Sunday, May 20, 2018

Is Root Insurance the Mark of the Beast?

A few years ago I bashed Progressive Insurance (and Flo) for promoting some kind of "safe driver" device that one could stick on their dashboard which would then record certain things concerning driving habits, which could then be used to determine how "safe" the particular drivers were and then determine how much those drivers should pay for car insurance.  My main gripe was that Progressive was pitching this Spy Box as a really cool way to get a discount by letting your insurance company into your car to watch how you drive.

Well, it seems that there's this new insurance company whose entire premise is based on watching its customers every move and only selling policies to people who convince it that those drivers will never need to actually collect on those policies.  It's a pretty slick idea, considering that there's only two reasons why people buy car insurance:

1.  To be covered in case of an accident, and
2.  Because state laws require it.

So if you want Root Insurance, you download the App, which then spies on you for a few weeks to make sure you live up to Root's extremely high standards.  If you "pass," you get to buy the insurance, which I assume is discounted because most people don't pass.  I'm also going to assume that if you get into an accident and file a claim, your insurance premiums are going to skyrocket or you'll be cancelled- after all, this insurance is for GOOD drivers and the whole point of this ad is to tell us that other insurance policies are awful because they cover less-than-perfect drivers (who at the moment don't need to be spied on by their own companies, though it's only a matter of time, isn't it?)

So go ahead and download the Root Insurance App and know that every move you make in your car will be judged by a company which has told you in advance that it only insures drivers who drive according to an extremely high standard and is ready to dump you overboard the first time you hit those brakes just a little too hard for it's tastes.  Don't even think about changing that radio channel or talking on the phone while driving, because you can bet that's a big no-no over at Root HQ.  Or you could just buy a policy from a company that doesn't insist on being a passenger on every drive.  Your choice, but this is just another reason why I don't miss owning a car. 

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Prager U- offering a PhD in Hate

This episode- err, "class," is presented by Douglas Murray, the author of "The Strange Death of Europe," yet another hateful, stupid polemic which argues that Europe becoming more brown and less Christian = Europe Dying.  In other words, he's a great fit for Prager U, the blog that thinks it's a school which dispenses ignorant propaganda it thinks is education.

Murray "explains" to us "students" that some decades back waves of immigrants came into Europe from the Middle East- "most weren't expected to stay" (he doesn't tell us whose expectations he's quoting.)  I guess Murray believes that people of particular skin tones and beliefs also have particular areas of the world they've been assigned as Homelands, and that any dark person who travels to Europe really ought to be made aware that they are "just visiting" an alien world and are expected to return to their "proper home" in the very near future.

Despite the "expectations" of someone, "many stayed.  And why wouldn't they?"  Murray goes on to complain that the "visitors" didn't "go home" because Europe foolishly offered two things- a better economy than the one they could find in their native land, and (of course) a stronger social welfare system.  In other words, the migrants stayed because they found more opportunity in Europe, Oh The Horror.  Never mind that Murray just described why millions of Europeans fled to North America for centuries, that's Different Because Reasons.

The bottom line of this rancid, steaming, putrid pile of xenophobic cow pie is that Murray is attempting to hide his obvious racism behind a defense of "tradition" (Europe has "always" been Judeo-Christian-- actually for centuries just Christian with the Judeo junior partner being viciously discriminated against, but never mind that inconvenient truth) and equating Europe becoming more diverse to "committing suicide."  What a disgusting Neo-Nazi (I don't use the term "Alt-Right," because "Neo-Nazi" fits just fine, thank you.)  And what a great fit for Prager U, the blog where brain cells go to die.  I guess since people watch this junk voluntarily, it is itself a form of suicide, isn't it?

Friday, May 18, 2018

CENTRIC - the channel for Black Women? We sure about that?

I'm the least-qualified person on the planet to argue what black women want in a television channel, so I'm not going to criticize an ad which suggests that what black women want is a channel which celebrates black women who are mothers, jet-setters, go-getters, "bad-asses," or just stare at the screen like they are trying to make my head explode with their minds.  White women have had Lifetime for years- if there's a channel designed to appeal specifically to black women, that's just fine with me and the last thing any black woman needs is a white guy telling them that what they want is really stupid and shallow and brain cell-killing unconstructive, pointless drivel.  So I won't go there.

