Sometimes I watch ads on TV because I have an almost sick fascination with them. The stupidity within your average A&W, Dairy Queen or Burger King ad raises inside me serious philosophical questions about human nature. Are we really that dumb? Are we really so spiritually empty that we will voluntarily watch people sell us shit that is ultimately harming ourselves and our planet? I’d like to believe we only watch ads because we can’t find the remote. Often I mute ads in my household, but sometimes people prefer to keep them on as background noise. This seems similar to the way shitty pop-radio gets played in retail stores because it maintains a sense of
ambience. In reality I think people from our digital age simply prefer annoying sounds to peace and quiet. Whatever our reasons for watching commercials, one thing is certain: anyone with a modicum of intelligence should be able to see through the utterly stupid marketing ploys built into modern TV ads. But I’m not sure people can see through the deception in modern advertising. After all, if we weren’t falling for advertisements then companies wouldn’t spend billions making them. Of all TV ads, I usually find truck ones the most insulting to humanity’s CONT'D PAGE 2
Online-dating (page 3) • Dickhead Magazine (page 1 1 ) • Soundtrack to My Life (page 6) • How to be an Ultra-Conservative (page 9) • TV Ads are Stupid (continued page 2)
Fair enough. I mean, Cola is a lot healthier than breastmilk. intelligence. Typically these ads involve a Ford, Chevy (or any other featured make of truck) performing heroic feats of phallic power. On TV, trucks can haul loads of oil drums across muddy fields and they can withstand huge loads of metal piping being dropped in their flatbeds from a crane above. There is even one ad that shows a truck pulling a rail car down the road. What truly pisses me off about these ads is not their message (that trucks are magical and that you’d have a bigger penis if you owned one). What offends me is that such a stupid message is apparently winning over consumers. I’ve honestly seen morons in half-tons who clearly saw these ridiculous ads and went, “Yeah. I would like a truck that can pull a rail car.” When I used to see clips of commercials from the dawn of TV advertising I felt inclined to laugh or at least grin at how transparent their marketing strategies were.
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I recently flipped through some ational Geographic issues from the Seventies and noticed that every ad looked the same: men and women were embracing each other, smiling ecstatically, while the product being advertised was placed closely beside these people. Old ads had a rather homogenous message that if you buy the product in question you’ll immediately become happy and find true love. Now you would hope we as a society have learned to outwit such childlike attempts by businessmen to sell us products we don’t really need. Unfortunately I doubt our society has advanced beyond this. Technically you could argue that ads are more insidious today. Indeed, the production values in modern ads are often far superior to those witnessed in old black and white ads. But the message in ads remains just as moronic as ever: buy this product and all your life’s problems will be solved. I don't even expect ads to entertain me. But it's startling how rarely I watch an ad that doesn't make me feel a mix of revulsion, pity and rage at the spectacle I'm being subjected to. I understand ads are designed above all to inform consumers of a product's existence. I also realize that even when I tell people, “That bald fat man in the A&W ads annoys the hell out of me” that I’ve in effect benefited A&W by mentioning their brand (as I continue to do throughout this article). Nevertheless I still think entertaining ads CONT'D PAGE 3
The MC Press would work better than obnoxious ones. I mean the world is full of creative writers who are willing to work for poverty level wages. Considering this I’m certain companies could concoct new marketing campaigns that still retain their dumbeddown appeal and still glorify the products they're selling and yet also have some shred of creativity and cleverness to them. But maybe the problem doesn’t begin with the advertisers. Maybe I should first be asking consumers to develop some creativity and cleverness themselves before I expect companies to market to a more sophisticated audience.
Single people like me often spend a lot of time dreaming up ways to meet their next romantic partner. The fact that we sit in isolation contemplating this problem probably explains in itself why we’re still single. Because when I look at people who are well-travelled in the world of dating, they don’t seem to waste any time thinking about how or where they’re going to meet someone new. They seem to quite easily run over the hot coals of flirtation and land gracefully in the enviable world of relationships. But if you’re not a social butterfly, or you don’t party much, or you’re highly particular with who you date, then you’re bound to have a harder time finding a partner. And if
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Lonely man seeks physically attractive emotional punching bag Name: Brad Trouble Anderson Sexuality: Male seeking female Looking for: Women ages 1 8-25 (Wait. I'm
Unfortunately TV ads do succeed. That's why you might recognize this dweeb more quickly than you'd recognize your neighbours from across the street.
