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March 14, 2003 7:57 AM   Subscribe

The Puma "French Pleasure" Campaign: Hoax From felixsalmon.com. via the AdCritic daily newsletter [Gawker AdRants got there first, however, on a tip from MemeFirst], comes a meme-hacking story straight from the Anarchist's Cookbook chapter on propaganda of the semiotic deed: the infamous Puma viral-marketing scam. It was Tim who got the official statement from the marketing geeks:
It has been brought to our attention that several unauthorized, sexually suggestive advertisements portraying the PUMA brand have been released over the Internet. We are appalled that images like these would be created and distributed under the PUMA name. As a brand, we seek to take a unique perspective toward our advertising in an effort to challenge the boundaries of our industry; however we would never consider using these tactics. We are in the process of researching the circumstances and reserve any legal steps available.
posted by hairyeyeball (70 comments total)

 
Ok, first of all, the image was a big no-no. Aside from that, this might have the makings of a good post. My theory? Puma may have started the meme after all. With covert meme-marketing consultants raking in the big bucks now, who's to say what's a hoax and what isn't?

I guarantee this whole business will end up selling Pumas anyway.
posted by Pinwheel at 8:00 AM on March 14, 2003


I'm stupid. I don't get it. Can somebody please explain it to me?

The guy in yellow looks like he's getting a blowjob? and I guess he's holding the girl's (?) head with his hand? If that's it, that's pretty subtle. or the guy in rust is holding himself? What's the problem with the "ad"?
posted by goethean at 8:12 AM on March 14, 2003


I don't see how this is "actionable."

Even if it can be successfully argued that these are meant to be "ads," they would seem to fall under parody.

But there's no copy. No tagline. Just a photo of someone wearing shoes she can buy in any high-priced athletic-wear shop.

If this is actionable, then I expect IKEA to start suing over all the cheap beds used in pr0n.
posted by baltimore at 8:18 AM on March 14, 2003


I'm surprised it took this long to unearth the hoax. Everywhere I saw the "new puma ads" they were spun as being real and playing "somewhere in europe". Where were all the bloggers to "fact-check their asses" and figure it out?

On first view it looked like an impossible campaign that would never fly, but everyone seemed to believe it, and that surprises me. Sure, we can all point and laugh at ragingcow.com for being totally fake, but it's only a matter of time (if it hasn't happened already) that a company puts one over on everyone collectively, even those of us that think of ourselves as media savvy.
posted by mathowie at 8:22 AM on March 14, 2003


I think it says something that they were considered even remotely plausible, however. Given things like the Gucci pubic hair ad, is it really that surprising that people believed it?
posted by pmurray63 at 8:24 AM on March 14, 2003


goethean: The guy in yellow looks like he's getting a blowjob? and I guess he's holding the girl's (?) head with his hand? If that's it, that's pretty subtle. or the guy in rust is holding himself? What's the problem with the "ad"?

The bad part is the glob of spunk on the leg of both girls in both "ads." It's more visible in larger versions.

baltimore: But there's no copy. No tagline. Just a photo of someone wearing shoes she can buy in any high-priced athletic-wear shop.

In the larger versions, a little Puma logo is visible in the lower right hand corner. You can kind of see them in the small versions linked to in this post.
posted by zsazsa at 8:28 AM on March 14, 2003


Ehhhhh, Puma can blow me.
posted by jonmc at 8:28 AM on March 14, 2003


the version I saw, the girl had spooge on her leg. Is that not in the version linked here? (I'm at work, and we have a a SpoogeFilter.)
posted by luser at 8:29 AM on March 14, 2003


Where were all the bloggers to "fact-check their asses" and figure it out?

Isn't that what felixsalmon.com did? My first thought on reading his article was that he took some initiate and fact-checked a story he was interested in, bringing more information to the masses. This kind of 'FactFilter' propagation is exactly what I think the MoJo/DoJo system should take advantage of. One of the reasons I really like the idea of a 'distributed system' is to allow all the bloggers to 'co-operate' on a story like this. It's not groundbreaking, important news, but it shows a group culture at work that could be pretty spectacular given the right tools.
posted by maniactown at 8:30 AM on March 14, 2003


You can't really tell from the small shots why these are (probably) objectionable. Larger versions can be seen here.
posted by graventy at 8:31 AM on March 14, 2003


Isn't that what felixsalmon.com did?

