The first part presents tweets from Nov-Dec 2017, the second part is older tweets that were omitted in my previous anthologies and that on second thought I want to publish on my blog.
Do you think hashtagging mass shooters’ names like #KevinJansonNeal or #StephenPaddock or #ScottOstrem or #DevinPatrickKelley will provoke attention-seeking shootings? Explain why you think so.
1/ I think straight workers suffer more than gay bosses in this world.
2/ X: I’m a worker and I’m gay. Me: Yeah? What are you doing for your fellow workers?
#AddParenthesesRuinAFilm The Sound of (Elevator) Music (Peter Grant, ‘Author of the popular Stinky Stories’)
Thinking about that movie would actually spoil my enjoying the music in the elevator.
My working-class friends and Salvador Dali have one commonality: Contrary to art critics, they are aware today’s painters don’t know their job. (Cf Les Cocus du vieil art moderne)
fancy being funny
are trying, while talking, to open that chocolate box I’ve brought and the box ends up in shreds.
always say the most awkward things at parties, dear, but don’t you try my patience too much.
1 /Mugabe has his good side. He once called Tony Blair and Britons “gay gangsters,” which is very accurate.
2/ Mugabe’s paramilitary were called the Green Bombers and that’s cool. First thing next spring I buy me a green bomber jacket.
3/Defiant Mugabe vows to stay on (BBC)
You’re the life of this country
Without you it’s all dust again over the desert extent
Black grandees there will be yes:
Black lustered Chesterfields where multinationals’ bosses will be sitting.
A scientist is a specialist. Another name for a specialist is a manic. Manics belong to the loony bin.
I wonder if I am truly insane how I would know that. (Wednesday’s Child)
Besides, the institution’s policy is to not contradict your delusions.
#MyFiveYearPlan Buy a Principality somewhere and then maybe Australia. (Wednesday’s Child)
Australia is not for sale as it is the inviolable property of the Dutch.
That would be news.
History can be news. [See Tweet Anthology 6 here: The Truth About New Holland (A Dialogue)]
#QuestionsForAMan How do you feel about earning less than any woman in my Glorious Revolution? (Wednesday’s Child)
As a Christian convinced there’s a Chosen People of which I’m no part, I am fit for any kind of abject subservience whatsoever.
Silicon Sycophants and Twitter: It was found in labs that compliments, although knowingly made by bots/computers/screens, light on a little light in the reward system of our brains… & now we’re swamped by bot flattery.
More people die from alcohol than from guns in USA. Why do you ask for gun control and not for Prohibition?
Gun control is opposed to Socialism. For all Socialist thinkers that I know, a standing army is a parasitic scourge and Socialism is by definition the armed people.
“The first decree of the Commune was the eradication of the standing army and its replacement by the armed people.” (Karl Marx, The Civil War in France, quoted by Lenin in The State and Revolution)
“The disarming of the workers was the first commandment for the bourgeois, who were at the helm of the state” (Friedrich Engels, preface to Marx’s The Civil War in France, quoted by Lenin in The State and Revolution) => Bourgeois Gun Control [See also Ernesto Cardenal’s experience in revolutionary Cuba, in Tweetantho 9 here]
The Reason Islam Wins (because Islam prohibits alcohol)
Islam will rule over you, wino kafirs. You’ll pay the kafir tax and jumbo heavy boozer taxes.
The reason why it takes some time for driverless cars to pervade our environment right now is not technology but legal matters: In case of accident, who’s legally responsible?
And how does an AI taxi decide who to injure in an unavoidable collision?
Yes, maybe a machine can make such decisions, and the only criterion I can think of is minimizing the body count. As to a human driver, he probably can’t think much before crashing on the right or crashing on the left…
On the other hand, if AI is that efficient, the car may choose to hit a group of 5 rather than a group of 2 if it can predict the impact will only injure the 5 but kill the 2…
Yes. Now my Followers outstrip my Following. This is the natural order of things. (Wednesday’s Child)
Let’s say one number shows how popular you are and the other number shows how curious you are. Which one shows you’re an interesting person?
I want to know how you would answer the same riddle.
I guess curious people are intelligent, whereas people may be popular for many reasons, good or bad. Of course, my assumption on these two numbers is incorrect. The main reason some follow a lot of people is that they want a lot of followers. Not the main reason: in fact, the only reason.
On the so-called Common Era. Are you telling me it’s more respectful of others to call the era starting with the birth of a Galilean “common” (to everyone)? That looks like awful cultural imperialism to me! The so-called Common Era is no more common than the Muslim Era or the Buddhist Era or any other Era. Stop the nonsense.
Children in single-parent families by race (U.S. 2015): Black 66%, American Indian 52%, Latino 42%, White 25%, Asian 16%. 1 white kid out of 4 is a pretty high figure too, if you think of it.
