Wednesday, May 13


Americans are stupid. Day by day, I watch with dismay as we become stupider (like that?). For an example, look no further than Rock of Love, or its latest incarnation, Daisy of Love (or any of VH1's programming for that matter). Apparently, the basic cable viewing public really likes to watch strippers try to find love. Or, strippers trying to find charm or strippers just trying to find the bar. We just really love strippers, OK?

But bad (did I say bad? I meant awesome) television aside, I do worry about the dumbing-down of America. I have a kid after all, and I'd like her to one day understand that just because Barbie can dance in a commercial doesn't mean she can drop it like it's hot when we get her home.

I know that there have already been countless books, articles and blogs written on this subject by people much smarter than myself. But when I, one of the proudest laziest Americans you will ever meet, sees a product so ridiculous that it causes me to actually exert energy to write about it, you know that we as a society have gone horribly, horribly astray.

For years I’ve seen it coming. It started innocently enough with Lunchables. Those wonderfully nitrate-laden lunch snacks that I enjoyed so much throughout high school. They were so much better than actually having to make a whole sandwich – I mean, come on! That's like, having to coordinate bread, condiments and lunch meat. Pffffsssst, what am I? A MENSA member?

Then came every college girl’s dream - tuna salad in a cup. Again, who needs to go through the rigmarole of assembling a whole sandwich when you can have a plastic cup of tuna with a wooden spoon, a la third grade ice cream? Not me! Bring on the awkward disposal of tuna water and relish packaging... "hey what stinks?"

Next came the pre-shredded lettuce. I thought, well that’s helpful! I can remember my Mother wasting her time tearing lettuce for salads. She often proclaimed any lettuce that had been chopped by a knife was inedible because it tasted like metal. As I held the package of pre-shredded goodness, I thought of the countless hours of my time I had wasted tearing lettuce, until the good folks at Dole gave me those precious seconds of my life back with their wonderful 'Shreds' products. No, thank you Mr. Dole.

Then it turned weird. Kids products that shouldn't have been made any easier, suddenly needed to be "bite sized" and "ready to eat." Frankly, according to many studies, the last thing that Jimmy needs when he gets home is an entire package of bite sized anythings. Some stuff is iffy, like yogurt packaged with granola. OK. That’s yummy and kinda helpful, I guess. I mean, if you if really want the granola and don’t want to go to all the trouble of putting some into a plastic bag.

These products simultaneously appeared with their less helpful and increasing lazy adult counterparts like individually packaged string cheese, pre-cut block cheese and cubed fruit - for when the cutting motion is too taxing on your wrist.

The other night while being lazy and watching TV, I saw a commercial that made me fear for ourselves as a species. No, it wasn’t the Lady Schick Quattro bush trimmer. It wasn’t even the cereal straws or the numerous pharmaceutical products that make your heart bleed so that your toenails can be the envy of all your friends (not even the one that has a side effect that includes increased gambling - what's up with that?). Nope, it was an advertisement for Coors Beer. Not that there’s anything wrong with throwing back Rocky Mountain's finest. But apparently, they are really going for that lucrative barely-functioning-IQ market. They now have a beer can that turns blue to let you know that it’s cold.

I will repeat that. They have a beer can that turns blue to let you know that it’s cold. I could be wrong. I’m no scientist, but I believe that’s what your sense of touch is for. Their slogan should be: Color coded beer - for when touching is just too much trouble. People, if we have lost so much of our animal instinct that we can’t even tell when something is cold we are in BIG trouble. BIG. TROUBLE. Screw global warming, that's too much for us to think about. We are done for.

All of this reminds me of a great episode of the Simpsons where Homer runs for Springfield Sanitation Commissioner on the platform of “Can’t Someone Else Do It?” That’s what I think that we’ve become. A nation of can’t someone else do it-ers. No wonder there’s no sense of personal responsibility anymore. Companies have quite literally taken it out of our hands as if we can’t be trusted to cut our own cheese or feel up our own beer. For Christssakes they put WARNINGS on commercials that have people jumping off bridges high on Mountain Dew. Do Not Attempt – well no shit. You mean if I drink a bunch of hillbilly soda I can’t really fly? Well then everything that I know is wrong and I really need to reexamine what I accept as my reality, because damn I really thought I could take that Chevy and pull a train with it. Like a mother fuckin’ rock, bitches.

Ironically, I’d like to point out that unlike Europe, America doesn’t yet have the cigarette packs with awesomely huge, honest warning labels on them that say things like: CIGARETTES KILL YOU, SMOKERS DIE YOUNGER and my favorite, SMOKING CAUSES A SLOW AND PAINFUL DEATH. So bully for the tobacco companies! Whew! Finally common sense and cooler heads prevail with a product that actually kills people. Wait..

I take back everything that I said about Coors and their temperature coded beer cans. Apparently, we once again need a replacement for our sense of touch. I have an idea. Instead of a product that uses lights to tell you if something is hot or cold, you extend your arm, and put your fucking hand under the stream of water? There, I just saved you $40. You're welcome.