MODERN WISDOM ​​NUMBER 222 APRIL 2017

MODERN WISDOM: AMERICA’S ONLY HUMOR MAGAZINE

​​NUMBER 222
APRIL 2017
Copyright 2017 Francis DiMenno
dimenno@gmail.com
http://www.dimenno.wordpress.com
 

1.THANKS A LOT, IMAGINARY DEITY–MY UNIVERSE IS RUINED

Evil won again today, leaving Good only five matches ahead for
domination of the universe.

Maan, like, The Lord really sucks, man!

I used to think Jhwh was schmart, but now I think he’s schtupid.

I used to think J. Edgar Jehovah was watching me from heaven.

I used to say ‘Yahweh or the Highway’.

I used to say, “You’d better show respect to Jehovah’s Fist/ Or he’ll
burn your messianic ass to a crisp.”

But, once again, my favorite God has let me down.

Douche-God has fucked up again.

I can’t believe I used to pray to that Guy.

I mean really–what has He done for us, lately?

Except coast for the last 1,980 years?

I can’t believe I give $500 a year to that Guy!

And to think that at one time I ate of His bread and drank of His wine!

I was even married in His church!

Well, I’m sick of being a sap.

I’m going to throw away all of my God memorabilia, including my poster of World Championship Lions v. Christians from 70 A.D.

I guess I should have paid closer attention to the disclaimer on the
crucifix: “Belief in the Divinity of Christ does not automatically
entitle user to experience eternal bliss in Heaven.”

OH–AND ANOTHER THING–What the fuck is/are Sauron/Abhorred doing pairing up Gandalf the Gray with Frodo Baggins in single coverage?


2. THEY LIVE
“THEY have infiltrated the system for so long that every word,
intonation, tone, meter, rhythm, melody, numeric measure has its
subterranean meaning and symbolism. Correspondingly, every operatic confluence of symbols, whether in a parade, play, movie, sporting event, political convention, anything televised, radio-waved or printed, commands a complex array of perverse forces of sex and death to concentrate power to the masters and weakness to the slaves.”
 
3. THE WORK OF DOGFISH GINGERY: AN ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY

Professor Gingery has spent nearly the whole of his career on his monumental and controversial work titled “Adacalypsis: An Attempt to Draw Aside the Veil of the Modern Household Gods; or An Inquiry Into the Origin of Ad Figures of all Languages and Nations, but Principally Restricted to the United States.”

To quote one critic, “Professor Gingery [is] convinced that a high civilization will someday be reconstructed out of the classic tropes of what modern civilization has utilized to replace the “household gods” of the ancients; namely, the ad figures which flourished at the height of the “commodity culture” of the United States, particularly between at the high tide of its empire, ca. 1914-1973.”

Gingery believed that these figures flourished during that era because they all expressed some compelling need of the American people for a fleeting sense of security in “a world gone seemingly mad with its proxy wars between leviathans” who, for the most part “merely fought in defense of the perpetuation of their own ‘national brand’.” (In this he was probably influenced by the work of English Formalists.) He controversially identifies some of these as “The fasces; the eagle, the rising sun; John Bull, mother Russia; Marianne, and that ancient symbol, the swastika (inverted).”

His research has lasted some 40 years. Another commentator has noted, “Influenced by the thinking of the Russian formalists, [Gingery] attempted to (1) establish the existence of a universal thematic “deep structure” of this peculiar, commodity-based quasi-religion, (2) to trace its development, and (3) sought to definitively limn its significance to the development of contemporary mores.” Gingery further believed “the evolution of these ad figures [gave] the scholar piercing insights into the knowledge of archetypal phenomena, which wholly held neither media nor commerce as intermediary in man’s perpetuation of the institution of the nuclear family.” (For instance, during any given era, characters such as the “Ajax Pixies” [ca. 1948-59] could, owing the changing circumstances, be entirely superseded by the powerful and omnicompetent “Ajax Knight” [1963].