your nightlife consists mostly of reading, writing and using the Internet—as mine does—then you’ll really be fighting an uphill battle for romantic love. I suppose people like me could be labelled “wallflowers” except the term wallflower implies that you still frequent parties only you stand near the wall during them. Nonpartygoers like me are more akin to hermits. And so when I realized that I was antisocial to the point of being a hermit, I started considering the possibility of online dating. For the record I have yet to sign up for an online dating site. I have reservations that are surely the same ones many of you have. CONT'D PAGE 4
28. 1 8 is still kosher, right?) About me: I'm a bad listener. I have a track record of cheating on women. Also I'm completely superficial. Other than that I'm a righteous dude!
FROM PAGE 3
Foremost is my concern that online dating seems “too robotic.” Romantics like me want to meet their true love in some magical way like: as we were wandering down the riverbank our eyes met or as we passed the other person in the street we saw them wearing a t-shirt of some obscure band we worshipped so we immediately asked them out and they enthusiastically replied “Yes!” Of course this shit never happens in reallife. And having a computer sift through algorithms to find your perfect match hardly seems to qualify as a magical meeting story. Though lately I’ve realized that my wanting such a magical meeting is more conceited than it is romantic. I asked my friend who is also single and hopelessly romantic why she didn’t like the idea of a computer finding her perfect match. She replied that it couldn’t find her
perfect match since a person can’t accurately describe themselves online. I countered that a list of 50 of her character traits (such as: cares about the environment, likes indie-rock, doesn’t drink or smoke and likes travelling abroad) would capture her personality pretty exhaustively. She agreed with that. In theory, this is what makes online dating so appealing and useful to people like me. Assuming every person in my age group used online dating sites, I’d have a way easier time finding the one in a million girl who matches all the criteria in my pretentious list of standards. Take for example that I would like to meet a girl who loves unpopular music like sixties rock or thrash-metal (here you may substitute another obscure genre if it helps you visualize). Now with all this esoteric music—as with a million other awesome yet not so mainstream things—I find it
The MC Press nearly impossible to meet even one girl in my daily encounters who says “Yeah, I love that!” And yet I know a few girls must exist who are obsessed with the same things I am. So maybe if I had a computer search through thousands of real-life local girls (not to be confused with the imaginary ones advertised in online pop-up ads) then maybe a computer could in fact find me my dream girl. The problem is that online dating sites lack the massive sample size that I might require in locating such an unusual dream girl. Furthermore I worry all the people who do use online dating sites could be very creepy or pathetic. "...This is exactly why I'm so averse to listing myself on the online dating market. I don't want people asking me if I'm interested in having kinky sex involving urination." While discussing online dating, my one friend told me he has friends who use online dating sites to find people who have the same sexual fetishes they do. On the one hand this is exactly why I’m so averse to listing myself on the online dating market. I don’t want people asking me if I’m interested in having kinky sex involving urination. And yet I’m rather similar to these kinky sex-fiends in one important way. I have these niche interests that make it hard for
me to meet even one like-minded girl. These people can’t find a lover who will pee on them during sex and I can’t find a girl who likes old rock music, mountain biking and so on. I know that successful relationships are supposed to be predicated on more than common interests. But I disagree. I am far too pleased when a girl likes the same things I do. And I hardly believe that "personal chemistry” is this metaphysical trait that computers could never examine in order to help me find the girl I’m looking for. So why then am I still so unwilling to meet girls online? It’s the same reason I don’t ask out girls when I meet them in person: because I’m afraid of being shot down. It’s also because I still hold the view that online dating sites are for rejects. Another worry is that I will meet the perfect girl online, only to slowly discover that neither she nor I are as perfect as we seemed when we first met. Of course this is something everyone must get over if they’re ever going to be happy in life. Weighing all these arguments, I still believe that a girl who has the same 50 character traits as me would in fact make a perfect match. Only now I realize that it’s ridiculous to expect that her and I wouldn’t sometimes fight or grow annoyed with each other. Yes, I understand we would still have our troubles despite the rather wonderful fact that we liked the exact same bands.
The Fun Page "Of course radical doubt can lead us to questioning realities as apparent as 'I have a head and two hands.'"
