Tuesday, July 26, 2005
"Back to School" goes Back in the Day
The Choice is Yours?
"Back to School" time sucks. Remember that shit? You're all cold chilling, watching TV after swimming or hangin' with your peeps at the playground, and then -- like a grotesquely tentacled creature from the depths of the malicious mere of spoil your fun -- the back to school commercial rears its ugly head. Hordes of impossibly happy children in colorful outfits! Shiny lunchboxes! STUDENT PLANNERS!!! That back to school commercial punctures the fantasy of the endless summer, it reminds you that summer is ending, that you must go back to school. Run for your life!!!!!
Though it was about half a lifetime ago, I can still remember my reaction to the "back to school" advertisements. It was something like:
Yuck! Yuck! Fuck you back to school! With your composition notebooks and looseleaf and pocket folders. You can't fool me. School supplies and new shoes will mean nothing when I'm hurriedly copying someone else's Spanish homework before the bell rings. When I'm getting the answers out of the back of my Algebra book and wondering how the hell I'm going to show my "work." When I'm eating a gross, government-subsided "food" item on the bleachers.
Anyway, fifteen years ago I was going into the tenth grade (what a hell hole!). Interestingly, the soundtrack to this year's "back to school" commercials is the same one I had that summer. As if advertising wasn't evil enough. For example:
JC Penny and The Black Sheep's "The Choice is Yours"
P.S. In my google search for "Black Sheep" I also found this.
Target's bizzar-o rendition of Sir Mix-A-Lot's "Baby Got Back"
Like Sir Mix, the Target folks aspire to pun on "back", referencing both "backpacks" and "back to school"(cringe). Poor Sir Mix, first Ross and Rachel sing this song to their kid in the final and most irritating days of Friends, and now this. Do you think Sir Mix got paid for that Friends shit?
Kohl's mash-up of Thomas Dolby's "She Blinded me with Science"
Kids walk behind big test tubes and their outfits change! Poetry in Motion indeed!
Now, I have to admit that I'm glad the Black Sheep song is getting some play. It's a great song! And if advertising is going to be so evil, it might as well be entertaining. And of course the pop song as backdrop to corporate pimping ain't anything new (I can still remember when I first saw the Nike commercial that used the Beatles' song "Revolution"). But nothing can diminish the surprise of hearing the Ramones or the Go-Go's or the Clash or Modest Mouse or Nick Drake in a commercial. And absolutely nothing can diminish the pain of going back to school.