US President Donald Trump receives Bahrain’s crown prince at the White House; promises a $9bn deal with Arab country. (Press TV)
Is U.S. a free enterprise country? Business deals are made by politicos and diplomats. Not competition, but connections is the key word. [Competition persists somewise, for the small fry.]
[As was already perceived by Lenin: ‘’Finance capital has created the epoch of monopolies, and monopolies introduce everywhere monopolist methods: the utilization of ‘connections’ for profitable transactions takes the place of competition on the open market.’’ (Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism, 1917) One hundred years later we are still stuck in the highest stage of capitalism… It’s depressing.]
You vote for politicos #AddSpanishImproveAnything
Don’t expect too many respectable married women to join the ROSEARMY [actress Rose McGowan’s movement for improving awareness of concealed sexual harassment and sexual crimes]. As their children’s thriving depends not a little on their father’s unblemished reputation, they’ll stand to their man like ferocious she-wolves, no matter what he did.
American casualties in Vietnam War (dead): 58,209. US population in 1961: 183.7M, hence 91.85M males, of which above 19 years old: 56.25M. Makes 1 adult American male out of 1.000 – dead in Vietnam War (a war lost by US).
American casualties in WWII (dead; military and civilian): 419,400. US population in 1941: 133.4M, hence 66.7M males of which (applying same ratio as 1961) 40.92M above 19 yrs old. Makes 1 per cent, 10 per 1.000 American adult males dead in WWII.
I’m tired of being a hard-working man. (Nov 2016)
John Bolton… A weird name… for a neocon. (Dec 2016)
Reality Check: @AJUpFront reveals how Obama’s immigration policies have led to millions of deportations. (Al Jazeera English)
“Deporter-in-Chief” ‘s both supporters and detractors think he’s been immigration-friendly. Completely misjudged by both friends and foes. How is it just possible??? [Yet it was possible.]
Except for the clenched fist, Trump’s hand gestures are subtly effete. Most people don’t perceive the dissonnance consciously. His subliminal hermaphroditism has made Donald Trump win.
Everyone commented on whom Trump nominated as ambassador to Israel, but only a few commented on Rex Tillerson as head of the Department of State. Tillerson is the oil lobby. Historically, the oil lobby has been the major, perhaps the sole counterbalance to AIPAC on U.S. foreign policy, because the oil lobby doesn’t want U.S. to alienate Arab countries altogether. When the Zionists want to say U.S. foreign policy is biased, they say it is dictated by the oil lobby, meaning that it is not pro-Israel enough, that too much attention is given to Arab demands. But the media kept silent on the meaning of Tillerson’s nomination, so people won’t support him and he can fall any time in the general indifference.
[With Saudi Arabia’s new stand on the Middle East affairs, this comment of mine may already have lost a good deal of relevance.]
These Arab leaders [faced with Zionism] are all talk and no action.
While the Israeli left have been so effectual, haven’t they?
Let it be known from the outset that Mexican immigrants are “just another brick in the Wall.”
Church attendance and mass-media consumption makes you a double sucker.
Even on a heap of gold you can live like a dog.
The aim of most anti-Trump protestors is to get their first date.
Nietzsche said a passion for history is a crippling one.
Trump is not restricting the press, only calling them b*stards, which they are.
Business mouthpieces –read: the media– are all for cheap-labor immigration and, of course, government assuming the costs.
I stopped listening [President Trump’s joint address to Congress] at the “unbreakable alliance with the state of Israel.” No state ought to be given blank check. Wrong message to the world! Make Israel a state of the US, if that’s the idea, or treat it like any other state, please.
Remember the “rooster dance” from Chinese PLA [People’s Liberation Army] soldiers? Here comes the dress rehearsal. (People’s Daily, China)
Why are they doing this? It’s insane. You’ve got some real whackos at PLA command, I tell you. Scary. Take off the guns from these nuts.
[Of course, the aim of this clownish ‘rooster dance’ is to sugarcoat for the feeble-minded the repressive nature of the army.]
Israeli TV Host Denounces Treatment Of Palestinians: ‘Apartheid Has Been Here For Ages’ (Nation of Islam Research Group)
He can say that without being called an antisemite, while you can’t. Your not being a Jew puts you at risk, on some topics, to be called an antisemite –if that’s of any consequence– whereas being a Jew makes the label rather irrelevant.
The problem is that the art world has been a bastion of the left forever. Why should taxpayers fund it? (Kevin McDonald)
How do you account for this? Is it because people on the right have no taste?
Remember Zionist Jonah Goldberg: “Why wasn’t Assange garroted in his hotel room years ago?” (Chicago Tribune)
Judge Gorsuch will be sworn in at the Rose Garden of the White House on Monday at 11:00 A.M. (POTUS) (April 2017)
Ah, Rose Garden, Saadi, Gulistan…
Since the American airstrike on Syria I sense the climate in U.S. has considerably warmed for the President… This is appeasement.
