Sex sells; we know this. At least, it did back in MY day. (Back then, dagnabbit, there were hot, naked women in whipped cream everywhere we looked, and we liked it!) There are certain biological imperatives that dictate this. Some of us will see this as arising from God’s plan, others will see it as evidence of the power of evolutionary forces, and some of us will see it as both. There is no doubt that this beautiful, natural thing has been exploited in the service of a lot of tawdry, even perverse products and causes (Herb Alpert and Noxzema Medicated Comfort Shave not included), but the fact is pretty much undeniable.
Here’s what gets me, though — "stupid," "plastic" and "pointless" seem to be deemed just as useful in selling as sex. And this does get on my nerves.
For instance, every day I have this irritating window that pops up on my laptop (I haven’t figured out how to stop it from doing this; nor have I spent time trying) to promote the "Real Message Center," and every day it gives me a less-than-flattering picture of current popular culture. Here were the headlines today:
Today’s rising stars honored at Young Hollywood Awards.
Where in the world will Brangelina have baby number two?
And I find myself wondering, every time I see such an insipid come-on: Who wants to know these things? What’s your target audience? And I fear the answer is that said audience is vast, and it really, really interested in this stuff. For the purposes of writing this post, I clicked on all three above, and I have three questions:
- Who are Brittany Robinson and Thomas Dekker?
- How do you look yourself in the mirror after writing a headline that contains "Brangelina?"
- Why do people know the names of contestants on "American Idol?" Isn’t the point that they’re supposed to be ordinary people? Isn’t there something contradictory here? Where is Arthur Godfrey when you need him?
OK, so that was more than three questions, but you get my point.
Sometimes these come-ons simply appeal to sex, offering photo galleries of certain hot, hot starlets (which is lost on me since I’ve never heard of most of them). By contrast, those items seem relatively healthy. And I did find ONE pretty cool picture on one that I DID click on. I even ended up saving the image — it was Jennifer Lopez depicted in the style of Boris Vallejo. And if I can find it, I’ll share it.
We all waste time in one way or another. Look at me — I blog. But if I’m not blogging, or rating movies on Netflix, I at least feel the call of that shelf-and-a-half of good books I’ve received as gifts and that I really MUST get to. Don’t we get enough of celebrities who are famous for being famous by osmosis at the grocery checkout line? Who would go in pursuit of more of it?
And again, I’m afraid the answer is, "Lots of people."