Gingery significantly noted that such ad figures (or “devices”)–often taking form as a “fabulous half-man and half beast,” or as “powerful demigods,” or even as “golemesque animated commodities,”–all had in common the perpetuation of a form of “linguistic dislocation” which was “more characteristic of poetry than of myth, per se, although mythic elements provided a superstructure for the meaning embedded within [both the form and the “device”.]”

This highly sought after book is extremely rare. Three volumes (to date). Partial Contents:

VOLUME ONE
ORIGINS: TOWARD A GENERAL THEORY
Probable Origins of Commodity Branding in the Rome, France, the United Kingdom and later, the United States.
The First Rules of the Ancient Copywriters.
Symbols and Ideograms.
Palindromes, Puns, and Assonance, and their use.
Phallic and Yonic Simulacra.
Nature Gods.
The Use of The Cosmic (Sun, Moon, and Stars).
The Great God “Buy”.
Origin of the Adoration of the Brand.
The Word, the Press, and the Printer’s Devil.
Character of the Type-heavy Testament
Orthography and the Use of Space
The Onset of the Age of Advertising.
Meta-commerce–The Conversion of Commodities to Cash and Cash to Commodities

VOLUME TWO
MULTIPLICITY: TOWARD A FLUID TYPOLOGY
The Great Ur-ad Symbols (Michelin Man; Laughing Cow; Gold Dust Twins; Quaker Oats Man; The Dutch Boy, et al.)
Duality, Tension and Complexity (Buster Brown and His Dog Tige, Sailor Jack and his dog, Bingo; The Coppertone Girl)
The Satanic Influence (Underwood Deviled Ham Devil; Proctor & Gamble; Arm & Hammer; The Green Giant)
The Pagan Sprite (Speedy Alka-Seltzer; Snap Crackle & Pop; The Keebler Elves, The Ajax Pixies; The Campbell Twins)
The “Hero’s Quest” (Captain Tootsie; Man From Glad; the Ajax White Knight, Choo-Choo Charlie; Mr. Clean)
The Wise Counselor (Madge the Manicurist; Josephine the Plumber; Rosie the Waitress; The Man With The Texaco Star)
The Bountiful Mother (Chicken of the Sea Tuna; Land O’Lakes Indian Maiden; Mrs. Butterworth; Betty Crocker)
The Animal Friend (Laughing Cow; The Budweiser Clydesdales; Elsie the Cow)
Mythic Protectors (The Esso Tiger; the Eveready 9 Lives Cat; The Energizer Bunny)
The Omniscient Loki (Bozo; Ronald McDonald; Burger King; Mickey Mouse; Chuck E. Cheese)
The Mad Fool (Sonny the Cuckoo Bird; Trix Rabbit; Toucan Sam; The Quik Bunny)
The Self-Extinguishing Device (Ol’ Lonely, The Maytag Repair Man; I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter; Volkswagen)
The “Product Martyrs” (Mr. Whipple; Charlie the Tuna; Lucky Charms Leprechaun; Fred the Baker)
The Self-Abnegating Servant (Rastus the Cook; Aunt Jemima; Uncle Ben)
The Wandering Savant (Popeye; The Old Spice Sailor; Sugar Bear; Mr ZIP; The Marlboro Man)
The Maiden Harlot (Erin Esurance; The Swedish Bikini Team; The Starbucks Melusine; The Sun-Maid Raisin Girl)
The Sirens (Poppin’ Fresh, the Pillsbury Doughboy; The Snuggles Family Softener Bear; The Pine Sol Lady)
The Agon (The Hamburglar; the Cookie Crisp Crook; Frito Bandito; Punchy and Oaf)
Disease and Disgust (Dirty Sludge, Sticky Valve, Gummy Ring, Blackie Carbon; The Raid Insects)

VOLUME THREE
GENERALITIES: PARADOXES, CONUNDRUMS, INCONSISTENCIES
“Cover Their Faces With Shame, That They May Seek Your Name” (Psalms 83:16).
The Manichaean Paradox of ‘Brand X’
The Chosen Brand Versus The Leading Brand
Crossovers From Other Mythologies
The Ephemeral Nature of Branded Consumables
The Infant as the Adoration of All Stations
The Descent Into and Return From Hell
The Omnicompetent Sponsor
Advertisers Acknowledge More Than One “Sponsor”
The War of All Against All
Advertising Follows the Season(s)
Advertising Effaces Time
Disingenuous Conduct of Ad Creators
Dramatic Irony in the Commercial
“The People Shouted With a Great Shout, And The Wall Fell Down Flat” (Joshua 6:20)
1,432 pages, ISBN 1-67560-382-1, $79.00

 
SELECTIONS FROM THE ADACALYPSIS

Insights about trivial things are not always trivial insights.

