I have several highly unpopular opinions about consumerism that make consuming media with me during this time of year a vurrah special treat.
A treat if you enjoy watching someone slowly self-destruct, that is.
I’ve said before that we watch a lot of sports, the beau and I. And so we’ll spend nights and weekends working on projects as the television steadily drones play calls, sideline chatter, whistles, and stadium roars. Unfortunately, all this reassuring white noise regularly gets interrupted by hyperactive staccato blares of brightly-colored commercials urging the good people of America to do just the absolute stupidest shit imaginable.
Like buying their loved ones a Lexus for Christmas. WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE, THESE PEOPLE WHO THINK A LEXUS IS A REASONABLE CHOICE OF GIFT? Who are these insufferable bastards and where do they get those goddamned MINI-Cooper-sized red bows to festively set atop their chosen hunk of glossy carbon fiber-reinforced polymer? Don’t tell me that lady in the sheer-backed cocktail dress is actually sewing them all by hand. Lexus-givers should already know there are people willing to ride the bus all the way across the city to do that for them for only slightly better than minimum wage.
Oh, yes, Lexus people, you’ll “remember this December” because I’ll mark each day with a swift kick in your shins. ADVENT CALENDAR OF PAIN.
Another ad I just absolutely adore is the one for Jared’s “chocolate diamonds” that begins with a sultry voiceover distinguishing it as “a commercial for women only.” Then there is 15 seconds of gaudy baubles heaving to the surface of brown sludgewater like prehistoric fish attempting to evolve legs and run off to live in shame at Miss Priscilla May’s Home for Unwanted Frippery. I would normally be offended that Jared presumes that because I possess a vagina I’m remotely interested in what they’re shilling, but every time that commercial comes on my IQ suddenly drops so low that I effectively cease brain wave activity. A+ for everyone!
And as for Kay, I am all for uninhibited personal expression of sexuality but if she tries to insinuate herself into my “kisses” one more damed time I’m clocking her one.
My main problem with this time of year, besides unwilling exposure to Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You,” is that I do not understand why the people in these commercials would ever behave like this. What inhabitant of planet Earth would ever want to “go, go, go, go, go” to JC Penney and “shop, shop, shop, shop, shop?” What little girl is going to sit in Santa’s lap and ask for a Ford Fusion (“It practically parks itself!”)?
Shit really starts hitting the fan for me just before Thanksgiving, when Black Friday sale ads conspire to make me feel like charging through an 8th-story plate glass window. I 100% support the idea of saving money, but I fundamentally do not understand an event in which an entire nation is encouraged to work themselves into a lather over piles of plastic junk their kid/cousin/coworker isn’t even going to want anymore in a scant handful of months. Kind of like Kimye’s impending breakup.
If every year I feel like I’m becoming more and more of an anti-commercialism zealot, it’s because every year they double down on us. It’s not good enough to start decorating for Christmas at Thanksgiving, now we have to start at Halloween. It’s not good enough to have Black Friday, now we have Grey Thursday. It’s not good enough to have Cyber Monday, now we have Cyber Week. It’s not good enough to tear open a small mountain of gewgaws and gimcracks on Christmas day, now we have to rush to the mall the day after and fill our shopping carts again.
I’m essentially a parody; the cranky old man battling it out against the kids on his lawn. I’m pretty well settled in my happy, self-righteous bubble of conscious limited consumption, and then I turn on the TV and some dude is intoning that “the happiest day of the year is when you purchase your new Civic,” and suddenly I have a book of matches and a can of gas in my hand and I’m looking up the address of the closest Honda dealership so I can personally air my grievances about the TRUE MEANING OF HAPPINESS, DUDES, YR CARS R NOT IT.
This is where you might ask me, well, if I feel so strongly about it, why don’t I just stop watching TV? And I would reply: what are you, some kind of highbrow Marxist? It’s my right to bleach my brain with nonsensical fluff! After all I need something to distract me from the stress of the season.