Saturday, December 9, 2017

Not surprised that comments are disabled for these Apple Commercials...

I mean, when you combine the horrible non-soundtrack with that little brat laying on the grass with a $2000 piece of technology responding to his mom with "what's a computer?" in a zombie monotone, I can totally understand why Apple doesn't want to hear what anyone has to say about this hideous nugget of dreck.

"What's a computer?"  It's that thing you're casually risking destroying because Hey It's Not Your Money and the stores have plenty of them.  "Where do you want to go?"  Well, I can tell you where I want all of the people involved in this commercial to go.  I won't say where that is, because it really doesn't fit into the holiday spirit.

The most aggravating thing about this pretentious pile of time-wasting dumb is that you just know the people who created it broke into tears and gave eachother high-fives when they saw the finished product.  Never mind that the product being sold is pretty much the ultimate in self-indulgent conspicious consumption.  This thing is made by Asian children who whose only relationship with the product will involve putting it together so that it can be sold to spoiled rotten First Worlders like the horrible people in this ad.  Who will then proceed to prance around as if it provided some level of significant meaning to their lives and isn't going to be replaced by a Much Better Update in six months.

F-- you, Apple.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Everything Wrong With Prager U's "The Progressive Income Tax: A Tale of Three Brothers," Epilogue

First, let me start this conclusion by admitting that yes, the title of this series is meant to be total clickbait.  I might have included "Spoilers (Duh)" but maybe that's copyrighted.  Anyway, I justify this by pointing out that this blog is not monetized so it really doesn't matter how many people read it as far as ad revenue is concerned, since there's no ad revenue.

Ok, so here's what's missing in Mr Prager's Tale of Why Requiring People to Pay Their Fair Share is Bad, Wrong, Communistic and Helps the Terrorists Win.  Harry and his wife sock away large amounts of money in two ways- by purchasing a house far below what they could actually afford, and by totally neglecting their children.

I'm absolutely serious about that second point.  To make the brothers completely equal in every way except what Prager considers their "work ethic," he has them all married and with two children.  But while Harry worked sixty hours a week and his wife also worked full-time, Tom worked "only" forty hours per week while his wife worked ten hours, and Dick worked only 20 hours per week and his wife worked at home (she didn't "not work," you jagoff Prager.  Stay-at-Home Moms work.  They just don't get paid.)  Sorry, Harry and Wife- all the money in the world won't add another minute to the day.  Every extra hour you spent working was time you didn't spend with your kids.

So Tom and his wife decided live a normal, 21st century middle-class American life which involved a double-income household but also time to raise their children, who grew up to appreciate a life which balances work with leisure and does not put a massive premium on constant work and hoarding money.  Dick's kids were raised by both parents and learned that doing without all the material possessions their relatives and friends had was well worth it because Mom and Dad are kind of priceless commodities.  Harry's kids were raised by daycares or, more likely, Dick's wife down the street, whom they learned to address as their "other mom" and Dick and his wife as their "real parents" - the ones who got them to soccer practice, gave them good advice on love and relationships, and essentially served as their role models while their biological parents spent all their time in the mad pursuit of wealth.  On the rare times they ate dinner with those biological parents, they defended Dad's "deadbeat" brothers against the Libertarian ravings of the money-grubbers they happend to share a house with (sometimes.)  They often envied Dick's and Tom's children- sure, they didn't have a lot of "stuff," but they weren't latchkey kids.

(And Dick and Tom seemed to be in much happier relationships, too- Harry and his wife don't spend a lot of time together, what with Harry's sixty-hours-per-week schedule and Mom's full-time job, sometimes it's just a hurried few words at breakfast and a short argument before passing out in front of Netflix at night.  But check out that stock portfolio!)