Yeah, I guess I'm wondering why it took over a week, when it was something that could have been solved in a day. I mean, there's a cumshot in the ad, there's no possible way that could have ran anywhere, and everyone just thought they were "racy" and plausable.

True, this would have been perfect for a distributed smart mob journalism site, the hardest part seems to be figuring out who exactly to contact (how do you find this Peter Kim marketing guy if you're just a lowly blogger).
posted by mathowie at 8:35 AM on March 14, 2003


honestly, pretty tame for fashion advertising [blood is ok to show, other body fluids are usually implied, just not so obviously]. Have you seen the ads where the model's make-up is done in a way to make her look like she is bruised? black eye and all? Emaciated women, dead women, body parts, women undergoing surgery to fit into a new jacket, women as dolls, etc...I've seen a series of ads where a dead/unconcious woman is draped over the hood of a car [or lying in an alley] , clothes torn, skirt pulled up--obviously implying a rape--and then a description of what she is wearing.

check out about-face.org for their gallery of offenders.

how about a fact-check marathon looking for any Real ads that use a cumshot.
posted by th3ph17 at 8:43 AM on March 14, 2003


matt:

I'm surprised it took this long to unearth the hoax. Everywhere I saw the "new puma ads" they were spun as being real and playing "somewhere in europe". Where were all the bloggers to "fact-check their asses" and figure it out?

it doesn't matter a whole lot, does it? that is what's interesting (or horrifying) with marketing today. it could have been faked or not, but it got you to think about the brand and it created mindshare. a lot of it, perhaps. i hadn't heard about puma shoes in a while.
posted by moz at 9:11 AM on March 14, 2003


Pile-on averted by MH! Woo hoo!
posted by Shane at 9:19 AM on March 14, 2003


Oops, sorry about the pic. I never read the instructions first like I should. Lesson learned. Interesting points here about fact-checking — the one thing, according to blog pundits, that keeps blogs from being "journalism." As a freelance editorial ronin, however [I've "checked facts" for Maxim, even], I can tell you that the first thing slashed from the budget when ad sales lag at mags and papers is fact-checking and copy editing, the two last-ditch QA layers for factual accuracy.

Another fact-check correction: According to The Trademark Blog, Instapundit wrongly charged O'Reilly with subscribing to the authentic Puma provenance of the "french pleasure" imagery. But the Instapun post cited doesn't read that way any longer, if it ever did.

Perhaps the "journalistic" thing to do, on a group blog, would be to have an internal blog to pour all these rumors and counter-rumors into before winnowing and posting. Of course, then you lose that first-to-post advantage. Not all that different from the journalistic ethics of, say, the New York Post, really.
posted by hairyeyeball at 9:45 AM on March 14, 2003


If I were head of Puma's marketing, i'd be estatic. When was the last time Puma even entered your thought process?
posted by jbelshaw at 9:54 AM on March 14, 2003


have you seen the ads where the model's make-up is done in a way to make her look like she is bruised? black eye and all? Emaciated women, dead women, body parts, women undergoing surgery to fit into a new jacket, women as dolls, etc

Thanks for the link. Bad politics but some great fashion ads. Vibrant, daring, stylistic, sexy.
posted by dgaicun at 9:58 AM on March 14, 2003


The Puma "French Pleasure" Campaign ...

Ahem. That's Freedom Pleasure.
posted by mcwetboy at 10:05 AM on March 14, 2003


man, what is wrong with the world? these "fake" ads are the business. they can't possibly do any harm to puma as a brand. kudos to them if they did produce them.
however i haven't seen a single puma-branded item for at least ten years. they have completely disappeared from my neck of the woods, even from second-hand shops, everything's adidas or gola. i want some puma stuff!
good story.
posted by mokey at 10:14 AM on March 14, 2003


When was the last time Puma even entered your thought process?

1979, literally, when my friends were very concerned with wearing "cool" sneakers, mainly Nike leather basketball shoes with the black "swoosh" (the navy blue swoosh was considered rare and special). I wore Brooks running shoes (the original Brooks, before their multiple bankruptcies and ownership changes) or cheap Adidas knockoffs.

