February 1999

Wall Street Journal

    This is going to be relatively quick, but it's been bothering my for a while, and I just saw it again, so I decided to finally write about it. Have you seen the commercial, for the Wall Street Journal, that has the guy going up in the elevator, and the voiceover says "What makes some people stand apart.." blah blah blah? Now, here's what get's me about this... He's in the elevator with about 7 or 8 other people, who are all reading the Wall Street Journal; and their catch phrase is what makes some people stand apart? Give me a break! HE'S the only one that's standing apart, the rest are all reading the WSJ! Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that the WSJ is a bad thing, hell, I've never read it and probably never will, but the imagery doesn't jive with the message they're saying! It strikes me as rather odd that if the people running the show there were so 'insightful', that they would have identified this; but then again, perhaps they were just too busy to catch such a small thing. To me, what this commercial says is "If you would like to be just like everyone else, the you need to read the Wall Street Journal. Everyone else is. You want to be like everyone else, don't you?". If they are trying to get across the message that reading this newspaper gives you some sort of competitive advantage, how about showing something more along the lines of you crushing your competitors because they don't read it, as opposed to representing you as some idiot guy riding in the elevator, wishing he was reading the WSJ just because everyone else is. God know, you wouldn't want to have any semblance of independent thought... If it was worth thinking, I'm sure it would be in the WSJ, right?

When Good Times Go Bad???

    Now, I don't know how many of you saw this, but Fox had a TV show on Thursday night called 'When Good Times Go Bad:2'. The premise of the show is nothing revolutionary, just another TV show based on the pain and suffering of other people, who are arguably completely screwed up to ever be doing what they are doing in the first place (there are some exceptions, but they are definitely not the rule). So the show had the normal stuff, planes crashing, a student in a drunken stupor falling out of a 50ft tree, Skydivers running into each other while coming down, you know, normal stuff like you see on the news every night. I don't have a problem with any of that, my problem is with some of the other things they showed...
    Unless I'm mistaken, the whole idea behind the show is people doing things having fun, and then something unexpected happens (whether or not they are the cause), and someone gets hurt somehow; and for the most part that's the way the show was, except for a few notable exceptions. One, for instance, is some guy who broke into a house, and then the police trap him on the roof; then, exercising the same deductive reasoning that probably made him rob the house in the first place, he decided to do a backflip off of the roof, into a flower bed. Needless to say, he get's injured, and arrested, but who was having a 'Good Time'? I doubt he was... was it the police? If so, how did the good time 'Go Bad'? I don't think they particularly cared one way or the other if he jumped, hell, they probably had more of a good time after he jumped then before. Do you see what I mean? And here's another example; some guy confronts a gang of teenagers about stealing liquor from a store, and they proceed to beat him up, until he finally escapes in his jeep. Who was having a 'Good Time' here? Was it the gang of teenagers? Did their 'Good Time' stealing beer and beating up stranger 'Go Bad' when the police came back with the man and arrested them all?
    It truly amazes me when shows like this find their way onto national television, the production value of the footage they normally have is quite poor, and the narration is somewhere in between Patrick Duffy and Alfred Hitchcock. The strange thing is, even though I really don't like these types of shows, and I don't go out of my way to watch them, when I do happen across one it always catches my attention. Perhaps it's because we catch a glimpse of our own mortality when we see the basically horrible events played out in other peoples lives; or perhaps it makes us feel more secure in who we are and where we are in life, since '... at least I didn't fall out of a tree drunk.' Whoo, this is getting too deep...