So congratulations, Harry and Wife- you lived the dream.  You died with the money, despite our Terribly Unfair Tax System Which is Designed to Rob You and Reward Deadbeats.  I bet your gravestones are more ornate than those of Dick and Tom.  But I wonder if your kids remember to come to the funeral.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Everything Wrong With Prager U's "The Progressive Income Tax: A Tale of Three Brothers," Part III

Ok, so despite a wide income disparity between the brothers, they've all decided to buy equally-priced homes on the same private street.  Whatever.  Let's move on.

One day, the three brothers decide that for the sake of security, etc. they are going to pool their resources to build a fricking palace gate seperating their suburban estates from the rest of the world (the video puts it differently, but that's about it.)  They figure the landscaping, gate, moatwork WTF EVER I ALREADY HATE THIS FAMILY will cost $30,000.  Harry says the cost should be divided evenly, but the other brothers object- Harry has more money, well, shouldn't he pay more?

The first thing that bugs me is that the work has already been done before they figured out how it would be paid for.  I'd expect this from lazy slacktards like Tom and Dick, but not Looking to the Future Hard-Working Harry!  Why wasn't this planned out beforehand?  Who put down the deposit for the landscaping, paving and other work?  I hate plotholes!

You see, if the question of payment had come up during the PLANNING phase, Tom and Dick could have said something like "it may not be 'fair' for us to ask you to pay more than us, Harry, but here's how we see it- for Tom, $10,000 represents about 35% of his total annual income.  For me, it represents about 12% of our total annual income.  For you, it represents about 7% of your family's annual income.  So it's a much larger investment for us than it is for you, yet your benefit will be the same as ours.  So from our point of view, you should pay more because you can.  But if you and Dennis Prager don't agree, there's an even simpler answer- Tom and I and can't afford to invest in these improvements.  So if you want them done, you'll either have to take more of the burden on yourself, or wait until we can contribute more.  Sorry."

This isn't rocket science, is it, Mr. Prager? Do you offer science at Prager U?

Instead, Harry takes the opportunity to lecture his brothers and suggest that being asked to pay more because he can afford to would be "penalizing" his and his wife's hard work.  And now the straw men are really unleashed as the brothers have it out in the middle of the street.

Tom says "Harry, you and your wife can work as hard as you want, but my wife and I want to enjoy ourselves now, not 25 years from now."  Obviously Tom is supposed to be a bad guy here- a "live for today, let society pay our bills" immoral lazy twat with his hand out all the time.  When Harry replies "fine, but why should I have to pay for that?" Tom plays the "because we're brothers" card, clearly not understanding that while blood is thicker than water, it's the thickness of the wallet that matters most in the real world.

Dick steps in and basically endorses the Progressive Income Tax formula as a solution to their problem.  For a moment, Dick is the Voice of Reason here.  But only for a moment, because Dennis Prager is by no means a fan of the Progressive Income Tax.  So he has Tom jump in with an enormous Straw Man "let's do it like the Feds who like to give freebees to deadbeats like me I don't pay taxes at all so I should get these improvements for free" speech worthy of the Republican National Convention when there are no microphones around.  Dick KNOWS this isn't fair but he likes it anyway because it reduces his share while putting a much larger burden on his Evil Capitalist Swine brother Harry.  And so the Class Struggle is explained- the middle class is conned into joining with the poor to fight a war against the thrifty, hardworking rich.  There's another freaking minute and a half to this ad but I'm not even going to finish it- instead I'll sum up this monstrosity in Part IV.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Everything Wrong with Prager U's "The Progressive Income Tax: A Tale of Three Brothers," Part II

Ok, so we've got the triplet Class brothers who are all carpenters with wives and two kids and make $25 per hour. At this point in the video, they start acting like human beings who aren't following a script and begin to make actual choices:

"Tom chose to work 20 hours per week,  Dick worked 40 hours per week, and Harry worked 60 hours per week."  Harry's wife also worked full-time outside the house, contributing $50,000 to the family income.  Dick's wife worked part-time selling Real Estate and brought in $25,000, while Tom's wife didn't bring in any income (the video actually says "Tom's wife did not work," but this is contradicted by the previous information which included that each family has two children.   I think the narrator meant to say "was not paid for the work she did," unless Prager U. teaches it's "students" that being a parent is not work?

