Monday, August 22, 2011

In which I rant and rave about the quality of the crap we're fed

One of my pet peeves is how we let businesses and companies get away with making outrageous claims when they want to sell us something. It’s apparently OK to claim that only ten hours of exercise can get you the perfect body on the cover of a book. Now I think there’s a reason for why said book is lying there all alone in the communal kitchen at my work waiting for someone to own it. It’s so we can laugh at that foolish claim and silently pray for the person who was either dim witted or desperate enough to pay for it the in first place. I hope they bought it on sale.

I’m not a subscriber to the idea that it’s OK to produce any kind of crap just so you can earn a quick buck. I find that kind of thinking quite appalling. I used to think of the 80s as being the age of excess but I think we’re living it right now because there’s not a gadget you can buy that last longer than three days past its warranty.

We have this hot debate at work being technical writers who not so secretly desire to become world famous novel writers and be able to live off it comfortably. I’m of the opinion that I would gladly take a pay cut if my works were of some literary quality whereas an esteemed colleague thinks it’s OK to write crap like Twilight because it sells.

I want to make something very clear to you. It’s never OK to write anything that even remotely is of Twilight quality. It’s so poorly written and the characters are so awful in it that it makes me want to gouge my own eyes out for fear of having my poor mind corrupted. It’s great for Stephanie Meyers that she’s been able to make a quick buck off the travesty that is the Twilight saga but it’s sad for the world that that kind of crap sells en mass. People are reading it for god’s sake and it’s readily available. If you’re too lazy to read you can even get the abridged version DVD (if you happened to miss it in the cinema). There’s no excuse for producing that kind of shit and I don’t regard making money as being an excuse to produce anything like it.

But I’m a freakin’ communist who believes that we should all do our best to contribute to this world which is probably why I spend so much time being anxious and feeling like a failure.

It irks me to see all the sale spiels and garbage they throw at us every day. You can try to avoid but it’s there, in your face on websites and billboards and in bus shelters and newspapers and it’s probably infiltrating your home as we speak so when you come home tonight there will be a small advert flashing in front of you in the mirror as you’re brushing your teeth. I’m not being paranoid, I’m just saying.

I keep getting the letters addressed to “the Entertainment Lover” from Foxtel. Well fuck me. If I wanted entertainment that’s the last place I’d look because I seem to recall that before cancelling them when I moved last year I swore they would never get my hard earned money again because there was nothing, NOTHING, to watch on any of the channels they offered anyway. It took me almost a year just to hook the TV up to the free to air channels, that’s how traumatized I was.

But it’s the making claims that are impossible that really gets me riled up.

As I was sitting in the Strudel Baron café yesterday with some friends, a place that despite of its name won’t sell you individual servings of strudel, you have to buy one or two feet of the stuff which is a bit much even for a strudel lover like myself, I was looking across the busy landscape that is Victoria road and spotted a sign claiming that the place there had the “best coffee in the Universe”.

Yeah.

OK.

Even if we were to completely ignore the fact that there is such a thing as individual taste it’s a pretty big claim to make there Spunky. It’d be hard to prove you wrong unless I whipped across the road right now to test a cup of your best joe and should I find that you indeed had the best coffee I’ve ever tasted then that would raise the questions about all the other coffee in the Universe that I HADN’T tasted. This would be quite a dilemma for a pedantic little creature like me.

Anyway, it’s harder to get good service than good coffee and I can tell you that after I did actually whip across the road to get some of their sourdough bread I found that they were suffering from a case of poor service and that it kind of killed any desire I had to find out whether the claim about the coffee was true or not. Plus I was already full off really good meat pie that I had in lieu of a foot long strudel.

I think we need to do away with hard sells and start making sure we get some good quality stuff offered to us at reasonable prices. We’re all so worried about how we’re going to get along in retirement and all that (because they make us worry about it with their friggin’ ads) that we don’t get to enjoy ourselves. Enjoying ourselves should be the priority. That and not buying or reading anything Twilight.

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