IMPACT Press: Article: Dec. '99/Jan. '00


Dec. '99/Jan '00

The Creationism

Notes from the Cultural Wasteland

The Liberal

Overpriced Musings:

These Are
Not God's Eyes

(music reviews)

Senate to World:
"Screw You!"

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over-priced musings

brought to you by
Don Pflaster

is the Fruit
of the Devil

When I was 9 years old, the Transformers™ were the center of the universe. My playmates and I spent countless hours on the playground pretending to transform ourselves into the Optimus Prime™ rig, the Wheeljack™ sports car, the Ratchet ™ ambulance, and a whole slew of other amazing shapes that are physically impossible for the human body to contort itself to emulate. Those robots on TV did it pretty effortlessly, I'll tell you what.

A couple years later, the Transformers™ movie emerged, and I watched in horror and excitement as the lives of many of my favorite characters ended suddenly in the great battle for Autobot™ City in 2005. What a cool thing, I thought then, that the makers of Transformers™ would make such a bold change to the show's universe and kill off so many characters. I was blissfully unaware when all the defunct Decepticons™ were rescued, repaired by Unicron™, and given entirely new bodies, that a giant capitalist venture was underway to sell me a new line of toys: Cyclonus™, Scourge™, and the Sweeps™.

It pisses me off nowadays to peruse that old movie and see nothing more behind it but a cleverly sculpted one-and-a-half hour commercial. I feel raped, used, and stepped on by mainstream toy marketing -- an unwitting slave, although a part of me (which may never die) still loves the Transformers™.

The same thing happened in my days of junior high, where Nintendo deeply drove their meat hooks into my young, unformed thirst for play and sold me Super Mario Bros. ™ and The Legend of Zelda™. Come to think of it, were it not for all the other cool kids at school gaping at their "Nintendo Power" magazines, I might not have been pressured into purchasing toys.

Nowadays, I watch my 7-year-old little brother walking around the house singing, "Gotta catch 'em all, gotta catch 'em all -- Pokemon™!!" I watch him glued to the Nintendo Game Boy™ portable gaming device with the Pokemon™ cartridge in it, bottom lip hanging open as though his motor control has ceased to exist, ignoring my mother's calls to dinner in order to capture a few more seconds of Pokemon™ bliss.

Now I'm guilty of the same things in my childhood, so this isn't a reaming of my little brother's manners. It's another "shame on corporate America" thing. I'm fond of those -- because those rat bastards really need a kick in the ass for stealing the wonderful hours of our children's youth away, making their play more imitative than imaginative. I don't have a single one of my Transformers™ left, and my parents no doubt dropped hundreds of dollars on these plastic pieces of corporate turd. Kids have no clue whatsoever, and toy manufacturers know it. They depend on it. Joe Camel™ doesn't hold a candle to the kind of atrocities toy retailers perpetrate in trying to peddle their cast-molded wares of hellspawn.

I know what some of you are thinking: "Oh, there goes Pflaster again, picking on corporate America. Geez, Don, don't you realize that it's just the nature of capitalism? The people who work for these corporations mean well. They're trying to maximize shareholder value and make the company the greatest one in the world." Uh-huh. Yeah, I understand. We live in an age of turbo capitalism, and everything revolves around money. I just don't like it, though.

Adam Curry said that he left his job as an MTV veejay when he started hearing things like, "We're not buying enough videos from Warner Bros." My man Adam saw clearly that the spirit of MTV was on the decline. When I see Nintendo in bed with Burger King selling these infernal Pokemon™ thingamajiggers, I want to vomit in five fashion colors. You know it's really out of hand when parents beat the living fuck out of each other trying to secure the last Furby™ off the store shelf two minutes after Toys R' Us opens. Such a scene is simply sick.

One only needs to step into Times Square, the epicenter of popular culture, to be completely overwhelmed by the disgusting pursuit of excess. Capitalism is not without its charms, but a large part of making it work is responsibility, something the human race has had trouble with for ... oh lets see ... the beginning of humanity.

So as you walk about your day, take a note of how polluted the earth gets when a conglomeration of money-hungry monkeys take over the earth. Behemoth conglomerates are too big for anyone to stop -- the only people who will ever rise to the top are those who actually care about the boring fucking business world enough to make it work for them. The very best any of us can hope to do is to not support the filth they over-peddle, but of course, it isn't our choice. What will Christopher think if his parents don't love him enough to buy him a Pet Rock™?

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