Not invade a country [Syria] because Ivanka [Trump’s daughter] cried at some pictures.
I can show her pictures of a few Yemeni children if she likes pictures.
Remember, there’s no shortage of important work that can be done only by humans. (MITSloan Mgmt Review)
Who told you humans wanted to do these jobs?
Black people live in the “ghetto.” But Jewish intellectual Allan Bloom objected to their using the word, because the Jewish ghetto was… cultured. (April 2017)
[I can’t tell whether Allan Bloom said such callous things only in private or not, as my source is the book of memories Ravelstein (2000) written by his friend the Nobel Prize Saul Bellow, who quotes him saying (I must quote in French as I read it in that language) : ‘’Les Juifs du ghetto avaient une sensibilité hautement développée, un courage civilisé – des milliers d’années de formation. Ils avaient des communautés et des lois. « Ghetto » est un terme de pisse-copie ignorant. Ce n’est pas d’un ghetto qu’ils viennent, c’est d’un ramdam bruyant, aveugle et nihiliste.’’]
The most beautiful city in the world (Paris)
Blow it: make it a livable, comfy place, not a museum. Signed: A Parisian.
Given that President Evo Morales has banned the Rothschild bank, if Macron is elected will the President of France be able to travel to Bolivia? Think about it.
Remember the Battle of Puebla and Mexico’s anti-slavery roots. On this day in 1862, Mexico struck a blow against white empire. #CincodeMayo
An outrage to every Moulin Rouge and Crazy Horse artiste and champagne supplier.
Schopenhauer had a phrase for Western Civilization, he called it “foetor judaicus,” the Jewish stench.
Euphemisms for “animals” in research departments: Neurophysiology: preparations Ecology: systems Psychology: Ss Medicine: models Any more? (Richard Dawkins)
How many have you vivisected yourself? [No answer.]
Here’s (More) Evidence Testosterone Makes Men Dumber (NYMag)
As reaching high social status boosts one’s testosterone, then becoming a big man makes one dumber.
If a Pontifex doesn’t have a grim face, then he must be doing naughty things behind closed doors…
Last night a DirtyJ saved my life…
Love is real, by John Lennon, sounds very much like Love Israel when you think of it. I’ve stopped humming it.
The very idea that the British tried to convert worthy Hindus to Anglicanism gives me the shudder. Luckily that was a total failure. Cf Schopenhauer.
I have an ancestor called Sheikh Qadhib, which could mean sword or penis. (Sultan Al-Qassemi)
My beurette girlfriend calls me Kabir Qadhib.
The president of the EU commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, reminds Donald Trump of the legal technicalities of the Paris Climate Agreement. (June 2017)
“I’m a Transatlanticist, whatever that means. That means nothing but it means everything.” Couldn’t be clearer. Be warned.
Je suis Charlie Qatar. #QatarCrisis
As UAE is expelling Qatari citizens, UAE citizens will be expelled from Qatar, some of them losing a livelihood. What is Emirati authorities’ plan for them? No plan, I guess. The authoritarian decision isn’t supported by Gulf populations, which haven’t been consulted and won’t be allowed to speak out.
Thank God, no terror attack in France today during national election. How could media cover both election’s results and the attack?
When I see gypsies begging with children I am appalled; it’s like my country’s government never heard of robachicos abducting children to exploit them. In backwater France, the government lets gypsy women beg with babies in the street. Who are these babies? They could be abductees, for all we know. So many child abductions and yet the French government lets gipsy women beg with children at the foot of the Eiffel Tower!
How can I be sure my wife’s employer won’t ask her to lift her niqab in the backroom?
Schopenhauer thought whites were “whitened blacks” while Darwin thought blacks were “blackened whites.”
Dentists have a lousy job (that pays well); they turn to politics whenever they can. Spending the whole day on filthy mouths… I’d rather be a bum.
I can be brutally frank because I use English and I think my dentist won’t read it and won’t pull out all my teeth in retaliation.
Films The Dentist (1996) & The Dentist 2 (1998) by Brian Yuzna are good, funny approaches of this… sensitive topic.
Congress should enjoy no exemptions in any area differing from an American citizen. (James Woods)
People voting for Congress means people have no power on Congress. See what I mean?
I like Twitter coz they never know it’s u clicking so u can boost ur own private stats clicking like mad on ur own tweets!
In World Premiere: Eric McLuhan says his say about subliminal messages (here), Professor Eric McLuhan talked about his class on perception and subliminals at Ontario College of Art (OCA) in the seventies.
In this correspondence he says he was using a carrousel tray of 80 slides to familiarize his students with the subject. In the mean time, he digitized this material and has been kind enough to email me some of the slides, allowing me to publish them on this blog as another world premiere.
In these slides readers interested in the topic of subliminal messages as used in our mass culture will find not only fine examples of subs’ occurrence in advertising but also a method for their research.
Prof. McLuhan’s comments on his material will appear in italics. In some cases I have allowed myself to add a few remarks.
