March 13th, 2007

Tom Lehrer is Smug

we have always been at war with east asia junior high

I'm awake, alive, conscious, keeping down liquids, and I never want to go through that hell again. Every time I feel a burp coming on I psychologically steel myself for the awful taste -- and it's a goddamn relief when the taste doesn't come on. That means HEY I MIGHT LIVE.

So off I went, happily toddling to work this morning, and discovered that the Metro was taking great pains to ensure I remained pleasantly nauseated: first, there was a big, beautiful, glaring "would of" on the front page. Oh, glee! Hand me the red marker, Timmy, we're going grammar hunting!

Second, an article inside discussed how overconcerned upper middle-class parents with a great deal of disposable income can now keep track of their precious teenage offspring with any number of GPS devices embedded in cellphones or car keyrings. One such device is named and marketed, without any hint of irony whatsoever, as the "Big Brother Teen Tracker".

I'll wait until that eyebrow of yours has dropped back down to its regular position.

Now I don't know which is worse: the company that'd choose to market a product under this name, or the consumer who'd willingly choose it because they make a connection with some memory of a long-forgotten book they had to read in 8th Grade English which was boring and had to do with like rats or something. (These people ranked the book just above the Worst Book They Ever Read, which was that story of the old guy who went out fishing and waited and waited and waited and it was boring and then he caught a big fish and then he sailed back home and by the time he got home, the sharks had eaten all of the fish so what was the point I mean honestly?)

Actually, I know the worst part: The fact that a generation of kids are growing up learning that this kind of surveillance is a-okay. Anybody can and should be able to spy on you and keep track of your every movement because you're obviously not capable of independent thought and action on your own. This goes beyond the "under 18, under parental jurisdiction" thought, mind you. Blind acquiescence to authority is taught early and is meant to transcend age.

According to these people, there's no such thing as parental trust anymore. Parents apparently can't trust their kids to make solid decisions or even to call in and say "Hey, I'm here, everything's cool." This means kids must have a transmitter on them at all times which calls in a special alert when they stray from their appropriate zones of travel. Only recently has it been realized that this tracking system can be easily done via cellphone or car keys rather than the old method, which required taking the kid down with a tranq dart from 500 feet, then clipping a colored tag on its ear and releasing it back into the wilds of Hubert Humphrey High (watch out when they wake up; they may be groggy at first, but they certainly can get very irritable!)

This means the kids eventually realize they can't trust their parents to consider them capable of making solid decisions, so they do their darndest to subvert the systems and the glorious cycle of distrust and suspicion continues to churn along. But still, the seed is planted, the seed that says this kind of surveillance is normal and should be expected.

I'm sure we all have a Kill Me If list tucked away in some notebook or segment of brain matter; the list of proclamations you've made in confidence (sober or otherwise) to your closest friends, advising them to please do the humane thing and put you out of your misery should you ever grow old and betray your carefully-chosen principles of youth. Kill Me If... I should ever buy a station wagon for the purpose they're made (and not for, say, a bitchin' art car.) ...If I should ever lead my toddler around in public on a leash. ...If I should ever willingly say "I better not, I should be in bed before 11 tonight." (Oops.)

Please add "...if I ever decide I can't trust my own offspring and thus decide to tag 'em with an Orwellian GPS tracker" to my list. Maybe you'll choose to put it on your own as well; just don't ask me to fulfill the prophecy. I've already cheated death many times over with the In Bed Before 11 part.
RKO Radio Pictures

Don't let them turn it BACKWARDS... FORWARDS... or UpSiDe DoWn

I forgot to send this one over the tubes last weekend but altoidsaddict brings us this lovely piece of American ephemera: A drive-in intermission message denouncing Daylight Saving Time. I especially like the "Follow the sun" bit, which almost veers into Polyphonic Spree territory for a moment there.

At first this may seem like a real non-sequitur. I mean, who would have it in for DST so bad they'd make an announcement (albeit one with a catchy tune) like this? Indiana residents? Well, okay, but the answer is much more simple when you think about it: Drive-In operators themselves.

Daylight Saving Time pushes the clocks forward during the spring and summer months, so the sun goes down later. Seeing as how you can't watch a drive-in movie until the sun's fully set, the drive-ins -- still firmly attached to the belief that they provide quality family entertainment, not just for a place for hormonal teenagers without GPS units to try for a ground-rule double -- must start their movies later. Kids have to be in bed early and teenagers have curfews and all that rot, so it's easy to see how drive-ins would consider DST a severe blow to their income. Besides, a double feature ending at 10:00 feels a lot earlier than one ending at 11:00.

Don't you agree?

Then WRITE YOUR NEWSPAPER EDITOR
...AND YOUR GOVERNOR