Week of February 9, 2018

Thank you for the laugh, Garth Brooks. 

Dodge: Irony Comes Standard

Let’s talk Super Bowl commercials, shall we? I mean, the game was a total snoozefest, so let’s get into ads, which reportedly cost $5M for every 30 seconds of airtime.

There were some good ones (big winner: Tide), and there was one very terrible one. I’m talking about the Dodge “Built to Serve” ad:

Even in the moment, without knowing the broader context of M.L.K’s speech, using his voice in a car commercial was a bad idea. Then again, we shouldn’t be surprised. Dodge is a division of Chrysler Fiat. Chrysler was behind another eye-roller of a Super Bowl ad back in 2007. Come on, America – you remember:

But back to the Dodge spot from this year. As Deadspin’s Michael Ballaban point’s out, Dodge pulled a portion of M.L.K.’s sermon titled “The Drum Major Instinct”. Here are the parts Dodge features:

If you want to be important — wonderful. If you want to be recognized — wonderful. If you want to be great — wonderful. But recognize that he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. That’s a new definition of greatness. … By giving that definition of greatness, it means that everybody can be great … by giving that definition of greatness, it means that everybody can be great. … You don’t have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve. You don’t have to know [Einstein’s] theory of relativity to serve. You don’t have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love. And you can be that servant.

Melodious, powerful, and inspiring. I don’t love that they pull bits and pieces from the sermon and splice them together, but I’ll let it slide. However, “The Drum Major Sermon” touches on a lot more than the greatness in service, including the danger of joining groups, the danger of mass consumption, and the danger of living beyond our means in order to satisfy the desire in us to be noticed, to be the drum major:

Now the presence of this instinct explains why we are so often taken by advertisers. You know, those gentlemen of massive verbal persuasion. And they have a way of saying things to you that kind of gets you into buying. In order to be a man of distinction, you must drink this whiskey. In order to make your neighbors envious, you must drive this type of car. (Make it plain) In order to be lovely to love you must wear this kind of lipstick or this kind of perfume. And you know, before you know it, you’re just buying that stuff. (Yes) That’s the way the advertisers do it.

But very seriously, it goes through life; the drum major instinct is real. (Yes) And you know what else it causes to happen? It often causes us to live above our means. (Make it plain) It’s nothing but the drum major instinct. Do you ever see people buy cars that they can’t even begin to buy in terms of their income? (Amen) [laughter] You’ve seen people riding around in Cadillacs and Chryslers who don’t earn enough to have a good T-Model Ford. (Make it plain) But it feeds a repressed ego.

So here’s what the commercial feels like when you take the portion of the sermon that actually calls out advertisers set to the images of the Ram commercial (posted by Nathan Robinson):

So, yeah, of all the speeches they chose to feature in this Ram ad, of course a car company picks and chooses lines from this sermon to sell us trucks. Dodge is getting a lot of negative press about this spot, but I wonder if they see it as a bad thing. Some VP at their creative agency –  probably named Chad –  is trying to convince a conference room of suits that this blowback is actually a good thing, using phrases like ‘zeitgeist’ and “earned media,” when we know damn well this ad was a disgrace and it all made us feel a little embarrassed just to be sitting there, bloated on wings and seven-layer dip and beer, watching a truck ad set to the soundtrack of one of the greatest minds and orators in American history.

If you really want to be moved, read the entire sermon here.- PAL  

Source: Here’s Where That Ram Ad Really Got Martin Luther King Jr. Wrong”, Michael Ballaban, Jalopnik (2/5/18)

TOB: How many ad executives saw (or heard the idea) before it was pitched to Dodge? How many people at Dodge saw it before it was made? How many people saw the finished product before it aired? It has to be in the hundreds. Hundreds of (I’m guessing mostly white) adult humans saw that ad and said, “Yeah. Hell yeah. Let’s run it! Let’s pay millions to run it!” It’s amazing that no one piped up and said, “Ya know…are we missing the point here?” As Phil said, even without knowing the context of the speech the ad is SO off-putting. There’s just something so bizarre about it. I don’t even get the point they’re trying to make, frankly. You can be great if you buy a Dodge? Get outta here! And then you read the context and it’s like the KKK using Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address:

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain.

Out of context, I can definitely see the KKK using that. The Dodge truck is on the same level of stupid.

Jeff Fisher Might Be the Worst NFL Coach, Per Dollar Paid, Ever

Jeff Fisher is one of those names that people for years heard and thought, “Oh, that’s a good coach.” Fisher had some early success – riding a near-Super Bowl win on the backs of Steve McNair (RIP) and Eddie George, to an apparently undeserved reputation as a good football coach. But that Super Bowl appearance was in 1999, and it is quickly becoming clear, in just one season since his firing by the L.A. Rams, that Jeff Fisher is a truly awful coach, and has been for some time. In his final 12 seasons he went just 85-103, and won zero playoff games. Worse, look at how his most recent QBs, who all stunk under his tutelage, have suddenly come alive in just one season out from under his shadow.

Nick Foles was pretty good for a year or two in Philadelphia, before being traded to the Rams for Sam Bradford. Fisher was his new coach, and he suddenly sucked. Heading into 2016, Foles was the Rams’ starting QB. He had gone 7-9 the previous season (a very Fisherian record), but the team drafted Jared Goff, cut Foles, and Foles almost retired over it all. He was signed by the Eagles before this season, and last week Foles was named Super Bowl MVP as he led his team to the title, after everyone wrote them off following Carson Wentz’s injury.

