Archives for category: Long-Form

**SCROLL TO THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST AND THEN  READ UPWARDS!!**

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

 Image

Image

There’s a new trend in marketing right now where companies go out of their way to create what is known as a “social media presence” for their brand. An addition to the ever-elongating list of methods that corporations have invented in their attempts to trick people into buying overpriced shit they almost never need, a social media presence can be most accurately described as an online personification of a company that REALLY wants to connect with you on facebook or twitter. Despite the generally harmless nature of these personifications, facebook/twitter friendship with social media personalities almost always has its pitfalls. Once you’ve accepted their friend requests (i.e. ‘liked’ their facebook page) you realize almost immediately that these social media personalities are nothing but narcissistic, self-involved assholes. All they do is talk about themselves and how great they are. “Blah, blah, blah check out MY new promotion.” “Blah, blah, blah, how great are MY prices?” It’s almost like they’re not your real friends at all and they just exist because some marketing survey somewhere said that a company’s profits will rise 1.5% if it pays a kid minimum wage to trade in his dreams of being a writer and hire him to personify Colgate brand toothpaste on a twitter account. No disrespect to you kid; I respect your hustle. I’d probably take that job too if I could get it. Mess around on facebook and twitter all day and get paid to do it? You, my friend, are living the dream.

Even though most rational people understand that social media personalities are really just marketing devices, this seemingly has not stopped companies from instructing their social media teams to try and connect to their followers on a human level. Somewhere along the line, marketing executives must have realized that people would be more likely to buy stuff from their companies if their social media personalities appeared to be affable characters rather than the self-involved jerks that they had traditionally been in the past. This is how you get the aforementioned Colgate tweeting a question like this during the holiday season:

“It’s the season for giving! How have you helped bring a smile to someone in need?”

On paper, I can see why this might be a good marketing technique. It’s like “hey everyone, it’s your good friend Colgate here to remind you that Colgate celebrates holidays too. Like a real human! Also, we support values like generosity and smiling! Next time you’re in the toothpaste aisle, think about how we like smiling and holidays just like you and pick up a box of Colgate!” In practice though, you have to wonder; who it is that actually responds to these questions? How lonely and desperate for a connection must a person be to delude himself into thinking that Colgate actually cares about his answer to that question? Worse yet, if the only people who respond to these things are lonely, desperate people, I can only imagine the types of responses Colgate must get:

“Been a while since I’ve made anyone smile Colgate. It seems like I’m a constant source of disappointment to everyone around me”

“Wish I had someone to give something to this year. I pushed all my friends and family away even though they were just trying to help me. Damn this meth addiction!”

“Season for giving? Why don’t you just call it the Christmas season you freedom hating commie liberal?”

I wonder whether the people who run Colgate’s twitter account have been given the necessary training to deal with responses like this. In my opinion, if someone is responding to these questions sincerely, it is definitely a cry for help of sorts. Let’s cut the middleman out altogether and just make the Colgate twitter account a forum for depression counselling. Talk about bringing a smile to those in need Colgate! Unless that was all talk?

My fascination with corporate twitter accounts began when I was scrolling across twitter one day and I came across one for hyhotels.com; a discount hotel booking website based in Ireland. I don’t know what it was that provoked me to follow @hyhohotels on twitter, but it was definitely one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life. Hyhohotels has, without a doubt, the best corporate twitter account in existence, if for no other reason than the fact that NONE of its tweets do anything positive for the promotion of its brand. Whereas other brands try to personify themselves inoffensively, with a sense of subtlety, Hyhohotels does the exact opposite. Whether it is through its use of irrelevant, often offensive non-sequitors, or through its attempts to nonsensically manipulate global trending topics to attract traffic, hyhohotels continually churns out hilarious, terrible attempts at brand marketing in less than 140 characters at a time. To give you a better understanding of what I mean, here are a few examples:

“Recession is when a neighbor loses his job. Depression is when you lose yours. Take a break with http://www.hyhohotels.com and avoid both”

What? No. That’s not what either of those words mean. Also, how the hell would booking a vacation during a time of economic downturn help me keep my job? Even more puzzling, how would my vacation help my neighbour keep his job? Or, was my vacation supposed to stop the economic downturn altogether? I DON’T GET IT. What if I book a vacation with another hotel booking website? Do I still achieve the same results? The whole thing is very confusing.

“A successful man is one who makes more money than his wife can spend. A successful woman is one who can find such a man.”

That’s it. That’s the whole tweet. No attempt to tie that back to their marketing strategy, just some good old fashioned reiteration of traditional gender roles. No idea how this would help them book hotel rooms unless they’re really trying to focus in on that untapped market filled with patriarchs who only want to book hotels from companies who share similar, patriarchal values.

“Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. Then when you criticize them, you’re a mile away and you have their shoes.”

Again, no attempt to tie this back to their marketing strategy. Hyhohotels appears to be advocating shoe theft and criticism of others. Does that mean that if I book one of their hotels, the staff will criticize me and then steal my shoes? Sounds like a terrible vacation. I get that it’s supposed to be a joke, but like, why…? Why does hyhohotels.com think that its twitter account needs to be a resource for comedy? No one is recruiting you to join the cast of SNL hyhotels.com so you can stop with the amateur hour.

“#DontYouJustHateWhen Ted says #ICantHaveARelationshipWithYouIf the #First20SongsOnShuffle are #20yearsofblink182. Book http://www.hyhohotels.com

This is one of those cases where the person who runs hyhohotels’ twitter tries to string together a series of unrelated trending topics and somehow relate these back to the hyhohotels website (coherence optional) in hopes of attracting traffic. I don’t even know how to dissect this one.

There is nothing I wish for more in this world than for hyhotels.com to exist as a real person. If it existed, I would make it my best friend and walk around with it and watch people react as it spouted nonsense like the examples above. I’d encourage it to try its comedy act out at open mic nights just to see the crowd’s reaction:

Open Mic host: “You might have seen this next comic on the internet while booking hotels, please welcome hyhohotels.com”

Hyhohotels.com: “Hey, how’s it going everyone? #HaveYouEverNoticed how some #Hotel booking websites have bad service? It’s probably because they’re run by women who are better off spending money rather than making it. #AmIRight? Book a vacation with us today at hyhohotels.com. And what’s with people who criticize others and stealing other peoples’ shoes?”

Audience: “Booooooooooo! Get off the stage!

Image

A couple months ago, I was having a conversation with a friend of mine who spent a good portion of her life living in The Ukraine. Due to some weird need I have to try and hear as much music as humanly possible, I asked her to send me some popular Ukrainian music. Much to my surprise and eventual misery, she sent me a rap song. Though it’s not in humanity’s best interests for anyone to have to see this, I’m going to post it here to provide some reference.

 

In recent times, I’ve tried my best to reserve judgement on other peoples’ music tastes. Partly because I want to seem less douchey/elitist, but mostly because I lost that right when I started listening to Waka Flocka Flame unironically. In the case of this particular song however, I am going to make an exception. If you like this song, you are objectively a horrible person. I hope all your electronic products have terrible battery lives and I hope your shoelaces are always wet. Full disclosure; I have no idea what this song is about because I don’t speak Ukrainian or Russian. In fact, I don’t even know if the song is sung in Ukrainian or Russian. I’m making all of my judgements strictly off of the music video. Note to self: Be less ignorant.

Anyways, watching this music video got me to thinking. These Ukrainian artists haven’t developed this view of hip-hop arbitrarily. They didn’t just wake up one day and say “We should put a bulldozer filled with money in our music video….Yeah, that’d be crazy. Then we can get a woman to rub the money on her titties” Even if it were satire, it’s badly written and painfully obvious. But this perception of hip hop has to have come from somewhere. Unfortunately, the painful realization is that this view must have come from hip-hop in North America. Is this what hip-hop looks like to foreigners? Do these guys look at Rick Ross and not realize that he’s playing a character? Separated from the context of the culture, it just seems cheesy and obnoxious. But then again, how relevant is hip-hop culture to a guy like Rick Ross? Most hip-hop was born of a very distinct culture. The black experience in America, being marginalized, the necessity to compete for survival, the feeling of succeeding when you’re constantly at a disadvantage; A desire to channel all these experiences artistically was the conception of hip-hop. When a rapper talked about how much money he had, it wasn’t because he wanted to brag. Rather, it was because he was overcome with joy at the fact that he was able to succeed in a world where he wasn’t supposed to. When a rapper then rapped about how much more money he had than you, it wasn’t because he wanted to rub it in your face, it was because life had always taught him that you must compete to survive. Again, full disclosure: I’m a 21 year old, suburban, Canadian kid of Indian descent talking about hip-hop culture. Take all of this with about 20 grains of salt. To be clear, I’m not saying that these things don’t still exist in America. Of course they do. But, are they as relevant to Rick Ross as they were to Ice T? Is it possible that the culture has been diluted over the years? I mean, the mere fact that I love hip-hop and I can relate to zero of those experiences must say something. I can recall a day when I was listening to the song “Clap” by Saigon and jamming along to the part that says “Clap your hands if you’re tired of hearing gunshots” when I realized that I’ve never heard a single gunshot. Unless you count white people racistly imitating Jamaicans and going “boop boop boop” …which I don’t think you can. So, this must speak to the fact that hip hop is no longer strictly about that culture. Like everything else in popular culture, once hip-hop became successful, people decided they’d capitalize off of its success. Many people who hadn’t lived the hip-hop culture decided they’d try to emulate it. This is how you get people like Mac Miller, an upper-middle class Jewish guy, rapping about how much money he has. Or Rick Ross, a documented former correctional officer, talking about selling kilos of cocaine. I’m sure their intentions aren’t to make a perversion of hip-hop culture, but in essence, this is what they are doing. But can they be blamed? It’s not like they’re the first people to do this. They’re simply following people who have done the same things in the past.

