Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Pride and Prejudice: WWF

Ask people to give their thoughts on racial jokes and stereotypes, and you’re bound to get an abundance of answers. I tend to find the whole issue rather polarizing.

On one hand you have those that are so uptight, that even the slightest jab at a perceived racial or cultural stereotype will make them cringe in discomfort.

On the other hand, you have those that can find humor and maybe even a cheeky laugh in some of the absurdities of modern stereotypes. Perhaps they adhere to the view of Comedian Russel Peters, who rather adequately sums it up when he says, “I don’t make the stereotypes. I just see them”. 

As someone who keeps a stable of diverse friends (no I’m not using the word stable to imply that some of them are fit for a barn), the ability to laugh at our collective differences together, is somewhat of a beautiful thing. 

I think the progress we have made as society is remarkable. And to emphasize that very point, I’m going to bring all of you a variety of things from my youth that would make the sensitivity police scream foul. 

As many of you who grew up in the 90’s can attest to, WWF was the coolest shit on television at the time. For comparisons sake, I tried to look at the new generation of WWF (I guess it’s called WWE now), and I simply wasn’t thrilled. Here are two awesome clips featuring Razor Ramon (probably the only wrestler with chest hair), and the Million Dollar Man, Ted DiBiase. 
Sexism? Check.
Stereotyping Latinos everywhere? Check.
Would this fly today? I doubt it.
Is it offensive? Probably.
Is it entirely hilarious? You better believe it.

Here's some more blatant (yet somewhat hilarious) racism thanks to our friends at WWF:

Monday, January 24, 2011

Cheaper by the Dozen: The Twelves

There's something inherently cool about Brazil. The football. The women. The culture. Somehow even a film like City of God does little to damper the appeal and image of this country.

Diplo may have flashed his international hood pass, gone to Brazil, and brought back the phenomenon that was Baile Funk, but it's not the only Brazilian export that's making our heads nod.

I already spoke of my discovery of the Twelves, but it seems they just can't stop coming out with ridiculously danceable remixes and original material. In an era of music where it seems everyone is doing the same thing, it's refreshing to hear a group with a unique sound that's also chock full of quality. Here's the latest from this Rio based outfit:

As I eluded to earlier, these guys have a knack for turning out ridiculous remixes of things you should never find yourself dancing to. When's the last time you thought of playing Radiohead at a dance party?

If you want to hear these guys in action, check out their set for BBC's Essential Mix, or one of my favorites, 30 minutes of Twelves.

Don't call this woman. Listen to her music.

Our taste in music may not match yours, but don't stress this minor deet. In fact, be grateful, because we’re about to shovel heaps of obscure, zany artists and deejays down your modem so that when you’re lost and lonely at the party and the iPod is free, you can take over and raise hairs with new trax that none of the chaps or lassies know about. 

Birds might shriek and cry a bit because they wanted "Sex on Fire" or "California Girls", and bros will say your shit is ghey and Euro, but just stick with your guns and trust us Fine Young Casuals to take you up a notch.

Even if the entire party breaks out in uproar over your weird, indie tunes, we say that any attention is good attention so just bob your head a bit and get into your own wee groove. Chances are there is some fit emo chick creeping in the corner rolling cigs who has noticed your alternative persuasion and will invite you for a smoke outside so that you can talk about Camus, alt music (we can be your bluffer's guide), and eventually hook.

That’s what music is all about anyway really, getting some ____ .

Music from FIFA

Not only is FIFA the most brilliant video game ever created, it also boasts some of the best sound tracks year after year. Sure some of the songs can be downright terrible, but it's not even close to the stupidity that they've jammed into the Madden series.

Here are a few of my favorites for this installment of Music from FIFA..

I don't really know much about this group, but I like everything I've heard. Laid back, and definitely worth a listen.

Tribalistas - "Je Sei Namorar" (FIFA 2005):

Before Apple used this killer track to huck iPods and white ear buds, FIFA put me onto this track.

The Ceasars - "Jerk It Out" (FIFA 2004):

One of my favorite groups (the Twelves that is) at the moment, got smart to them thanks to FIFA.

The Black Kids - "Boyfriend (The Twelves Remix)" (FIFA 2009):

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Everybody's Doing It

Everybody's doing it so why shouldn't we- even if this is our second attempt at creating a blog which has no specific theme, concept or structure. I propose that you as readers (we currently lack readership but we're bound to get some groupies one of these days) submit topics on whatever troubles you about the way society is heading or dilemmas you are facing and F.Y.C will be thrilled to give you our 2 cents. It could work like this:

[Groupie #1]: "I've recently been fired from my corporate job because I wasn't enthusiastic enough about flipcharts, didn't integrate well in an office that rations biscuits and got in a fight with the vice president of UBS. What do I do with my life, guys?!?! xoxo"

We will lap this shit up like it’s a spilt 4LOKO and contemplate it with the utmost sincerity so we can ensure a succinct and thoughtful response.

