CSotD: Finding Humor in Despair

I’m interpreting this Joy of Tech cartoon as a cry for help, but not on behalf of coders who may indeed find their jobs being taken over by AI. As the cartoon suggests, while the task of coding is precisely the sort of mind-numbing detail work artificial intelligence could take over, the job of coding has birthed a subculture of its own.

I’m not sure how you could, on a practical level, preserve that subculture, and I’d note that, when the Denver Post shut down its downtown building and moved its news staff out to the suburban press building, they put in a room full of games and food and fun for the reporters, and then began laying them off so that the remaining staff was so overburdened that they didn’t have time for foosball.

I mention this because I have a feeling a lot of corporate foosball tables are gathering dust in places where it’s becoming hard to get up a game.

But that’s not the cry for help I was thinking of.

Rather, I was thinking that, if Nitrozac and Snaggy are making Joan Lunden gags, they’re watching too much daytime TV and maybe require some sort of intervention.

Which is not to say this didn’t make me laugh. I can’t imagine who would pay for geeks to sit around drinking Red Bull, eating Skittles and writing code in machines that aren’t hooked up to anything, but, then, Joan Lunden’s Place for Mom commercials invariably feature the kinds of places that don’t reek of urine but, instead, cost $2,000 a week.

If the joke is unrealistic, consider what they’re spoofing.

And ditto with Tim Rickard, because this Brewster Rockit (Tribune) is based on a horrific daytime commercial in which a woman stares full-face into the camera while extolling, and then apparently demonstrating, a deodorant for the entire body, including butt cracks and “underboobs,” which I didn’t know was even a term.

I also didn’t know it was a place that smelled bad, but the point of the commercial is to convince women that they smell bad all over and so is the final frontier in marketing for imaginary problems by appealing to poor self-image.

Or let’s hope it’s the final frontier, because we’ve already convinced too many women to shave what they have and surgically implant what they haven’t and Brewster is wrong that it’s too much information.

It’s too much misinformation.

Also she needs to back the hell away from the camera a few feet, because at that range, she should be selling mints, too.

But I would greenlight this dishonest commercial in Barney & Clyde (Counterpoint), because there are times when the ends justify the means, and, after all, dishonest drug commercials are the lifeblood of daytime TV.

Though my favorite are the ambulance-chasers who say “Send for our free booklet and learn so much more!” because, when I was in local TV advertising, the running joke as we wrote commercials was “and many more!” which meant we’d run out of good things to list.

I also worked very briefly for a company in which sending for our free booklet resulted in having it delivered in person by a sales representative, but I testified against them in front of the Federal Trade Commission, so my conscience is clear.

Though, as Farley Katz points out, you don’t need TV commercials to sell snake oil. CBD itself doesn’t get you high, but the claims people make for it suggest they may be using other parts of the plant, because Katz isn’t too far off on the variety of things the stuff is being infused in and credited for.

I’m sure there are things it does, mind you. But I wouldn’t suggest rubbing it on your underboobs, because no advantage in doing that has been proven and they’re just fine anyway. Trust me.

Juxtaposition of the Day

(Deflocked — AMS)

(Willie ‘n Ethel)

Whatever shortcomings I possessed as a husband or boyfriend, I always managed to charm the hell out of their mothers, one of my favorite of whom was a plain-spoken Kansas woman who would look at inexplicable couples, shake her head and say, “There’s a lid for every pot.”

I’m not sure that is a good sign for the overall gene pool, but she certainly was right. I don’t know if Mamet will get past having a girlfriend with such sharp self-awareness, but Willie offers the hope that, like Ethel, she’ll eventually give up and take whatever she’s offered.

By which time he’ll be ready to do the same.

Ain’t life wonderful?

However, I don’t believe that relationships have to be based on mutual despair, and I’m delighted to see Katie Franklin back at Edison Lee (KFS), because she’s been absent way too long and her ability to keep his ego in check has been as sorely missed as she was.

I’m particularly delighted to see that her own ego is no more in check, however much she may try to pretend otherwise. This is less a case of “There’s a lid for every pot” than of “Fighting fire with fire.”

Having Katie around is a refreshing bit of role modeling, in case any kids are reading the funnies, and not just for the girls. In a world with more Katie Franklins, we might end up with fewer Willies and Mamets.

Cause for Despair

I do appreciate Pat Byrnes taking a swipe at people who post photos of their food, but our current unemployment rate of 3.7% has meant that you’re lucky if you’re getting food at all, even if it is 20 minutes late. We’ve had several small restaurants, some in business for decades, shut their doors because they simply couldn’t hire enough help.

And they’re not the only victims. For all that people complain about self-checks taking jobs, our supermarkets are lucky to open three lanes, and the third is often management filling in.

Like the cafe owner in this Phil Hands piece, golly, I just can’t figure out a solution to the dilemma.

Cause for Hope

But there’s this: While I’m glad the mother in this Amy Hwang cartoon has found a solution, there is a newspaper vending machine outside the post office here, and there has been a very small, lime-green Croc perched on top of it for three days.

Some kind person propped it up there. Its owner’s mother just needs to have a little faith in the goodness of people and she can retrace her steps and get it back.

It may be rainin’, but there’s a rainbow above you

6 thoughts on “CSotD: Finding Humor in Despair

  1. Another old-timey version of lid/pot relationships was, “The rocks in his head match the holes in hers.”

    1. In one of the 1970s Doonesbuey’s had a great quote* “In literature as in love, we are astonished at what is chosen by others.”

      * by André Maurois, according to the Google God.

  2. I get the above as part of the google news feed. It (you) are always the highlight of the feed. Onward.

  3. Everybody who’s seen them–and these days, they’re not restricted to daytime, often filling more than half of the commercial time in primetime as well, especially during the medical dramas–knows the recurrent tropes and phrases used in every drug commercial, no matter what that drug is for. One line that’s in every commercial, “Tell your doctor if you have a history of schistosomiasis (or whatever condition that nullifies the effectiveness of the drug in question).” Hey, if your doctor doesn’t already know your medical history, how are they prescribing anything for you? And then there’s that other ubiquitous line: “Don’t take Nouvaka if you’re allergic to Nouvaka.” Well, duh. and how in the hell do you know you’re allergic to something that’s brand new that you’ve presumably never taken before, and if you have been, then wouldn’t you already be furious because of the rosey red rash Nouvaka’s left on your backside? I suspect these commercials are the early product of AI composition, simply following the existing template with the only changes being the nonsense name for the drug and what hideous side effects it has caused in previous test subjects, including death, (presuming, of course, you’d rather risk it than go without being prescribed this potential, possible, blue-sky panacea you have to tell your doctor to prescribe for you because medical professionals are too busy to have heard about this miraculous new wondercure).

    We need not go into the generic playlets going on behind the narration which offer lots of interesting human movement by small groups of seniors, if no actual storylines beyond sandy beaches, flower arranging or Irish setters. Those, I imagine, are pumped out, factory fashion, by out-of-work creatively hungry filmmakers who need the esthetic stimulation of establishing their own cinematic milieu, yet just vaguely enough to fit whatever they’re selling.

  4. “Underboobs,” which I didn’t know was even a term.
    You sweet summer child.

Comments are closed.