Archives for posts with tag: federal government

“If a commercial seems to serve no function whatsoever, or if you’re uncertain what point it’s trying to make (or why), then it’s likely a public service ad,” musician and cultural critic Boyd Rice writes in his essay “Passive Activism”. “To comply with regulations set by the FCC,” he explains, “every station has to devote a certain amount of time to broadcasting material that’s ‘in the public interest.'”

Many of the “public service” announcements this reviewer remembers suffering through during his years as an adolescent couch potato came courtesy of NBC’s unfailingly unsettling “The More You Know” series, which featured television stars trying to ruin the viewer’s day by offering little sound bites about depressing topics.

Sleazoid Night Court attorney Dan Fielding, aka John Larroquette, explains how alcoholism “can make you a liar, can make you a thief”, and – apparently – also a highly popular actor with primetime sitcom success.

Hot Growing Pains mom Joanna Kerns grins at the thought of you being destroyed by an earthquake or tornado.

The notorious nippled Batman wants children to be aware that their fat, psychotic mothers may lash out at them at any moment.

Chronic squinter Helen Hunt, still unable to locate her glasses after several seasons of Mad About You, urges womyn to break up their marriages NOW, before they become just another statistic in the patriarchal ghetto – one of the zillions of womyn thrashed within inches of their lives every fifteen seconds.

Ad Council

 Ad Council logo: creative genius

The most annoying proliferator of public service announcements on the cultural landscape is no doubt the “non-profit” group the Ad Council, candidly described by historian Robert Griffith as “little more than a domestic propaganda arm of the federal government.”

Unsurprisingly, Ad Council spots have tended to promote the most vile sorts of agendas, ranging from the vilification of the American father to the glorification of welfare dependency. Here are a few Ad Council classics, old and new:

F*** Whitey up bad

Pizza? You expect me to eat pizza? Try eating this knuckle sandwich, bitch!

Stop procreation now!

Teaching black people about frogs

Cute animals telling Mexicans what a faggot Whitey is

“This is our government, everybody. This is what they do. They just waste your money.” – German American Bund leader Adam Carolla

 

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Street Wars

Originally a two-part episode of the TV series True Justice, this ersatz “movie” has over-the-hill kicker Steven Seagal playing the chief of a special sheriff’s task force in the Seattle area. He becomes concerned when clueless clubbers start dropping like flies from a new drug making the rounds of the local rave scene. (Indicative of the depressingly meager budget of Street Wars is the fact that the psychedelic effect of the drug is conveyed by choppy editing, strobe lights, and a close-up of a water bottle being shaken.) “This is gettin’ bad, man. This is gettin’ bad. We gotta do somethin’,” the enlightened law enforcer decides. The investigation will lead his team into a tangle of mob hits and federal corruption, none of it particularly interesting.

Seagal, sporting a plastic Dracula ‘do and a few extra pounds around the midsection, characteristically whispers his way through police procedural gobbledygook and action epilepsy shot nearly entirely in gimmicky ADHD jerkvision to disorient the viewer and try to shock life into this video corpse. Speed-up/slow-down annoyance, generous expenditures of ammunition, and quick cuts (to distract from Seagal’s relative lack of mobility) were never so boring. Ever. The bleak non-entertainment that is Street Wars is probably best summed up by one of the hefty, greasy-faced hero’s lines of dialogue: “I mean, you gotta be kidding me, man. I ain’t got time for this.”

1.5 out of 5 stars.

Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Street Wars, in addition to sucking, sends mixed political signals and that it is:

9. Sexist! Workplace flirtation (i.e., verbal RAPE) goes unprogressively unpunished.

8. Pro-wigger. Seagal is given to occasional black affectations, calling people “y’all” and saying things like, “We ain’t suppose to be babysittas.”

7. Pro-family. “If I could turn back the hands of time,” Seagal says, “I’d spend a lot more time with my wife and kids.”

6. State-ambivalent. Street Wars accepts the validity of the War on Drugs, but depicts the DEA as corrupt and favors local law enforcement as more effective, honest, and caring. “If you think you’re going to make the government care about these [impoverished] people, you’re crazy,” Juliet (Meghan Ory) says, presumably with reference to the federal government. A visit to the site of Camp Harmony, part of Uncle Sam’s system of WWII Japanese internment camps, resurrects the specter of a belligerent, racist, authoritarian state. Later, when a conflict arises between federal law and the needs of the Seattle task force’s investigation, Sarah (Sarah Lind) asks, “You know this violates half a dozen federal laws?” “Rules went out the window when they tried to kill Gates, right?” Juliet bristles. “I hate to rationalize breaking the rules,” Sarah replies, “but, yeah, you’re right.”

5. Diversity-skeptical. Seattle is racially and politically polarized. “These people, the good and the bad,” says filmmaker Savon (Byron Chan), “are products of the environment that the government created.” “But do you understand that none of this is interesting to people like me?” Juliet sasses back. “And if your audience doesn’t consist of us young white Republicans, uh, you’re not really gonna get the advertisers, right?” Savon objects, saying, “An investigative piece is made as food for the brain – not for advertisers’ dollars”, to which Juliet snaps, “Yeah, well, I guess my brain just doesn’t, uh, eat what your restaurant is serving.” (see also nos. 1 and 3)

4. Anti-slut/anti-miscegenation. A ditzy hedonist (Annette Tolar) lets a black thug (Matt Ward) stuff dope in her mouth. “One of these and your whole world will change,” he says as he removes his pooplike finger from her lips. The pair dances briefly until she collapses, foams at the mouth, and dies. Street Wars would seem to be more tolerant of white guy/Asian girl hook-ups, however. “It’s so sexy when you get all technical like that,” Gates (Kyle Cassie) tells Sparks (Elizabeth Thai).

3. Conservative. Street Wars features a caricature of a left-libertarian social justice weenie in the annoyingly named Savon, a documentarian making a propagandistic film about the homeless with the cooperation of local authorities. Savon, an Asian nerd with a pretentious British accent, is convinced that a legacy of government oppression of minorities and the poor is to blame for society’s woes. Tough cookie Juliet identifies as a Republican.

2. Anti-drug. Few will envy the brain swelling, dementia, convulsions, and death.

1. Racist! Seagal’s black lackey (William “Big Sleeps” Stewart) calls him “Boss”. “Did you see that?” Sarah asks after Seagal has subdued a mulatto culprit on the run. “That was like trying to corral a monkey on crack!”

 

 

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