You can’t trust anyone who is trying to sell you anything

Over the last year, I’ve noticed a lot more misleading marketing than I have in the past. There are two specific types of hoodwinking that I’m talking about.

The first is when an item has a big sticker or American flag logo on the tag, with big text that says, “proudly made in the USA.” But in small print underneath that it quietly adds, “with domestic and imported components.” In other words, “most of these components were made by slave labour in China, and then it was assembled by machines here in the US.”

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The only thing this is a sure sign of is questionable marketing ethics.

The above graphic actually takes the deception a step further and uses ‘global’ as a euphemism for ‘imported’ — clever. Insidious.

Similarly, I’ve noticed a lot of food products now say stuff like, “made with NATURAL ingredients.”

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That’s absurd. Virtually everything in the world can be called natural — I mean, coal and asbestos are natural, but that doesn’t mean they’re good for people — so it’s really a meaningless term. As such, there’s no regulation on the term ‘natural.’ You can put it on any food product you want, like Big Macs and Twinkies, and there is no regulatory body who is going to contact you and say, “wait a minute, that food isn’t natural.” Labeling food as ‘natural’ is just a way for companies to intentionally mislead the public into thinking their product is healthy, organic, pesticide-free, antibiotic-free, hormone-free, etc. Once again: total bullshit.

Basically, everyone who is looking to make a buck is willing to bend the truth as much as legally possible to make you feel better about buying their trash. Trust no one who is trying to sell you anything. They’re all shysters.

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how to win an oscar, aka why i didn’t like ’12 years a slave’

jenn and i just watched 12 years a slave the other day. i know i’m 3 years late to the party but that’s beside the point. what i want to say is that it’s a crazy, nightmarish story and it’s hard to believe that such atrocities were ever widely accepted here. it’s eye-opening stuff.

but i think the film itself sucked. not because some of the acting was garbage, and not because i got really tired of the overuse of super long, largely static, ‘this is going to disturb you’ shots, but because the film took an extremely serious, weighty story and turned it into a one-dimensional, easy to market, typical hollywood story.

how does one make a one-dimensional, easy to market, typical hollywood story?

  1. establish main character as strong, faultless, morally sound, devout family man/woman in a simple but pleasant living situation.
  2. inflict cruel injustices upon main character, eg kill their family, separate them from their family, convict them of a crime they didn’t commit, enslave them, etc.
  3. tempt main character to break their strong moral code but have them rise above the temptation and continue on with their dignity and values still intact, head held high.
  4. allow main character some kind of quiet or proud redemption.

ta daaaa, that’s it. now flesh it out with some details and sit back and rake in the phony awards for your mantelpiece.

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you know you’ve made a tawdry piece of shit when a bunch of professional critics are falling over themselves to suck your dick.

12 years a slave hits on all those things i just listed. so does gladiator. so does braveheart. and guess what, they won a bunch of academy awards too. so it’s no surprise that soulless film makers keep coming back to a formula that is proven to illicit tears and make people proclaim it “the best movie of the year.” why make something original when you can make something successful?

needless to say, that formula is hollywood cookie cutter shit, fairy tale shit. real people aren’t flawless heroes or perversely evil villains. real people are somewhere between those extremes. but if you want an old-fashioned hollywood tearjerker you need to simplify characters into good/evil, right/wrong terms so that it’s really easy to root for one person to win, and the other to lose — no shades of grey, nothing that might confuse the bovine audience.

for example, 12 years a slave implied that northup was steadfastly devout to his wife the whole time he was enslaved. i think that’s absurd. even if he personally maintained it was the truth, i wouldn’t believe him. i think that in 12 years, trapped in a world where sex would be one of the very few pleasures you could attain, i would bet my balls that 99.9% of even the most morally sound people would end up fucking a few other people. suggesting northup was some kind of moral superman who never even considered something like that was just plain dumb to me. but that’s what the dummies want to see — the perfect man.

the other characters were similarly bone simple. edwin epps was cruel and evil without a good bone in his body. samuel bass (the little we saw of him anyway) was confident and virtuous. well, that certainly makes it easy to tell who to cheer for.

fuck off. disney-style villains and heroes in a story based on real, horrific events. that’s insulting. it carefully, intentionally turns a true travesty into a marketable product that fits the tried and true formula. i don’t like that.

