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helpful advice from fucking americans

with 9 comments

Lovely country:

To the Editor:

As I read of Diane McLeod’s unfortunate financial plight, I was struck by the photograph of her with cigarette in hand and ashtray on table. I wonder if Ms. McLeod has considered how much she could increase her cash flow if she were to quit smoking. $100 a month? $300 a month?

Jonathan Ballon

Darnestown, Md., July 20, 2008

That’s right, doc. Given that Diane’s now $280,000 in debt, is about to lose her house, has fucked her son’s credit rating, and has been downsized by one of the two jobs that she has, it sounds like an absolutely perfect time to take up the walk in the park that is smoking-cessation. After all, if she’s on a pack a day, she would actually be able to pay off that debt (not counting the compounding interest) in a mere 153 years. Good call!

There is no more American attitude than glancing at an image of a person in great distress and wondering aloud things like (taking the present example) Is that Snapple she’s drinking there? Awfully extravagant. You can bet if I were in her shoes, I’d be making my own iced tea, and with thrice boiled teabags to boot. And a Coke rather than a store-brand cola? How about water? It comes out of the tap, dear, and it’s free. Gee, wouldn’t I love to have a cordless phone. Must be nice not being tethered to the wall, girl chatting on the back porch in the sun with a smoke in your hand… My my my, I’m sure we know what happened here…

Written by adswithoutproducts

July 22, 2008 at 8:14 pm

Posted in america, distraction

9 Responses

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  1. Yeah, I remember the comment stream for that article consisting for the most part of comments like our dear Jonathan’s. Depressing. I dare say, though, the article itself was scarcely better, with all its bullshit about personal responsibility, and its front-loading of McLeod’s claim that her problems were of her own making and its whole “shift from thrift” rhetoric. Not once did it mention that wages have been falling or stagnant for, oh, 35 years. . . And it seemed to treat the whole issue of her medical bills as, well, secondary to her questionable moral turpitude.

    You know, I didn’t think the NYT could get any worse, but the last 6 months has really lead me to be a bit more careful in my estimation of how far off that bottom news reporting is racing toward really is. . . That was only one of several articles recently that made me want to punch the LCD display.

    Fucking Americans, indeed. It’s our national pastime, when we aren’t fucking people in other countries, of course.

    -J

    Jasper

    July 23, 2008 at 3:24 am

  2. If she’s not going to quit smoking, she could at least sell the ashtray for extra money. Whatever happened to ashing on the ground?

    Adam

    July 23, 2008 at 4:21 am

  3. Leaving aside the puritanical hideousness of it all, there is something really strange about also mentioning the ‘ashtray on table’, as if she’d not just spent money on fags, but also at some point purchased something to hold the ash, the frivolous slattern!

    infinite thought

    July 23, 2008 at 9:17 am

  4. nous sommes toutes les welfares queens, aujourdhui.

    no this is exactly it. Jasper’s got it. The sequence goes roughly like this:

    1) neoliberal reform, evisceration of the last remants of the welfare state, but all came with a promise that despite the fact that sure, wages might fall a bit, productivity increases and financialization of everything would result in a HUGE net benefit for EVERYONE. Al Gore with his charts on Larry King etc etc. So, ahem, maybe it will be walmart for you, but you’ll see, in the end, you’re gonna have a plasma tv and a bigger house than you grew up in. Rising tide that lifts ALL boats, kay?

    2) OK, fine then. My wages are stagnant, but because these loans are all over the place, and house prices keep rising, and it’s important to buy and get up on the property ladder, I’ll extend myself a bit and get a house. You have to extend yourself to get a house, given the prices, and, yeah, it’s nice to have a fucking house. Isn’t that written into the constitution or something? Aren’t we an “ownership society” now? And even though I own, well, some stuff now, I work longer hours, health costs have gone through the roof, and life feels tighter and tighter everyday.

    3) The other shoe drops. Oh sorry, dearies, you shoulda read the fine print. What’s that about the boats? No, no, no… Times is very tough now. Look at that Black Swan over there! (It’d be impossible to write a more dishonest, and dishonestly timely, book than that one). Holy shit! But you work at Wal-Mart now, what did you expect? A house? On wal-mart wages? What were you thinking? Of course the rates go up – how would you expect us to get our stuff back otherwise? Look what you’ve done with the freedom we’ve given you! Look at the mess you’ve made of your life!

    The past ten years were one long advertisement for neo-liberal reform, life without strings, federal reserve rate cuts and the like. It was like the grace period when you start with a credit card. Zero percent interest for the first 12 months! The taps were turned on in the bathtub, but now the plugs been pulled. It was inevitable – and whether “they” knew it would end exactly like this or not – it is damn clear that “they” would never, ever err on the wrong side of things, the “mistakes” that are made only ever nudge in one direction. They are very good at making their mistakes.

    adswithoutproducts

    July 23, 2008 at 10:23 am

  5. I don’t want to work on my stupid book today. I want to spend all day writing a “nous sommes touts les…” piece for Major Publication that of course will be unpublishable.

    😦

    adswithoutproducts

    July 23, 2008 at 10:26 am

  6. The oddest part of the credit crisis is that nobody has mentioned the obvious – there would be no credit crisis if people were paid more. Actually, their credit limits were adjusted to their wage increase rate, if that rate had continued as it did in the seventies. From her two jobs, for instance, Ms. McLeod should be taking home – at that rate – 90 to 100 thousand dollars per year.

    The great experiment in exploding inequality, in which the bottom 80 percent – the producers – make nothing from the increase in productivity, which is engrossed by the top 20 percent of the managers and administrators, is going bumpety bump. Oh yeah, the people at the top not only depend on the people at the bottom working harder, but also on selling them shit! Who woulda thought?

    roger

    July 28, 2008 at 2:22 am

  7. […] and ladders This post on ads without products got me thinking about the moral undertone that has always been present in […]

  8. For the record, that’s a Yoo-hoo in the picture, not a Snapple. 🙂

    Black Coffee & Bourbon

    July 30, 2008 at 2:07 am

  9. hahaha, BC&B. Even worse!

    adswithoutproducts

    July 30, 2008 at 9:23 am


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