The first slide he sent me from his carrousel has been already added to my previous World Premiere post as item nr 8 from the posters file.
Then he sent me this painting from Salvador Dali, Slave Market with the Disappearing Bust of Voltaire (1940), which, incidentally, I had already mentioned in my subliminals series (Subliminal Junk X, Case 74 here).
I can name at least two more Dali’s paintings in the same vein: 1/ Metamorphosis of Narcissus; & 2/ Swans Reflecting Elephants. You can google them. Also, at the small Dali Museum in Montmartre (Paris), there is an anamorphosis: A butterfly is painted which reflection on a vertical metal tube transforms into a grinning Harlequin’s face.
Then Eric McLuhan sent me the following.
I generally approach the matter of embedding from the angle of visual puns. Doing so allows the discussion to proceed minus the annoyance of moral indignation.
Then, the word FLY embedded in the intervals between the figures…
I find it really useful as a demo of embedding technique because the object is not presented as a figure but as a pure product of use of interval (ground) and con-figuration.
Here’s another example of embedding that uses con-figuration–that is, ground. The only elements that are to be taken literally appear in the centre strip. From a Ben Casey cartoon.
The Ben Casey exemplifies how an assemblage of disparate elements can be used to compose an image not implicit in any one of them–exactly how subliminals are constructed when a gearshift lever or a baguette serves as a penis, etc…
The mouth and nose of the four-square face is provided by a lamp in the bottom-right square. The bottom-left square, it’s other (rather undefined) deco elements and at the same time the chin.
I use this one, the Family Circus cartoon, to introduce the notion of the “beholder’s share” in completing the image, whether done consciously, as here, or unconsciously, as in the usual round of subliminals in ads.
Let me close with a dandy, one of the most subtle subliminal ads ever made. For Beefeater gin.
The Beefeater ad is an excellent example of an ad designed to be ignored. As such, it does its work while the beholder is occupied elsewhere, in this case, with reading the column of print on the left. The ad itself can be grasped in a second or two at most: there is nothing there, just a few fragments of a situation. The bottle cap, the martini glass and olive and its reflection, the single word. The beholder fills in the rest and thereafter relegates the entire to the area of inattention so the ad continues to work for the next minute or two or three as he reads the print. The entire ad is subliminal.
I get Eric’s point all right, yet my feeling, as I was searching for a subliminal embed, was, perhaps based on a misconstruction of the word “dandy” he used, that the picture was very appealing. I fancy some people may like to linger gazing at it. It magnifies the glass of gin as pure light on a background of unmitigated darkness. The reflections have been airbrushed to produce a vertiginous effect of infinite light-beam plays. It’s a diamond. A diamond for cheap. Real art, I would say. Abstract art. Clean, uncluttered style. It takes a lot of work to streamline an object like this, even if on paper only.
Here are a couple more from the slide tray. I think you’ll enjoy them.
The first is a fake, a send-up: I use it to set up the next two…
After the laughter has died down, comes this one…
From erect to flaccid.
And then this one… (From Good Housekeeping, I think.)
Twinkle did several with the same theme.
The academic reaction to my lectures on subliminals were generally, er, disappointing. Or downright dismissive, to put it mildly. Not serious scholarship. Mind you, I avoided the moral approach entirely and pursued the practise in terms of art technique and visual ambiguity. But the literati, it must be noted, have a profound distaste for puns, visual or otherwise.
Speaking of which…
And in Chatelaine, of all places! Tsk, tsk!
The jock strap as Tote Bag–or is it vice-versa?
Variations on a theme…
The essay to be written (or spoken) on this one is easy, and obvious…
No wedding rings
They’ve been to a party / ball
They’re going to her place
He’s focused outwardly; she, inwardly…
‘How do you know they’re going to her place, I asked. The groceries she’s holding?’
Yes, it is the fact that she is carrying the groceries, cradling the genitalia, clutching the milk to her breast, that tells the story. Normally, the gentleman would carry the bags.
Here’s one for today…
No comment needed.
It seems even more outrageous that advertisers talked of “dirty minds,” about the very few people who voiced their suspicions, given such transparent items…
Hard to believe, isn’t it? The best way to hide something is to put it in plain sight.
Of course they say you have a dirty mind. What else can they say–unless they admit to being naughty?
Wink wink nudge nudge.
Lipstick ads can usually be counted on to provide a sandbox for the embedders to play in. Here’s a rather exuberant example…
Hey, sport, how’s the old stick?
Moisture-soft lips? Come ON…
Hour after hour? And this was before Viagra and its companions.
The background here again is important. Whereas on the Bols ads the figures (objects: groceries, baguette, bottle and tennis balls…) told the story, here the lipstick is, to be sure, a phallic shape, yet somewhat remotely so. It needs the “moisture” Eric is talking about to specify the effect, and it is provided by the white, marble-like veins of the background wall and their “spurt effect.”
