Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Why I Hate Marketing

Fate is a funny thing. I started three other blog posts during the course of this week, but hadn't the heart or the resolve to post them. And now, due to the delightful, all-knowing march of fate (which I've really got to learn to trust in), I know this will be the one that makes it to the press, er, blog. I've got the writer's fire, and I need to blow off some steam!

It's Tuesday, which means it's my day off/day I schedule interviews/day I say I'm going to recoup sleep but never do/day I celebrate being young, independent, and free in the middle of a beautiful city. This particular Tuesday I had a great interview (fingers crossed!) that reminded me why I am really truly going to blow a fortune on a ridiculous Art History Master's degree- I love beauty, and I want to do what it takes to bring it to the rest of the world's attention (just like my mommy and papi did for me!)

The interview portion of my Tuesday being thus finished around 10 this morning, I set off to accomplish the celebration/young/independent part. I wasn't particularly creative this afternoon, I merely adventured into two of my favorite new foodie finds (delicious falafel at Moby Dick's Kabob and a saintly cupcake at Baked and Wired. MMM overpriced Georgetown calories. The very best.) It was a nice break from the lifeguarding staples of granola and ice cream, and yes, indeed, I do feel more independent and young now.

Then I went to go see (500) Days of Summer (See trailer Here), the only movie that really appealed to me at the moment- I'm a girl, I love summer, and I love Love. Case closed.

It was the first time I have ever gone to see a movie in a movie theater all by myself. Well, not really by myself, if you count the one bearded indie boy sitting behind me, and the two hipster college freshman girls a few rows ahead. Nevertheless, congrats, me. Such bravery.

I emerged from the theater, still alone, and less than enthusiastic about what I'd just seen. In fact, I came out with the determination to sit down at this very computer and transcribe a fiery explanation of Why I Hate Marketing. That's right, folks. Although I hate to break the hearts of my beloved indie friends, after seeing this movie I must solemnly declare:

The whole indie/hipster identity that's blatantly advertised in this movie is completely made up by well-dressed marketing MBA's, who are pulling their shiny BMW's into their suburban mansion garages and laughing their heads off at you right this very hour!

"How did they do it, and say what now?" you ask. By successfully hawking the following trendy, pseudo-vintage items at you in multiple sleek marketing methods such as online advertising, the elusive word-of-mouth, and most prominently of all, product placement. Off the top of my head, here are eleven hipster products that were marketed prominently in (500) Days of Summer, as the Beamer-owners cunningly try to convince the young and the restless trendsetters that they need to purchase for their "uniqueness:"

-chalkboard paint
-big headphones blaring little known bands
-long retro cardigans (and this product placement really is just ludicrous- the movie is set in LA, people! NO ONE with a metabolism keeps cardigans on in LA in the summer for more than a minute!)
-girls with bangs
-vinyl records
-Ikea
-Wii
-karaoke
-Vodka/Whiskey (my compatriots are now convinced that they are too good for beer now- leave that to lesser, poorer mortals, like the kind that like Nascar... ew.)
-shoulder bags
-Green Architecture (does anyone besides my Dad even know truly what that means??)
-damask wallpaper, a la the store Anthropologie 2 years ago

I'm just thankful i didn't see an iPod... oh wait, you get a full 15-second shot of Joseph Gordon-Leavitt's computer screen with iTunes opened on it. Scratch that. BOOOOO marketing! You're responsible for turning the American populace into ambivalent androids!

The movie review I had trusted told me this about the movie: "It's about a boy who falls in love with a girl named Summer, and is then enchanted with the very idea of summer itself." Being a huge summer (the season) fan, I went to this movie hoping/listening intently for an eloquent, postmodern soliloquy on why this time of year-- this glorious season that allows you to run around as naked as possible and down ice cream to your hearts content-- is the best. I didn't hear any such speech. Ever. The boy was in love with a female Summer, and later turned to autumn, the downer season after that comes after summer, for comfort. LAME!