Hoser of the Week
"A beard and baked potatoes in his boots. That is how a real Canadien stays warm. - Étienne Lafayette
"But sometimes we must lay aside such theories if we wish to make any valuable progress in philosophy." Any questions?
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6-7 SOUNDTRACK TO MY LIFE
The Flash back
There are a lot of different ways a record can get under your skin. Most music that sticks with me has this special chemistry with my ears that I can’t really explain. What I do understand is that all the songs that really change my life seem to somehow get tangled up in the personal drama of my life. It's as though a few special songs become the soundtrack to my life, speaking to what I am going through, and adding an emotional intensity to life's conflicts just like music does in the movies. When I was a teenager I observed this thing I call the Music Flashback Phenomenon. According to this when you hear a song endlessly during a dramatic period of your life, for the rest of your days that song will always transports you back to that former period of your life. And so I have a compiled here a list of the songs that have most captured the spirit of my life and served as a soundtrack to it, reflecting in music all the joy and sorrow I've felt these recent years.
Age 1 2
Last Night - The Strokes:
Watching The Strokes musical performance on Saturday Night Live in 2001 is one of the defining moments of my life. As I watched Julian sing through his burnt-out looking eyes and heard those twin guitars rockin’ away, I suddenly realized how amazingly cool music could be.
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Age 1 4
Rushmore soundtrack Various Artists: In grade eight a
friend lent me Rushmore on VHS. After watching it alone I felt the most curious sensation stirring inside me. I later learned to call this feeling nostalgia. Soon after I finished Rushmore, I downloaded all the movie’s songs individually on Limewire and burnt a CD of them. Thus began my lifelong obsession with sixties culture.
Sweet Jane - The Velvet Underground: Loaded
was one of the first vinyl records I ever owned and I damn near wore out Sweet Jane by playing it all the bloody time. It was a perfect song for a high schooler in love with life, and not surprisingly it was the first song I learnt on guitar. Fastforward to age 20 when I visited my friend in Vancouver. During a night of excess out there I found myself dancing at a club that was Djing sixties music. To my delight a beautiful Australian girl danced with me that night and kissed me on the lips right as Lou Reed told me that life wasn’t just to die. The Australian girl left without even saying goodbye but I still felt on top of the world.
Age 1 6 Age 1 9
Hearts of Worlds Forgotten Ride Til' Dawn : I turned nineteen
and discovered all at once the joys of drinking in bars and listening to live music (while getting drunk). But of the many local shows I saw at age 19, none made an impression on me like the ones by local rockers Ride Til’ Dawn. Watching these guys with a beer in my hand I realized that rock music (epitomized by trebley rhythm guitars and gravelly drunken vocals) shined in a live atmosphere perhaps more than any other genre.
The MC Press
8 SOUNDTRACK TO MY LIFE Bob Dylan - Bob Dylan : Once in Nelson, I set up a campsite in the woods about an hour out of town. I was armed with little more than a tent, my acoustic guitar, cigarettes, provisions and one CD for my Discman: Bob Dylan’s eponymous debut album. Thanks to many things—like my smoking of pot, my homeless existence below the train tracks, my lingering heartbreak and my then-present desire to be a folk singer—Bob Dylan’s debut album became this mythically significant artifact to me out there. And for that one month I regarded Bob Dylan as far superior to any other music.
Age 21 Only Him or Me - Townes Van Zandt: After a messy break-up (technically
two), I spent a good couple weeks drinking alone in my room, listening to the somber records of Townes Van Zandt. Of all his heart wrenching songs, I found Only Him or Me captured the feeling of my own break-up (and every human goodbye) with a perfectly sad beauty. After my bender I played this song at a local open-mic night just hours before I left Saskatoon on a bus to a new life in Nelson, B.C.
September Gurls - Big Star: In
the summer months after Nelson I worked in a bar all day, then I got drunk and wrote a book all night. And every night when I got home from the offsale just before I wrote I had this little tradition. I would crack open my first beer, put on September Gurls and listen intently to the lyrics which seemed all too relevant to my relationship woes.
That’s my soundtrack so far. My only hope for the future is that my coming soundtrack includes fewer of the melancholy songs about heartbreak and more of the good times rock ’n’ roll songs about eternal youth.
