I find it hard to believe everything I see these days, and not just because my eyesight is getting increasingly bad with age (my theory is that my eyesight is disappearing at the same rate as my hair due to an evolutionary development that is meant to protect me from the depression that inevitably comes from seeing myself age every time I look in a mirror.)
I find it hard to believe what I see, and often what I hear, for many reasons aside from defective genes. For example, why does every sales-based company hire the incredibly fast-talking Micro-Machines guy to read the disclaimers at the very end of commercials on tv and radio? I think it is simply because they know that most people would not buy their product if they understood the stuff the guy was saying. (On a side, I wonder what percentage of emergency room visits during the 1980’s were directly linked to Micro Machine ingestion or choking incidents? I am pretty sure I still have a very small Dodge Viper in my lower intestine.)
People make fun of the medication advertisements for including a narrator who nonchalantly lists terrifying side effects like heart palpitations, detached retinas, and painful death syndrome before recommending their medication to everyone, but at least the narrator is being honest. I want to read the law that says a company can say whatever they want as long as they have a microscopic disclaimer at the bottom of the tv that says ‘results not typical’ or ‘daily exercise and healthy diet required for best results.’ If someone eats healthy and exercises regularly, they will not need to buy a belt that repeatedly shocks them until they have a six-pack.
Then there is the ever-illusive asterisk at the end of a phrase, such as No Money Down* that can be found in every kind of sales advertisement. After 20 minutes of searching for the second asterisk, which is typically hidden in a crease behind a bunch of staples, the disclaimer typically says the exact opposite of what the phrase said. My 7th grade English teacher helped me remember the semi-colon by telling me to replace it with the phrase “that is, ” which worked well. In order to help myself remember what the asterisk means, I replace it with “sike!”
My favorite advertising deception is the small font during a commercial that says “these are paid actors” during the testimonials about how much they loved a product. I would like to tell the companies responsible for these commercials that we already know they are actors because 1. they are terrible actors and 2.even if they were good actors, no ordinary person talks that excitedly about how much they love a mop. Stop insulting us and just make a commercial with some muscular men and scantily clad women using your mop, like all the smart advertising agencies do.
Deception as Art
As our friends in sales and advertising have shown us by failing miserably to disguise their often deceitful practices, deception is an art form that needs to be perfected with practice. A couple of masters in the art of deception are Criss Angel and David Blaine, two “street magicians” known for various television specials replete with mind-blowing sleight of hand and logic-defying stunts (David Blaine once enclosed himself in ice for several days, and Criss Angel somehow managed to date Hugh Hefner’s ex-girlfriend Holly Madison while continuing to be a complete tool.) They are good at magic, and if Criss Angel and David Blaine lived in any other century in America, they would have been burnt at the stake pretty much immediately (it might still behoove them to stay out of Mississippi and Arkansas just to be safe.)
Although I never got into magic because I was afraid I would get beaten up a lot, I have acquired a skill that involves another type of visual deception; I have mastered Microsoft Paint. I realize there are much better programs available that produce a much better result, but I like the appearance the antiquated Paint program produces (and I will continue liking it until I can afford Photoshop.)
People who have read this blog since the beginning saw an example of my “artwork” when I decided that if I was unable to push Lady GaGa down in real life, then I would at least make it look like I did.
Over the years there have been many reasons I have made these pictures, and I am sure that no one else but me still thinks they are funny. Here are a couple of examples of past exploits:
This month, I chose to advertise for the fundraiser that I am participating in (which involves growing an awful moustache for the month of November) by making a few of these photos. Unlike the dishonest advertising styles mentioned above, there is no deception or shenanigans involved with this fundraising effort; If you wish to donate to support the cause please click here. Either way, please enjoy the free pictures of some of my adventures with my moustache this month*.
For those of you who have already donated, or plan to soon, I greatly appreciate it. It makes having this terrible, terrible moustache seem worthwhile. Love, John G
*I included the asterisk above because, although the pictures are free, you are not required to enjoy them.