And so, finally, I’m getting around to my point. The caricaturization of hip-hop; why those Ukrainians had the perception of hip hop that they did. As time passes, hip hop becomes diluted at an exponential rate. You have people like Rick Ross who are emulating other people but then you have people rapping today who are emulating Rick Ross. Kids grow up today with Mac Miller as their influence. The longer this chain goes on, the further the artform deviates from its original state. We’ve taken something that was once true, reproduced it so many times, each time perverting it a little bit more. Because it’s so far from what it once was, everything begins to look like a satire by default. To give an analogy: think about the current Hollywood obsession with vampires. It has somehow reached a point where they’re making a movie where Abraham Lincoln is a vampire hunter. Does that not seem like a satire? So basically, I’m saying that Rick Ross is the “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” of rap music. To be clear, I’m not trying to hate on Rick Ross. The dude is a very talented rapper and I like a lot of his music. However, to further prove my point, imagine a scenario where Rick Ross wasn’t a famous rapper. Imagine you encountered Rick Ross at a restaurant and he was playing the exact same character he plays as a rapper. You would probably find it hilarious. You would tell all your friends about that fat guy you met who was clearly a correctional officer but tried to convince everyone he was a drug dealer. You might love him ironically but, by no means, would you take him seriously. And this is my point: That Ukrainian music video looked like the worst satire ever because it was emulating so many other things that looked like satire.

Editorial disclaimer: I’m not some annoying backpacker, rap purist who wants to go back to 1994. I’m not too sure why I wrote this. These were just some random thoughts floating around in my head that I wanted to get out.

If you know me at all, you know that one of my favourite things to do is to hate things. It’s like a pastime of mine. Some people paint, others play a sport, whereas me, I like to develop hatred towards any arbitrary thing that catches my attention. It’s very healthy. At least, that’s what I’d imagine a therapist would say about it if I were to ever consult one. Perhaps the only thing in this world that I don’t hate is when people tell me to “stop sippin’ the haterade.” Because really, who could get mad at an amazing turn of phrase like that?! Speaking of turns of phrases (an immaculate segue if I do say so myself), the point of this blog is to hate on a very different turn of phrase. The phrase I’m referring to is one that has caused my level of hate to rise to a point so high that its altitude is unmatched by almost anything else I can think of (except perhaps current gas prices. HA! topical, right?). The expression I’m referring to is “life’s too short.” These three words when used in this order have caused my blood to boil to such an extent that I have no choice but to write a blog about it that no one will read. (I really have to work on a more violent way to express my anger.)

If for no other reason at all, I hate the phrase “life’s too short,” simply because it’s cliché and completely devoid of any real meaning. Perhaps someone should tell people who say the phrase “life’s too short” that life IS too short. Life is definitely too short to be an unoriginal douchebag who says things like “life’s too short.” Yeah douchebag, life IS too short. It’s too short for you because, if there was any justice in the world, you would be killed immediately for using the phrase “life’s too short.” By the way, I’m aware of the painful irony of using the phrase “life’s too short” to make fun of those who say “life’s too short.” But I’ve never claimed to be anything other than an unoriginal douchebag, so it’s okay.

Of course, this rant isn’t going to end here (though I suspect you might wish it did). My problems with this expression extend way beyond its banal nature. I hate the phrase “life’s too short,” mostly because I hate the people who use it. In my experience, the people who use this phrase are optimists. These optimists are usually attempting to shrug off some sort of negative experience, or alternatively, attempting to persuade others to shrug off a negative experience. Did I mention I hate optimists? What the fuck is there to be optimistic about in this world? Next time you’re feeling even slightly optimistic, think about a starving child and put your shit back into perspective. But this is a discussion for a different time. My problem here is that people who use the phrase “life’s too short” aren’t even good optimists. Like, if you’re going to be optimistic, be optimistic. Marry a kitten at 5 in the morning or do whatever the fuck it is that optimists do. Don’t just continually remind yourself and others of their impending doom. By saying “life’s too short,” you’re basically saying “you’re going to die and so will all of your friends and family” This is a wildly inappropriate thing to tell someone when they’ve just had some sort of negative experience. Could you imagine if you were to come to me and tell me “I lost my job today,” and I was to respond by saying “Don’t worry too much man. You and everyone you know will die.” I’d imagine the reception to this would be a lot less welcoming than if I were to have said “Don’t worry too much man. Life’s too short.” MEANWHILE, I’M SAYING THE EXACT SAME THING. As an optimist, I’ve completely failed. A much better way to approach this would have been to respond, “That sucks. But go ahead and dwell on that as long as you want because you’ll get over it eventually and then you’ll have the rest of eternity to do other shit since we are all immortal.” Of course, I’d be lying, not to mention speaking in run-on sentences. But let’s be honest, aren’t all optimists liars anyways (to themselves)? I’m kidding. Sort of.