To the man of discernment, subsidiary works are both fascinating and irritating.

Advertising now forms the mythopoeic superstructure of art, politics,
and narrative.

All advertisements bear political content.

All advertisements stand for any one advertisement.

The purpose of advertisements is to generate money where none
previously existed.

In advertising, the end justifies the means, making it the one art
form that is completely amoral.

Advertising is hardwired within ancient consciousness.

Advertising causes the neuroses which psychoanalysis arose to assuage.

Advertising undermines myths.

Advertising always dissolves the tropes of high literary expression into a mythopoeic much accessible to the lowest common denominator.

Advertising does not approach the truth—not even within a confidence interval.

Advertising is always closer to being a total lie than it is to being
the total truth.

Advertising is a tragic, self-defeating comedy constructed of hubris
and illusion.

The classic ad is a sophisticated chimera of sub-verbal assurances.

Modern advertising is a blatant perversion of the accepted meaning of
the commonplace sign.

The protagonist of all advertisements is a Greek hero-figure whose
fate is always resolved within a formula of circular logic.

Older advertising narratives recapitulated the Fichtean
Thesis-Antithesis-Synthesis formula. Newer ads use a systolic/dystolic
model.

Advertising is ancient, appearing at least as far back as Greek
inscriptional epigrams.

Advertising is not an art form. It is the burial and final interment of art.

Advertising follows the principle of the big lie: brazen falsehoods
leavened with enough truth to create an atmosphere of plausibility.

Fascism is impossible without propaganda, which is simply a more overt
form of advertising.

In advertising, the information which is left out is always more
significant than the information is which bundled into the message.

No ad ever includes even an obfuscating footnote unless the law demands it.

In public service advertising, it is always the message which would
ordinarily be footnoted which is foregrounded.

In 1984 I coined the term anadvertising to indicate the opposite of
advertising based on oppositional research. Perhaps now its time has
come.

The purpose of anadvertising is to rectify the language, abolish cant,
and, ultimately, to destroy advertising altogether.

Advertising is the symptom, but human nature is the cause of our credulity.

All competing brands are, at best, well-meaning thieves.

If you are not for the brand, you are against the brand.

Whosoever does not bear the mark of the brand can neither buy nor sell.

Babylon is alive and well.

Brand X is a false idol.

That which is not branded should not be consumed.

Brands are “nice things”.

There is no entity so big or so small that it cannot be branded.

All mass gatherings are branded.

A brand was formerly a mark of shame; it is now a mark of distinction.

An item which has not been branded does not exist…in the world of commerce.

Brands inhabit a hierarchical geography.

Previously undistinguished items take on a totemic significance once
branding has been applied: e.g., bottled water.

In the world of branding, there is no such thing as a distinction
without a difference.

Humans are merely mortal. Brands abide.

Brands, in the form of corporations, have the same rights as humans.

Brand wars inflict commercial casualties.

All choice is simply a matter of choice between branded commodities.

Generic brands are themselves grim parodies of brands.

Brands will only negate themselves in the interest of moving more
product, and thereby ensuring the viability of the brand. E.g., store
brands.

Brands recapitulate phylogeny.

Brands metastasize.

Health is a brand—and on the brand’s terms.

Brands are the biggest tent.

To question the primacy of the brand is at best, an agnostic heresy
which can be countenanced only in the context of a preferable brand.

Brand atheism is verboten in the theology of Mammon.

The ammunition may be generic, but the gun is always branded.

Brand fetishism is the hallmark of a degraded mythos.

A word will mean what a brand decides it will mean. “The question is
which is to be master—that is all.”