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The Conservative Manifesto I. A Plea to the Almighty Dollar
Hark my conservative brethren! Hark all ye who keep faith in the Almighty Dollar. Give thanks to this Dollar, for it has broken the oppressive yoke of socialism and freed us from the social safety nets that threaten to ensnare our superior race. Listen all ye who drive luxury vehicles, that we might stand together in the spirit of greed and bring to ruin our nemesis: the bleedingheart liberal. For this liberal loves not you oh Mighty Dollar but only his fellow man. Woe to this lowly herd animal. And woe to the philanthropist! For his pity produces no monetary gain, but only a pointless spiritual gain (which accrues no interest and can not be invested in your holy temples on Wall Street). We worship you oh Mighty Dollar. Please know we are slightly grateful for having won the natural lottery whereby we were born into great affluence. Still we pray that you keep us from becoming so grateful that we actually feel remorse for our opulent lifestyles and thus begin to ask if life has some meaning beyond you the Almighty Dollar. Instead let us always regard our exploitation of slave labourers and the natural earth as representing "a step towards progress." And let not our corporations bow down to the laws of men, or be tempted by watchdog groups who raise concerns about humanrights violations. Dear Dollar, please endow our corporations with unbounded freedoms so that we, your faithful shareholders, may never suffer a bad financial quarter. (CONT'D PAGE 10)
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The Conservative Manifesto II. On Skepticism and Maintaining the Status Quo
We remain sceptical of things whenever it’s convenient to maintaining our way of life, as in the denial of climate change. At the very same time we must suppress our instinct to doubt things whenever people ask us hard questions about the goodness of monetary wealth, industrialization and the Republican Party. As a general rule, we should be slow to warm up to new ideas. Let us keep in mind that progressive thought is synonymous with moral decay, financial collapse and that uncomfortable feeling where we are forced to doubt our entire value system. Let our fear of the decline of morality and wealth always be heightened by our belief in these slippery slope theories. For in the sixties we all knew that once Vietnam became communist, the entire world would soon fall under the same spell if we didn’t intervene. Likewise, we know today that once a black man has entered the White House, it is only a matter of time before some homosexual, Muslim woman is running our once glorious nation into the ground.
III. On the Meaning of Life The ultimate good in life is to accumulate as much monetary wealth as possible. Hate of money meanwhile is the root of all evils. Although we can not spend our money once we are dead, it is important we not lose faith in the hoarding of money while we occupy this earth. Charitable spending, particularly on the lower classes, is a demonstration of pity which as the great thinker Nietzsche once pointed out, stifles our ability to reach our full human potential. But should we find life’s meaning wanting when we consider our immeasurable wealth, the Almighty Dollar would not be offended if we spent lavishly on private jets or yachts. After all, what is good for the economy is good for the soul.
1 1 DICKHEAD MAGAZINE
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Hot Shit of the Week Dickhead magazine may be hot shit today
but it began humbly enough at a small vegan restaurant in Greenwich Village. It was there that four metrosexual males were eating side salads and drinking Perrier when they were struck with a daring new vision: to create an ad-heavy magazine catering to would-beartists and metrosexual males between the ages of 18 and 35. "[we had] a daring new vision: to create an adheavy magazine catering to would-be-artists and metrosexual males between the ages of 18 and 35." Six months later and you can’t walk through a liberal-arts college without at least once hearing the phrase, “Man, did you read Dickhead this week?” Two things make Dickhead great. First is the name (which preemptively recognized that the magazine would be reputed as a pretentious publication). Second is how decidedly contemporary Dickhead’s worldview is. Articles like “Dickhead’s 30hour Rave For Africa” and “12 ways to turn your post-consumer materials into fashion accessories” are filled with the kind of ideas that make you go, “Wow, I live in 2012, and that’s fuckin' dope!” I also appreciate Dickhead’s constant
with Gavin White
praise of contemporary alternative-culture because it makes me feel as if I’m a part of some significant social movement. I find it refreshing to read all these articles about privileged young metropolitans going to night clubs, dressing well and generally having a good self-indulgent time. Because that’s what my generation is really all about. That and being socially conscious and shit. Overall Dickhead has helped me and other readers realize that our precious alt-culture is not only making the world a better place, but that people like us are doing so while upholding our very keen artistic sensibilities.
Published on Oct 28, 2012