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Midlife-Cry-sis BlogBy Alf Gordon(13,351)
About Alf Gordon(13,351)
Posted Wednesday, April 16, 2008 (47 days ago.)
(Warning: If you're offended by frank biological terminology, reading this blog entry would be a VERY bad idea.)
They're everywhere, and you're blind if you miss them. On television, on billboards, in magazines, in newspapers. Scantily-clad busty females and muscular half-dressed males are used to promote the sale of just about anything imaginable. And why? Because sex sells.
I hope it's because I'm less gullible than I used to be, but I don't fall for that garbage anymore. Seeing a partially-exposed set of boobs doesn't raise my hormone level to the point where it overrides my common sense and makes me reach for my credit card. In fact, I find it rather offensive that marketing agencies think I'm so driven by my sex drive that my brain doesn't figure into the equation at all. Ironically, I find myself looking at these advertisements in a whole new light and wondering about the integrity of the vendor as well as the advertising firm.
When I see a commercial showing two middle-aged men in business suits trying to sell men's clothing while cavorting with much younger women in tight-fitting and flesh-revealing garb, I don't think about the quality of the clothing or the prices. I DO wonder if those girls are all over 18, and what these two lecherous old men are doing oogling women that could be their daughters...or granddaughters (yuck--creepy!). And I have to be concerned that these "gentlemen" are more interested with the physical attributes of their female friends than they are in the quality of the clothes they hawk.
When I see a billboard advertising auto rims while prominently displaying two bikini-clad females, I wonder what the connection is between breasts and rims. Maybe it's shape (they're both round--or we're told they're supposed to be). I hope it's not density. If both items are either very soft or very hard, then either the rims or the girls are faulty! (At least you can take the rims back for a refund.)
And let's not assume that only men are under attack. Young men with no shirts and tight-fitting jeans are increasingly appearing in ads, hoping to appeal to the female of the species. Abercrombie & Fitch has come under attack recently for the revealing photos in their catalog. And certain fashion magazines have no problem displaying nearly-naked males and females to sell anything from perfumes to clothing to feminine hygiene products. Even last season's "The Celebrity Apprentice" had an episode where one team used male models in next to nothing to sell Vera Wang's mattresses. (Obviously women buy the bedding.)
You can't tell me that eliminating sex from ads reduces sales. Some of the most memorable ads are the ones that never let sex figure into the equation. Phrases like "Where's the beef?" and "Can you hear me now?" have nothing to do with sex and everything to do with the product. And watch the ads that run this summer during the Olympic Games. If the past is any indication, they'll tug at your heart strings and get you to open up your wallet in a way that near-nudity can't. (Do ANY of the charitable fund-raising ads you've seen use naked people to raise money? I don't think so!)
In any case, if a vendor feels the only way he can generate interest in his product is to use a nearly-naked human being to rev up my hormones, I won't give his spokesperson a second look, much less his product. I'm not 17 anymore, folks, and just because I'm a male it doesn't mean I don't know how to think with the right head...!
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Posted Thursday, April 10, 2008 (52 days 20 hours ago.)
I just missed the protests and revolution of the 1960s. (Yeah, I know, it's killing me.) By the time I was aware enough to know that there were other things going on in the world outside my little microcosm, protesting was done, hippies were passe, and disco was in. (Like I said, it's killing me...!) However, I never really felt the need to rant against the Establishment for perceived wrongs against either my fellow man or me. I was too busy trying to finish school, move on to college, and establish my own life--that and the fact that my parents would have killed me had I ended up on the nightly news and/or in jail.
So maybe that's why I don't understand the recent wave of protesting that's been going locally. On three different occasions in the past four months I've had to walk around and/or through groups of protesters. Because they were so wound up with their shouting and their waving of banners, I never really did get to find out what the issues were. And they were so agitated they couldn't take the time to stop and answer a few questions. But I'm going to ask my questions anyway, and maybe somebody out there who's protested can clue in me and my readers.
Why are you protesting? Is this an issue that threatens your neighborhood, your city, your state, your country, or the world? Is it a pet project that is near and dear to your heart that you feel isn't getting enough media attention? Or is it about something that you and a small minority want and you think this is the easiest way to get it, by being a vocal and obnoxious squeaky wheel?
Why do you think protesting will be effective in initiating change? Will it call attention to the plight of the people, or will it turn off those outside the protest, causing them to ignore you and your cause? Will you use the protest to present facts supporting your side in a calm and reasonable manner, or will you shout useless sound bytes that the media will broadcast all over the news and that tell the average person absolutely nothing about your purpose?