Oh, and one last item to be subjected to my current rash bout of scorn: Irony. Not the subtle irony of the two stars' quick back and forth banter. The irony that I watched a movie whose the plot revolves around a greeting card company employee, a former architect, and the inevitable indie plot twist- Gasp! that the people who don't believe in love find it, and the people who do get shafted but end up smiling to themselves as they start afresh.

Those who know me well will know why I find those three things ironic.

Now, onto art, since I know I've been very selfishly autobiographical of late. The film's setting in LA reminded me of this sculpture in the Hirshhorn:

Larry Bell. Untitled. Glass, bismuth, chromium, gold, and rhodium on gold-plated brass. 1964.

Larry Bell was one of the first artists to help transplant the contemporary art scene from New York to LA (where it is still finishing migrating today, although it has received numerous renewed threats from such international counterparts as Berlin and London). Long rejected last century as a city of culture because, well, let's face it, LA is home to such un-museum-worthy items as Jack Nicholson, the Lakers, and 1970's bungalows, nevertheless, around 1970 the good old California city made the art world turn traitor to its own elitist mentality by producing very sleek, very surface-y, and veeeery seductive works of art such as the above Larry Bell piece. "You think you can do modernism, New York?" LA taunted. "Is this all you got??" (See the Richard Serra below) And it was true. Why would anyone hang around New York to discuss works like this:

Richard Serra. 2-2-1: To Dickie And Tina, 1969. Steel. 1986.

when they could go to the beach, get a tan, and see something that--dare I say it-- managed to come off as wonderfully elitist still, but also managed to pull off a slight return to beauty!? Notice Untitled's lovely colored surface, which at once reflects the viewer and reveals a veiled look at its inside. Oh, beauty! We missed you! Only in LA, where the beautiful people get beautifuller (thanks to plastic surgeons) and the normal people get trendier, thanks to Hollister and Max Factor, would we see you return to the art world. How ironic.

8 comments:

MOM said...

Ssooo...don't go see the movie, huh? Ok. But I have to take a stand on your beating up the "downer" season of fall. October's my favorite month, so I'm a big fan of the "comfort" season. Lame it is not!! Think of the sweet feeling of autumn time in "You've Got Mail". I love it cuz the air changes; it becomes crisp :) You feel like baking pumpkin bread and oatmeal cookies. And putting on zipper hoodies and yummy sweaters. None of this running around naked stuff. Which, by the way sweetie, will you quit saying the word naked? Really...so embarrassing.

ynny said...

What am I supposed to say instead? And no, sweaters and pumpkin cookies are not that appealing... when you put them next to popsicles and a sparkling blue pool.

rachel said...

i chalk board painted my dresser a few years ago. it's so crappy looking. i am so sick of chalk board paint. it's all over the design blog world and so is Zoey. I also hate cupcakes and the blog world loves those too. I want to delete my blog every other day. I also have a record player. I was just listening to Elvis Presley.

rachel said...

also, remember the hipster handbook that we took around with us at your apartment complex?

Jayci said...

you are a summer babe. :P i love autumn!! like your mom. aaahhh pumpkin cookies. Just the other day I made pumpkin BREAD because I wanted pumpkin so badly! I think I'll wait to rent 500 Days of Summer now. :P Sorry it was a let down..

AND don't you LOVE going to the movies by yourself!?! Peace and quiet for you to enjoy your movie by yourself and you don't have to share your snacks or your armrest! ha ha I love going to things by my lonesome... mark thinks I'm weird, my old roomies think I'm ultra brave. I like to think you and I are brave and like the 'think time'.

rachel said...

p.s you can like cupcakes. I love falafels so much! I love them with crispy fries. I went to this place called maoz in barcelona and it was delicious. they have some in new york and are getting one in DC on 1817 M St NW. http://www.maozusa.com/

Judy Anne said...

Beauty is something I see every morning, right after I say 'good morning Jake' and he smiles and holds his little arms up for a hug and kiss. You are right about the first piece, however, only someone who can see the beauty in themselves will see the beauty in this piece. (PS. Ann, Naked is naked!!!)

MOM said...

Okay...so everyone took me seriously on the naked issue. I should have put a smiley face after it! I was just having fun! :)