"Tom and Dick spent all of their family income, since they paid into Social Security they figured they didn't need to save...." Wait a minute.  Did they spend all their family income because they thought saving was unnecessary due to the future availability of Social Security, or because given their slack attitudes toward labor (Dick only worked 40 hours a week- what was he doing with all that spare time?) the act of living absorbed their incomes?  We aren't told- it's too important to get to "Harry and his wife, however, over many years, had put away money each month and invested it in stocks and bonds."

Again, wait a minute- Harry and his wife make a lot more money than Tom and Dick, so they have excess funds they can invest.  I get it.  But is it automatically virtuous to invest that money in stocks and bonds?  What if Harry and wife had reached 65 in 2008, when the stock market lost half it's value?  How smart would all their investing have been then?  And again, we still haven't been told if Tom and Dick aren't saving because they don't want to, or because they can't.

Man, I was right to break this up.  This IS going to be a long discussion....

"Here's how it worked out.  Tom made $25,000 per year.  Dick and his wife made $75,000.  And Harry and his wife, $150,000. "  We can tell by the numbers that Harry and his wife are the heroes of this little shpeal already, can't we?  But it's about to get more complicated.

"When a new housing development opened up in their community, the brothers decided to buy equally-priced homes on the same private street."

 Ok, we've just gone off the rails, Prager U.  For this to be true, one of two things had to happen.  Either Tom lied on his mortage application and told the bank that he made a lot more money than he actually does, or Harry and his wife decided that despite their big incomes and savings they'd buy an extremely modest home so they could live near Harry's deadbeat brothers and their pathetic, low-achieving wives.  I don't know, maybe it's the second option and Harry and Wife value that Feeling of Superiority over Relatives more than living in a house they've earned through hard work and savings.  This is definitely a logic speed bump, and I don't know how you're going to rescue yourselves from this, Prager U.  But we'll have to pick this up in Part III.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Everything Wrong With Prager U's "The Progressive Income Tax: A Tale of Three Brothers," Part I

For those of you who don't know- in other words, you hit "Skip Ad" as soon as possible when you saw these ubiquitious valentines to Libertarianism pop up- Dennis Prager is a right-wing talk show host who, when not bashing intellectualism and sneering at the idea that a college education is of any actual value, pretends to be a university professor who knows how to use Prexi on YouTube.  When he isn't blathering nonsense into a microphone, he's blathering nonsense along with whizzing graphics and infantile cartoon characters using equally infantile straw man arguments against Socialism, Atheism, and...well, that's about it, actually.

These stupid chapters all fall under the banner of "Prager U," which is even less of a university than Trump University and even less of a learning opportunity than Prager is a teacher.  I guess this is Prager's "answer" to the "wasted money" represented by college- "see, I'm just a jackass radio yakker and I know more stuff than your elitist university professors, you whiny know-it-all millenials.  Check this out, my intern did the graphics!"

Anyway, I didn't want to spend this entire blog post explaining and bashing the concept of Prager U, which is nothing more than Dennis Prager's ego showing up again and again to interrupt my viewing.  I wanted to focus on this particular chapter, in which Prager condescendingly tries to "explain" to us why the concept of "class" is bad and wrong and that if we don't have money it's because we're just lazy and made bad choices like deciding not to work ourselves to death and actually raise our kids and find value in things other than money.

I realized about two minutes in that this was going to take some time, and I'd have to break it up into episodes to avoid this post being several pages long.  So I hope you don't mind that this looks more like a long-winded project than the usual "I hate this Commerical here's why" schtick.  My intention is to look at key points in Prager's little "you make choices and live with them you whiny schmucks" rant and give my own interpretation of what is going on.  When I'm done, I'll post the entire thing on successive days.   Ok, here we go with the opening:

Tom, Dick and Harry Class are triplets who were all raised in the same home with the same family- ok, we get it, Prager is going to show that they all had exactly the same advantages, so we can't blame or credit environment.  This is pounded into us early on; Prager is very concerned we are going to notice something "special" about one of the Class brothers right away.  Nope.  Same skills, Same IQ, "same opportunities."  They are basically clones following the same script.  Fine.

