Monday, March 15, 2004

Charlton Heston's Chicken-Fried, Whale-Nuking, Corporate Ballsack of Values
America, the land where insipid metal band Anthrax must have immediately thought "ka-ching!" when its namesake powder started appearing in mail rooms up and down the eastern seaboard, has always been the rich compost from which capitalistic irony blossoms. So I shouldn't have been surprised when I recently experienced the fruit of this loam right here on these very pages: The enemy advertised.

Oh, For God's Sake is, of course, a "blog," which is short for "blowhard grousing." I publish OFGS using free software provided by Blogger, which I imagine is the screen name for a 14-year-old computer genius who runs the site out of his parents' pool house. Blogger provides the software for free by selling advertising in the form of banner ads that appear on the top of all its pages. These ads are created on the fly by Google, which I imagine is the nickname for a 13-year-old Boolean-logic/advertising genius who runs the company out of her mom's HumVee's glove compartment.

At least I think that's how it works. I really have no idea and hadn't given it more than a second's thought until I started noticing what kind of ads appeared on these pages. (Let me state the obvious: I don't get a penny of any advertising revenue generated by this blog. I can assure you that when it comes to selling my words, money is as elusive to me as the description "down to earth" is to the fans of The Polyphonic Spree.) Like most people who've used the Web for more than one week, I've trained my eyes not to notice banner ads. But recently, an ad on this very page caught my eye and I started paying attention.

Apparently, the clever Google software looks at a page's content and tries to guess what kind of advertising might appeal to its readers. It then displays a content-related ad on that page automatically. Chances are pretty good, it reckons, that if you're reading a story about sports, you might click on a banner ad for athletic shoes. Or if you're reading a blog about food, you might click on an ad for a gourmet food site. Or if you're reading about kundalini tantra, you might click on an ad for the Orgasmillator 3000.

Brilliant, right? Well, not exactly. When I started looking at my own pages and what kinds of ads appeared, a pattern emerged. On a recent OFGS making fun of workplace security badges, an ad appeared for "ID SuperStore," which sells accessories for the very badges I was making fun of. Amusing, but relatively harmless (other than the heart-wrenching reality that people are cashing in on our terror). But whoa: My bitchfiesta about W's Mars plans sported an ad for something called BlastPad, which apparently is an "Advanced Missile Launch System." Eeek! To my horror, my vege-nazi screeds about mad cow disease had banner ads for Laura's Lean Beef! And my rant about SUVs had an ad for the new Lexus Behemoth! Well, oops. Reading these, I became as forlorn as Jeff Lynne listening to a radio station's Who's-your-favorite-Traveling-Wilbury call-in show.

But notice the pattern? Whatever I'm against, Blogger/Google (Bloogle? Gogger?) is for! Those bastards can instantly undo with a simple, elegant banner ad untold minutes of painstakingly crafted Oh, For God Sakeses.

(Newsflash: I just googled Google and guess what? Google owns Blogger. Gobbled em up last year. Well, of course. Just another footnote in the great corporate-takeover orgy leading up to the eventual panacea in which Disney owns everything until it's bought by Microsoft and, finally, Wal-Mart, at which point we can all go to Wal-Mart, hand over the last of our money in exchange for a razor-sharp Leatherman, cut out our vital organs, and die.)

Now just because aliens came to this planet, kidnapped the Lindbergh baby, assassinated Kennedy, and brought us Matt Lauer, OJ, Donald Rumsfeld, and Microsoft Office does not make me a conspiracy nut. So I don't believe that Bloogle is intentionally trying to subvert my opinions with its advertising. Still [Diane Lane], it might not be a bad idea [Pad Kee Mow] to throw them off the trail [Sierra Nevada Pale Ale] by dropping in random keywords [Stephen Colbert] associated with things I love, just to see what kind of advertising follows.

Or maybe repetition is the ticket. You know what would be great right now? Chocolate! Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate, chocolate, chocolate, chocolate, chocolate!

That oughta fix their robotic wagon!

But I'm now half-afraid to mention the utterly heinous shitballs of the world because of the banner ads I might conjure. If I lambaste the war in Iraq, will my page feature an ad for Halliburton's loving kindness? If I mention urban sprawl will an ad for a real-estate developer appear? If I mention America's insane, fetishistic, horndog lust for firearms, will an NRA-recruitment ad appear? It's like playing Bloogle roulette!

But then again, being the sharp, sophisticated, contrary, (and spectacularly sexy) people you are, you're not going to fall for a stupid banner ad created by a misguided search engine. So what if an animal-rights rant accompanies an ad for cosmetics? So what if I poke fun at phantom WMDs under a banner ad for a Toby Keith CD? So what if my pointed barbs at all the flaccid pricks out there get me an ad for Cialis? So what if my blog is more oxymoronic than the Center for Progressive Christianity?

This is big ol' goofy America, right? This is where "Won't Get Fooled Again" became a car commercial. Where "Save the Planet" is the motto of a chain of shitty restaurants. Where you can buy Jerry Garcia neckties and Jesus Is My Homeboy trucker caps. If ya can't beat em, blog em.

So, Bloogle? Try to make some fuckin' sense out of the title of this diatribe, I dare ya. Hit me with your best ad. And God bless America.