The brand experience is totalizing in that it presupposes membership
in a clan that abides by the verities of consumer culture.

In consumer culture, all physical activity is sought out rather than
constituting an organic condition of living.

Physical exercise is best experienced in the context of shopping for brands.

The making of a family of consumers is the only recognized and valid
form of artistic expression.

If you forego the family experience, you can nonetheless become a part
of the family of brands.

Brands abhor cognitive dissonance unless it is utilized in the service
of promoting the brand.

Hunting is a primitive throwback to an archaic state–unless it is
bargain hunting.

Wealthy people bargain-hunt, but they prefer to say they hunt for quality.

A philanthropist brands himself as charitable.

Half a brand is better than none.

Participating in the world of brands has an etiquette all its own.

In the branded economy, a refusal to waste disposable goods is
regarded as a neurosis.

Ad characters are nearly always happy.

Ad copy encoded in a non-intuitive tongue harms the brand.

It’s not what a commercial says but how it makes you feel that is
important. And what you feel and what that feeling makes you do is the
ultimate result-based outcome.

Meaningless statistics are a primary weapon of all marketing strategy
and forms the basis of all logic which it imposes upon the consumer.

The Old Fishing Hole and other archetypal American places are now brands.

Money establishes a nation’s brand profile.

Cereal boxes are the most eagerly devoured text of the schooled society.

Advertising worships children as future customers while at the same time treating them as transitory, fugitive commodities.

The prototypical ad-man was probably a donkey-driver.

Christ rode a branded ass into Jerusalem.

If ad-men had the chance to rename all our major cities they would do so in a heartbeat.

Nicknames are just another type of brand.

Rosy-fingered dawn and other Homeric epithets could easily be used to describe branded products; e.g., “Enzyme-active Axion”; “self-styling Adorn”.

The poet who becomes a copy-writer has a head start; rhyme and rhythm are nothing new or strange to him.

If it can be commodified, it can be sold. If it can be sold, it can be commodified.

Prostitutes in ancient times embedded ads in the heels of their shoes. If we are not utilizing dead space for advertising, we are not advancing.

You can lead a man to market but you mustn’t make him think.

Cash is the color that goes with everything.

Ads would always use exclusively non-verbal copy if they could.

Advertising is the Stalinization of commodities.

Someday, all people will become acutely anxious in the absence of advertising and branded commodities. Until that day finally arrives, there is work to be done!

Ad language is totalizing in the manner of Orwellian Newspeak. Once it becomes ubiquitous, no non-commodity related thoughts will even be possible.

Celebrities who sin will fall from brand heaven and enter brand limbo until they may be safely restored to the brand pantheon.

Typefaces are runes.

The Old Testament in one word: Obey. The New Testament in one word: Love.

Not all weirdoes ignore brands, but all who ignore brands are weirdoes.

The brand is not bad in its place, but its place is now everywhere.

There is no escaping the brand: only the attempt to escape, and the illusion of success.

The smell of home is more and more becoming the smell of familiar brands.

Aren’t you glad you use dial? Don’t you want to kill all those strangers who do not?

All communists, terrorists, anarchists and insane people are Brand X.

Seasonal variations ultimately serve the purpose f brands.

After the revolution, the French sought to rebrand the months of the year.

Notice that to this day, August is branded a de facto Vacation Month.

Toward a Branded Year:

January: Theraflu. February: Hallmark March: Nike. April: H&R Block. May: United. June: Viagra. July: Uncle Sam. August: Crayola. September: Bic. October: Libby’s. November: Perdue. December: Santa.

Occupations are brands. You either work for a corporate brand, you are in a branded occupation, or both.

Hate god, but never hate the real God: Money.

A sound-bite is a bullet point is a still-frame.

A spoken lead is a paragraph is a panel sequence is a seven-second series of frames.

In a post-literate society, a picture makes you feel more than a thousand words ever can.

Television, movies, the internet are streams. Still-frames are a pool of still water.

The comic book page, usually consisting of no more than nine panels, is the basic unit of all graphic literature; the individual panel is the irreducible building block.