Back then Puma was a semi-cool alternative to Nikes amongst the Jr High cool folks.
posted by Shane at 10:46 AM on March 14, 2003


You know the photos are really done well, and show signs of scanning (the weird washed out colors, halftones, etc).

Why hasn't anyone identified where these were originally published? They seem far too well lighted to be done by an amateur net huckster. Perhaps the photo is from a fashion shoot, and the bodily fluids and puma logos are the only things photoshopped in?
posted by mathowie at 11:10 AM on March 14, 2003


I saw said ads.. 2 of them. At first I thought it was a great campaign (wherever allowed, mind you- and this is coming from a young male, so yes, it's a great campaign to me) but once I noticed the Puma shoes as being all dirty as hell, I wrote it off as a fake.

I would expect shoes to be perfectly clean in a shoe ad, cos like Nelly we all throw our AF1s away after only a couple uses, right?
posted by shadow45 at 11:32 AM on March 14, 2003


mokey: man, what is wrong with the world? these "fake" ads are the business. they can't possibly do any harm to puma as a brand.

You're likely right, there is probably more good than harm to Puma, in terms of immediate sales, but in the long term Puma could be considered as a sexist, objectifying, unequal opportunity company. I can't imagine the marketing dept. liking that sort of prognosis. You have to remember that a certain percentage of people who buy Puma brand stuff are women, and many women may frown on this. Rightly so, in my opinion.

Either way, whoever did it (my opinion bedamned!) I also think that as far as marketing is concerned, it's pretty brilliant. Wasn't there a similar ad campaign posted a few weeks ago concerning some sort of beverage?
posted by ashbury at 11:47 AM on March 14, 2003


1979, literally, when my friends were very concerned with wearing "cool" sneakers, mainly Nike leather basketball shoes with the black "swoosh" (the navy blue swoosh was considered rare and special).

you realize if you hung on to some of these, you'd have a nice little chunk of change, right?
posted by fishfucker at 11:55 AM on March 14, 2003


here's an article on the phenomenon.

(ok: it's on some faux-culture-rag site that's probably just an advertisement -- like those club culture magazines put out by philip morris -- but the writer mentions kangaroos, so shit!)

(ps. do not snipe me on that pair of men's elevens, or i will hunt you down and, uh, put quarters in your shoe pockets that you will never get out.)
posted by fishfucker at 11:59 AM on March 14, 2003


There's lots of unemployed adboys right now . . . this shoot doesn't look too hard to pull off (though better than the usual Adbuster spoof), and the scanning or compression helps hide any production flaws. My gut is that someone did this as a 'cutting edge' spec piece for their portfolio. With Puma already getting press for using porn stars in its ads, it sort of makes sense that someone would parody that whole thing--maybe as an in-joke, maybe lack of imagination. (On preview: the dirty shoes are on purpose, I think. There's too much attention to detail for that to have not been intentional, and probably meant to be subversive in its own ad-centric way. )

Other possibility: when you are making an ad, you make lots of versions. You also always have extra film, etc. Photographers, designers, and creative directors use real shoots as opportunities to develop their portfolio--I've seen this a lot in television advertising, when the director almost always makes a couple of versions for his personal roll. Sometimes it's just closer to their original creative idea, sometimes its subversive to delight and amuse their peers. It's sort of ignored by the client. Puma may not have authorized this, but it could be someone at their ad agency. Never forget: ad people think they are real artists.

Because whoever did this didn't change the logo (as Adbusters always does, for instance), they can't take public credit for it. It's arguably trademark defamation.
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 12:00 PM on March 14, 2003


ok: running my mouth on the big em-eff costs me money again.

i couldn't resist, and bought these

that's right. you can all be jealous now.

or mock me or whatever.

god, i've wanted a pair of roos again since i was 10.

now all i need is a good pair of underoos, and i'll have the whole kit.

oh, and uh, since i'm triple posting here, i should just say i love those puma ads, but i predict this sort of thing is just itching to be overused in the better men's fashion magazines. (yeah, the british ones.)

posted by fishfucker at 12:03 PM on March 14, 2003


why do advertising memes attracts so much attention on mf?

