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In The Zone . .Emotional Chaos . ..Number 9. . .September 11


Emotional Chaos
Weekly Column by Brian Codagnone

March 21, 2006


I first noticed it back in the eighties. It should have been glaringly obvious that TV commercials were a hotbed of cliches, but perhaps, because they were on the whole so lame and annoying, I didn't notice. Or tried to block it out. What got my attention was that all elderly people in commercials drove not K-Cars, not behemoth Lincolns or Oldsmobiles, but mint condition vintage automobiles. My curiosity piqued, I began to look at the role of the car in commercials, and noticed some interesting trends. For example, all teenagers' first cars, or the "heaps" that they were restoring weren't Pintos or Valiants held together with duct tape, but rather classic Corvettes, Mustangs, etc. The "old person in the cherry 1957 Chevy" era has since passed, but new cliches have risen up to take their place. The baton, shall we say, has been passed to a new generation of hacks.

Let's start with that cornerstone of American culture, the Average Family. All Average Families live in big houses in the suburbs, with the obligatory one dog and one cat. Perhaps because they spend so much time being hauled from one soccer game to another, all children between the age of five and twelve wear soccer uniforms at all times, just to be ready. All suburban teenagers wear "hip hop" clothing and every group of teens is carefully racially and sexually balanced, the more shameless including a kid in a wheelchair. I know when I hung out with my friends in high school we never went anywhere before making sure that our group had three boys and three girls of which three were white, one was black, one was Asian and one was Latino. We would have had to hire someone in a wheelchair, but that would have been impossible on a busboy's pay. You kids today don't know how easy you have it.

All teenage girls have the IQ of a grape and spend every waking moment on cell phones engaged in inane chatter with their girlfriends. This behavior ends at college, when all teenage girls become serious students. The exception is the girls in the ads for those "Girls Gone Wild" videos, but that's a subject that calls for more study. Once graduated from college, there seems to be only two career paths open to the young women of America. One is the high powered, no-nonsense business type in Ally McBeal business suits and Robert Downey, Jr. glasses. They all live in stylish lofts and work in offices which are also located in stylish lofts. The other career path, of course, is soccer mom. These supermoms drive minivans or SUVs and spend every waking moment trucking little Ashley and Jason from one activity to another (primarily soccer, although any adult supervised activity requiring a costume is acceptable; karate, baseball, school plays, etc.) And speaking of uniforms, all Little League teams wear old fashioned flannel uniforms, not doubleknit.

All suburban dads are nitwits obsessed with barbecuing, the well being of their lawns and watching sports on TV. They're also oblivious to any technology invented after the Carter administration, even though some are only in their thirties and grew up with computers. They need their techno-savvy children to explain even the simplest gadgets. It's as though every father in America grew up in Amish country, and, once exposed to the sensual kaleidoscope that is suburban life embraced all it's pleasures, except Demon Technology.

Although black families also live in these "Ozzie and Harriet" homes, for boys suburban life ends with adolescence, when they're forced to spend every waking moment playing basketball in gritty, urban playgrounds. Still, they have it better than their teenage sisters, who like their white counterparts, are never allowed to put down their cell phones. There's good news, though. In today's multicultural America, all black twentysomethings join their white counterparts in corporate America. But they haven't forgotten their roots. Young professionals all play pick-up basketball at every opportunity, although extreme sports, especially mountain biking and rock climbing are also common. Spandex outfits that look like a creation of the Star Trek costume department are required, as is stopping for a latte or energy drink afterwards. And whenever a young person reminisces about their childhood, they will always harken back to the 1960's or earlier, even if they're only in their 20's.

And speaking of the sixties, Madison Avenue hasn't forgotten the graying boomers. All middle aged (and, I shudder to say, older) couples are quite active in the sack, thanks to a variety of erectile dysfunction drugs, and are otherwise kept healthy with a variety of Scrabble Tile named pills. The ads for, and the gruesome potential side effects of these drugs, though, is a topic for another day.



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©2003 Brian Codagnone
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Surf Our Site

Home ... Misfits . Rafferty .. . S1019 .. . Star Crossed....
. .
Ginger & Shadow. ..Writer's Block.. ..Cool Links . ..More Cool Links .
Oddities ..Link To Us... Guest Comics . Online Store..
In The Zone. ..Number 9. . .September 11