Take Me Away From Your Leader
by Jeffrey Sconce — Northwestern University
February 05, 2007 – 11:02
The Mooninites—a proud race of two-dimensional assholes sporadically compelled to visit New Jersey and instruct a young wad of meat in the sacraments of adolescent deviancy. Through the liturgical conventions of invasion sci-fi, domestic sitcoms, and primitive gaming technologies, Ignignot and Ur draw their impressionable ward into the world of smoking, drinking, shoplifting, pornography, arson, and the precise comic timing of bird flipping. Distributed as lite-brite totems across nine American cities, the image of Ignignot in full-flip mode apparently caused some Bostonians (one? Ten? A hundred?) to hallucinate a cross-over episode with that other great TV series—The War on Terror. Calls were made. Resources deployed. Ignignots defused. All leading to the arrest of Sean Stevens and Peter Berdovsky, hipster ad-reps for Turner Broadcasting who took it upon themselves to engage in a little journalistic bird-flipping of their own (“They’re performance artists,” explains their lawyer somewhat awkwardly). Sure, it would be nice if these guys “hair of the seventies” shtick had been a bit more clever. But then again, imagine the courage it must take to stare down one of our nation’s most stupid yet profoundly solemn social rituals—the wholly meaningless press conference. “You don’t seem to be taking this seriously,” shouts an irritated vector of Newscorp. Taking what seriously, exactly? That a network eager to put O.J. back on the air is now stoking “outrage” over their Meatwadic audience’s inability to decipher symbols from an adjacent cable empire? Truly, we now live in wholly separate media worlds. And beyond the hour or two of targeted product beamed our way to sell our particular demo to advertisers, one of “broadcast” television’s few remaining pleasures are these sadly all-too-rare skirmishes of hilarious mistrust and misrecognition. And in the end, isn’t it fitting that a fake war sold on strategic marketing would boomerang into a fake panic over marketing itself? If nothing else, Stevens and Berdovsky have demonstrated that “guerilla marketing” and “guerilla warfare” are now wholly indistinguishable. They’re no Andy Kaufmans you might say…Still, let’s give them an “A” for effort in reminding us that a hundred birds flipped through the studio window at Fox and Friends would be worth far more politically than a hundred votes in the next election cycle.
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