[F.Y.C.]: "Groupie #1, you probably weren't cut out for a 9-5 in which conversation about London's weather with Charlotte in admin was the high point of your day because she always wore tight blouses and flicked her hair a lot. We advise you to pick up blogging and djaying the odd Wednesday at a hipster dive."

How's that for some sound advice ey? We can be your online agony aunties who like taking the piss but also properly ponder over even your most trivial concerns and queries. i.e:
[AspiringWriterDude23] “ I’m considering starting a blog to propel my writing, should I?”
We would probably advise against this as it really eats into valuable time you could be watching Jersey shore or poncing around on your electric key board pretending you're Justice or Alicia Keys.
We will also reward regular visitors to our site with great music and our insight into new media advertising so there really is no reason why you shouldn’t join our Fine Young Casual’s firm. INNIT BRUV.

PS. If you're working in an office like groupie #1 was, take heed of this:

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Weekend Tunes | Classixx

This might be the best group you've never heard of. If you like electro, disco, pool party music, whatever the hell you genre happy people like calling stuff, you're going to dig on Classixx. If you don't, you'll still probably like it. It's a nice break from alot of the heavy electro stuff that was coming out in recent years. Why am I even explaining stuff, here's some must hear tunes from these guys. Form your own opinion.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Verizon and the iPhone

So AT&T is finally going to lose it's stranglehold on the much coveted iPhone; a device that by all accounts is probably going to cure world hunger some day.

Unless you've been living under a rock, you'll know that Verizon will soon be getting Apple's prized device.

For what seems to be such a monumental occasion, especially for Verizon, the first installment seems rather underwhelming (I'm going to go out on a whim and say it's probably going to get significantly more intense as we approach the launch day).

Here's the commercial they've decided to run to kick start the campaign:

I actually am somewhat of a fan of all of this. Mostly because Verizon announced that it was going give existing customers the option to get the device a full week before everyone else. All this is shocking to me, because most providers are out to get you to sign on the dotted line, forget about you, and secure more customers. Growth at all costs.

But before I go on praising the whole thing too much, I'd also be doing whatever I could to keep people hyped and happy on getting a phone that's about a year old now too.

Let's see how they handle the situation when all their users sign up for the iPhone 4, with the 5th gen set to come out in June.

I'm happy with my Motorola RAZR. T-9 and sexting made simple.

Are the creatives getting uncreative?

They say that imitation is the greatest form of flattery. This could be true. While those who are uninformed may call sampling in the context of music “unoriginal”, how does it shape up in the world of advertising? Is the fact that I’m writing about two of these seemingly unoriginal ideas not proof that their very purpose might actually be achieved?

Dos X “The Most Interesting Man in the World”
I won’t lie; Dos X has done a great job crafting a spokesperson that leaves us all wondering, who is this man, and most importantly, what is his name? The Most Interesting Man in the World is a great personification of the brand, and I’m sure countless consumers feel a notch above the hopeless hacks drinking watered down domestics. I personally just like saying, ”Dos X”, out loud. 

But beyond the slick presentation, the elegant women, and the suave nature of The Most Interesting Man in the World, we’re left with a sophisticated version of the much overplayed Chuck Norris joke series.

Take this tidbit of original copy: “He would show you his feminine side…if he had one”.

Out of context, and with no previous exposure to the Dos X ads, you would be fooled into thinking this is clearly a Chuck Norris reference.


T-Mobile “iPhone vs MyTouch”
I hate Apple. I don’t know why, I just do. Yet I am constantly applauding their product design, functionality, and most importantly their branding and advertising. They’re brilliant, and I’m probably just jealous. Then again, I hated Michael Jordan when he was a player, and now I’m considering having kids just so I can tell them about my time watching the greatest basketball player of all time.

Launching their 4G network and MyTouch device, T-Mobile is running a play on the popular “I’m a Mac” adverts. To me, at least Microsoft, who was directly challenged by Apple, came back with some decently creative work. But then again, it’s hard to mess things up when you hand Crispin Porter  + Bogusky $300million.

