When mucus talks – the fall of American culture
“Just when I get settled into a nice chest I get thrown out by this guy.”-Mucinex spokesperson Don’t panic – things haven’t deteriorated to a point where this is a pithy quote. It’s not what’s being said; it’s what is saying it. I wasn’t being totally accurate when I attributed this statement to a spokesperson; it’s actually more of a spokesthing, a talking glob of mucus, to be exact. If you haven’t seen this commercial already, then you certainly will.And we wonder why people from other cultures want to blow us up. I can see Mr. Terrorist sitting around his cave; he’s thinking “sure, I make the old lady throw on a burka when she goes to the market to get me some rocks for breakfast. At least I don’t sit in front of a TV watching a talking glob of mucus try to sell me stuff.”Why are Americans baffled by the concept that everyone in the world doesn’t want to be exactly like us? This animated, talking mucus glob (whose name as far as I know has not been released to the public) has a distinct working-class feel to him. His speech, and diction, is pretty coarse. He wears a grimy white tank top, and godawful plaid trousers with red suspenders. He slaps on a crumpled fedora as he exits stage (lung) left.I have to wonder what the ad agency geniuses were thinking when they decided to make this critter look like Carroll O’Connor just out of a phlegm-bath. As far as I’m concerned, this thing is an insult to blue-collar workers everywhere. The guy should be retooled to look like one of those lying, thieving CEOs; there are enough of them to choose from. There’s no reason to delve too deeply here – anyone from Enron will do. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of catching mucus guy’s act, simply conjure up his image and superimpose Kenneth Lay’s face on him. Sure he’s a little too shiny now, but give him a couple of years in the maximum-security wing.Speaking of disgusting animated pitchmen and CEOs, what about this Digger the Dermatophyte creature? Our boy Digger is selling us a product called Lamisil. How civilization evolved as far as it has before the invention of this stuff I’ll never know. Lamisil apparently treats an infection that “starts deep beneath our toenails” and causes them to become thick and discolored.Help!I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been on the beach in Rio, chatting up a couple of girls in their floss bikinis, when I’ve looked down to find that one of them has a thick, discolored toenail. Well, let me tell you, Mikey spins on his heel and heads down the beach for greener pastures! You have to have some standards.Digger has a distinctly demonic look. His environment, presumably the space between your toenail and whatever happens next, looks a lot like hell. Not exactly the elegantly crafted hell of Doré’s engravings for Dante’s “The Divine Comedy” – more of a Walt Disney version.I saw Jack (former General Electric CEO) Welch on TV the other day, and he looks a lot like Digger. I don’t think he’s ever been accused of anything criminal, just getting a retirement package that leaves normal folks gasping for oxygen. I’m sure he earned all that solid-gold wallpaper; he looks like a hard-working guy. Welch was touting his latest book, doing his best to ooze some big-time corporate version of charm. At one point he’s telling Katie Couric that he thinks all this evil CEO talk is way overblown and that most business leaders are moral and honest. I actually believe him, but I believe it’s true within the moral context that business has created for itself.The phrase “It’s nothing personal, it’s just business” has become part of our vernacular. It’s used when some businessman who considers himself an honest, moral person does something sleazy, immoral, or dishonest to an associate or friend – the kind of behavior that would get you punched in the nose in real life, but apparently is OK here because it’s just business. I guess this is why Jack Welch reminds me of a disgusting, animated toenail fungus, and the toenail fungus reminds me of a demon. It’s all part of American culture that the terrorist sitting in the cave doesn’t get.There are lots of other animated creatures on TV pitching products – it’s a tradition. They’re mostly benign, animated pollen, animated ragweed and animated crows. These guys hearken back to the innocent old days when Bucky Beaver was selling us Ipana toothpaste. Clearly things have gone downhill a bit when it comes to who or what is selling us stuff, but it could be worse. We should all wake up every morning praying to God that the ad agencies that handle feminine hygiene product accounts don’t get wind of the fact that there’s a popular play called “The Vagina Monologues,” or that the people who produce the public service advertisements promoting AIDS awareness don’t find out that there was a successful show that ran off-Broadway for a couple of years called “The Puppetry of the Penis.”We don’t need to give the terrorists any more incentives.
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