Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Death of Shame

I really thought I had seen it all when, twenty years ago, I saw Desert Storm Commemorative Plates being hawked on late night tv. Then, about ten years later, I again thought the bottom had been reached with the "layered in 24 carat gold" coin featuring the majestic image of the lost Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, "majestically rising from the surface of the coin with the press of the thumb."

Repulsive, but with a silver lining- it couldn't get any worse, right?


Here's "the New England Mint" with it's contribution to our current orgy of fist-pumping, back-slapping and hooting, brought on by the extra-legal execution of a foreign national by a hit team which took place in a sovereign nation-- a sovereign nation which was allegedly our ally, at that. The narrator is apparently reading off the latest version of the hit (I wonder how many times the script had to be changed before the New England Mint decided to go ahead with this one, figuring that anyone who would buy this crap couldn't care less anyway.) There's the usual flag-waving jingoistic "we killed the suspect, so Justice Has Been Done because Might makes Right when it's being yielded by the USA or it's allies" pablum leading up to the Awesome Opportunity to own a piece of tin "layered" in gold (snigger-seriously, what kind of idiot thinks that there's more than a grain of gold on this thing? Oh yeah- the kind of idiot who would want to own garbage like this.)

Anyway, if you aren't sold on the idea of adding this "piece of history" to your growing pile of dust-collecting trinkets, there are these cool extras designed to draw you in-- check out the "Wanted" poster, created especially for this commercial, in mint condition (because- were you listening?- it was printed up JUST for this commercial.) And if you are STILL hesitating, here's the standard Certificate of Authenticity. This never fails to crack me up- what is being "authenticated" here? That the coin you receive is actually the coin being advertised? Wow, awesome. Because the only thing more worthless than this stupid Not Even Heavy Enough to Be a Decent Paperweight late-night tv offering is an "unauthentic" knock off, I guess.

I'm sure the New England mint has a built-in customer base for this stuff, and have a good idea of exactly how many they'll be selling. These guys aren't stupid- I bet they never end up with a warehouse of plates, posters, Civil War chess sets or coins.

I would throw one little caveat into the mix, however. This coin features the face of the current president of the United States on one side. I'm not absolutely positive, but I suspect that the people in the market for this junk are not big fans of his. I wonder if Obama's face on one side might depress sales a bit. If I were working for the New England Mint, I think I'd offer a cheap frame to go with it, and remind my potential customers that they get to choose which side to display.

I don't know why, but I suspect that in homes featuring this coin, the Majestic Image of the Seal Team Six logo, not that of the President, is prominently displayed- right next to the Stormin' Norman commemorative plates and the War on Terror deck of cards made out of cheap tin- layered in gold, of course.


  1. "The price was set at $40..." By whom? By a guy who wanted to sell it for $10 and make it sound like it was worth more, that's who.

    I also noticed that the certificate appears to be nothing more than a print version of the narrator's voice over.

    All in all a very classy piece of work.

  2. I like the "pre-release price," too. As if this thing is going to have the red carpet rolled out for it in a few weeks and will then cost much, much more, so ORDER NOW!!! Barnum must be looking down on us thinking that he was born too early.

  3. Oh, my; I keep remembering Bucky Fuller's sarcastic comment about an imaginary company he called 'Obnoxico'. His idea was that they'd, for a nominal fee, electroplate the last diaper a child used before he or she was fully toilet trained; he expected that they'd make a packet selling a gilded nappy complete with a turd because people will buy any damned thing.

  4. I particularly liked the narrator's deep, gravelly voice. He's so serious and intense!

    Makes you wonder how he got through the recording session without stopping to say: "Really? Are we- really!? I mean, I'll do it, I need the paycheck, but come on... really?!"