i don't think puma made these, just for the buzz. a well lit photo shoot does not mean the visible brand is responsible. nor i don't see puma as being completely brandless. they've done some pretty well known and half-innovative stuff recently. then again, i am a complete enthusiast.

nor did i find the about-face stuff that th3ph17 linked, to be particularly bad fashion advertising. The current ideal of female beauty is difficult to achieve. and "turning a human being into a thing is almost always the first step in justifying violence against that person."? no shit. have you seen fashion layouts?
posted by kid_twist at 12:06 PM on March 14, 2003


last post i swear: you can get your own pair here. kangaroo lovers, rejoice!
posted by fishfucker at 12:09 PM on March 14, 2003


you realize if you hung on to some of these, you'd have a nice little chunk of change, right?
I hung on to my Brooks until their smell took on a physical, visible presence that started chasing my cats around the house for fun. Most comfortable shoes I've ever had, though.

posted by Shane at 12:16 PM on March 14, 2003


Those people at about-face are pretty scary!!

They remind me of that zealot that does those Cap Ministry Reports.
posted by eas98 at 12:19 PM on March 14, 2003


Hmm. Somebody's earned some slap-and-tickle - public slap, private tickle - as in "you can't buy this kind of publicity".

Expect to see lots of this stuff. Sheer fun.
posted by Opus Dark at 12:38 PM on March 14, 2003


what i'd like to know are where are the so called edgy stylish ads which have boys being butchered, messed up and demeaned, that i can hold up as innovative and daring and get all titillated over...? that's what i wanna see, seriously. there's so little media that panders to "reverse sexists". all my life i've seen males as submissive, borderline-inferior objects that i can pour my desires and fantasies into so you can imagine how starved out i am by the current media standard. it's not fair.
posted by t r a c y at 12:44 PM on March 14, 2003


t r a c y: Go grrl!
posted by Shane at 12:51 PM on March 14, 2003


metafilter as boys club, example #54391:

no one will accuse about face of being subtle about their politics, but how does imagery and photography that suggests rape sell hats/cosmetics/shoes/other fashion? (and what does it say about you guys that you can describe it as "vibrant, daring, stylistic (sic), sexy"?

just a thought.
posted by pxe2000 at 12:54 PM on March 14, 2003


Me thinks t r a c y needs a little somethin' somethin'. ;)
posted by eas98 at 12:57 PM on March 14, 2003


...imagery and photography that suggests rape sell...

Oh brother.. Reminds me of when I was in college and some man-hating professor was showing us some advertising slides while saying things like "See that tree in the background with the branches going in two directions? Those branches are subliminally representing the parting of a woman's legs."

*sigh*
posted by eas98 at 1:03 PM on March 14, 2003


and what does it say about you guys that you can describe it as "vibrant, daring, stylistic (sic), sexy"?

I don't know, why don't you tell me what it says about us "guys"(sic), pxe2000? What does it say about me? Thrill me with your acumen.
posted by dgaicun at 1:10 PM on March 14, 2003


Those branches are subliminally representing the parting of a woman's legs."

LOL!
posted by dgaicun at 1:11 PM on March 14, 2003


Me thinks t r a c y needs a little somethin' somethin'. ;)
haha, so true! i always do. but don't fret on my behalf as my cutie has just walked in the door. 2 hours earlier than usual, whoo!

don't mistake my previous post as some sort of sarcastic point making. when it comes to men i think like a sexist man. it doesn't matter where on the social, intellectual, or career ladder any given male may be, i have a somewhat paternalistic pat 'em on the head aren't they cute attitude. the good looking ones are grist for my sexual fantasy mill and it would be fun to see more of them used and abused for advertising purposes.
posted by t r a c y at 1:47 PM on March 14, 2003


well gee, eas98, maybe you can tell me what product this:



...is supposed to sell?

i'm no "man hater" but that's a little extreme.
posted by pxe2000 at 1:52 PM on March 14, 2003


ah shucks, man-hater is just troll talk. I'm a feminist. NOW bumper stickers and all.

the tree branches...that is funny.
i've been in classes where the instructor is way off on analysis of some ad, and i know because i make ads. A lot depends on the photographer and the art direction...some stuff is on purpose, some is accidental etc.

