Back in the early nineties, when Saturday Night Live was undergoing a brief renaissance with Lorne Michaels back at the helm and Dennis Miller, Dana Carvey, Phil Hartman, Mike Myers and company in the cast, the show produced a very funny parody commercial of the sort of Dockers ads that were running all over TV at the time. You know, the guys, hangin’ out, shootin’ the bull, and doing the sort of guy stuff that guys do while wearing really unfortunate trousers:
At the Bleat this morning, James Lileks looks at an unfortunate new ad that Levi’s has produced, with even more unfortunate timing:
As James writes, “The target market is dismissive in the YouTube comments: ‘Go forth and do what? Wear pants?’”
Go forth and march behind a red flag and challenge the massed police in your Levi-branded pants to show your individuality! You have no idea what the protest is about, but it must be awesome because some sort of smoke is deployed, and anyway, protesting has to be good because the police are against you, right? Anger is not an emotion, it’s a thesis, and its expression is its proof.
The text is a Charles Bukowski poem, which sums up the presumptive narcissism of the demographic nicely: the gods wait to delight in you. Sure they do. They’re all sitting around Olympus practically hyperventilating with anticipation. The production company is “@radical.media,” which of course would be horrified if people marched down the street to smash their offices for being corporate tools. Regardless of the brand of jeans they wore. But we’re on your side! We had a red flag! Look, let me freeze on the ad and blow it up, there’s a chap in a Che shirt with a Palestinian scarf!
They use these images because they don’t believe any of it matters. The world is a prop warehouse. Nothing means anything, except perhaps you, who are so amazingly special the very act of putting your hand in the air speaks to your transcendent nature. Also, you want to have sex. YOU ARE SO AMAZING.
As Mark Steyn writes in After America, “If you take the assumptions of almost any group of college students sitting around late at night having deep-thought-a-thons in 1975, 1986, 1998, and imagine what a society governed by that sensibility would be like, you’d be where we are now—in a western world in elderly arrested adolescence, passing off its self-absorption as high-mindedness.”
You can see all of that postmodernism get pushed even further through the looking glass in a Montreal Gazette headline that reads like an Iowahawk parody of what the toothless PC-obsessed MSM would report on these incidents: “London Rioters Resent Media Image of Hooded Teen Thug.”
No. Alex had much better taste in music and clothes.