August 12, 2004

"It's an infomercial parody that is actually an infomercial". Triumph The Insult Comic Dog meets Tony Little. Tonight's "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" will be an hour long infomercial. Apparently, Conan will be wearing a loud sweater and will hock NBC's new Late Night 10th Anniversary and Triumph The Insult Comic Dog DVD's, along with Bernie Koppel and Bruce Jenner. The toll-free number will be real and yes, operators will be standing by.
  • Sounds like a good reason to continue my habit of not watching Conan O'Brien.
  • Turning everything into an infomercial - possibly not such a difficult feat for a television network.
  • I have not seen his show in seven or so years, but I thought that it was fantastic when I did watch it. Innovation in comedy -- especially television comedy -- is quite unusual. I have no idea if this will be funny, but it sure as hell is original. I am pretty sure that they are not going to sell very many DVDs, but I really doubt that is the point. I think that they are going to actually sell something because they think that will just give the piece an extra layer. It's not like he is selling some popular movie that has just come out on DVD. He is selling a tape of his own show. I applaud him for this and would probably watch it this evening if I owned a television.
  • well, the beastie boys did it first with their "hello nasty" infomercials in '98.
  • bernockle: I am not sure about that. In addition to Silky Slim's comment it seems to me that television (in the states at least) is little more than a shill for something. Especially on cable where MTV runs car shows that essentially applaud (ad nauseum) the mad skillz of a certain car shop. VH1 has run countless hours of "We Are The X0's" reminding us of our halycon youths and then offering us their version of TimeLife greatest hits during commercial breaks. Holding thinly to the pretext that the entire program is something other than a commercial for the pop culture wasteland. News programs are hardly exempt and TechTV is nothing if not a series of infomercials uncleverly disguised as 'content'. The fact that Conan is willing to overtly transform his program into a plug reads to me as a sign that audiences simply don't care anymore where the program ends and the promotion begins. And I think that Gil Scott-Heron was wrong. The revolution was televised and it was our identity as Citizens that lost to our new Consumer branding.
  • I've lost track of what stage we've got to. Are we doing post-ironic, post-post-ironic, ironic structuralist, or quasi-semi-autonomous ironic-industial complex right now? Also, whenever a new level of irony hits, how do we tell that they're actually taking it a stage further, and not just being ironic? I still suspect that the word irony was inserted into every dictionary in the English language in 1937 by a group of situationists, as an anti-comment on the increasingly tense international stage. Since then, it has grown horribly out of control. Just as the Inuit people have three words for snow, we in western society have three words for irony. Although, to be fair, one of them's more of a noise-accompanied-by-hand-gesture type thing. None of this is meant ironically, by the way. For the vast majority of my working life, my job has been to analyse the shit out of this sort of thing, and act accordingly. I still get confused sometimes, though. And tired. Confused, and tired.
  • Thank you flashboy for amusing me. (That was sincere.) Sincerity is the new irony. Actually, the Inuit have lots more than three words for snow. Wait. After writing that, the intrepid modern info-man did a google search on "Inuit words for snow." And found: Inuit Words for Snow, which asserts: The Great Inuit Vocabulary Hoax is anthropology's contribution to urban legends. It apparentl started in 1911 when anthropologist Franz Boaz casually mentioned that the Inuit—he called the "Eskimos," using the derogatory term of a tribe to the south of them for eaters of raw meat—had fou different words for snow. With each succeeding reference in textbooks and the popular press the numbe grew to sometimes as many as 400 words In fact, "Contrary to popular belief, the Eskimos do not have more words for snow than do speakers of English," according to linguist Steven Pinker in his book The Language Instinct. "Counting generously, experts can come up with about a dozen." I also found Counting Eskimo Words for Snow, which gives a very scholarly account of fifteen Eskimo "lexemes" and presents a list of snow and snow-related English vocabulary for comparison. I sense that I have by now drifted into a shade of irony, though the above would be sincerely interesting, too.
  • And I think that Gil Scott-Heron was wrong. Hey, them's fightin' words!
  • Hawk, vice hock. And while Conan is not too funny in my eyes, I give him props for trying new things and stuffing convention in the dustbin occasionally.
  • An excellent dustbin... For me to poop on! (sorry, it was inevitable)
  • i already did that... in the title!