i think that aesthetically, almost all the ads at about-face are amazing, but i see it as wasted...it is an easy way out of problem solving in advertising, really.,

how about some extreme theoretical examples of what the reverse would be?

if it was a picture of jebus a'hanging on the cross, bloody and near death, with some people admiring his--lets use this brand--Teva sandals or something, would THAT piss you off?

pictures implying violence towards men by women would be tolerated because that is somehow a turn-on. But what if the ads portrayed a straight, macho preppy guy being exploited by a gay man? would that bother you?

i'm not against nudity, pornography, cutting edge advertising....any of those things. I just think that its disturbing that 1)graphic sexual violence sells, 2)most people don't find that creepy.

i'm not even going to touch the whole anorexia bulimia tangent.

and i really don't think the puma ads are that bad, maybe not in good, er, taste, as long as its depicting a consensual encounter. I think everyone in the world needs more oral sex.
posted by th3ph17 at 2:27 PM on March 14, 2003


why do advertising memes attracts so much attention on mf?

Because advertising is reality these days! Case in point: What is the war's 'brand strategy'? [UPI].
posted by hairyeyeball at 3:26 PM on March 14, 2003


1)if it was a picture of jebus a'hanging on the cross, bloody and near death, with some people admiring his--lets use this brand--Teva sandals or something, would THAT piss you off?

2)pictures implying violence towards men by women would be tolerated because that is somehow a turn-on. But what if the ads portrayed a straight, macho preppy guy being exploited by a gay man? would that bother you?

No & No. With a qualification on the word "exploited", b/c I don't see any of the females being exploited in, perhaps any of the ads on that website.

i'm not against nudity, pornography, cutting edge advertising....any of those things. I just think that its disturbing that 1)graphic sexual violence sells, 2)most people don't find that creepy.

Well...looking at middle America I would say that most people probably_do_find those ads creepy, but most of them aren't targeted at common folk anyway. The grand majority of those ads were pitching upscale brands like Prada and Gucci, etc, and the fashionable crowd that those ads would appeal to can hardly be considered Islamist woman haters; in fact most of those ads_target_female fashion sensibilities. I've been to art school, I know the kind of people those ads are created by: mainly females and gay men. Hardly the types who consider themselves tools of the "patriarchal hegemony". They create those ads b/c they enjoy sexually charged expression, and art in general involves testing the boundaries of your subject matter.

What it comes down to is these ads are aesthetic and nothing more. They are divorced from context, and the grand majority of them can easily be interpreted as risky consensual depictions. For the small minority that arguably do "cross the line", I would say that even those aren't as shocking as people would like to think, and produce no sort of harmful climate to women in general. That aggression and (even dark or violent) fantasy can play a perfectly normal role in human sexuality is not something I'm willing to dispute. I do think there are lines of good taste, but the only lines I care about are legal ones (i.e. actual women being raped should be illegal). Lines of taste, OTOH, have nothing to do with me. In other words, if some women and some men get off on "rape porn" made by consensual actors, then I do find that kind of viscerally tasteless, but it is pointless for me to object. I tend to leave people to their aesthetic sensibilities, unless I think it is somehow infringing on the basic rights of others.

That these ads can be compared to some sort of cryptic hate speech is something that I am far from convinced. That they create a climate of violence towards women is a thesis that lacks any scientific backing.
posted by dgaicun at 3:28 PM on March 14, 2003


It's supposed to sell the brand 'Sissley', pxe2000. In what way would you suggest that ad is "extreme", and what's it to you, anyhow?
posted by dgaicun at 3:59 PM on March 14, 2003


nice posts/points dgaicun.

the worst ads i've seen aren't on that site...seems a bit out of date perhaps. Trying to remember where i actually came across them.

i don't think that ads or other media depicting violence against women creates a climate of violence--i think it is something different from that...

i think it has more to do with how we and our sexual tastes or expectations are imprinted on our brains as we are socialized. I don't think people will become EvilDoers from seeing the ads...but i do think that a teenage girl looking at the ad could come to think that violence against her is the norm--fashionable even. And the ads really are just a reflection of whats going on in society in the first place.

