Monthly Archives: April 2009

Disturbing Strokes

Is Gary Coleman being abducted by a rich white man? You have to check out this video remix of the TV show Different
Strokes' opening credits done with Bernard Herrmann-like music instead
of the insipid jingle originally used. I noticed it first on Bill
Barol's blog on True/Slant and he found it on YouTube. It was produced by Monty Propps.


Are You Ready for the Age of Post-Race Advertising?

I usually don’t mind the Peninsula Hotels’ advertisements in luxe-audience pubs like the Economist. They present the staff loving their jobs, reveling in the life of the service class. Not a bad ploy. Some people really do enjoy the art and profession of serving others in a friendly work environment, and the Peninsula chain should be proud that it is consistently rated among the world’s best hotels.



But this bit of art direction stopped me cold. A little rich white girl holding a little white doll about to get into a big black car with the door held open by a smiling black doorman in clean, white gloves. Whoa. Takes me back to 1920. Shades of Driving Miss Daisy.

The ad is not horrendous. The doorman is a real person–don’t know
about the girl–and the scenario is probably accurate to the world they
live in (this one looks like the one in Chicago). In the Obama era, we’re supposed to be beyond wringing our hands about racial stereotypes and caste roles.

I just wonder what kinds of conversations went on before the decision was made to set up this situation, art direct it in this way and choose this photo. Why would you want to underscore with a Sharpie all that history of racial divides just to sell 200-thread count nights? In a quirky coincidence, right next to the ad the Economist ran a profile of former ANC intelligence boss and soon-to-be South African president Jacob Zuma, who spent a decade or more in prison under apartheid.

But the Kindle you can still use with one hand

Amazon making new enemies tonight with breaking news that it de-ranks books from its sales rankings that it deems too "adult" for fam-friendly audience. Backlash TBD, but due to the preponderance of gay and lesbian titles being disappeared from the ranks, this news will irk the G&L crowd until Amazon does something lickety split. Hundreds of gay & lesbian books have disappeared, according to CNET. They're still sold, mind you, just not ranked. Still ranked, however, is the excellent
Rosemary Rogers' "Sweet Savage Love," which will only offend people who like to read good books.