Here is the copy to consider. Meaning subliminal oral sex in the lipstick pointing toward the model’s mouth is not per se sufficient, methodologically speaking, because in any case it is the vocation of lipstick to be applied to the lips, which would make all lipstick ads subliminal. (It would be like saying everything is sexual, like Freudians: eating is a sexual pleasure [orality] etc.)
The copy is about a “big love stick.” Double entendre. The advertiser, however (an imaginary advertiser who would go beyond the ‘dirty mind’ stance), might reply that there is a dissonance in that construction, because of “quick”: doing it quick is not a favorable attribute for a “love stick”… But perhaps it is meant that the stick is quick to get hard, hence that it is a healthy stick and that once it is hard it will not be soft again before a long time… The stick is quick to be a love stick.
Bear in mind that almost every reference to lips in these contexts is also a double entendre: facial lips and genital lips. As, for example, in the Sportstick ad, or in this one (inviting cunnilingus). See also the next few…
The field is rich.
This one deserves prolonged meditation: it is loaded.
First, note the manufacturer is Chap Stick.
Here we go again: same ballpark as SportStick…. Same tune, different key.
Composition: standard eye-leading: eye is led from top left to bottom right. Plunge — Wet Wet — Quencher, Chap Stick–and so down.
The model strides over a gap in the pavement: legs apart. Through that gap/between her legs there gushes a waterfall, a torrent of foamy liquid.
She is airborne (ecstatic?): only the very tip of one toe touches the ground.
The headline tells the reader to take a plunge. Figuratively of course as the depth of this water is an inch or less. But “take the plunge…”
So Chap Stick / Lip Quencher provides the wet wet world–and there they go with lips again. Really subtle!
Now turn to the copy for the second course.
Headline: Come and enjoy MOIST LIPS. Only it has to be read aloud in a suitably excited voice: COME! and enjoy MOIST LIPS.
(Remember the waterfall…)
(Pause for emphasis)
(there’s those lips again).
Then: Once you enter our wet wet moist lips world, …
Chap Stick is
drenched with protective emollients,
overflowing with creaminess,
to soften your lips and keep them lusciously moist.
In mouth-watering creams…
Here are two cliches from the lipstick ads. Lipsticks not only have a very useful name (lips + stick) and set of suggestive (symbolic) phallic associations, their very ubiquity and familiarity blocks the readers’ imaginations from seeing them as anything else.
…in the inset on the right side.
Also, there is the usual double-entendre about lips, and so on.
Check the main headline: Put your lips in our hands…
Is that a thumb?
It’s amazing, the variety of contexts in which male genitalia can be used!
It’s a visual pun. Puns are the essence of our subject.
This shape can be related to the “super deformed” genre from some Japanese mangas and video games, a type of normed caricature. It’s fine “super deformed” genitalia. I suggest to use this grid when looking for subliminals.
There’s a nice (and innocent, for once) subliminal embed in the top left corner, behind and just below the word, “tu”–a man’s face.
The point is, you examine the model’s expressions and demeanour, and ask, what is on her mind, what is she grooming for? The answer is there, connected to “tu”–second person (male in this case) and very singular. Her dream companion.
There is nothing naughty about this ad or the use of the subliminal (or nearly sublimninal) image since readers can easily discern the ghostly boyfriend if they pay attention. It is just a nicely-orchestrated composition.
I have my own interpretation on this one. The ‘dream companion’ is in the gloom. As I guess people will tend to look at the model, they won’t notice the face in the background. When they see it, for those who do see it, it must be startling, like a spook coming out of the dark… He looks befuddled, as if not well awoken from his eternal sleep. Or sad and melancholy: The man is a suicide. Men will die for this woman. She’s a witch. “Tu” is the informal/intimate you, but also the masterly, the superior you. The advertiser intended to convey a sense of power, magic power and power over males. That the man stands in the dark could also mean the woman will be the one who shines in that pair.
My heartfelt thanks to Eric McLuhan for sharing and commenting this material.
Then there is this.
Just remembered–the very first issue of OUI mag, in 1972, featured a brazen subliminal that might interest you, inasmuch as there was little or no recognition of it–the embed, that is. OUI was published by Playboy.
It is a simple subliminal: open the centerfold and hold it up to the light. One side is a reclining nude. The other has a drawing of Marlon Brando in a rather odd pose. With the light shining through, you see Mr Brando performing cunnilingus on the model.
You might like to add this one to your collection.
I ordered the copy and saw the embed all right. I was to take a picture of it when Prof. McLuhan sent me the picture he himself had taken and just retrieved. Here it is.
For more cases go to Index and my posts in the Subliminals Series.
In Subliminal Junk XII (here) (Complements), I kind of pictured myself as a man engaged in a lonely struggle attempting to expose subliminal practices in advertising. The truth is that it is far from being the case, as a brief search on YouTube can convince anyone that the topic is very hot. Scores of videos, viewed by hundreds of thousands, even millions of people, just do the same as I do. Yet the advertising industry and media carry on their business unconcerned.