I understand the concept of playing off a widely successful Apple ad campaign. You see that’s why Apple is rather brilliant. Simple concept, simple set up. And everyone knows exactly which ads I’m talking about.

I understand that bagging on AT&T’s much maligned service is beyond easy.

Does all this give you license to (uncreatively) steal someone else’s work?

I mean, not only have they stolen the premise and concept of the ads, it seems like the script copy follows the same lines as well.  Part of me has to believe that the whole thing had to be some kind of ironic parody. But aren’t parodies supposed to contain some element of quality? Judgin by the “Scary Movie” franchise reaching four releases, maybe I’m underestimating the American public’s craving for utter bollocks.

And what’s up with the knock off Catherine Zeta-Jones in the ads?

Love in the Digital Age

Humanity has come a long way. From the invention of the wheel, fire, and gunpowder, we have progressed to a point where you can buy anything from toothpaste to automobiles on the internet. If you are interested in learning how to skin a moose, there are plenty of videos on YouTube. This has me wondering why people are so taken back by the fact that you can find your life partner on the internet?

I don't think the act of finding someone online is what is actually frowned upon. The issue cuts much deeper. In fact, I would venture that the root of the problem begins with the Achilles heel of our society, small talk. We can't get away from it. Much like compromise, small talk is a situation in which no one really wins. Neither side wants any piece of the conversation, yet both sides are more engaged than they would in any organic conversation. There are certain conventions and customs that must not be broken.

Just for a moment imagine you've met someone online. Really, no one has to know this right? I mean, you're together, in person, not on the internet. Most importantly, you are happy. And you should be, you were compatible on 37 out 40 dimensions.
You now find yourself at a couples dinner party. You didn't want to go, but your friend insists. "Bring the new girlfriend", he says. "Oh, and you've really got to meet Ted and Sarah".

You should of guessed the night was off to a bad start right from the beginning. You ring the door bell and someone you presume to be Ted opens the door. Instantly you are put off by his grin and lack of footwear. Why the fuck is Ted barefoot at a dinner party? Now you are asked to take off your shoes. You wouldn't want to upset the feng shui of the apartment.

You're seated at a table that you can only assume with 97% certain was purchased at IKEA. The wine, Trader Joes. The roast looks like it was made by someone who watches Top Chef. No one that knows how to cook watches Top Chef.

You remember why you hate meeting new people.

"What did you study in school?"

"Do you enjoy what you do?"

"Have you seen the documentary about micro-loans in South East Asia?...Quite an industrious people they are... Yes, it's on PBS"

Nothing like bottled questions to liven up an evening. All smiles, no substance.

You smile and nod politely. In turn they inform you that everything you have told them was interesting.

"Really? Were you that intrigued by the fact I studied History in college?"

Truthfully, you would both much rather like to express that you spent 4 days a week inebriated, finding new ways to make Ramen. But this is small talk.

Small talk is a lot like Fight Club. And just like Fight Club, there are rules to small talk. Sadly, the first rule of small talk is not the same as the first rule of Fight Club. Small talk is very real. And you must remember the first rule, you can never tell the truth. Especially the whole truth.

And then it happens.

"So where did you meet?" inquires one of the guests.

It's out of your control. You are taken back. The jig is up. You get that familiar feeling you had as a child. The kind of feeling you get after your parents catch you lying.

You reply, "what do you mean?"

You know what's happening. But you don't want to upset the false sense of enjoyment that has been meticulously built through an hour of pointless banter and opining about the state of our nation's health care system.

"Come on, where did you guys meet?" adds another.

And here in lies the dilemma facing every eHarmony user on the planet. You're happy. Until the moment you are forced to unveil the shocking truth.

It's one of those moments you have prepared for all day. You know it was coming. You have some bullshit story about the dog park. Maybe the local Starbucks. Something.

You've recited it in your head. You are ready. You'd done the fire drill hundreds of times. But nothing compares to the real thing. The smoke, the heat.

Panic. The alarm was buzzing. You can't see more than 3 feet in front of you. You have to think fast. Social conventions depended on it.

And yet, all you mumble is, "online".

Better luck next time, stumble bum.

You broke the rules. You were honest during small talk.

Too honest.


This whole thing has been a long standing side project. I'm not quite sure how it will turn out, but hopefully I can make it work this time. We don't have a mission. The blog is about whatever comes to mind at the time. It might be short stories, it might be our insights into every day life. Whatever it turns out to be, we hope it's entertaining.

There isn't much further insight I can give you into the name, or anything else for that matter. It's a work in progress, and we're setting out to build it slowly but steadily.

So sit back, and enjoy the ride.