*shrug* i have no idea what sort of solution there could possibly be to that problem....any sort of fix leans too much towards censorship and moral judgements.
posted by th3ph17 at 4:35 PM on March 14, 2003


It's supposed to sell the brand 'Sissley', pxe2000
Well, whatteverthehell 'Sissley' is, it isn't exactly apparent from the advert...

the good looking ones are grist for my sexual fantasy mill
Heh, brilliant turnaround.

Me thinks t r a c y needs a little somethin' somethin'. ;)
You do realize that could be interpreted as anything from an offhand comment to something as asinine as anything that ever left Archie Bunker's mouth. I guess the smileyface saves it--maybe it was an ironic satire of asinine comments?

Letr's stop this before it turns into a Boyzone vs Feminist tangent...
posted by Shane at 4:40 PM on March 14, 2003


nice posts/points dgaicun.

Thank you, th3phi7 (pronounced 'the fit'?)

teenage girl looking at the ad could come to think that violence against her is the norm--fashionable even.

Though I don't believe this to be the case, I'm willing to admit it's possible. But nothing short of a well controlled scientific study would make me take it seriously. If the conclusion becomes unavoidable I will definitely start to re-tailor some of my views.

Well, whatteverthehell 'Sissley' is, it isn't exactly apparent from the advert...

er...I mean Sisley, and it says it right on there. I'm not in marketing, and I have no idea how effective that campaign was.
posted by dgaicun at 5:01 PM on March 14, 2003


and what's it to you, anyhow?

What's it to you? Are you a female between the ages of 18-35 that prada, sisley, and gucci et al are trying to sell to? I'm 18 and can well afford their wares, yet their ads do nothing but make me think they're idiots. Mind you, I'm not one of those nitwit fashion victims with no well defined sense of self who needs an armoire full of designer labels to tell me who I am. Nor do I need some asswad advertising hack (who wishes s/he were an artist but sadly doesn't quite have what it takes) to insist I'm edgy and hip for admiring some grubby photos.
posted by zarah at 5:22 PM on March 14, 2003


With Puma already getting press for using porn stars in its ads

That was Pony actually, not Puma.
posted by mathowie at 5:29 PM on March 14, 2003


zarah, that you don't find those ads aesthetically appealing is utterly irrelevent to the conversation you were responding to. I could basically say what you just said about everything from Michaelangelo to those 'where's the beef' Wendy's ads. We weren't talking about the aesthetic merit to those ads, which is a pointless thing to dispute (b/c taste is subjective); we were discussing if the ads were ethical or not. In particular that comment was directed at pxe2000, who seems to think my appreciation for ads such as the one (s)he posted above "says something" about me, implying, I guess, that it means I enjoy the thought of/advocate women getting raped/"put in their place".

but I guess trolls don't respond. . .feh.
posted by dgaicun at 6:05 PM on March 14, 2003


dgaicun:
I don't know, why don't you tell me what it says about us "guys"(sic), pxe2000? What does it say about me? Thrill me with your acumen.

clearly you developed your grammatical skills from fred durst. ("stylistic" indeed.)

and here's another pearl of wisdom:
I guess trolls don't respond. . .feh.
this thread has taken off quite a bit since i, oh, left work and ran off to do some errands -- believe it or not, but my life does not revolve around responding to juvenile namecalling and petty flamewars here. one can only hope that your attention span holds out long enough to read the following paragraph.

to be fair: i think the point that about-face is trying to make is worthwhile as far as certain aspects of the fashion industry and what we as a society regard as beautiful or worth publishing is concerned, though most of the ads on there don't fit the ethics arguments that the puma ad brings up. i visited the site looking for ads that resembled xlr8r magazine's frequent fashion spreads that feature models that appear dead after sexual assault. the sisley ad was the closest image to what i was looking for. (you appreciate those necrophilic images? just curious.) in deference to your point, miss, it was a poor example for the point i was trying to make.

that said:
what exactly is "sisley", anyway? (yes, it's a fashion designer, i know. i'm not as stupid as you make me out to be -- i'm asking this AS IF i had no context whatsoever for that image.) it could be anything from the dress the girl's wearing to the makeup to the brand of fertilizer used on the grass behind her to something that can't even be conveyed in a photograph, like perfume.

