A Cryptojournalism Rundown: Candy, Culture Coaching and Some More Tidbits

I have a few things I’d like to talk about today.  But nothing overarching, just a few hits of cryptojournalism to give you your fix.

Remember the Deepwater Horizon blast?  Of course you don’t.  That was, like, two seasons ago.  Although it’s fallen out of the shallow, shallow news cycle, the event could be called ongoing.  A couple of recent articles highlight how crytpojournalism, especially when reading anything related to the action of the Federal Government, proves to be a pretty handy tool.  Just like me.

I’d like to talk about two articles in particular, to try and show you how people play games to fuck other people over.  We’ll begin with an article from The Louisiana Weekly, where the question at hand is, ‘Has the cleanup been as thorough as necessary?’

One passage especially sort of jumped out at me, but not for the reasons you’d imagine.  Let’s take a look and see what I mean.

The recent, federal report said that further beach cleanups, beyond established and already-achieved standards, would most likely threaten fish and wildlife. Cleanup guidelines exist to strike a scientifically supported balance between “enough” and “too much” cleanup, the report said. Continued cleaning could result in an increasingly, negative impact to habitats as more and more effort is directed to removing less oil. Research was based on collected samples and laboratory analysis, environmental models and a review of existing literature.

Two aspects of this clip are important, at least for this point being made: this comes from a federal report, and research was (at least partly based) on existing literature.

Contrast that facet of the previous story to this piece from ABC News.  Discussing the possibility of future lawsuits against the various parties involved in the April 20 tragedy, Circus Clown Attorney General Eric Holder drops a truth nugget on us.

“This is an ongoing process,” Holder said.

Do you see it?  The inherent contradiction pulled out of just two recent articles on the BP oil spill?  If the judicial process (and I would dare say the entire fiasco) is an ongoing process, how in the world can you base ANYTHING on existing literature?

But Drew, you may wonder, isn’t that taking things way out of context?  Is it?  With a dearth of real information coming out of the Gulf of Mexico, all we’ve got to trust is the good word of the Federal Government.

Before I get too far ahead of myself, have I mentioned the need I feel for someone to create a sarcasm font?  That last sentence above would really pop, really zing if it were done in sarcasm font.  Alas, no such font exists.  Moving right along.

If Mr. Holder’s assertion on the legal issues of the mess hold true in the real world, using existing literature is a joke.  Nothing on this scale has happened.  Ever. Considering the very recent news about dead baby dolphins washing ashore, it’s safe to say a lot of what we’re grappling with in the aftermath (going on 11 months) has no existing literature to back it up.

Weasley games like that, where some vague historical precedent is sought to ensure the quality of the cleanup when there is no precedent, is practically a love letter to cryptojournalists around the world.  I’m blushing.

*****

For some more lighthearted fare, let me take you on a trip.  It’s to the candy aisle of the supermarket.  Doing some grocery shopping, a bag of M&M’s Pretzels caught my eye.  And triggered memories of the filthiest commercial ever.

I wasn’t sure if my instincts were playing games with me.  So I typed “m&m’s pretzel rape allusion” into a search engine.  Lo and behold, I actually found two websites making the same claim I’m laying down right here (you can find them here and here).  Which got me wondering, “Ummm, what the fuck!?!?!!!”

 

Statutory Rape

How did that get in there?  Rape being one of the most traumatic events a person can undergo, looks like the Orange M&M has repressed his trip to the lab.  I know, I know.  Gross, but sort of funny.

It isn’t funny.  Forget about connotations about brand loyalty or other advertising buzz words.  I’m still trying to grasp why a candy company, whose target audience is normally, well trick-or-treaters, would allude to a pretzel raping an M&M.  It makes less than no sense, unless BBDO, the ad agency responsible for the spot, also plans on promoting M&M’s anal lube.

Me?  I think it’s a measure of inoculation.  Toward what end, I do not know.  But it’s too obvious for the subplot of rape to not be part of the marketing for M&M’s Pretzels.  On a quick parting note, if you want to understand why people hate advertising, advertisers and their ilk, read the comments section from the link above.  Anyone who’d characterize that commercial as funny (or anything in that vein) is what Stan Valchek would call a shitbird.