To be sure, many of these videos seem to circulate chiefly in certain networks preoccupied with the power of an agency they call the Illuminati. I understand that these Illuminati would be some organization inside the freemasonry, the top managers of the whole business, so to speak, apparently having (according to some) direct communication with Satan, which plans they intend to fulfill on this earth. Subliminal techniques, in this peculiar view, would serve Illuminati’s goal of world domination.
That some die-hard Christians, faced with the secularization of our societies and cultures (perhaps a sham, this secularization, in fact), are apt to explain things in terms of spiteful, inimical agencies – and the Devil himself – is not a big surprise. That they are, on the other hand, if not the only ones, at least the most active and successful (counting the number of viewers of their videos) in exposing subliminal techniques, and thus in contributing to the knowing of our times, in short that they proved to be the spearhead of the movement toward the truth, even if it be in that field only, must be a little shocking for a die-hard Secularist.
One is compelled to acknowledge that advertisers are like conjurers. If you knew the conjurer’s tricks, you wouldn’t go to his show. Likewise, if you knew how advertising worked, then advertising would fail to achieve its goal, which is to influence behavior. That such is its goal is somewhat concealed by our society, its laws and law courts’ calling it “commercial information” notwithstanding the fact that such “information” is always aiming at the consumer’s purchase in the interest of the “informant.” Given this goal – suggestion –, advertising must remain undiscussed and unexamined if it ought to be efficient. Democracy has proved often enough over time that it can accommodate to complete lack of transparency in many matters; yet, on the plane of principles, both concepts – democracy and opacity – undermine each other, so how one reconciles the status of advertising with our national constitutions is a problem that so far has remained unresolved.
…………….Case 96 Boodles SEX
Cases 96 & 97 are taken from Vanity Fair n° 672, August 2016 (English edition: “Vanity Fair is published by the Condé Nast Publications Ltd., Vogue House, Hanover Square, London,” p. 26).
The above picture shows a woman’s face looking at the viewer. Albeit the model’s chin seems to rest on her left hand, not a single flesh fold, which the pressure of the palm on the fatty parts of the chin would make one expect, can be seen. Evidently, the picture is a montage. Perhaps the hand is not even the same person’s.
Now, if you take a closer look at the area where the hand is supposed to be in contact with the chin, the feeling arising is actually that of distance rather than contact. It seems that the graphic designer made no effort at all to create an illusion of contact, and that he wanted to tell us a quite different story than that of a chin resting on a hand, which a quick glance at the advert first suggests Gestalt-wise.
The model wears a cream-colored jersey. The fabric’s fold on the shoulder is extremely peculiar; I can’t figure out how the jersey could become so folded, unless it has been very poorly cut… or the fold designed to that effect for the ad. So let’s take a closer look at this fold. I have outlined nothing in the picture because I think the effect is obvious. The hand, seemingly used to support the model’s chin, is in fact clenching an object that protrudes from it, on its right, and is suggested by a double fabric fold. This object is no other than a penis. It is a still flaccid or half flaccid penis curving downward, and the hand masturbates it, making it bob to and fro because of its not being quite stiff yet.
Furthermore, the two folds delineating the penis can be connected to a third one further on the left, the resulting compound making a stylized vulva.
…………….Case 98 Creed SEX
The above picture 1 is taken from a two-page ad for the new Creed woman perfume Aventus For Her, of which it is the first page, showing only the “classic” Aventus perfume for men. We see the perfume bottle salient on a marble-like whitish background and some greenery probably representing the fragrances involved and which I identify as blackcurrants, mint and licorice. The licorice stick is leaning against the bottle top. Its tip is reminiscent of a penis, which I have outlined in red.
The curvature is suggestive and, although the stalk somewhat tapers toward the tip, the glans neatly partitions from the shaft thanks to a visible ridge. The texture of the stick provides veins on the shaft (I outlined one) as well as finer creases around the frenulum (a few being outlined).
I suggest this penis-like object is in fact a clitoris. Just above the point where the meatus would be, lies a dark area given to construe as the shadow of one of the mint leaves. The whole display of shadows looks rather messy and not quite according to the laws of optics. This particular shadow here delineates a pool, that is, an ejaculate pool. Its smoky aspect could also represent some sprayed substance, a cloud of fine moisture particles emanated from the clitoris due to arousal. In short, the arrangement suggests to you the effect that Aventus perfume will have on women: it will arouse them and make them wet and receptive and consenting to any sexual proposition.
…………….Case 98 L’Oréal SEX
Cases 98-102 are taken from the American magazine Glamour, August 2016.