Each of the brothers got married and had two children.  They were all carpenters making $25 per hour.  And it's at this point that their lives begin to diverge, because they had "different priorities."

Ok, that's where I'll leave off for now.  Part II follows tomorrow.  Arent' we all curious to find what happens to the Class brothers when they stop being exactly the same person and start making choices?  I know I am!

Sunday, December 3, 2017

She traded down. We get it, Taco Bell

So let's analyze this one to find what Taco Bell really thinks of it's demographic, shall we?

Cute girlfriend is out for a walk with her man-child new boyfriend, who is clearly a lot more into eating crap with both hands than being with her or taking care of himself.  They bump into her ex, who is a non-Taco Bell-eating, healthy fitness-oriented guy who, from his reaction to seeing a former girlfriend, has moved on and hasn't given her a second thought.

At this point, I assume that Ex Girlfriend wants very badly to show well to Ex Boyfriend, but since New Boyfriend is already Not Tall, Not Athletic and eating Taco Bell with both hands, the odds are pretty heavily stacked against her.  Still, if New Boyfriend can just manage to be coherent and sociable for a few seconds, this might not turn out too badly.

Instead, New Boyfriend inexplicably believes that Ex Boyfriend wants some kind of physical contact with him, and he's got his hands full of carbs and grease, so he gives him a chest bump.  This comes off as unbelievably stupid and embaressing to everyone involved, and has probably ended his relationship with New Girlfriend, though that's going to have to take place off screen, because Ex Girlfriend still needs to make the best of the situation until Ex Boyfriend is gone.

Ex Girlfriend links her arm with Soon to Be Latest Ex Boyfriend and rather defensively moves on- as I implied, she can't break up with this clueless slob on the spot, otherwise hunky Ex Boyfriend jogs away the victor of the moment.  She must pretend that they are still a couple for at least a few more seconds, or until Ex Boyfriend is out of earshot.

But please, tell me that inside of three minutes this girl- who can clearly do much better- has dumped her latest mistake's sorry ass right there in the park.  Please tell me she isn't this desperate for a guy to hook arms with just in case she runs into Jogger Ex.  Please tell me she isn't THAT sad.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Masterpass shows how much Joe Montana likes money

I guess I'm supposed to know who the woman is in this commercial too, but I don't and I'm perfectly ok if no one wants to enlighten me.  It's Kat something, I know that.  Don't care.

The point of this movie is that the target audience is composed of mouth-breathers who are likely to forget the product being sold unless it's hammered into their skulls repeatedly over the course of thirty seconds but who really like anything that involves using their phones.  I doubt that there's any sensible reason for Joe Montana, who hasn't thrown a football professionally in 23 years (yes, that makes me feel very old) and is therefore pretty much an unperson for that target audience, to be here.  But whatever- hey everybody look, here's an old guy who played in the NFL a quarter of a century ago but can still be triggered to throw fragile decorations across the room by repeating a word!  Funny, right?  Right?

Oh by the way, before all this BS with Montana and Kat Whoever, we see a young woman totally flummoxed at witnessing the customer in front of her use her phone to pay for something.  Holy crap Mastercard, I grew up with phones attached to the walls by cords and I get the concept of paying bills with them by flashing the screen over a card reader.  We're supposed to buy the idea that some Millenial is astonished by this sorcery?  Seriously?

And one more thing- would the woman using "Masterpass" really respond to "what is that?" with "Masterpass?"  Not "I'm using my phone to pay my bill?"  Are people now programmed to provide free advertising to strangers?  That's almost as dumb as the Doddering Old Money-Grubbing Quarterback with One Less Ring than Tom Brady making a fool of himself crap that follows.  Almost.