Category Archives: Pop culture

Lost in a corn maze? Welcome to the world of expectations

Image from assets.nydailynews.com

“I don’t see anybody. I’m really scared. It’s really dark and we’ve got a three-week-old baby with us. … We thought this would be fun. Instead, it’s a nightmare. I don’t know what made us do this. It was daytime when we came in. And I never take my daughter out. This is the first time. Never again!”

Perhaps they thought “The Haunted Corn Field” was really haunted. Perhaps they just didn’t stop and think about their situation. They certainly stopped. Though, it appears they did not think.

As many have heard, a family of four panicked while in the depths of a corn maze Wednesday evening and called 911 so authorities could locate them and guide them to safety. The maze was reportedly seven acres in size, so it should take some time to navigate.

The kicker? The family was only 25 feet from the exit. D’oh!

In the 911 transcript, the woman was worried for her 3-week old child. After all, it was dark – the Boogeyman was surely around the next bend of stalks. Of course, the family was located by police and a K-9 unit. They are still alive. Thank God.

What’s baffling here is the amount of panic that fell upon the adults from getting lost in an attraction you’re supposed to get lost in. The stalks were apparently too daunting of a task to overcome, as reports say lights and a nearby highway would have offered clues on how to get back to civilization.

Offering solutions

You’re a parent, stuck in a corn maze and fearing for your child’s safety. What to do, what to do?

Did it ever occur to the parents that they could maybe plow down some rows of corn? You know, cheat? Despite their paralyzing fear of the maze, they continued to play the game!

And the cell phone? The maze reportedly offered cell phone messages with clues along the way. I guess the Blue’s Clues-level hints were too complicated to piece together.

Also, typical man to not stop and ask for directions. Sheesh. I bet the wife was nagging on him to pull over and ask the family ahead for some advice. The kids were probably crying. The wife was probably yelling. Dad was probably pensively navigating.

I’m sure dad slept well on the couch that night.

 

Here’s video from the news story:

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Dr Pepper 10: The soulless world of marketing

Image from fempop.com

Men don’t drink diet soda. And they don’t like sharing what they drink with women. You know what they do like? They like guns, action movies, ATVs and shit like that. MANLY shit like that!

At least that’s what the marketing team over at Dr Pepper Snapple Group – which apparently only hires knuckle-dragging, Republican cavemen – wants you to think.

The first question that comes to mind is, “Will men fall for this? Is that really the expectation?”

Then I see guys wearing Affliction t-shirts because they think that will get them mistaken as a mixed martial artist or UFC fighter. So, yes. That is the expectation and that is what will happen. (But only to a small segment of thick-skulled morons who are paranoid about their testosterone level.)

Here’s the 30-second commercial clip:

Whew. I’m parched. I could sure go for a nice, cold can of gender profiling to quench my thirst. Is this what men need? They, apparently, hate diet drinks. But they’re okay with a diet drink masquerading as a … diet drink? It’s 10 calories! How does that not scream “diet drink?” A CBS story says men are simply fed up with their options and have called for change. Here is an excerpt:

“Dr Pepper said men, in particular, are dissatisfied with the taste and image of diet drinks. The company wouldn’t disclose the formula of Dr Pepper Ten, but said that the drink has 10 calories and 2 grams of sugar, which gives it a sweeter taste. Dr Pepper said there are 23 flavors in its regular soda, (which has 150 calories and 27 grams of sugar per can) and Dr Pepper Ten contains all of them.”

On the surface, this sounds like a bad business model. Catering solely to men (the gender minority in America) who are uncomfortable enough in their skin to think that they need a drink made specifically for them is certainly niche driven. But it just might be dumb enough to work.

Women will drink Dr Pepper 10. It’s reverse psychology; tell someone they can’t do something and they suddenly feel to urge to out of spite. Men who drink it will do so because they’re thirsty, not because it has been branded in a way to turn up their testosterone.

What stigma?

Dr Pepper says men are dissatisfied with the image of diet drinks. Where is this study? And who the hell makes fun of someone for drinking diet soda? You have shitty friends if that’s the case.

More frustrating than Dr Pepper re-branding a diet drink as a diet drink is the gender warfare the company perceives to exist over what we consume. People who put thought into what they say see food as, well, food. People who think like the Dr Pepper marketing team see meat as men’s food and vegetables as women’s food.

There is no way to tell if this approach to marketing Dr Pepper 10 will work. Regardless of whether it does or not, men should be offended by it. They have been pigeonholed as simpletons who will do anything to not have to deal with women and their feminine ways.

A bigger issue?