After Foles was cut in 2016, Fisher named previous backup Case Keenum as the Rams’ starter to begin the 2016 season. Keenum was ok, and the team was 4-5 (again, so Fisherian) before being benched for Goff. Before this season, Keenum was signed by the Vikings and lead them to the #2 seed in the NFC and the NFC title game. He played incredibly well in doing so, being named to the Pro Bowl and genuinely looking like a good quarterback.

Goff, meanwhile, sat on the bench for nine games in 2016, then was thrown into the fire, sucked, and was widely considered a bust (except in this corner of the internet, ahem). This year? Fisher was fired and a 30-something wunderkind named Sean McVey was hired. McVey and Goff lead the Rams to the division title, and even running back Todd Gurley, who was horrible in 2016, was revitalized. Gurley lead the NFL in rushing and was named Offensive Player of the Year. Goff was named to the Pro Bowl.

The thread should be obvious: Jeff Fisher is such a horrible coach that with just ONE season of his absence one QB went from crappy and nearly out of the league to Super Bowl MVP, and two others went from seeming busts to Pro Bowlers. Remarkable, really.

At this point my only hope is Fisher goes to coach his dear alma mater, USC. Otherwise, please just stay retired. -TOB

Source: Jeff Fisher Must Be Arrested And Tried For His Crimes Against Football”, Samer Kalaf, Deadspin (02/05/2018)

PAL: Foles, Keenum, Goff. One QB turning it around the year after Fisher left would be an exception. Two could be a coincidence. But three? There’s really not a rebuttal to be made.

STOP IT: Moonlighting As Ballplayers

Russell Wilson was a very good baseball player. He was drafted in the 41st round out of high school (in 2007, there were 50 rounds, now there are 40 rounds). In 2010, after 3 years of college, he was drafted in the fourth round. That means he was a very legit MLB prospect. All you have to do is see this pic to know the guy could play a bit. 

As we all know, Russell Wilson is also very good at football. He’s a Super Bowl winning quarterback for the Seahawks. One of the 10 best people at playing quarterback in the world. He’s a professional football player now making about $22M a year.

But for him, it’s just not enough. He can’t just live out one childhood dream, he has to realize all of them. NFL quarterback: check. Married to a pop star: check. Play for the Yankees: kinda.

Per Peter King of SI:

Wilson, the Seattle Seahawks Pro Bowl quarterback, played parts of two seasons of minor-league baseball late in his college career and never got baseball out of his system. He’s made a couple of cameos in Rangers spring-training camp. But his heart has always been with the Yankees, and so the Rangers sent Wilson’s right to the Yankees Wednesday afternoon. He’ll likely spend a few days this spring in Yankees camp in Tampa.

“He’ll likely spend a few days this spring in Yankees camp in Tampa.” That’s the part that gets me. He’s not really pursuing a two-sport career; he just wants to be able to say he signed with the Yankees. Well of course Russell Wilson is a Yankees fan. He’s also a guy that googles “describing a beautiful woman,” then plagiarized the first result on Twitter.

Let’s just pause on the above for a second. I’ve seen this probably 20 times and it still is hilariously lazy on Wilson’s part.

Back to the story: these b.s. “signings” are so dumb. Billy Crystal, Garth Brooks, Russell Wilson all wanted to live out their childhood dreams, and because they are rich and famous some team gave them a jersey and let them out on the field. Not to get too in the weeds, but they are actually taking a small amount of time away from guys that are actually trying to get a roster spot.

I can’t believe I’m taking the side of Tim Tebow on anything, but at least he’s actually playing on the team full-time.

In short, Russell Wilson is multidimensionally lame. Not that anyone needed any more proof of this, but add this Yankees trade to the growing heap of evidence: he asked the Rangers to trade his fake contract to the Yankees when he has no intention of doing anything with that except posting a picture of himself on Instagram in a Yankees hat he could’ve bought at Sports Authority and adding some tired catchphrase like “Dare 2 Dream”. This is the work of a cake-eater, my friends. -PAL

Source: Russell Wilson On Being Traded to the Yankees”, Peter King, MMQB (2/7/18)

TOB: Apparently, when you’re a dad of two you have nothing better to do on the night before the Super Bowl than watch the NFL awards show. God, it’s the worst. I sat there watching it and thinking, “What am I doing? This is horrendous. It’s not even bad enough to hate-watch, or bad enough to laugh at, it’s just boringly bad and here I am on a Saturday night watching it.” And then Russell Wilson came on stage.

Look at him! No, ignore Ciara for two seconds. Look at Russell Wilson. He’s the tooliest tool of all time. Phil stole the words out of my mouth: of COURSE he’s a Yankees fan. Look at his friends, man!

Did you know his twitter handle is DangeRussWilson. DANGER-RUSS. C’mon, dude. You’re not dangerous. You’re so safe.

PAL: HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! This dude is almost 30 and he’s calling himself Danger-russ. Priceless.

Video of the Week (explicit, but so worth it): Please note that Kelce is considered one of the best centers in the game. He’s not a WWF wrestler. No joke, this got me jacked up for work today.

PAL Song of the Week: Johnny Cash – “Tennessee Stud”

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If you had any friends, you would understand. Friends joke with one another. “Hey, um, you’re poor.” “Well hey, your mom is dead.” That’s what friends do.

-M. Scott

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