivered. The fact that what we asked for wasn’t really what we as a country needed was not necessarily Reagan’s fault — he was simply reading the script that the majority of the audience he could see beyond the footlights wanted him to read. That’s unfortunately how democracy works … as George Carlin once pointed out, the sad fact is that our elected leaders and representatives really are the best that we can do. They embody what is both best and worst in each of us. And in the “greed is good” generation of the 1980s, that worst turned out to be pretty bad, while the good seemed sentimental and trite. That describes the 80s, doesn’t it?

Third: Anyone who says that Ronald Reagan, regardless of what he may have done as “leader” of our democracy, deserved a 10 year battle with Alzheimer’s, is an asshole. Fuck you for even thinking that. And my deepest condolences go out to Nancy and the kids, both for having to live through the twilight hell and having to live through the circus now, and for the great hole in their lives once filled by a large, charismatic, sometimes humorous and often opinionated individual who is now gone, regardless of how you think he played his roles.

Fourth: On a personal note, the affect Reagan had on my life in the 1980s is observable by two simple facts. That during his Presidency, I was required to register with Selective Service. It was my impression at the time that he was responsible for that; and that I would likely be required to participate militarily at some near term juncture in the jungles of south and/or central America fighting to maintain some fascist-friendly ally of the American industrialists to whom the Republican party owed allegiance. And second, my first opportunity to participate in the government of this county, through the process of voting once I turned 18, was an opportunity to cast a vote against Reagan. I did so.

Fifth: Ronald Reagan was just a man. Nothing more, nothing less. Not a great villain, not a saint. If you’re sitting around either reading endless blog stories about him, or writing them, you survived both his time in power (which was, actually, pretty brief and more than a decade ago) and are likely to survive his legacy. Not so for Bonzo the Chimp, who died first.

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Television: canzone

Canto I (The News):

To watch the TV news is to discover
that there is nothing new under the sun:
a movie star found with a younger lover,
convenience store held up by man with gun,
insurgents kill more soldiers by surprise,
another well-known priest accused of wrong,
the difference between fast food joints is fries,
and one more pretty face has a hit song.
The underlying story never changes,
only the details and the point of view;
we watch to prove our own theories of strangeness
and focus not on ourselves, but on you.
There is a comfort in this pap’s digestion
that leaves us feeling informed and aware;
by leaving others to ask all the questions,
all we have left is sensing we still care.
The channel doesn’t matter, just the faces;
their honesty we’ve learned to judge on sight,
and politicians, whether left or right
find us amenable to fund their races.

Canto II (Comedy):

If it were going on next door, in real life,
we probably would not think it was fun;
in fact, if some of these folks were my neighbors,
I’d probably move, or at least, buy a gun.
The basis for most comedy, it seems
is how misfortune comes to someone else,
the consequences of their crackpot schemes
to win friends, change the world, or acquire wealth.
The underlying premise never shifts,
only the patsy and the inside scoop;
we watch to give our own spirits a lift,
and to convince ourselves we’re not the dupe.
There is a comfort in this sad delight
that leaves us feeling better and advanced;
by laughing at some other’s hapless plight
we believe that our own case has a chance.
It doesn’t matter who the comic roasts,
as long as we don’t recognize ourselves,
and are not asked between guffaws to delve
into the issues that affect us most.

Canto III (Reality):

The metaphor of raw, uncensored lives
as captured in a staged and sterile form,
arranged and filtered by cutting room knives,
gives us the rain and thunder, but no storm.
The girl next door, the brain, the jock, the creep,
selected for their camera appeal
or their ability to seem so deep;
exactly what part of this sham is real?
The underlying premise never strays,
but every season, moves from place to place;
we watch to give ourselves new games to play,
to pick our favorites to win a fixed race.
There is a comfort in this grand charade
that makes us feel as if we’re really there;
we know these fools, and if their path we trod,
why surely, we would be the millionaire.
It doesn’t matter what the final prize,
as long as there is drama and suspense;
the benefit of the experience
is that it happens to some other guy.

08 APR 2004

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Suggestion for Philip Morris

I have been a smoker for a long time. You know, I’ve been watching these Philip Morris legislation required commercials advocating parental communication as the method for preventing children from smoking…and I’ve been thinking…while it is necessary for parents to communicate with their children, their words mean very little in comparison to their actions.

So here’s my idea for the new Philip Morris ad:

if you want your children to be non-smokers
don’t just talk about it.

Quit smoking.

As long as we’re in business
you’re wasting your breath.

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Sign of the Times?

Maybe it’s just me, but a bumper sticker this morning bothered me (I know, I know, such a little thing to get rattled over). It was on the rear bumper of an SUV belonging to a teacher at my daughter’s school (BTW, the #1 rated high school in the state, and the ONLY public school in the entire Orleans parish to be rated ABOVE unacceptable by state and federal education standards). You think you may something about New Orleans, and Louisiana, but here’s something else … rampant corruption (and more indicted former elected officials than almost anywhere else), miserable education (third from the bottom in the US), roads that will take your tires out with their unevenness and potholes, some of the worst projects in the US, industry 80% gambling and tourism combined with military bases, less than 10% of the population college educated, David Duke, West Nile virus, Napoleonic code still in place next to US federal law, horrible trash pickup service, termite infestations, locusts, rats, some of the highest violent crime and murder statistics in the world, oh, the list goes on …

The bumper sticker read…

LOUISIANA: Third world and proud of it

What exactly does that mean to you?

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On Reading Advertisements

There is a world out there in printed words
that I encounter on some occasions,
filled with notions that seem very absurd,
using the bold language of persuasion

to convince me to ignore reality
and buy into the illusions they sell,
offering options that appear to be
so great, so exciting. What they don’t tell

you is what you have to give in exchange:
suspend your logic and sense of reason,
and you too can join in the mad charade.

The thing that puzzles me, the oddest, strange
part, is the need to upgrade each season;
So that’s how lasting happiness is made.

01 MAR 2003

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