Perhaps I’m making mountains our of molehills. Women in America are talked down upon and face this type of stereotyping everyday. But the idea that men are aloof, idiotic, good-for-nothing garage dwellers is played up as an endearing trait in shows such as “Married with Children” and, more recently, “King of Queens,” “Yes, Dear,” and “Still Standing.” The shows portray men as too moronic to fend for themselves and in need of constant correction from the female.

Now, this might be a big jump from a can of soda, but it all boils down to marketing and advertising. This type of gender marketing is lazy on both ends of said practices. (It also further illustrates that the majority of those in marketing and advertising have no interest in bettering the world and will sell products at the expense of a positive message. But they’re paid to make money, not the world a better place.)

Dr Pepper 10 will succeed in the short-term because it is a new product. Men will buy it to piss off their girlfriends. Women will drink it to piss off their boyfriends. Activists will drink it out of irony because American activists and protesters are lazy. (I smell a social media campaign against it.)

But does it need to come to this?

After all, it’s just soda. Diet or not, shut up and enjoy it.

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CM Punk held back by the superficial

Image from Wrestle Heat

Professional wrestling’s biggest stars always seem to find a way onto a non-wrestling fan’s entertainment radar. Hulk Hogan is ubiquitous. (And continues to ruin facets of the business.) John Cena does everything from movies, TV, music and appearances, all while never losing the WWE championship for an extended amount of time. There are other household names professional wresting has given our mainstream entertainment world: The Rock, Steve Austin and Chris Jericho (depending how closely you follow music.)

But what about CM Punk? You know, the guy who arguably had summer’s most intriguing entertainment angle. Why has the pinnacle of Punk’s exposure been “Jimmy Kimmel Live!?” Admittedly, Punk (whose real name is Phil Brooks) says he is not a media darling. He comes off relatively standoffish, but remarkably comfortable in his own skin.

But maybe that’s the problem: his own skin. Punk is a heavily tattooed, greasy-haired anomaly. (He actually looks remarkably similar to my own tattoo artist.) This is the major differentiation between Punk and the other stars listed above. The Rock absorbed some ink later in his career, but the look between The Rock and Punk is very different. Punk’s ink is an old-school, colorful arrangement typically seen in a (surprise) punk culture.

Stigma still alive

Tattoos elicit a love/hate response from people. (This is my experience.) Handsome, non-tattooed people elicit a love response from people. If you’re the CEO of the WWE, who would you market the most? From the WWE’s perspective – a company that puts a lot of effort into bringing kids on board to their product – parents of these kids could visualize Punk as the anti-role model. Children want to be what they see. Parents don’t want a 7-year-old CM Punk spouting off to their second-grade teacher. (This is a strange paradox because many of Punk’s tattoos would be supported by these parents. Punk is straightedge and displays symbols of that culture prominently.

Image from Bodyartfun.com

It’s no secret WWE is a company that leans to the right politically. (See: Linda McMahon.) I’m not saying all Republicans look down on tattoos. But if you look down on tattoos, you’re probably Republican. Punk is not the image that a company with a major player seeking political office wants.

For a culture that has made strides toward progression from the dark days of the early-20th century, ignorance among the population will forever slow acceptance. Historically, having a tattoo in America landed you under a circus tent. The best and worst thing to happen to body art is the cultural trend.

The trend of the tattoo (tramp stamps, barb wire and TV shows like “Miami Ink”) has helped in its acceptance. But it has also lowered the standard of what we see as unique, and why we see it as unique. In Japan, tattoos are still associated with organized crime. Tattooing is also one of the main identification keys within street gangs. Of course, the average person walking into a tattoo shop is neither in the mob or gang bangin’.

This wrongful association comes from close-minded people. And there are plenty of those in our society. This hurts Punk’s value to be elevated in the entertainment world.

What they’re missing out on

The entertainment value of Punk is off the charts. You don’t have to like or appreciate professional wrestling to appreciate his humor and wit. A trip to YouTube will offer to be quite the time waster. If Punk were void of ink in his epidermis, sans a lip piercing and had frosted hair he would be hosting a game show on ABC.

There is a reluctancy in the entertainment world to elevate professional wrestlers beyond their niche audience. Like tattoos, professional wrestling has a stigma against it. More often than not you can take the performances from WWE’s flagship show “Raw” and put them up against the latest Hollywood film and “Raw” would prevail.

Punk has the deck stacked against him. He’s a heavily tattooed professional wrestler; there isn’t a lot of room for growth in our stuck-up society for him. For a culture that complains about the homogeneity of entertainment choices, they sure are willing to to blindly deny what is out there.

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