Tag Archives: idiots

You’re an idiot. My dog food says so.

11 May

Most of us world-weary media-saturated types would probably consider ourselves above being manipulated by ads. We know they’re lying, and we know they think we’re idiots, and actually we’re much better than all that. You’re wrong. We’re idiots.

Consider the world of dog food. Not something that is especially cut-throat (unless you’re one of the target animals, which is what? Uh… rats, the wobbly bits under a chicken’s beak, and cow lips?). Nevertheless, they work hard at making you believe all sorts of nonsense without you realising it. For example, have you noticed that it’s a long time since they last called it ‘dog food’?

You’ll notice on the above tins that nowhere does it say, ‘Dog food’. You’ll struggle to find one that does. That’s because you wouldn’t like to be fed indiscriminate ‘people food’, so why would you treat your pet that way? (Hint: pets can’t read).

But of course it gets worse. Look at that tin of Husky. It is ‘Beef, Pasta, and Veg Flavour’; oh and it’s ‘Home Style‘. What they’re trying to conjour up is an image of a hearty, balanced meal around grandmamma’s dinner table, home cooked and healthsome; sharing a hot cuppa something with family; good times with good food. Those however are people pictures. Your dog doesn’t have a grandmamma that he visits, he doesn’t eat steak and veggies with the kids, and he regularly — given half a chance — would eat human faeces and unidentifiable grey slime out of the gutter (true stories from real dog walkies).

That Petley’s can is no better. In muted understatement, they claim that this food is to be associated with the words ‘Supreme Gourmet’. That’s right. They got the world’s most highly trained, highly reputed chefs to lovingly craft a tantalising côte d’agneau with spearmint and dark chocolate jus, all for your little poochiekins. And all they came up with was:

You can hear the dying screams of Keith Floyd as you open every can.

It is exactly the same garbage they’ve been scraping off of the floor of the abattoir for decades. Your dog still prefers it to eating faeces 7 out of 10 times, as he always has. All that effort on the tin wrapper exists to make you think that you’re giving Bozo the best.

But here’s the kicker. Even knowing all of this — even if they took two cans from the same conveyor belt — if they stuck that Husky label on the one, and a plain label that says ‘Dog Food’ on the other, you’d still buy the Husky one every time, even, I’ll bet, for a few bucks more. Heck, I would.

So yes, we watch ads with our ‘eyes open’. We know they’re trying to fool the idiots among us. We know their tricks. And yet we go for it every time. Fool me once, shame on you, as they say…

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Septic Blatter, Stupid Refs and the Football Everyone Else Wants to Watch

11 Mar
van persie

In Robin's dreams on Tuesday night

My last two posts were written from the couch while I was watching Arsenal trying to re-enact the Battle of Blood River against Barcelona.  Having done ever so well, and with their noses still in front with only a half-hour to go, Robin Van Persie took a shot on goal and was sent off for it. This decision — given the high stakes game — may rank as the worst refereeing mistake in all of football.

Of course, something like Maradonna’s ‘Hand of Dog’ incident that won the World Cup was on a far bigger stage, but it was understandable that the ref could have missed the cheat. This one was just so impossible to explain.

Van Persie had got a silly yellow card — even in that case a little harshly — in the first half, but was now through on goal about to take a shot, when the official flagged for offside, and the ref (somewhere behind him) blew his whistle. One second afterwards, van Persie took the shot that he had started taking. Such a deeply offensive action was this that he got a second caution and was sent off. Being the lone striker in front of a midfield barely hanging on, there was no way he could be replaced. Everyone including the ref knew that such a decision would effectively end the team’s season in that moment.

What is impossible to understand is how that could ever be an offence. ‘Kicking the ball away’ is cardable, because it is petulant, wastes time and may even prevent the opposition from using an advantage. But surely one needs to actually kick the ball away in a petulant fashion? In other words, there must be actual evidence of intent. In one second, a player was expected to hear the refs whistle among a crowd of 100,000 screaming fans (many of whom may be blowing whistles), change his plan to avoid shooting on goal, and turn around. Instead, he completed the fluid action in which he was already involved and took a shot on goal. Bear in mind that not taking a scoring chance because you think you hear the refs whistle could also cost you the game. And even if van Persie had heard the whistle and yet still continued with the shot he was busy making, so what? There are fifty balls in the stadium. Let that one go. It wasn’t defiant and it didn’t waste time.

FIFA president Septic Bladder and his yes men seem to be the only one’s who find it a beautiful part of the beautiful game that refs can utterly destroy an entire season of work (and for some a lifelong dream) by having a split second of dire stupidity. They still refuse the help of TV referrals or second opinions of any kind that use technology. There seem to be only a small handful of people in the world who think this, and yet they all somehow ended up on the FIFA board. There are enough great moments in football without having to manufacture controversies at the hands of referees.

If Sepp wants controversy for its own sake, I suggest that he applies it to his salary first: Accounting for normal human error, let his salary fluctuate between 75-105% of its contract value, but every now and then it must also be subject to random acts of absurdity. Perhaps in February his salary should get ‘sent off’ until next season. Perhaps some months he should have to pay FIFA because someone doesn’t like his suspenders that day. And of course the randomness won’t offer the chance of a lottery-sized increase on his already (no doubt) bloated salary, because in the parallel world of officiating mistakes, no ref ever sent on a 12th player.

So, Sepp, we get it. You like soap operas where there is a super-villain whose many injustices get the ‘water-cooler talk’ going at the office the next day. So go and write a soap opera. Just keep it out of football.