Friday, April 18, 2008

Get. That. Dirt off your shoulder.

Do you know that Jay-Z song, "Dirt Off Your Shoulder"?

Well, this was brilliant. Yesterday was the day after the uber-craptacular ABC Clinton v Obama "debate" in Philadelphia where substance reigned a dream and trifling pettiness -- infantile bullshit about nothing, nothing, nothing of any importance -- was trotted out and "debated." Instead of coming out the next day and whining about it, Obama literally brushed it off.

Classy, right? But if you're a member of the 18-35 demographic (or if you're plagued, as I am, with arrested development) you're also likely to recognize this as a distinct nod to your society -- a society you may not have believed anybody knew about outside the shaking windows of your pimped out gangsta Honda CRV. Now, I know that "brush it off" is a well-known turn of phrase, and that's probably why most of the audience responded so well to it. That Jay-Z song, though, turned brushing dirt off your shoulder into a dance move, and anybody who knows the video (and that's a lot of voters) would be tempted to get up and dance with Barack when he did this. You think I'm kidding, don't you. I can tell you think this whole post is about boosting my shtreet cred. Maybe so. But let's take another look at that slo-mo:

To put this in perspective for people my age who actually act like it, Obama's bit of youth pandering was similar to Reagan's failed effort to connect to pop culture by invoking Springsteen's "Born In The USA," except Obama got the context right.

The point of the song is that one should stay cool under pressure. The point of Obama's gesture is that he's smoove like that.

Now, here's another piece of video sponsored by Schoolhouse ROC and the letter O:

Thursday, April 3, 2008


At Safeway this morning I'm confronted with this little gem: if my cashier fails to ask me for a donation to Easter Seals -- a handout -- then I win **free water**. As if being asked to give money is a customer service. "Don't worry, folks! Our team of checkers will definitely put you in an uncomfortable position during your visit. We guarantee* it."

*Guarantee backed by the planet's most plentiful resource.

So I put my iPod earbuds in as I go through the line and I avoid any eye contact with my cashier. I have my music up so loud that others can hear it bzipping out of the little earbuds. I try to look angry. Sure enough, my cashier fails to ask me for a donation. I pull out the earbuds and I say, "You didn't ask me to donate! I get free water!" She gives me the look I deserve, I suppose, and she hands me a warm bottle of water.

She says, "Would you like to donate to Easter Seals?"

"No," I answer, opening my water bottle.