Friday, September 14, 2007

Liquid Speed, Ludicrous Bullets and Tiny Screams

On Zeitgeist. Wow. The silence is deafening. It's funny, the subjects I'm sure will stir up a flurry of discussion sometimes fall flat. As with the Zeitgeist movie, which created a storm of discussion in this house. We're still picking up the debris--unanswered questions hanging here and there. We pick them up and turn them over, show them to each other and put them down again, not knowing yet where to put them. If you don't want to watch the whole movie at once, it's divided into small bits on YouTube. Here's the first part....

But I am curious, (as you well know) so must ask. Is the silence because you didn't watch the movie? Because you did and thought it paranoid fear-mongering? Because you thought it was dumb? Because you watched it and have so many questions you don't know where to start?
I welcome all thoughts. I welcome thinking.

I'm as curious about the motives of the film's creator as the film itself. I'm curious about what its creation reflects about our culture's current state of mind?

On that note...

The other night at bedtime I caught the new Mountain Dew energy drink commercial with the Halo 3 tie-in. ( yes, I do occasionally watch G-4--I like Ninja Warrior!) The commercial depicts various young men screaming at their television sets. Why? Because they are losing to the guy (yeah you've got it) who is drinking the MD and winning.
For best results the commercial advises to "chug it " to win.

I couldn't get to sleep because it really pissed me off.

I remind myself of the decision I made to 'care less' after discovering The Secret. If I care less, I sleep better, after all.

Pepsi stoops to a whole new level of irresponsibility by actually telling people that getting hyped up on sugar and caffeine will improve their gaming abilities. They fail to mention the health and societal costs.

Why? Does Pepsi need the money?

I know it's not new. "Do the Dew" has been around for ages. Before that Coke was Coca Cola, the 'pause that refreshes.' Our culture has been pushing speed for generations. Once it was speed for work. Now it's speed for play. Is one any better than the other?

This latest Mountain Dew campaign pushes my personal limits. I'm sick to death of what we're doing. What we're not doing. Self indulgent, selfish, stupid, uneducated, utterly dependent on our government, our credit cards, our toys, our drugs, our computers.

Where are we headed?

Possibly I'm doubly angry after having wasted two hours watching "Shoot 'Em Up." I got suckered in by the previews. I've liked past work by Paul Giamatti and Clive Owen. Thought it would be a fun action movie. A mental break.

Walked out muttering about how C. M. Kornbluth was a prophet. About how we've created a society of morons.

Well. I didn't create it. Why do I feel a sense of responsibilty at all? Because I'm an idealist? Because I still hold on to the shiny idea that we're all in this together?

My hands are getting slippery. What will help me hold on?

Will I simply decide to let go?

Maybe I was wrong about poppets. I created these little iconic observers, quietly watching everything.

Possibly I should've created them with their little eyes sqeezed shut and tiny mouths wide open, screaming.

Would anyone hear them?

wake up wake up wake up wake up wake up wake up wake up wake up wake up wake up wake up wake up wake up wake up wake up wake up wake up wake up......


WyldWoods (WW.N) said...

I haven't seen the Mt Dew commercial, I gave up cable TV when I moved despite loving Ninja Warrior, and the direction commercials and TV were headed was part of the reason. There are still some great shows, but they come out on DVD quick enough that I don't need to put up with the commercials and all the rest.

Haven't watched Zeitgeist yet, will come back once I have...

I have wondered if poppets ever get as frustrated as I (we?) do about the things they see. It seemed to me that the Little Blue Poppets were ones headed in that direction.

Anonymous said...

I didn't watch the movie because I've been swamped with schoolwork. And now I'm headed to Florida for a week to visit my family, and maybe I'll have time to watch it there, and maybe I won't.
I'm with you on the commercials. I just got cable again in the past few months after living without it for a decade. The commercials are still mind-boggling to me. I spend much of my time looking at commercials, and indeed at much of the world, and going, "What is the MATTER with people? Why would anyone DO that?"

chrisa511 said...

I haven't posted on Zeitgeist yet because I haven't watched it in full yet. I watched the first 10 minutes on their website and decided that I'll order a copy for myself and give it a full viewing before commenting. I'm certainly curious now though after those first 10 minutes (just the opening sequence with some very emotionally disturbing scenes) about where the director is going with this one...

I think it's great that you keep our little poppets eyes open, Lisa. I've always found them to be very profound in a way...they can look at any scene and interpret it in 1000 different ways. They show us what's deep inside of ourselves, allow us to reflect on ourselves and see how we view this often messed up world. I can look at a poppet and think that he (or she) looks sad and I see that only because I feel sad about the has no mouth or eyebrows.