your point is "how do i find it unethical"? fine. there are aspects of the ad that are disturbing in a way that does not make me want to purchase sisley products; the ass grab, the clumps of dirt studding the model's skin, her drugged out appearance, etc. how does this relate to the product? how is this gross image supposed to make me want to buy this dress/makeup/underwear/perfume/fertilizer?

i'm guessing you're going to call me dense and snark away in your response, but you know what? at least i only once stooped to personal attack, unlike you.
posted by pxe2000 at 6:28 PM on March 14, 2003


zarah, that you don't find those ads aesthetically appealing is utterly irrelevent to the conversation you were responding to

i was partially responding to your utterly rude "so what's it to you", it offended me regardless of whether it was directed at me or not.

i was not commenting on the ad's aesthetics. when i called them idiotic and grubby i was referring to their gross and often unethical portrayals.

keep in mind that my opinion on any facet of these ads is more important than yours is as you're not the target market.
posted by zarah at 6:43 PM on March 14, 2003


clearly you developed your grammatical skills from fred durst. ("stylistic" indeed.) ....

one can only hope that your attention span holds out long enough to read the following paragraph....

and here's another pearl of wisdom....

at least i only once stooped to personal attack, unlike you.


Unlike me? Hold up, what's this all about? How many times did I stoop to "personal attack"? I called you a troll because you made a very insulting remark about me and then ignored me, when I asked you to clarify. (but found the time to comment to eas98 and post an image, w/o a 'hey, i'll answer you later on, dgaicun' that could have easily been nested in the comment.)

So I called you a troll b/c you:

A) suggested I was a woman-hating piece of shit for giving some props to some fashion ads

B) ignored me when I asked you to back up your comment, which you still

C) have not done

In other words if there has been any "juvenile namecalling and petty flamewar[ishness]" I rest it all on your name. Despite all your wildly misplaced aggression, you still have yet to tell me what an appreciation for any of the ads featured on 'about-face' (with the ad you posted above being the "best example") might say about a person. Please, do tell. Don't just insinuate, just come out and say what you think.

A good way to defend your insulting insinuation would be like this:

If a person likes this "necrophilic" ad, I think they must be_____________.

My evidence for this is__________________.

On preview: i was partially responding to your utterly rude "so what's it to you"

Well I was responding to pxe2000, who made an interesting off-hand suggestion that I must find the abuse of women an appealing idea. I'm sorry if it's "rude" of me to suggest she shouldn't go moralizing if she's not going to back up her ideas with data (or even have the courtesy to elucidate her ideas beyond the level of vulgar insinuation).

keep in mind that my opinion on any facet of these ads is more important than yours is as you're not the target market.

Zarah, the market will decide this, not you or I as individuals. Once again how the ad may subjectively appeal to any given person doesn't mean anything regarding the conversation you jumped into- we might as well argue over what your favorite color is. We were discussing if the ads were harmful to women/society or said anything about the moral well-being of anyone who might like them (as pxe2000 thinks). This claim, I believe, needs data.
posted by dgaicun at 7:44 PM on March 14, 2003


That was Pony actually, not Puma

woops, i feel like an idiot. this whole time i really was confusing the two.
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 7:58 PM on March 14, 2003


pxe2000, these ads are designed to appeal to people who think sex, drugs, and extreme imagery are fine ideas. This kind of fashion is a way for people to mark their difference from those who get self-righteous about those things.

These ads really hit the jackpot for their target audience when they manage to inspire simultaneous opposition from both feminists and fundamentalists. Once that natural alliance of moralists starts worrying about what "we as a society" should do and clamoring for restrictions on ad imagery, the ads have completed their mission of making corporate product look like social rebellion.

Being able to provoke your outrage is a compelling reason to buy for many people.
posted by fuzz at 8:18 PM on March 14, 2003


the ads have completed their mission of making corporate product look like social rebellion.

You made some good points, fuzz (I take it you saw that recent PBS special about this?). I caught the ire of some people here once for pointing out that, while I thought a Bjork video was kick-ass, it was essentially an advertisement for a corporate product wrapped in art.

...Bjork lovers didn't like that.

