July 9, 2004
It’s not that I have anything against advertising. After all, advertising has taught me many valuable and interesting lessons. For example, I’ve learned from advertising that it’s okay to drink beer during work…as long as it’s the right kind of beer. I’ve learned that a little pill can help me overcome anxiety, succeed in my job, and change my drab black-and-white world to brilliant color…as long as I’m not one of the twenty percent of people who experience dizziness, nausea, cramps, bleeding from the pores, or spontaneous decapitation.
Advertising does have other benefits as well. For one thing, it provides careers to people who want desperately to do Broadway musicals but have no skills, no talent, and, let’s face it, absolutely no shame. What would these people do without advertising? Advertising also brings avant garde photographic and film techniques into the mainstream, proving that there’s nothing so cutting-edge that it can’t be ruined by commercialism. Advertising brings me commercials for tampons, toilet paper, and "natural male enhancement" every single day while I’m eating supper, which just reminds me that I shouldn’t eat and watch television at the same time. Advertising even sometimes becomes a part of our culture, which I think is just fine. After all, advertising is to culture what bacon fat is to vegetarian cooking.
And let’s not forget the Iowa man who offered to shave his head and have a company logo tattooed on it for one full year for the bargain price of $100,000. How many of us said, "I wish I’d thought of that?" when we heard that news story. Probably not any, but I commend him for taking the "if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em" approach to advertising. I heard on the radio, though, that people are actually starting to turn against advertising. Apparently it’s becoming so invasive in some places people are actually rejecting whatever’s being advertised.
I first noticed something like this about four years ago when I noticed that gas stations were putting ads for candy bars on the individual gas pumps. Nothing gives me an appetite for chocolate and caramel like the smell of gasoline, but it seemed too pushy. Now I understand companies who stuck movie ads on bananas were surprised to find no one was going to see the movies. Maybe they were just lousy movies, or maybe they were the kinds of movies people who eat bananas don’t go to see. If they’d advertised "King Kong" or "Gorillas in the Mist" on bananas they might have gotten more reaction. And it gets worse. Jockeys won the right to wear advertising on their uniforms, threatening to make horse racing seem corrupt and sleazy, and advertisers have even started putting placards on dogs and walking them around. If a guy wearing advertising placards is called "a sandwich man", is a dog doing the same thing called "a hot dog"?
But I digress. And it gets even worse. Potato chip companies are going to start printing advertising…on individual potato chips. Supposedly this is a response to the fact that more and more people are trying to avoid advertising, and we’re being inundated with it so heavily we’re becoming numb to it. I would suggest that maybe we should buy whatever crap the advertisers are throwing at us in the hope that they’ll go away, but I’m afraid that’ll just encourage them. How can we get out of this trap? I have no idea. If anyone knows, please tell me and we can work together to get the word out…by putting it on gas pumps, potato chips, and dogs.
Enjoy this week’s offerings.
If Dogs sent letters to God…
Dear God, Why do humans smell the flowers, but seldom, if ever, smell one another?
Dear God, When we get to heaven, can we sit on your couch? Or is it the same old story?
Dear God, Why are there cars named after the jaguar, the cougar, the mustang, the colt, the stingray, and the rabbit, but not ONE named for a dog? How often do you see a cougar riding around? We dogs love a nice ride! Would it be so hard to rename the ‘Chrysler Eagle’ the ‘Chrysler Beagle’?
Dear God, If a dog barks his head off in the forest and no human hears him, is he still a bad dog?
Dear God, We dogs can understand human verbal instructions, hand signals, whistles, horns, clickers, beepers, scent ID’s, electromagnetic energy fields, and Frisbee flight paths. What do humans understand?
Dear God, More meatballs, less spaghetti, please.
Dear God, When we get to the Pearly Gates, do we have to shake hands to get in?
Dear God, Are there mailmen in Heaven? If there are, will I have to apologize?
Dear God, Let me give you a list of just some of the things I’d like you to help me remember so I can be a good dog:
I will not eat the cats’ food before they eat it. I will not roll on dead seagulls, fish, crabs, etc., just because I like the way they smell. The sofa is not a face towel; neither are Mom and Dad’s laps. The garbage collector is not stealing our stuff. My head does not belong in the refrigerator. I will not bite the officer’s hand when he reaches in for Mom’s driver’s license and registration. I will not play tug-of-war with Dad’s underwear when he’s on the toilet. Sticking my nose into someone’s crotch is not an acceptable way of saying ‘hello.’ I do not need to suddenly stand straight up when I’m lying under the coffee table. I must shake the rainwater out of my fur before entering the house. I will not come in from outside and immediately drag my butt across the carpet. I will not sit in the middle of the living room and lick my crotch when company is over. The cat is not a squeaky toy; so when I play with him and he makes that noise, it’s usually not a good thing.