but shit, thinking about it now, that sums up an awful lot of big, ‘loosely based on historical event’ films.

oh well. i don’t like them either.

thoughts on ufc 193

  • struve vs rosholt – boring. such a shame because i think struve has a lot of potential but it’s 50/50 on any given night as to whether he can pull it off or not.
  • whitaker vs hall – not bad. big win for whitaker.
  • hunt vs silva – no surprises here but i would have liked more action before bigfoot crumpled.
  • jedrzejczyk vs letourneau – great back and forth, very competitive. it was nice to see someone finally stand and trade with jedrzejczyk, and both women landed some excellent shots. despite the loss, this really solidified letourneau’s place in the strawweight division top 10 for me. i look forward to seeing both women compete again soon.
  • rousey vs holm – fuck yeah. i have lots to say on this one.

    i’ve never liked rousey so i was thrilled to see her lose, especially so decisively. i can’t stand her “i’m a hot badass, whatcha gonna do about it?” persona. i think it’s phony and unlikable. she’s like conor mcgregor in that sense. i think both of them are smart to have picked and thoroughly executed such marketable personas, and i’m sure they have made assloads of money largely because of them, but they make me dislike them as people. i wish they would just be real, and respectful of their opponents.

    speaking of which, rousey’s performance at the weigh in and her refusal to touch gloves at the start of the fight were complete bullshit. at the weigh in, holm did not punch rousey like dana white has stated. the two posed for their face off, holm’s fist was near rousey’s chin, rousey moved her arm and pulled holm’s fist down across her own jaw and then acted like she’d been hit. for dana white to say that holm punched rousey is a lie and massively disrespectful to holm because it paints her as unprofessional, unsportsmanlike. it’s ridiculous, especially considering holm’s record as being consistently respectful throughout her long fighting career. i guess that’s the sheisty las vegas businessman in white though, always trying to capitalize on a moment. fucking douchebag. as for rousey not touching gloves with holm before their fight: i assume this is an extension of the weigh in thing, and it was just as dumb, and in the same way too. not much more to be said on that.

  • dana white pouting at the post fight press conference – normally after a big UFC event, dana white is all jazzed up, cracking jokes, having a good time. but at the ufc 193 post fight press conference, he was subdued, didn’t smile much, and cut the conference short (25 min whereas it’s normally closer to an hour). i wonder why he was so fucking miserable. i bet he was pissed he killed his own goose that laid golden eggs. i mean, rousey has been the biggest star the UFC has produced but this brutal loss will surely have a substantial effect on her stardom since that stardom has largely revolved around her apparent invincibility. white is probably concerned that rousey may not have quite the draw she once did, now that it’s proven she’s human and beatable. boo hoo, a few million dollars less for the poor guy! cry me a river.
  • dana white and immediate rematches – FUCK THIS HORSESHIT. i’m so sick of white and his obsession with rematches, particularly with immediate rematches. i’ve even bitched about this before, that’s how often he does this shit. he talked about this particular rematch at the post fight press conference, saying that an immediate rematch with holm makes absolute sense. well, i disagree. rousey got her ass handed to her — how does that earn her a rematch? rousey did nothing to give anyone the idea that the next fight would be any different. if it had been a close back and forth fight that went to a split decision, sure, but this was a slaughter. i’m sure lots of people will cite rousey’s legacy but i don’t give a fuck about that. i think you’re only as good as your last performance and as of today, rousey’s last performance was laughable. so let her decisively beat the hell out of someone else and then talk about a rematch with holm.

for now, let’s just enjoy holm’s handiwork. hooray!

mcgregor is smart. his fans are stupid.

i don’t hate conor mcgregor. his schtick got old the second he started doing it (which was only several fights after he joined the UFC — he was confident before this but never pulled any of the ridiculous hyperbole or ‘i’m a wild man’ stuff) so i can’t stand to listen to him, but conor knows that this phony loud-mouthed, brash, ignorant character he has created is a huge marketing hit, so he’s running with it. i can’t hold that against him. i might do the same thing if i stood to make hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of dollars from it. and he is a great fighter, there is no doubt. #3 featherweight? now that’s still pretty dubious considering who he has fought so far, but he’s very good, for sure.

throwing darts at, tearing up, and eating a picture of his opponent. wow, this guy must be crazy.

