Monday, October 12, 2009

If you Want to Sell Out, Sell Out

We hear a hideous version of the Beatles classic "All You Need is Love," brought to us by Blackberry. Maybe in the 60s, all we needed was Love. In the year 2009, all we need is Love and a blinking, beeping box that we can use to download video, tweet our every move, keep track of sports scores and avoid developing actual relationships with the human beings around us.

We hear a not-quite-as-horrible version of the Cat Stevens classic "If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out" brought to us by some other cell phone company (at this point, who really gives a shit which one? ) I think that when Stevens (I know that's not his name anymore, but it was at the time) wrote that song, it was supposed to be a celebration of individuality and a call to reject the call to conform being pushed upon us by society. Now wanting to "be me" apparently requires me to get a phone that looks a lot like the one everyone else owns. I can't "be me" unless I have this phone, because this phone will allow me to express What it Means to Be Me. Or something.

It's not enough that cell phone companies want us to spend pretty much every waking moment of our lives staring at some little screen while pushing buttons. Now they are reaching into the past to find songs about how unimportant material things are and how beautiful each of us is, if we are only willing to show the world who we are, to SELL PHONES. More than that- we are being told that if we want to be loved, if we want to be creative and complete, we must own one of these stupid phones.

Well, I've got a little Nokia that I use because it's cheaper and more convenient than a land line. I can use it to check my email, but I never do. I guess I can't use it to Twitter, but I'm not sure, because I'm not about to try. I can't use it to download video, and I couldn't care less. So I guess I'd better reconcile myself to a life without Love, in which I never really learn Who I Am.

Sucks to be me, I guess. Doesn't suck to be Cat Stevens, though, who has apparently decided that it's all well and good to be devoted to peace and harmony with the universe, but business is business.


  1. I remember when artists who'd turned into corporate shills let their songs be used to hawk bathroom cleansers and beer. Now, it's mobile phones.

  2. I didn't even comment on the fact that the commercial seems to be focused on the efforts of a woman to look and act as much as possible like the group of people she wants to hang with, even adopting an incredibly stupid hair style and learning to convulse and toss her body into bizarre poses that just scream "spinal injury" until she's happily accepted by the group.

  3. I'm reminded of the ads for Office Depot or Staples, where the background music is BTO's "Takin' Care of Business." It always strikes me as odd that a song written about the joys of NOT working and NOT conforming to the establishment has become the anthem for working in an office setting...

  4. Well, I've got a little Nokia that I use because it's cheaper and more convenient than a land line.

    That's exactly what I have, for the same reason. My husband I and both have pre-paid Nokia phones that we use instead of having a land line. I do use the alarm-clock function because its sound is more pleasant than my regular alarm clock and I can program it to go off Monday through Friday. But it's not the nexus of my social life or something that symbolizes who I am.

    I forget what we were watching, but when a voice-over mentioned someone not being able to breathe on his own, I said, "There's an app for that!" And then we came up with the ridiculous scenario of a respirator app for those who are simply too lazy to breathe on their own. Then it devolved into catheter and colostomy apps... We are very silly people.