Holiday Jeer from the ALLDERBLOB

We at the Allderblob follow the advertising “news” with some interest. After all, since our conception in March of this year, it has been our contention that the advertisement of automobiles should be prohibited. We are not holding our breath for this to happen however.

Ban Car Advertising! We make this call on the grounds that while the job of all advertising is to lie, to create a perception of necessity in the would-be consumer, the lie of the automobile advertisement is never justifiable. The automobile is simply too destructive, too evil, too negative a force to be promoted. Advertisements for alcohol, for tobacco, and for firearms, are strictly regulated. Yet compared to the automobile, these products do little harm. Automobile advertising should be banned outright.

While we never anticipated immediate victory in our quest, and while in fact we have little to crow about, as the year draws to a close we feel it is worth describe the world that is unfolding, and to make resolutions for the year to come.

First, a refresher on our methods:

1. The “Lob:” The basic unit of the blob, or weblob. The lob is a challenge issued in the form of a high-flung attack from unexpected quarters. It stands in contrast to the “log,” or weblog, which merely records events. While it is true that the Allderblob can always be expected to attack car advertising in all its forms, what is hoped is that the lob is on target. We dare our targets to take a swing. So far, they have always declined. Pity.

2. The “Gospel of the Car Ad:” this category of lob examines the many claims of the automobile advertisement. You know them: “Cars help you score;” “You need a car if you have children;” “Cars give you freedom;” “Everyone loves cars” etcetera. Every point of the “Gospel of the Car Ad” can be answered with a simple negation: No, Wrong, Not true, Sorry, wrong again. Surprised? Let us explain.

3. “A Question of Urban Design:” in this category we draw upon our expert: a graduate of the Master of Urban Design program at the University of Toronto. The car, of course, has been the driver of all urban design questions from at least the turn of the last century to the present. Every terrible decision made in the public realm, Hannah Arendt and Jane Jacobs notwithstanding, has been made to propitiate the automobile industry. Every victory for good sense and beauty has been won by its opponents. The struggle at every turn is to fight against the tendency of the automobile and its facilitation to infiltrate and take over every point of space and time the world over. With this simple, not to say simplistic filter, we examine trends and movements wherever we see them, especially as they are reflected in the form of automobile advertising.

4. “Unlikely Versions of Reality:” Like the snake says, “Don’t tread on me.” Fact is, the ALLDERBLOB offers no more or less than its own version, whatever the “category” in which it writes. Which bites.

5. “What a Pong!” (exclamation point optional): Here we take inspiration from Shakespeare, who placed the minstrel in opposition to the “reality” of the drama (as the drama lies in opposition to the “real” reality), to offer a parody. Parody, from the Greek, paro-, “outside,” and deos, “to sing:” to sing from outside. And Pong, from the English, pong, or “stink” and poem/song: Thus we stand outside and sing, recite, and to be precise, stink. The pong of the ALLDERBLOB is the stink of the automobile advertisement. And no, we don’t really want to come inside.

6. “Ads of Desperation” (as if there could be any other kind): The motive behind advertising is to sell crap that no one needs. The advertiser merely fills that need. Car ads in particular are always desperate, because not only does no one need a car (a fact that goes mostly unreported), the car is actually destroying the planet. This fact, everyone knows. Thus the car advertisement is always treading a fine line: its very existence is a miracle of the muddle-headed political system: a system that pays lipservice to the evils of “automobile dependency” but fails to connect the dots between that dependency and the advertising industry that promotes it.

Second, a look at our dubious claims for 2005:

1) Against EYE magazine (formerly eye), the Toronto free weekly entertainment guide, we claim victory: not that they quit advertising cars, but at least they stopped putting the vicious things on the opposite page from their two-fisted “environment” writer, Gord Perks. And they finally enabled the use of capital letters in their name.

2) Against General Motors and the other members of the “Big 2.5:” The slide into bankruptcy has begun. Their “red flag” events of the summer of 2005 will soon be followed by the “white flag” events of 2006 (see “Predictions,” below). For the hundreds of thousands of workers who have prostituted themselves to work for these monster corporations, we feel for your loss. Now get a job that doesn’t destroy the environment. And no, we don’t mean “work for Toyota.” They’re going down next (ditto).

3) Against big oil, we claim victory: events in the Gulf of Mexico, while not directly a result of Allderblobbery, can nonetheless be linked to observations made in these pages.

4) Against good taste and decency: we offer the pong, that poem/song that “really stinks.” We feel we have a hit on our hands every time we hold one. Or something that rhymes with “hit,” anyway.

In 2006, we promise to persevere in our striking out against the forces of evil (in the form of the automobile advertisement). We will not stop until we bring the billboards down (literally, if need be). Like our hero, Don Quixote, we hope and believe the winds are changing. With our hero Ignatius J. Reilly, we hope at any rate that the wind will pass.

1) Goodbye GM. What as-yet unseen monster will arise in your stead, we can only imagine: Toyota, for example. We suspect they too will fall in the wake of the Allderblob (and/or peak oil). Will this happen in 2006? That may depend on things out of our control, but we will fight the good fight.

2) More and better Pongs for everyone, and for every purpose. We are taking guitar lessons on a weekly basis. Most likely, you will smell our wrath even before you hear it. Partridge Family, sit down.

3) No more cyclist deaths. Here, we are not joking around. The Allderblob is committed to a world where cyclists are valued as demigods of sustainable transportaition, their way paved with bikelanes, their every move watched with trepidation and caution from the the driver’s seats of the world. We are sick unto aching for the loss of four cyclists in our fair city so far this year (with five days to go we touch wood as we say this), and the many others who were killed or injured by motor traffic the world over. We will fight at every turn for respect for cyclists, for pedestrians, for lovers, and for every other kind of human-powered activity. We are saddened by the latest death of a Toronto cyclist on December 20 2005, as reported here: “Advocacy for Respect for Cyclists” and here: “Crazy biker chick.”

Happy goddamned 2006, everyone.

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