Have you exhausted all your other options? Have you tried the legal routes? Contacted your elected officials? Utilized the local media to educate the community? Raised local and national awareness? Talked to and gained the support of prominent individuals who can help further your cause? Or are you grabbing everybody you can, throwing a placard or sign in their hands, and using a bullhorn to teach them mindless cheers that they can shout repeatedly and that mean nothing?
How do you find the time to do all this protesting? Are you independently wealthy so you can afford to galavant all over the countryside, attending rallies and organizing protests? Are you taking time off from work and losing valuable pay to help people understand the issue that you believe is vitally important? Are you unemployed and living off the sweat of the taxpayer's brow, and this is your way of finding cheap entertainment? Or are you being paid by some activist to hold a sign and chant a phrase?
If it sounds like I'm against protests, I'm not. It's just that as an average American citizen who has to work his butt off to keep his job and support his family while keeping things like the tax man and rising consumer costs at bay, I don't see the effectiveness of today's protests. If I knew how the process worked, and if I could see productive results that benefitted both the protesters and the community, maybe I'd feel differently. As it is, all I see is a bully pulpit where people scream and yell and throw temper tantrums until they get what they want without having to pay for it. And the causes are ones that I'm not sure great protesters like Martin Luther, or Martin Luther King Jr. would be able to get behind and support.
So, anyone who's involved in protesting today want to take a stab at answering a few questions for me? Anyone?
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Posted Friday, April 04, 2008 (58 days 23 hours ago.)
Yesterday I had an epiphany: Pedestrians get all the breaks. Seriously. Unlike drivers, pedestrians don't have police watching out for their every mistake and issuing tickets for the least little infraction of the law. As a result, they take full advantage of their immunity by violating as many laws as possible. Take a look at some of the examples below and see if you don't agree that pedestrians coast!
DRIVING ON THE RIGHT. When a car drives down the wrong side of the road, lives are endangered. Generally when a vehicle is stopped while driving in the wrong direction, a ticket is issued. Pedestrians should, as a courtesy, walk on the right side of the sidewalk (or stairwell, or hallway), yet seldom do. People walk wherever they feel like it and if they get in your way, oh well.
OBEYING THE SPEED LIMIT. Drivers who drive too fast (and sometimes too slowly) can be issued tickets for unsafe driving. Pedestrians walk at whatever pace suits them and to heck with what everybody else is doing. Four women can be walking at a snail's pace side by side down a hallway while people back up behind them because they're too busy talking and laughing and having a good time communicating. On the other hand, I've seen people bowled over by folks who were in such a hurry they needed to run to get where they needed to be. (The worst near-accident I've ever seen? A guy in a motorized wheelchair nearly crashed into a group of people when he rounded a corner going much faster than what was safe for either him or the others on the sidewalk.)
RUNNING THE YELLOW LIGHT. We're told that when the yellow light appears, vehicles in the intersection need to continue on while vehicles approaching the intersection need to slow down and stop. Being in the intersection when the light turns red is a ticketable offense. In crosswalks, the flashing hand is the equivalent of the yellow light. Pedestrians in the crosswalk need to continue walking, while pedestrians on the sidewalk do not enter the street. Yet you can see people racing across the street in front of oncoming traffic even though the sign clearly said not to--and sometimes not even in the crosswalk, but in the middle of the street. Jaywalking is definitely against the law in many states, yet it's rare to see a policeman issue a ticket for it.
USING TURNING SIGNALS. In some states drivers can be ticketed for not properly signaling when making a turn. Pedestrians go where they want to go and many times the only way you can tell is when they show up directly in your path. Hopefully you can move out of the way before colliding.
ILLEGAL PARKING. Certain areas are off-limits for vehicle parking, and drivers can be ticketed for leaving their cars where they're not supposed to. Pedestrians just plant their carcasses wherever they feel like it--in the middle of a crowded hallway to talk to a co-worker, in the line at the grocery store to chat with a neighbor, in the doorway of a public building to take a cell phone call. Others are inconvenienced and in some instances could be hurt, but hey, these people have more important things to do than worry about whether you can get where you need to go.
The evidence speaks for itself. The sad thing is that if pedestrian and driver collide, the pedestrian gets the benefit of the doubt even when in the wrong from a legal standpoint. (I have some first-hand experience in this matter.) If pedestrians got called down for doing on foot what car owners do behind the wheel, municipalities would have a whole new source of revenue available to squander. Sounds like law enforcement needs to get with the program! Drivers have rights, too!
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