I know what you’re thinking now. You’re probably thinking, there’s NO WAY he has MORE to say about this topic. And like the clairvoyant individual I am, I’m right. Unfortunately, however, you are not. I still have a shit ton to say about this topic. Why, you may ask? Well, your answer is as good as mine. The next reason I hate the phrase “life’s too short” is because it presupposes effective time management skills; something people do not consider when they say it. Go ahead and say “life’s too short.” Sure. Just recognize that if you’re going to do so, you must be prepared to defend your use of every minute of your life. What the fuck do you do with your time anyways that’s so important that you can’t take some time out to experience a negative emotion that could potentially help you grow as a human being? I’ll go so far as to say that if you’ve ever watched even five minutes of MTV programming, the phrase “life’s too short” is off limits to you. Otherwise, the implication of this is that you’re aware of your mortality at all times and yet you STILL chose to watch that episode of Jersey Shore. By saying, “life’s too short” one is basically saying that every moment he/she has ever spent on this Earth has been devoted to something profoundly important. If this is the case, I relinquish you the right to use the expression “life’s too short” without any sort of judgement. I doubt, however, that such a person would want this right. There’s no way that such a profound individual would say a shitty phrase like “life’s too short.”

I’m almost done. I promise. For now, you’re forced to continue reading because you’re pretty much pot-committed. Anyways, my hatred for the aforementioned expression reaches its most tenacious when the expression is qualified with a specific condition. From time to time, I will see a statement that says something like “Life is too short to ____________ (insert something stupid here). When this happens, I get angrier than Elizabeth Berkley (Jessie from Saved By The Bell) must have been when her film career didn’t take off after all the distasteful nudity in “Showgirls.” And yes, I’m going with that ridiculously outdated, obscure movie reference because I can’t think of anything better. Recently, I saw a caption on someone’s facebook picture that actually said the words “life is too short to be anything but happy.” The level of stupidity of this caption is actually what inspired this blog post. First of all anonymous person, why is this the caption to your picture? Is this really what the picture is supposed to convey? This exact sentiment? Did you think it would portray an image of you as being a cute, fun-loving individual? Or, was it a misguided attempt to be deep? I DON’T UNDERSTAND. In any case, WHAT THE FUCK DOES IT EVEN MEAN?  Life is too short to experience a full range of human emotions? Huh? I want to sit down with this person and explain to them how emotions work as if they were three years old. I want to explain to this person that emotions work based on a sense of relativity. Does this person not understand that, without ever experiencing unhappiness, she wouldn’t understand what it means to be happy? If happiness is the only thing she ever feels then she won’t be able to appreciate it and she’ll just be an ungrateful asshole. If this is the existence she wants, she should just plug into the fucking matrix and leave the rest of us alone. I wonder what this person must think about people who suffer from depression. In her opinion, are depressed people just not aware enough of their mortality? I can imagine that, in her mind, she must think that crippling depression just shows up to someone’s door and has a conversation like this:

Depression:  “Hey, I’m here to greatly hinder your progress as a human being for the next little while”

Human: “Fuck off depression. I’m dying in 60 years”

Depression: “Damnit! Another person who knows how short life is. We’d be able to get so many more people if it wasn’t for that girl’s caption on her facebook picture!”

How does she not understand that emotions are not dictated by one’s awareness of their mortality? To take her conclusion further; if life is too short to be anything but unhappy, she clearly does not experience sadness. This means that this girl has no empathy. She probably watches World Vision commercials and feels the same emotions she feels while skipping rope (simply because life is too short to feel anything else). This leads me back to the conclusion that this girl is an ungrateful asshole. Clearly this girl is a horrible person and not worth talking about anymore.

So, in conclusion, please don’t use the expression “life’s too short.” There is, of course, one exception. If you are using the phrase “life’s too short” to describe why you didn’t read this blog post, I’ll support your usage 100%