A Slice of Fried Gold

The New American Way

Monday, January 26, 2009


While busily working through spreadsheets and other such work at my job, I sighed as I heard a familiar sound. The clamor of four speakerphones turning on simultaneously, all at maximum volume, all featuring a nearly harmonious "hello" from the Yellow Pages reps as the phone connects.

"Kill me," I softly say to myself as my music plays.

It's not that I don't like these people. They seem okay enough. It's just their unintentional stupidity (or perhaps that is just how they are) and circular nature (conference call, loudness, we ask for them to use headsets or go to the conference room, they agree, silence, we do a jig, repeat) endlessly kill me. One primary feature of the human race, or at least the lowest common denominator, is that we're always destined to repeat ourselves. As Ronald D. Moore, man amongst men, genius of geniuses, would say, "all this has happened before, and all this will happen again."

For a people who seemingly have made large leaps in terms of intelligence and technology, how is it that we're still so simple in the face of seemingly not so difficult things?

Example: the people who have purchased the Snuggie (you can check the infomercial at the top of this if you haven't seen it - it's glorious). Now for those that have seen it, you have to be thinking "well, how many of these dumb things could possibly have sold?"

Four million, according to an article published today from Advertising Age magazine.

Four million blanket/cloak/monk's robes have been purchased, a blanket/cloak/monk's robe that I openly mock upon sight of the infomercial. That seemingly is perpetually ridiculed by the mass of society. Yet assuming the average customer purchased the two based off the screaming deal offered in the infomercial (2 for $19.95, plus two reading lights, get out!), two million people have purchased this amazing contraption...that is essentially a warmer version of a robe worn backwards.

Is our mass consumerism so bad at this point that we really need to buy another object that effectively can be recreated by reversing a robe and putting a blanket on? Or becoming a buddhist monk? Or by drinking the Kool Aid and joining some sort of cult? All of those things are likely more cost effective than the snuggie, with the first being recreated the fastest, the second option providing spiritual enlightenment, and the third gets you some sweet, sweet Kool Aid.


Really, I guess I just don't understand people. Are we really going the way of Idiocracy (as I so often like to ask)? If you watched Larry Charles and Bill Maher's newest documentary Religulous, you'd likely think so.

Not to come down on those who look to religion for guidance and direction for their own personal beliefs, but this movie really shares all of the things I look at as problematic in the world of religion (zealotry, violence, taking advantage of people, you know...the usual) and expands upon them.

People are often so desperate to believe in something that they'll take whatever they can get, as brilliantly demonstrated in the section of the movie where a crowd gathers around Maher in Hyde Park in Chicago (a location famed for its' street preachers and gathered flock) as he preaches the gospel of the book of Scientology and the ways of the Jedi. Some look at him like he's crazy, others are clearly moved by his words.

The point is, most people in this world are gradually moving in a direction towards blind consumerism regardless of the state of the economy, away from logic despite what stares them in the face, and ignoring personal responsibility in lieu of personal comfort.

In short, we're all about the number one, baby.

We want a reverse robe blanket thing? We get a reverse robe blanket thing. We want comfort in the form of believing some peoples bodies may be full of midochlorians? Take that comfort. You want to blare your speaker phone, annoying everyone within a 45 foot radius to bring ease to your morning (I mean come on...those headsets are freaking heavy)? You do it.

It's the new American way. We better get used to it.


Raechelle said...

the snuggie!!! My favorite part of the commercial is when the whole family is wearing them at a sporting event. It seriously looks like some horrible SNL skit gone wrong.

Thanks for the laugh this morning!

sheri said...

But what if you don't HAVE a bathrobe to turn backwards? I certainly don't!!

As I said when Troy made fun of the snuggie though, there was another similar product that I actually thought was cool (if you are in the market for a blanket anyway)...It's basically just a blanket with a few snaps so you can wear it.. like a cape I guess. Which is what I do with my blankets...

Maybe I'm weird...

Erik said...

A co worker said she needed to get a snuggie......I said some things that probably came off pretty harsh.

I <3 Bill Maher.

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