But here's where I will comment:  I was on the elliptical at the gym the other day scrolling through the channels looking for something to watch until I reached my mileage goal and naturally came across a showing of The Shawshank Redemption.  I say "naturally" because it's a little known fact of television science that The Shawshank Redemption is playing on at least one channel in the television universe every minute of every day, it's just a matter of finding the right one at any given moment.  Thing is, I found it on Centric.

Now, again, I am not qualified to know what black women want in a television channel.  But The Shawshank Redemption does not feature a single black actress.  It includes exactly one scene featuring a white woman who has no lines.  It includes exactly one black male actor who spends the film surrounded by white male actors.  It's one of the most male, most white films made in the past forty years.  But there it was, on Centric, the channel for black women.

Here's what I suspect- Judging from the previously-stated fact that The Shawshank Redemption is on tv all the time, it's a film that is practically in the public domain, available for nothing or next to nothing to any cable channel that wants to chop it up, inundate it with seemingly endless commercials (mostly for the channel) so it's run time extends to three and a half hours, and throw it on the air to save the money original material costs.  Doesn't matter what the target audience is or the niche the channel is allegedly trying to fill- The Shawshank Redemption is just fine for Comedy Central, UPN, USA Network*, the SciFi Channel, the History Channel, whatever- it's a cheap gap-filler.  But even as a white male, I can see it's especially jarring when it's used for Centric.  Cripes, what's next- you going to run episodes of The Big Bang Theory or Friends on the Network for Black Women?

*Well, ok, not USA Network.  They'll never run out of episodes of Law & Order.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

What's FAIR? Nativism with cute animation, that's what.

Note that at NO point in this ugly, bigoted rant is the "why is it a problem" part of the title ever addressed.  Sophia comes to the United States for a better life, and inspires members of her family and their friends- a whopping total of 36 people over god knows how many years when you think about how long it takes to fill out the applications these days- and the negative result is....well, what, exactly?  That a nation of 300 million has added 36?  What is the crisis here "Fair?"

And check out the YouTube cretins, using the same arguments put forward against Catholics in the 1850s, the Chinese in the 1880s, Jews in the 1920s....the "arguments" which boil down to "I'm here, that's enough, my family should be the last allowed in, shut the door because these people aren't assimilating they are just retarding our wage scales and eating up our resources blah blah blah I wish I could say what I really mean but I don't want to get called the racist jackass I am....."

Oh, but I'm sure I'll get a response along the lines of "when my ancestors came they followed the rules."  First, that's exactly what these people are doing.  They are coming here legally, filling out forms, following the rules.  Second, what "rules" did your ancestors follow?  Until 1924 there were virtually NO rules for entering the United States and becoming a permanent citizen- your chances of making it through the screening process was about 97%, and the whole deal- from luggage inspection to medical check to intelligence test- took about 3 hours on average.  Your ancestors didn't jump through hoops to prove their worthiness to be American citizens, unless you think that standing in a crowded line for an afternoon constitutes a trial by fire.

Tell you what, you wannabee modern Know-Nothings:  Let's be totally FAIR and put the system your ancestors used to gain entry into the world's largest refugee camp back into place.  Oh let me guess- it's "different" now because America is really crowded and the world is really dangerous, right?  Well, fact is that we have a skilled worker shortage in this country, which is why your kids' doctor is very likely to be an Indian and why tech companies are begging the government to allow more educated workers in on at least temporary visas.  The world is really dangerous?  More dangerous than when Europe was embroiled in one war after another, which was probably when your own family arrived?

Kiss off, FAIR.  Stop producing the most nakedly anti-American hate propaganda not actually featuring Alex Jones already.  This is just crap, and you should be ashamed.  You should also read some history about the country you claim to support.  Because you clearly don't know anything about it.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Walgreen's Seriously Stupid Red Nose Ads scream "punch me here!"

