Saturday, December 30, 2006

Insecure Men with Money Like Guitars, Apparently

I tried not to notice this trend. But then I looked at the Restoration Hardware catalog at the in-laws (for those whose travels do not bring them into contact with boutique furniture emporia, RH is neither a place to buy a screwdriver, nor a source of powdered wigs and ruffs for consumers who are particularly excited by the overthrow of Oliver Cromwell by the Stuarts in the late 17th century, but a cousin of the upscale aspirational lifestyle home decor palaces Pottery Barn and Crate & Barrel... places at which it is also surprisingly difficult to buy pottery, crates, or barrels), and couldn't help but notice that among the overpriced geegaws on offer in the back pages was a Fender stratocaster and amplifier. Huh?

Insomnia has also brought me face to face with the prominent place given to guitars in infomercials. The ghastly yet fascinating Zorro impersonator Esteban has been peddling a guitar/amp/dvd package on every channel, leaving a "z"-shaped imprint on my gray matter that will never heal.

Bowflex, a company I had previously assumed was a money-laundering front for the Genovese crime family or the Trilateral Commission, on the basis of its tireless advertising in the back pages of the New York Times sunday magazine, along with the other undoubtedly fake products ("European style beret"; "one-lane endless indoor swimming pool"; "The St. Thomas More School"), is another late night advertiser that uses guitars. Well, they don't sell a very 400 lb. guitar, which I might actually buy, but they do use a peculiar bald man with a goatee to sell the Bowflex home gym. The ad begins with the bald-goatee man by his home gym, talking about how much he likes muscles, and how his muscles have helped him realize his dream of rocking out with a hot rock band with his shirt off, even though he is 49 years old. Then we see footage of him on stage at a nightclub, shirt off, fender bass slung around his knees, looking for all the world like a genetic splice of the children's toy where you drag magnetic filings on the bald man's head to give him different beard/hair combinations, and Spinal Tap bassist Derek Smalls.

Finally, there is the new Volkswagon ad, where you can plug a matching guitar into the dashboard and rock out. Yep, they give you the guitar. The Germans have lost their shit!!!! Free guitar? WHAT THE FUCK???!!! You spend 50 grand, and they give you a free 75 dollar "axe" made by toddlers in a chinese sweatshop? Is this the scenario that plays out in the R&D guru's brain: "Um, I don't know honey, the Acura has a longer powertrain warranty and passenger-side airbags..." "But this VW is the one endorsed by John Mayer! On the commercial it almost seems like the car enables you to play the main riff from Stevie Ray Vaughan's 'Pride and Joy' and wince meaningfully!" "You're right. Not buying the car with the guitar would be sort of like selling out on our rock and roll values..."

I am not a violent man, but if I ever showed up at a gig, and someone in the other band had a Volkswagon guitar ("yeah, its cool, I bought a VW and it just came with this guitar!") I would punch him. As Sara Silverman is fond of saying, for a jew to buy a VW is like the "opposite of FUBU." No jury would convict.

I have had a vision. The Long Telegram VW World Tour. We never leave the car. It will be amazing.
i bought a VW and the Jewish G*d, G*d of Abraham, doomed me to have bought a lemon. my mechanic told me he had never seen the pantheon of problems that my VW had. i bought it because it was a wagon, in an era where the wagon was on the way out in favor of the SUV. they tricked me, those damn Germans.
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