The present ad for L’Oréal “Infallible Pro-Glow” is endorsed by Ethiopian model and actress Liya Kebede, whose name appears on the bottom left of the upper picture, for those, like me, who did not know who the model is. Not that the name was known to me either, but I was made aware in that way that she was a celebrity. Mentioning the name might betray that the celebrity in question is not so famous, after all – or does it mean that it was thought she would be impossible to recognize in the ad due to massive airbrushing of the picture?
I don’t know what the apparatus on the left of the upper picture is; it looks like some hairdresser’s or gymnastics equipment. On another plane, it looks like a human skull looking at the model, with the chrome parts drawing the jaws and mouth.
The model is looking at the viewer. Among the intricate patterns of the left ear (the model’s right ear) a fellatio has been embedded, which I have outlined in white. Next to the model’s temple appears a penis – shaft, glans and meatus visible. Its impressive size can be measured by comparing it with the human face drawn beside it, the mouth of which being entirely concealed by the glans. The performer of the fellatio must be currently licking the shaft.
…………….Case 99 Johnson & Johnson’s Aveeno SEX
Another case of celebrity endorsement, this time for Johnson & Johnson’s Aveeno daily scrub and daily moisturizer (to be used together). (For theoretical considerations on celebrity endorsement, see Case 39 here.)
Contrary to Case 98 with actress Liya Kebede, the celebrity here is not named. She’s the American actress Jennifer Aniston, as a quick internet research taught me. I guess she’s more expensive a model than her colleague Liya, whose name has to appear on the ads.
At the bottom right of the ad, a string bean (French bean) is leaning against the moisturizer bottle. Two beans are out of their pod. The whole thing is a naïve (I mean the pictorial genre) representation of an erect penis. I don’t need to outline anything; it’s as plain as the nose on your face. The pointed tip may hint, if you like, at a condom.
…………….Case 100 Chanel Eau Tendre SEX
On this picture there is wind, but looking carefully you will find that it is impossible to tell from which direction the wind blows. If you look at the cap of the perfume bottle, blown away from it, and at the model’s dress, the wind blows from behind her back. If, on the other hand, you look at the model’s hair and shawl, the wind blows from left to right. The apparent inconsistency, likely to be missed on conscious level by many viewers anyway, may suggest a maelstrom of sensations; surely this is something of the sort the creators will tell you if you ask them what they were meaning with such multidirectional winds.
Yet there may be something else than just that. Salvador Dali has devoted a whole book to Jean-François Millet’s painting L’Angélus (below): The Tragic Myth of Millet’s Angelus (in the original French Le Mythe tragique de l’Angélus de Millet), in which he explains among other things that the man’s hat is concealing an erection. Dali shows a cartoon in which a naked character can be seen in the same position as the man in the painting, holding a hat at the level of his genitals; when the character takes his hands off the hat because he needs them at once for another use, the hat does not fall and instead stays in the same position, so the reader understands it is maintained by the character’s erect penis. Dali tells us that this subliminal erection (I don’t remember if he actually uses the word “subliminal”), together with the woman’s attitude, which he describes as mantis-like, was what spooked him as a child after he first saw this painting.
In the advert here, the same technique may have been used (intentionally here, whether Millet’s effect was intentional or not). The dress would look as if it were blown forward by a powerful wind but, as the shawl and hair a few centimeters higher are blown in the opposite direction, it would not be wind but instead a powerful erection that elevates the dress in such a manner. The ad would thus appeal to women’s penis envy (Freud) by subliminally depicting a woman with a huge penis capable of mighty erections.
…………….Case 101 Unilever’s Dove SEX
Another case of celebrity endorsement (see Cases 98 & 99). The personality endorsing the product is, I suppose, the woman seen in the ad, and her name the one given under the quoted words, namely, Simona Di Dio. I searched for this name on the Web and found that no single Simona Di Dio can be deemed a celebrity but a few of them, if any, because I found one dancer (a belly dancer, actually), one poetess, one lawyer… As the ads talks of perspiration, I suppose our Simona here is the dancer. So much for celebrity endorsement.
They were right anyway not to use a better-known personality for their ad, because they intended to have her tell a lie. The quote reads: “I didn’t know an antiperspirant could make my underarms softer and smoother.” Let’s ponder for a moment over how things happened. Did Simona, one day, buy Dove Advanced Care and became aware after using it that her underarms had become softer and smoother so she wanted to advertise the fact to the whole world and reached out to Unilever to that effect, or was Simona (if she exists at all) called by the advertising agency to appear in an ad under words alleged to be hers for cash payment? Well? I needn’t answer, need I?
In a way, the process is the same with all celebrity endorsements. The glitterati do not care a dime about the product they advertise (as long as it does not injure their image), they only care about the money they get from being associated with it. In most cases, however, it’s not so direct; if it’s an actor, for instance, who’s paid, he will play a little sketch in a TV spot or pose for a picture. Here, it is the celebrity’s own words that are supposedly quoted, and the name has the same function as a signature.