You are where you eat.

There is something to be said for certain restaurants as locales for consumer power.

The condition of food before it reaches the plate is also a brand choice. To the discerning palate, there is a difference; to the subconscious semiotician, there is a distinction.

All tourist locations are branded.

Advertising is effective because the great mass of men are haunted every day by magical thinking.

Magical thinking is a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Branded products are magical charms and amulets which our conscious minds may disbelieve but our subconscious minds draw comfort from owning.

Advertising makes thinking into a conditioned response.

Neuro-linguistic programming existed long before there was a name for it. Its prototype is the hieroglyph. The oral tradition, the stage play, and the rituals of religious worship are all precursors to modern advertising.

Advertising relies heavily upon neuro-linguistic programming—as do movies, television, the internet, and most print media.

The discoveries of zero and of the vacuum were revolutionary in their implications for control.

Neuro-linguistic programming subjugates human thought just as surely as animal strength subjugates weaker prey.

Jokes, proverbs, and church bells are three of the most potent forms of neuro-linguistic programming.

The sun which lights our world is always one. It is the gold standard of neuro-linguistic programming.

The sun was the first neuro-linguistic programming, followed by the moon and stars, and eventually by the “god” who “created” them.

The surveillance state is as old as Tiberius, but never until the last 50 years have states had the technology and the will to exploit the potentialities of the surveillance state to their fullest.

The occult is everywhere. Occult simply means hidden, and, as we all know, nature loves to hide.

Light and dark: Our second binary code. Being and nothingness: The first.

Advertising is the key to the inhibitory forebrain.

Dying is the only legitimate means of opting out of brand preference.

Monogamy is simply brand loyalty by another name.

Modern parody is a reward for distinction. It does not tear down; it builds up. Call it what it is: Travesty.

The more imaginary the distinction between products, the more elaborate the superstructure of distinctions constructed to differentiate between them.

Nowadays, tattoos and piercings are merely self-branding.

Handsome is a brand.

Orphan commodities seek branding from their retail outlets—for instance, a package of ground beef, which might be from dozens of cows but which is sold under the name of the store.

Dog breeds are among the earliest brands.

The comic book hero is a brand.

In any given era, comic books will either sell social change or social stasis.

Weeds are Brand X.

If the people could speak as with one voice, they would say “Let Us.” If the law could speak as with one voice, it would say “You may not.”

The law is a branded commodity.

All the best brands outlive a lifetime.

There are no heretical brand practices. The advertiser’s motto is “whatever works”.

Look on my works, ye mighty…and buy.

Scholarly apparatuses and peer review are a branding process like any other.

Such is the fine fancy of the world that we lay our faults upon…a brand.

Where there is brand ignorance, let us sow brand awareness.

Every newly-arriving ethnic group is Brand X until it proves itself otherwise.

Brand X is false brand consciousness.

The promise of instant wealth is the most seductive ad gimmick of all.

In the ad world, wealth is happiness, and unearned wealth is the supreme goal.

Advertising signs are now the signs that truly matter.

Florida is the perpetual sunshine brand. Vermont is the winter brand.

We once tracked animals. Now we track bargains.

Even a schizophrenic society cares about its brand of medication.

Buying day old bread is the modern version of tracking antelope in the heat-baked tropical plains.

Limited-time bargains are like coyote tracks in the desert. Beware the shifting sands of deceptive time.

Hallucinogenic Siberian mushroom piss was probably the first branded drug.

Dumpster diving is the modern version of gathering animal scat to burn for fuel.

Aliens might easily mistake the human brand for the baboon brand—we both share opposable thumbs. Nor would they be far wrong.

Signs and signals are among the earliest forms proving that it “pays” to advertise.

What were petroglyphs if not early billboards for the tribal brand?

A child will paint the outline of his own hand. A man will trace the outline of his own brand.

Advertising communicates to us with the outline of our own blood.

The first branded products were possibly the clay envelopes in which counting tokens were sealed, circa 3400 B.C.

Pictographic writing seems to betoken cultures at the beginning and end of their historical cycles.

