“Let them eat humans”

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Have you seen the Snicker’s Peanut Butter & Chocolate Squares commercial?  The one with the focus group comprised of Sharks.  Sharks that are sitting in a conference room, speaking English and comparing tasty humans? (it’s below if you haven’t seen it yet)

It’s a brilliant commercial.  First off, it is clearly eye catching and in this age of short attention span theater that either requires or is created by (or a bit of both) quick and flashy advertising, it works.  It parodies itself and the concept of “commercial” with a common advertising scenario – focus groups.  And it’s also winning in using anthropomorphism – a common go-to or “crutch” in commercials.  (If you don’t agree with that last comment, watch the “winning” Super Bowl Commercials and then tell me I’m wrong.)

But what I love (and mayhap fear a little about it) is how it portrays the advertising industry and large corporations.  In the spot, the premise is that Snickers is using a focus group to test how great it’s product is, and they test it by FEEDING THEIR HUMAN CUSTOMERS TO SHARKS.  And not just sharks (as if “just sharks” is a phrase that should ever  be used), but sharks that live on dry land and who speak … english – so, yes, these sharks are MONSTERS (or lawyers or agents or … well, you can fill in whatever snarky sharky comment you like).  It’s funny, it’s clever, it’s downright frightening.  As if to say “we will maximize profits any way we can, and yes that may include feeding you to monsters, and yes we will do it in a way that is entertaining to you, so eat up.”

I know, I know,  it’s a commercial.  And I know that I am in danger of becoming a rambling, crazy old man with nothing better to do than rage against the machine.  But what’s more frightening:  that Snicker’s doesn’t realize that this campaign can be construed this way; or that they intended it to be construed this way?

I don’t know the answer.  It’s great commercial.  It’s a clever commercial.  And it is not, methinks, particularly untrue.

Eat up America.  Eat up.

 

Fearless Compassion?

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Is that what I said my New Year’s Resolution would be … or my “motto”?  Well, spank my ass and call me a loser, because I have been failing miserably.  Fearless?  Hardly.  Lot’s of fear this year and I’m not just writing that because it rhymes.  Fear of where I am at, where I am going, where I’ve been and “what the fuck am I doing,” seems at times to overtake my mind.  There is a swirling vortex of doubt where my brain should be and it seems to grow louder the more I listen to it.

“It seems to grow louder”?!?  Of course it gets louder when I listen to it – the attention drives it, feeds it, helping it get stronger, until it threatens to overtake.  Everything.

Over-dramatize much?

The beauty of all this is that I know this is what I do, it’s one of the reasons I started learning about Buddhism.  To notice the thought, to recognize the fear, and to give it no more attention than that.  And yet here I am, complaining about the very battle I chose to engage in.  If one decides to climb over over a wall rather than go around it, blast through it or merely stay behind it, does it make sense to complain about the climb’s difficulty?  Shall I insult the wall for being there?  For being solid?  For daring to be in my way?  If so, I might as well cast aspersions upon the sun for exposing the wall, malign the Earth for giving it ground or defame gravity for preventing my flight.

It’s unprofitable in the very least and yet it’s a practice I fall into so much so as to earn the title of “habit.”  I find a sort of comfort in the discomfort of fear and doubt.  I wrap them around me like a blight binky, a doubt duvet, an uncomfortable comforter.

[I had a blankey as a child; it was soft and blue and reassuring and perfect.  To the extent I identified myself with anything, I identified myself with it.  It was something I had before I knew what it was to have – there are photos of me as an infant wrapped with that same blankey.  I can’t recall what percentage of cotton or rayon it was composed of, but there was a regal silken fringe that began to fray and separate from the rest with time, as if it’s coming apart was commensurate with my growing up and away from it.  I don’t know where it ended up, I think it may have become part of the whelping box we created for Channel, our shaggy, sweet and loyal Briard when she gave birth to her litter of 13.  I’d like to think that’s where it went, I know that my other childhood touchstone – my Winnie The Pooh (prounounced “Winnie -a – Pooh”) – became the constant, comforting companion to her beau (appropriately named Beau); while the Mrs. was down in the basement getting on with the doggie birthing making him a proud papa.]

Why do I do it, do I revel in this discomfort?   I’d like to think this fear festival is more a cerebral self defense mechanism than any personal desire I have to revel in victim-hood (or as my sister is wont to say: “throwing a poor, pitiful, Pearl, party”).  Though I can’t say that the victim card is not in my deck.  But this self defense mechanism idea is one I’d like to run with … my brain’s self defense mechanism.  The way I see it, if I am working to train my mind to be present and engage in “right thinking” – my nagging, doubting, and untamed mind will take any opportunity to break through the defenses and come back stronger.  When I stop my meditation practice (yes, yes, I know how “hippy” and “eye-roll inducing” that may sound), when I stop noticing and seeing and start judging and worrying, the vortex comes back, strong.  I think that makes sense, doesn’t it?  Of course I am now questioning the logic of my own thought processes and opining on what I think about the answers I am coming up with for those questions … creating, it would seem, another swirling vortex of thoughts in an already overcrowded cranium.  With all these thought tornadoes one would think there was a trailer park in my brain.

So what is there to do?  I could continue to analyze, to criticize to even sympathize with myself in this struggle.  But that won’t help.  What I must do is be compassionate enough with myself – notice the struggle, move on and know that I can be as free from it as I choose to be.  I can also bitch about it in writing a blog that no-one will read.  But why would I want to do that?