The world can be a discouraging place to live in at times...The Secret and Mountain Dew don't make it any easier, but there are things that aren't manufactured that balance it out...human connections, art, creation, music...that all helps make it worth it for me.

Heather FaerieStar said...

hadnt watched it.

i have now watched the 26 mins you linked to... ive always felt all religions were based on mythology, so, its not a stretch for me to buy the idea that they are all based on the same astronomical observations....

but mostly this makes me want to do a bit of my own research, because i thought i was decently informed on egyptian mythology, and i dont remember ever reading these horus/jesus similarities before... but maybe they are there, and im not as informed as i thought...

but i definitely want to watch the rest now, just 'cause it is an interesting "take" on things...
whether or not i'd ultimately agree, i have no idea...

ok, i have not added much to this discussion, so im off, i need more coffee.

--**Heather Faeriestar

Rubius said...

I didn't comment because I haven't had a chance to watch any of it. I will do so when I finally get there.

As for the commercials ... I really understand your disgust with the system. I came home yesterday to see a post on Lorraine a Malena's blog about an anti-gay bashing in a small upscale NY town. Yesterday was a BAD day for me (sick, allergic, low on endorphines) so that just made me furious. Now I know that this has nothing to do with me, it is in another country, on the opposite seaboard from where I live.. and I am not gay or even a fan of the person who was attacked but it still really ticked me off. Instead of feeling frustrated and furious and helpless I decided to write that place's townhall and express my outrage at such behaviour (made worse in my opinion by the callous attitudes of the police and locals). My letter may not do any good in that town... but it made me feel empowered.

May I suggest, when we feel angry and frustrated and absolutely powerless, whether over peoples' hate-filled minds or their money-grubbing attitudes and ad campaigns.. WRITE THEM or write their superiors. It may not do anything but if enough people take action we can change the world.

There is a good reason people say that the pen is mightier than the sword.

Holly said...

haven't seen Zeitgeist, and am blocked from YouTube at work, so I will have to remember to turn on the Hex at home to see what the discussion is about.

I rarely watch tv, and when I do, I mute the commercials. I was amused by that Mt. Dew commercial, until I left the sound on one day and heard the pitch. meh. I'm so sick of commercials that pander to idiots. Being an avid baseball fan, I think I get exposed to more of them than I should. The males I know are not stupid (clueless sometimes, but definitely not stupid); so why are the ads aimed at them so mind-meltingly dumb?

I find that my poppets look at me reproachfully when I'm thinking bad thoughts. Not when I'm thinking bad thoughts about ad execs though.

I also want to add to Rubius' suggestion - that when you see a group or company acting in an exemplary fashion, thank them for it. It may seem pointless to thank someone for acting in a way that they ought to be; but unless you point out that you appreciate it, what incentive do they have to keep it up?

Holly said...

which reminds me, I have a letter for you Lisa =o)

Rubius said...

I totally agree with you Holly. It is always worthwhile to compliment people or companies who do things right. I try to do this whenever I can...but sometimes it is hard to see the good things in this jungle of less-than-good things.

Dan Guy said...

Penny Arcade's strip today is about that ad.

lisa said...

Thanks all of you for your comments.
Wyldwoods---I know what you mean--I agree. I think mostly I keep cable because the media is (sadly) a mirror of our society. I use it to 'stare into the evil.'

Little Blue Poppets were created for just that. Sometimes looking, though necessary, can be just too damned much. Thanks.

Rebecca--I'm with you. What IS the matter with people? Though I'm not endorsing the Zeitgeist movie other than to say it encourages thinking (which is good enough for me) the movie does address this question of "what the hell is wrong with people?"

Thanks Chris--- Sometimes I think I should make tiny sunglasses for the Poppets. I feel sorry for them sometimes. Having to look at what they do.

Heather---Sure you are! And you want to do more research. Poppety good! Let us know what you find out.

Rubius-- Yes. Writing companies is effective. I spent about an hour looking for an address where I could write Pepsico. I finally found one. The best way to get their attention is to write, and stop buying their products. Easier said than done, as Pepsico owns a crapload of brands.

I'll post the address though. Thank you.

Holly: Thanks. Good idea too, to praise companies who do good work--Like Dove's campaign that shows beautiful women of all sizes, shapes and ages. Even if it's just advertising, it still is a better message than most ads.

DanGuy: Thanks! Cool strip. You always find cool stuff for us.

K said...

I hadn't ever heard of the Zeitgeist film, let alone seen it. I'd just assumed that it wasn't here yet. ("What the Bleep...?" didn't make it to Britain for months after everyone was talking about it online.)

For all that the internet shrinks the globe, the focus of popular culture in different places isn't always looking at the same things, yet. Sometimes this is good, sometimes frustrating...