i think what bothers me the most about mcgregor are the legions of idiots following him, eating up his pathetic bravado and lies. grabbing the belt from the champion, leering in the champ’s face, eating a picture of the champ in a pub, talking about riding into the champion’s town on horseback and slaughtering him like the peasant he is…this is really stupid stuff. this is WWE stuff. some people might find it entertaining and i guess that’s fine even though i think it’s trash, but a lot of people actually believe this shit. they believe mcgregor when he says he is without a doubt the best fighter in the world, despite having only one win over an impressive opponent so far. they believe him when he says that aldo backed out of the championship fight because he was scared to fight mcgregor, despite doctors and x-rays confirming aldo had a fractured rib and was unable to fight.

good grief.

now UFC is trying to promote mcgregor’s fight with chad mendes for the interim featherweight title, and mendes is getting sucked into mcgregor’s silly antics as well, as shown below. their exchange starts around the 3:00 mark.

i wonder why sane people don’t call conor on his bullshit more instead of responding to whatever absurd things he’s saying at the moment. if i were an interviewer or an opponent of mcgregor’s, i would disregard his “i’m going to tear him limb from limb” stuff and seek honest, bullshit-free answers to questions like

  • how can mcgregor claim to be the best when his last fight was against a man who was then ranked like #13?
  • what about the fact mcgregor has yet to face a top 3 contender?
  • what about the fact mcgregor has only 5 fights in the UFC, while all his other wins are over totally unknown men?
  • what about the fact aldo was actually not cleared to fight, and does in fact have a fractured rib? if mcgregor is so supremely confident in his skills, wouldn’t he want the champion in good health for their fight so there could be no doubt that, if mcgregor won, his win would be legitimate and not the result of fighting a handicapped opponent?

of course no one would be able to get a straight answer out of mcgregor. he would continue saying whatever it takes to get his minions all fired up, but it sure would be nice if someone would actually address these obvious inconsistencies that undermine everything he says.

maybe i should get a twitter account.

“hi, mr mcgregor? this is margaret. i just wanted to tell you are very good at giving the people what they want. it’s just unfortunate that what the people want is pro-wrestling drama and bullshit. also, as it stands you are talented but still a fraud. i want to see some wins over serious opponents to legitimatize your ridiculous claims. cheerio then.”

a marketing angle for every pathetic fucking loser

youtube has the worst commercials lately. every time i want to listen to some wicked death metal, i have to sit through stupid assholes trying con other stupid assholes into some get rich quick or get ripped quick scheme. it’s so obviously phony, such a clear con, but these scumbags must be making good money at it. what does that say? it’s says there are a lot of horrible dunces running around, evidently with disposable income. i’ve always known that but it doesn’t make the confirmation any less depressing.

i want to see this guy in a bare knuckles brawl with kimbo slice. i feel that would be fair justice for his crimes against humanity.

i’ve seen the ’10 minute ab workout’ guy a whole bunch. i knew who his market was right away: dumb, chubby losers who really want to believe that they can become chick magnets with only 10 minutes of exercise each day while still eating cheeseburgers every other meal. guys who lack both self esteem and common sense. desperate twits. there were no surprises with this 10 minute ab guy or his clientele.

then i saw an ad with this lamborghini/library scumfuck.

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hmmm.

at first, i thought “well well, another dipshit hawking lifestyles of the rich and famous to the poor and pathetic.” but then the ad got to him talking about how the car wasn’t as cool as his collection of books. i thought, “this is an interesting twist i did not expect. tell me more.” however, within a few seconds it became obvious to me that yes, this was yet another con. the only difference was the tone is designed to appeal to what i think is a significantly smaller, more specific market: instead of aiming for dumb, chubby losers who want a 6-pack (about 80% of people by my highly scientific estimate), this ad aims for wannabe yuppies with terrifyingly low self esteem who are desperate to appear successful and confident (probably only about 20% of people).

i had never seen an ad so precisely targeted to such a niche market. but i think it makes sense because even if there are not as many of those types around as other markets, it will speak so directly to them that they will think, wow, this is tailor-made for me. this is just what i need. by intentionally missing out on a wider audience, the ad should resonate better with a smaller one. in the end, the same number of units of _____ will probably be sold. the approach surprised me. i think it’s pretty clever but i obviously also consider the people behind it and those who buy into it my mortal enemies. i don’t think i need to explain why.

that’s me in the middle, cleansing this filthy fucking world of the vermin.