We’re Not Idiots.

So the B-52’s are playing at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center here in Nashville on February 4th and 5th, which is really cool in many ways. I remember when the song Love Shack appeared on MTV as a “smash or trash”. This was back in the day when the “M” in MTV stood for “music” and not “an odd assortment of reality shows and other garbage and hey, kids, come back!” At the time “smash or trash” was also something radio stations did, back before the local DJ’s were replaced by robots in a facility deep in a Wyoming mountain. They’d play a song–or in the case of MTV a music video–and ask people to call in and declare it a “smash” or “trash”. It was a groovy thing, so much better than the robots who now say, “We’re gonna play this and you’ll like it!” Other notable smash or trash songs included Bobby McFerrin’s Don’t Worry, Be Happy and She Drives Me Crazy by Fine Young Cannibals, but that’s another story.

The Schermerhorn is an amazing building and I love that the B-52s are playing there, but it also reminds me of this commercial for the Nashville Symphony. I really dig this commercial except for one part that annoys me so much it ruins the whole thing for me.

Did you spot it? Maybe you had the same reaction. If you’re not sure it’s at the 12-second mark, when Giancarlo Guerrero is demonstrating what the symphony isn’t and one of the things it isn’t is…

symphony2Really? The guy speaks about thirty languages. Or at least two. Surely he knows what “soporific” means. And that makes me think they’re making fun of the audience, chuckling and thinking, “Hey, these rednecks couldn’t possibly know what that word means, so let’s make a joke about it.” And maybe most people–even educated people–don’t know what it means. It’s not a word that comes up in everyday conversation unless you hang around with S.J. Perelman even though most of us sit through soporific meetings and sales presentations regularly. And that’s okay. Why not turn it into an educational opportunity? Oxford English Dictionary, help us out here!

symphony3Yeah, seeing Guerrero stretched out snoozing on the stage would have been both educational and funny. But then the commercial goes from trash to smash when he chugs a Yazoo Dos Perros.

symphony1Clearly the man has taste. I’ll bet he’s gonna dance this mess around.

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  1. Gina W.

    Oh man, I love me some B-52’s. It reminds me of my youth and blasting songs like “Wig” on my car stereo. Sadly, both my son AND my husband don’t like the B-52’s so I don’t listen to them all that much. I may remedy that by listening to their stuff on YouTube at work today (quietly of course). 🙂

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I thought everyone loved the B-52’s. Well, no one’s perfect. Hopefully you work with some people who also love the B-52’s and who won’t mind you cranking up “Hallucinating Pluto”.
      That reminds me that somewhere around my office I’ve got a set of speakers that plug into the computer.

  2. Jay

    Thank you for counting us all among the non-idiots, and for quietly educating us just in case. 😉

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Even though a ton of dictionary sites are just a click away I put the definition in there as a way of admitting I thought I knew what it meant the first time I saw the commercial but went and looked it up just to be sure. And the first time I thought he said “saprophytic” which would have been a really funny non-sequitur and the look of confusion would have made more sense.

  3. Ann Koplow

    I love the B-52s and so did my son Aaron when he was a little kid. I have a great memory of him singing “Love Shack” at a local Friendly’s restaurant and entertaining all the patrons. By the way, Chris, I find your posts the opposite of soporific.

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I bet Aaron singing “Love Shack” now would be just as entertaining. It’s a song that seems to put a smile on everyone’s face. I’m so glad, too, that you find my posts the opposite of soporific. I think the word for that would be “stimulating”.


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