An alphabet is a trans-national brand, so the Russians, Chinese, Arabs and Americans will always be in an ill-disguised competition.

Writing arose simply as a means to enable commercial transaction to be encoded.

Chinese script arose from use in divination, to use for religious purposes, to use for proclamations, for use in official text, to general use. So we may also trace the rise of branded advertising itself.

The first numeric systems evolved some 30,000 years ago to keep track of animals killed. Nowadays, numbers are nowhere so useful as when they advertise body counts.

The UN is the ultimate generic brand.

Avant-garde music is not only unpredictable, but it doesn’t sell beer. Strike two.

All ads say the same thing: “Live it up.”

All ads also quote Shakespeare: “Question not the need.”

Why should Americans be scornful of corn? It is their totem vegetable.

Brand X can also serve as antagonist to a heroic product in a scripted drama., e.g., coffee nerves and Postum; insect pests and Raid; mucus and mucinex.

The product is always the hero of the narrative, but it is the consumer who must embark upon the hero’s quest.

Southerners require different products. That’s why they’re Southerners.

True art is made by artists. Commodified art is fashioned by craftsmen.

An architect’s delays are less objectionable than the contractor’s.

In a commodified world, dead flowers say more than live plants.

Thanksgiving for the puritan, Christmas for the civilized.

The advertising hall of fame is full of ingenious fiends.

Enabling addiction is not only the guiding rationale of advertising; it is the only rationale.

One way or another, we always pay for what we get.

The Mohawk and the facial tattoo date back to the late Minoan period. Nothing new under the sun.

Unlike the writers of hieroglyphs, the designers of advertisements make few arbitrary decisions based solely on aesthetic grounds.

Advertising always displays the same distinctive body language as ancient pictographs.

Ads that promise everything will take everything way. That is their occult power.

The crocodile is a symbol of democracy.

Ads promise us a love beyond words.

We look at ads for the same reason that we like to look at ourselves.

Ads are simply a commodified form of divination.

Advertising is not quite a heretical sect, but something more than a simple cult.

The ad is the gnostic crucified serpent as magical charm.

Advertising is simply human alchemy.

Like alchemy, advertising uses esoteric codes to represent certain elements: e.g., white teeth signify sex appeal.

Newton died from mercury poison. So, too, will the mind of the consumer perish from these alchemical practices.

In Kabbalistic advertising there are two facets of the product: The product as manifested in creation, and the product as ineffable brand beyond all human comprehension.

APPENDIX

“A magazine is simply a device to induce people to read advertising.” –James Collins

“In the factory we make cosmetics; in the drugstore we sell hope.”–Charles Revson

“You can tell the ideals of a nation by its advertisements.”–Norman Douglas

“Mass demand has been created almost entirely through the development of advertising.”–Calvin Coolidge

“Advertising is an environmental striptease for a world of abundance.” –Marshall McLuhan

“Advertising degrades the people it appeals to; it deprives them of their will to choose.”–C. P. Snow

“Advertisers in general bear a large part of the responsibility for the deep feelings of inadequacy that drive women to psychiatrists, pills, or the bottle.”–Marya Mannes

“Society drives people crazy with lust and calls it advertising.” –John Lahr

“History will see advertising as one of the real evil things of our time. It is stimulating people constantly to want things, want this, want that.” –Malcolm Muggeridge

“I can not think of any circumstances in which advertising would not be an evil.”–Arnold Toynbee

“Advertising – a judicious mixture of flattery and threats. “–Northrop Frye

“The art of publicity is a black art.”–Learned Hand

“Advertising is ‘an evil service’.” —Aneurin Bevan

“Time spent in the advertising business seems to create a permanent deformity like the Chinese habit of foot-binding. ”
–Dean Acheson

“Advertising has annihilated the power of the most powerful adjectives.”–Paul Valéry

“Advertising is the modern substitute for argument; its function is to make the worse appear the better “–George Santayana

“If we define pornography as any message from any communication medium that is intended to arouse sexual excitement, then it is clear that most advertisements are covertly pornographic.”–Philip Slater

“Advertising is the rattling of a stick inside a swill bucket.”–George Orwell

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