29 July 2002

Minor updates

Hey, we got a break on "Jagwire" after all ... Amazon.com is the first to offer a heavily-discounted version, taking $50 off the $129 price tag in the form of a mail-in rebate. Those of you in education can enjoy that kind of savings without all that rigamarole ... the normal EDU price is $69. Those of you running Windows or Linux might want to take a look at the features page for "Jagwire," whistle appreciatively, then apply to do your own "Switch" ad ... like at least some of the people at PCWorld Magazine seem to be doing ...

More details on Palladium are out, and even security experts are worried. If you run or plan to run XP (the pro [ie good] version of which, btw, costs over $400 ... did I mention that "Jagwire" is now just $79 after rebate?), you might want to start reading up on what MS have in mind for you. You won't like it.

Okay, getting off the geek stuff for a moment ... let's ponder together, you and I, about what to do regarding the disturbing trend of licensing punk music for ads. Just in the past day, I have heard Blondie (specifically, "One Way or Another" selling Bailey's Irish Cream) and (much more disturbingly) a Clash song (okay, a cover by them of an old Bobby Fuller Four song) used in an ad.

Blondie doesn't bother me quite so much, as they've always been a very commercial-sounding group. But the Clash's version of "Police on My Back" ? The boys are either raking it in or spitting teeth. Not what I imagined would happen to "the only band that matters."

This wasn't the start, of course ... remember last year's Toyota ads featuring the Buzzcocks? Now that was irritating. Heck, in point of fact the Clash's career got a whole new breath of life when a British Levi's ad used "Should I Stay or Should I Go." The 1992 ad was so popular the song was re-released and went to #1 in that country.

Look, I'm a realist, I know there's big money in licensing songs, and the people who wrote these songs, no matter how anti-establishment they may have been, deserve some reward for all that hard work and artistic inspiration. I don't actually have a problem with them licensing songs, and in particular I recognise that my generation is now a target market.

What bothers me is when there doesn't seem to be any discrimination used when pairing these songs to some product that wants to be associated. Is anyone looking out for this music's historical value? Or am I just being naive -- after all, the 50's "rock and roll" fostered a social and racial revolution, but today a song that sparked riots in the 60s might well be used to push hemmeroid cures. It's sad, that's what it is. Future generations will wonder why we are so obsessed with advertising. I wonder that too.

I don't ask for much, I don't think -- just the application of a modicum of taste and good judgment when turning punk into profits. If you're going to license a Sex Pistols song, for example, could it at least be for selling safety pins?

Speaking of cheesiness, my plans to put together some kind of groovy movie party this weekend have hit a snag, and a scheduling conflict. Oh well, back to the Official ACME Drawing Board ...

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