Context....

.... you know, the fact that marketers are taking classic songs and editing them beyond all recognition to suit their devious purposes really harshes my mellow.....

.... I mentioned a few months ago at how enthralled I had become by Mr. Cohen's "Hallelujah" as performed by John Cale.... a song, which if you follow the link, read the lyrics, and listen to Mr. Cale sing, you will realize is a hardcore, adult, sexy, romantic, tragic, and incredibly complex song about all of humanity..... and most definitely NOT intended for children....and yet most of you will have only heard that song - albeit a hugely sanitized version - in the movie Shrek.....

... the song questions love, it questions the drives that spur us on in life, it shows the frailty that we all know lurks inside us, and it also shows a questioning of God, his love, and just what we mortals mean when we utter the word hallelujah for a myriad of reasons...... and yet, it is in Shrek......

... I agree with it being in the movie for only one reason, I suppose... and that is that it exposes more people to the art of Mr. Cohen.... and much as a youngster discovering any soulful artist is a good thing, the exposure that Shrek provided is a very, very good thing...... even if they did cut ALL of his adult lyrics from the song in the movie.... if it creates curiosity for more of an artist's work, then so be it.....

... however, Dell Computers has tried to sneak one over on us as well recently.... did anyone notice?.....

.... their latest commercial uses the old WW I marching song "Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag"..... and it then goes on to show various young kiddies toppling over as the head to school from carrying around huge laptop computers in their school backpacks.... and it is thusly that the market their newest, lightweight notebook computers...... presumably so that parents will wander out and buy new notebooks to keep their kids from being crushed under the weight of their school work and embarrassed in front of their little pubescent peers..... and hey, that's cool... it's a catchy tune, after all...... but it IS a WW I marching song.....

.... we're all likely knowledgeable of the first verse, yes?....

Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag and smile, smile, smile!

... this is the part that Dell uses..... it then cuts the rest of the lyrics and simply does an instrumental while the kiddies alternately fall about their backpacks, or grin with glee as they open up their new notebooks....... but what really is interesting is the line in the song that directly follows - deleted by Dell's marketers.....

While you've a lucifer to light your fag, smile, boys, that's the style!

...... a lucifer?.... British slang for a match, folks...... and a fag?.... that's a cigarette........ sure, I can understand Dell not wanting to foster children to light up a cigarette whilst waiting for the school bus, but c'mon..... that song is NOT a children's song.... it is a song from a different time, place, and culture.... and as such, it is a part of history..... and now it is a part of history that will forever be misconstrued by thousands of children who'll think that it was written by some Manhattan Marketing Jingler, instead of it being a song meant to cheer-up hundreds of thousands of men who were marching off to battle......

..... I don't know, perhaps I'm just in a ornery mood tonight, but that just pisses me off......

.... there are icons of our history and our culture that are debased every day, I guess, so why is this any different?..... I don't know.... it just strikes me as the dumbing down of art, history, and in the end, thought....

.... we shouldn't allow political correctness to damage our art..... that song, like Cohen's song, has a place, a context, and a history..... jingle writers should get off their asses and write some damned jingles instead of robbing the archives of our collective cultures......

... and don't even get me started on the Windows 7 commercial where the dorky college freshman is sitting in the hallway outside of his room watching DVR on his computer while his senior roommate is boning his "special tutor" inside...... personally, I can't believe that Microsoft hasn't been asked to pull that commercial yet.... I'd imagine that every parent that has a daughter who tutors, a freshman son, OR has a kid who is a complete geek is frothing at the mouth every time that one airs.... and yet, it plays and plays.......

.... I'd have NEVER made it in the marketing world..... I simply cannot imagine a world where the "troubles" of a WW I combat vet - with the shelling, poision gas, shell shock, and trench warfare - remotely compares with the "troubles" of a toddler with a heavy laptop.......

by Eric on August 10, 2010 | Bullshit (6) | TrackBack (0) | Music
Bullshit So Far

re: Windows commercial ... "Daddy, why is there a sock on the doorknob?"

I agree 100% with your opinion. It's horrible, and I'm also shocked most times I turn on a "pop" radio station. The language and innuendo is unbelievable.

Bullshitted by mike on August 11, 2010 09:59 AM

Changing the words to fit the times is nothing new. The Civil war marching song "Tramp,Tramp,Tramp" became, somehow, "Jesus loves the little children"!

Bullshitted by hoosierboy on August 11, 2010 11:23 AM

FAG. Eary in the century the movie Idol Rudolph Valentino scandalize uppity society by wearing a wrist watch. At the time real men carried pocket watches and, it was thought only homosexual men wore wrist watches. Along came WWI and the officers and noncoms were issued wrist watches as a matter of convenience I would assume. Anyway, after the War the social stigma went by the wayside.
As has many others.

Bullshitted by Tbird on August 11, 2010 07:24 PM

I remember reading a poem (although I don't remember the name of the poem) to a class of eighth graders who fell out of their seats laughing at a line that said somethiing about gathering faggots. I had to explain that faggots were like kindling/firewood.

I agree with the point of your post. On the other hand, maybe someone will look up the words to the song and teach the kids something about the past.

I haven't seen the computer commercial and it is a good thing, because I'm horrified at the Herbal Essence commercials where the ladies act like they are having an orgasm.

Bullshitted by Lou on August 12, 2010 06:37 AM

A pox upon Hoosierboy! I read this yesterday and I spent the rest of the day singing "Jesus loves the little children". It was stuck in my head!

Bullshitted by Bou on August 12, 2010 11:49 AM

This is where my lack of watching regular tv has advantages. Of course the rest of the time I mute the commercials so while I've "seen" the Windows 7 commercial I've never actually "heard" it. I could certainly figure out the gist of it from the context... I figured Bill Gates approved that one.

However, the message I get from watching it without words... probably NOT the intended message. All I can think when I see it is that Windows nerds don't get any... but that 's just me.

As for the Dell commercial. *sigh* I haven't seen it, but I'm so with you. How much you want to bet the idiots who created the commercial just thought it was a "catchy" tune and never even bothered to find out more about it than that. Oh and look - we don't even have to pay royalties... that would be the be-all end-all of their interest in the song. Heathens.

Bullshitted by Teresa on August 13, 2010 01:48 PM