First, to the person who decided to repost this commercial and include an intro:  "Important Notice: If an agency or product owner does not want any publishment, it is withdrawn back?" What the HELL does that mean?  Seriously, English Much? 

Second, does Walgreens even get that the only thing less funny than some random stranger on the street wearing a red nose is EVERYONE ON THE PLANET WEARING A RED NOSE?  Red noses aren't funny.  At best, they are banal because they are just red noses- if you think they are funny, you think everything is funny (see the next paragraph.)  At worst, they remind us of clowns, which are terrifying until we reach the age of four, mildly amusing until we reach the age of six, boring until we reach the age of 10, and then go back to being terrifying until we die (those three babies we see early in the ad would not actually giggle at the sight of a total stranger making faces at them while wearing a rubber nose.  They'd scream.  Guaranteed.)

Third, what is this red nose thing all about other than showing white people doing something really stupid and demonstrating that no white people have any sense of humor at all, and then showing that black people are perfectly willing to act like white people in the service of being really stupid and showing that they also have zero sense of humor?  I mean, come on- the black married couple just stick red noses on and get their photos taken so they can either cringe at those photos for the rest of their lives or skip them altogether when they look at the album.  You know, it's kind of rare when people do something they KNOW they'll regret forever at the moment they are actually doing it- but if this couple doesn't realize that sticking red rubber noses on before sealing the deal at the wedding isn't something they really, really wish they hadn't done at the moment they do it, they should not breed.  Like, ever.

Fourth, this was not the Walgreens Red Nose ad I was going to use for this post, but I couldn't find the one currently making the rounds which features a perpetually delighted pregnant woman, her perpetually delighted little girl, and their adventures prancing around with stupid red balls attached to their punchable, incredibly self-satisfied and smug faces. But this one will do, because it's every bit as pointless and stupid and cringey. 

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Wrapping up McDonald's "Speechless Thoughts" Trilogy....

This one with Charles Barkley is different from the others only in that Barkley isn't completely silent throughout, but instead treats us to a few "mmmm mmmm mmmms" at the very beginning.* Otherwise it's the same already-tired schtick we saw with Gabrielle Union and John Goodman- he just holds the cheeeburger next to his face while rocking back and forth and ocassionally pretending to take a bite by moving it slightly closer to his mouth.

I don't know why McDonald's made these ads.  They aren't funny, they don't make me hungry for a cheeseburger, and they sure don't make me think "wow, McDonald's is being very clever here."  I'm sure that at some point someone will comment "hey, you paid attention to it, and that's what advertising is all about," which is the inane drum solo of "gotchas."  I notice and pay attention to car wrecks, too, and the other day watched a flock of tiny birds attempt to save one of their own from a crow's beak.  Didn't make me want to buy anything- which IS the point of commercials.

I DO know why McDonald's locked out comments on all three of these stupid ads, however.  They know this is stupid trash, and they don't want to hear it, and they don't want to pay people to pretend they are funny or clever, and they know that by artificially inflating the "likes" when all the honest responses say the ad is crap is an old con everyone sees through nowadays. 

*I wonder if Barkley's inability to be completely "speechless" during a 30-second ad is supposed to be a "clever" take on his reputation for having a big, constantly-running mouth that can't even stop expressing itself long enough to do a commercial in which he's supposed to be 'Speechless?'  Still not clever, McDonald's.  I hope you are done with these things.  They won't be missed.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Episode II of McDonald's weird new Speechless campaign

In this episode of McDonald's bizarre new tv series Let's Watch Washed-Up Actors and Sports Figures Eat Cheeseburgers, the featured player is John Goodman because well, why not?  (Or, "well, what could better convince people to buy and consume McDonald's cheeseburgers than watching an elderly, obese actor eating one while making stupid 'I can't act at all' faces?")

I don't know why McDonald's thought this was a smart way to sell food, but I'm no marketing genius.  I know what I like, and this doesn't resemble that.  I know what makes me hungry, and this SURE doesn't do that.  Maybe Charles Barkley can do it?  Stay tuned.