 

You would eat a raping candy, shitbird

Assuming half the commenters from the article have college degrees.  Do you know how much simply reading someone expressing their affinity for the humor in a commercial of a pretzel prepping to rape a piece of chocolate diminishes MY college education?  More than I’d like to admit.

*****

The Drudge Report linked to another example of true life journalism the other day (man, I really need that sarcasm font, stat), one which really helped me put things into perspective.

The wife of a megachurch pastor, Tammy Hotsenpiller, apparently has a lackey reporter from a CNN blog in her back pocket, for this piece of air to actually reach url’s across the globe.

Forget the droll premise, or the sunshiney idea of people eating together in peace and harmony.  You could completely bypass this negation of news, but there’s actually a fun phrase I’d like to hijack from Ms. Hotsenpiller.

She boasts of being a culture coach.  I’ll wait.  Catch your breath.  I know, I know.  A culture coach?  It turns out, I’ve been a culture coach for years.  I just thought I ws acting like a condescending prick.  Like, when my buddy was still wearing his New York Giants #17 Plaxico Burress this season, I said, “Dude, you need a Hakeem Nicks jersey.”

 

Only diehard Giant fans sport #17

Who knew I was acting as a culture coach, and not simply ribbing my friend for wearing the jersey of an all-time numb skull?  ‘Culture coach’ rates somewhere between ‘beggar with funny sign’ and Scientology PR representative on the relative scale of bullshit.  CNN is doing the job for cryptojournalists everywhere (which, well, is me) by presenting farce as information.  Thanks, CNN.

*****

Now onto something that at least has some meat to it: New York City’s upcoming outdoor smoking ban.  Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, a thought crime!

If you’re unacquainted with the new ‘law’ well it’s a damn joke.  Police will not be seeking out people smoking illegally in parks or at beaches.  As the Yahoo! article points out, “Police will not enforce the ban.”  So who will?

As Evan Mantyk from The Epoch Times points out, this thought crime appears to be a snitches’ dream.  You can finally get back at that bitch Andrea from HR.  Follow her to the park and catch her red handed in the act……of smoking!

If you interpret the new law as some way towards improving public health and the environment, think again. It’s a divisive measure, meant to foster mistrust and suspicious eyes at least as much as it is to improve public health.

My father, when he was alive, lived the last years of his life in Manhattan.  As a lifelong fisherman and a smoker, he made a keen point to me when the smoking ban first went into effect.

“All these smokers, forced to go outside to smoke.  Where do they think the cigarette butts go?  Right down the gutter, into the sewers.”  He wasn’t a scientist.  No, he was a man who enjoyed taking the subway out to Sheepshead Bay for some peace and quiet as he fished.

The net effect of these sort of bans is to merely displace the ‘pollution’ of cigarettes.  Couple it with the “sic ’em” effect of pitting citizen against citizen, and the new smoking ban looks like nothing but a rhetorical trick.  Manhattan is an American city where you can get away with smoking a blunt while you’re walking down the street, but now people are being trained to look suspiciously at regular smokers, framing them as potential scofflaws of the law.

Does it make sense?  As much as a pretzel raping an M&M to synthesize a new candy line does.

Like most of these entries, I just hope you begin to look at the why behind things.  Why use rape as an advertising mechanism?  Why ban smoking outdoors?  Why would someone become a culture coach?

I don’t know.  But at least I know I don’t know.  As the 2nd of the 3 Wise Men told Baby Jesus, “Think, and ye shall receive.”

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One Response to “A Cryptojournalism Rundown: Candy, Culture Coaching and Some More Tidbits”

  1. Bob Woodward Says:

    It’s not a reference to rape… its a reference to x-rays of people with stuff up their ass, and the quote that is sure to follow: “I have NO IDEA how that got up there, doc!”

    Besides, even if it was a rape allusion, who gives a crap. seriously.

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