Moreover, the copy reads as follows: “Dove Advanced Care goes way beyond protection. 9 out of 10 women agreed that it made their underarms soft and smooth.” Can Unilever prove it? Can they show the questionnaire, the answers given to it, the research protocols? Can they explain how the survey was carried out? Perhaps they can – why not? – but the material is their propriety and they won’t disclose it. Only justice could compel them to disclose their proprietary material, but on what ground? Figures without sources, it’s what advertising is all about. No deadly sin, you may argue; but not commendable either. Far from commendable, in fact.
…………….Case 102 Chevrolet Malibu Suicide
Where does “a complete 180 on the ordinary” (copy) drive you? According to this ad, it may well lead you to the brink of an abyss.
Albeit “Drive Safely” is written on the license plate (in red letters), the Chevrolet Malibu stands on some perilous edge. If you look at the visible front wheel, you see a diagonal line running behind it in a slightly upward straight direction. Even though the white wall on the right of the car continues further toward the front, this line, beyond which nothing is to be seen (below the wheel and car) but a black space, a different space from that on which the car is now standing, seems to indicate the end of the parking lot, or whatever that place is. The parking lot opens on a mountain scenery under bright sky. The feeling conveyed is that of height, the parking lot looks as if it were accessed through an opening in a mountain slope, and the line the car is about to cross if it advances just a little farther is the edge of a chasm. By escaping the ordinary, the advertisers thus seem to mean indulging one’s suicidal tendencies.
That advertising would appeal to some Thanatos urges (death wish) in man comes as no surprise. That a car is a fitting object to make appeals of this kind goes without saying, given the death toll our societies are paying to their road networks. – Appealing to (and exacerbating) aggressiveness when selling cars, as the ad in Case 88 does (here), may be regarded as criminal, by the way, bearing this death toll in mind, because those who use their cars and see driving as an outlet to their aggressiveness are likely to provoke more accidents. If research proves this intuitive view wrong, and the counterintuitive view that these people have less accidents right, then I’d be glad to be informed of it.
Several ads in Glamour magazine are copyrighted (you can see the copyright symbol on Case 99’s picture, for instance). This is something I have found frequently in magazines’ American editions but much more infrequently, or even not at all, in other countries’ editions at my disposal. For instance, I do not find a single copyrighted ad in the Vanity Fair August issue, English edition, from which Cases 96 & 97 above are taken.
Does it betray a pettifogging spirit in American business law? Be that as it may, it looks like I’m infringing on legal rights by using copyrighted material (like in Case 99). All I can say for my defense is, please go back to Subliminal Junk XII (here), Complements, and to Eric McLuhan’s quote. It explains why, when writing The Mechanical Bride and Culture Is Our Business, Marshall McLuhan did not ask for permission before using several advertisements in these books, because his publisher found it was not necessary. If it was unnecessary in Canada only, or whatever the publisher’s country was (Marshall McLuhan being a Canadian, I assume his publisher was in Canada, but whatever the country is, it is only one country in any case), then the books still would have had to require permissions for sales outside that country, in other legal contexts, that is – a point on which Eric McLuhan does not say a word, which in turn leads me to assume, provisionally, that permission is unnecessary worldwide, no matter how strange that sounds (but remember we’re dealing with multinational companies on the one hand, internet on the other hand, and that nation states look a little irrelevant in this context).
Yet it is astonishing that, in one and the same issue, some ads are copyrighted and others are not. Some companies copyright their ads and some don’t. I have no idea what is to be inferred from the practice, or its absence, but, still, here are the companies that copyright their ads and those that don’t in the Glamour issue for August 2016:
Copyright: Maybelline LLC (4 ads), Levi Strauss & Co., Estée Lauder Inc. (2 ads), CliniqueLaboratoires LLC, L’Oréal USA Inc. (10 ads), Garnier LLC (7 ads), Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. (3 ads), Allergan (2 ads), Jockey International Inc., Unilever (2 ads), Kao USA Inc., Procter & Gamble (4 ads), Mondelez International Group, Simple (2 ads), Merck Sharp & Dohme B.V., Del Monte Foods Inc., GEICO, Otsuka America Pharmaceutical Inc., Kraft (2 ads, p. 121, p. 133), Bayer, Condé Nast (p. 135).
No Copyright: Nordstrom, Condé Nast (pp. 6-7), Essie, Unilever (3 ads), Sunglass Hut, Buffalo David Bitton, AG Jeans, Chanel, Current/Elliot, Forever21, Paula’s Choice, Covergirl BeautyU, Arm & Hammer, Ogxbeauty, Kraft (p. 115), It’s A Ten Haircare, Chevrolet, Epicurious, Wet Brush, Hair Recipes.
Though the un-copyrighted ads tend to be for minor brands, this is not always the case (Chanel, Chevrolet). Some companies or groups even have some of their ads copyrighted and others not, in the same issue (Condé Nast, Unilever, Kraft).