11/22/08

The Easy Way Out

Here's a quick tip: The most obvious joke, perhaps the first one you think of, is likely neither the funniest nor the most poignant. This, I think, is true at dinner parties as well as in professionally written columns (see Dowd, Maureen).

To demonstrate, please welcome Mark Swed of the LA Times. He wrote a glowing review of the recent performance of Kurtag's Kafka Fragments. He obviously loved it, and this much-anticipated concert apparently delivered the goods. But how to introduce the review?

...

May we please stop obsessing over the hypoallergenic first puppy and change the subject to something deep, spiritual, life-changing?

Er, I don't know anyone--at all--who is obsessing over the "first puppy". Not sure where you got that. Also not too spiritual. But I'm all for deep and/or life-changing. Where are we going with this? (And: did you run out of "and"s?)

Like detergent.

Ah! A non sequitur, perhaps? Intriguing!

Sunday night, President-elect Barack Obama, appearing with his wife, Michelle, on “60 Minutes,” spoke of household chores.

Is this a collage? Or a game of telephone? Puppies! Detergent! 60 Minutes! Purple monkey dishwasher!

He doesn't, he admitted, volunteer to wash dishes, but he washes them.

[I am absolutely not insinuating that Obama is a purple monkey dishwasher; it was a Simpsons reference-Ed.]

Also, er, if he doesn't volunteer to wash them...she...forces him to? Conscripts him? Odd.

And when he does, he said, he tries to use that as therapeutic practice, to find something soothing in the discipline.

Also, odd. That is an odd sentence. What is the predicate of "that"? "Wash dishes"? But I'm straying from my main point.

Almost as if on cue, Tuesday night Dawn Upshaw

Um. I'm pretty certain that this concert was planned well before the 60 Minutes episode that aired two days prior. But if you're going somewhere with this...

Almost as if on cue, Tuesday night Dawn Upshaw got out the Dawn.

Dawn Upshaw? Dawn dish detergent! Ha?

Oh, come on. Seriously? That's not even a good pun.


This is the equivalent of lame, lazy, pointless anthropomorphizing in marketing and mascots.

Marketing Dude: Hey, thanks for seeing me. I hear you guys do great work. We need a good image for our upcoming ad blitz.

Ad Agency Dude: Thanks for coming. What is it you sell again?

MD: Ice cream cones!

AAD: Oh. Hm. Well, we could just slap a face on it! No one's ever done that before!


Marketing Dude: Hey, thanks for seeing me. I hear you guys do great work. We need a good image for our upcoming ad blitz.

Ad Agency Dude: Thanks for coming. What is it you sell again?

MD: Raisins!

AAD: Oh. Hm. Well, we could just slap a face on 'em! No one's ever done that before!

Marketing Dude: Hey, thanks for seeing me. I hear you guys do great work. We need a good image for our upcoming ad blitz.

Ad Agency Dude: Thanks for coming. What is it you sell again?

MD: Tires!

AAD: Oh. Hm. Well, we could just slap a face on 'em! No one's ever done that before!

The balance of the article gives a nice account of the performance, which by all reports was excellent. But the lead-in completely baffled me. Why?

[lifts arms to sky, grimaces]

WHY?!?!

1 comments:

Gustav said...

There's something about flying a kite at night that is so unwholesome.