I'm comfortable with the idea that things can be both aesthetically interesting as well as a shameless Capitalist ploy, and I'm pretty sure we all are to a certain (important) extent.
posted by dgaicun at 9:00 PM on March 14, 2003


This is just too funny.

Our society, and many/most others, suggest that if a woman doesn't restrict, mold or control her body she will be overwhelming, out of control, unattractive...animal-like. Why is it ok to demean women while promoting animal rights? Compassion for animals, but not for women who don't conform to the narrow definition of beauty??
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:37 AM on March 15, 2003


And can someone please tell me just what in so offensive about this gallery at about-face? Oh, I get it. It's demeaning to women because they're picures of attractive women.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:42 AM on March 15, 2003


i love how i'm suddenly andrea dworkin here (nearly typed "andrew" here, funny that).

fine, dgaicun, attraction to products based on ads with necrophilic imagery implies that you rebel from society's norms not from taking action against factors in this world that bother you, but from buying things. the fact that you are stimulated to buy by photos with necrophilic imagery instead of other images in other ads -- well, i wouldn't say you were a "woman-hating piece of shit" (your words) but it says something about you.

oh, and if being a troll means that i actually have a life, instead of hanging out here all night waiting for someone like yourself to justify my existence, i'd rather be a troll, thanks.

fuzz:
so there's a binary that you either have an attraction to necrophilic or otherwise sexually disturbing imagery, or you're a "fundamentalist" who gets "self-righteous about those things?"
posted by pxe2000 at 5:09 AM on March 15, 2003


So I called you a troll b/c you:

dude, people were out doing the weekend thing for pete's sake. Sometimes it takes a whole day for those with lives to get back to a thread, and once in a while really busy people forget that they even posted and never return to a particular thread *gasp*. so could you please stop telling people how and when they should respond to you or this thread, thanks.

And can someone please tell me just what in so offensive about this gallery at about-face? Oh, I get it. It's demeaning to women because they're pictures of attractive women.

seriously, that particular gallery makes no sense to me either, but how lame is it to fall back on that old delusion that objections to how people are portrayed in ads has anything to do with jealousy over the models...? at least 2 of the people that have voiced objections in this thread actually make a living as models/actors and have zero issue with their or anyone else's looks. also consider that some of us may not find the models in these ads particularly attractive. they may well be stunning before the hip, edgy stylist gets thru' with them, but afterwards they tend to look like corpses.
posted by t r a c y at 7:55 AM on March 15, 2003


i think this is a good point to bring up cindy sherman, who freaking rules.

it's my guess that these folks at sisley may have had some of her more recent works in mind when they were doing that shoot.

question: is sherman's work ultimately less disturbing because she isn't selling anything?

i don't know.
posted by fishfucker at 1:53 PM on March 15, 2003


dude, people were out doing the weekend thing for pete's sake. Sometimes it takes a whole day for those with lives to get back to a thread,

t r a c y,

you're missing the point by a mile, pxe2000 is still a troll. Being a troll involves a mixture of inflammatory provocation, and hit-and-run peskiness, which is exactly what s/he did:

metafilter as boys club, example #54391:

no one will accuse about face of being subtle about their politics, but how does imagery and photography that suggests rape sell hats/cosmetics/shoes/other fashion? (and what does it say about you guys that you can describe it as "vibrant, daring, stylistic (sic), sexy"?


Not only did s/he needlessly insult men as a group, which is bigotry, s/he directly quoted me and insinuated it meant something nasty about my character, just b/c of the art I liked.

That is a troll. Period.

I wouldn't have called pxe2000 a troll if s/he made any action to clarify or apologize, but s/he posted again making no indication of anything but ignoring my request. And even now, a day and two or three replys later I have yet to see any sort of clarification on his/her trollish rhetorical bull-shit statement:

and what does it say about you guys that you can describe it as "vibrant, daring, stylistic (sic), sexy"?

Pxe2000,

the fact that you are stimulated to buy by photos with necrophilic imagery instead of other images in other ads -- well, i wouldn't say you were a "woman-hating piece of shit" (your words) but it says something about you.

No one ever said anything about buying anything. Look at your quote:

and what does it say about you guys that you can describe it as "vibrant, daring, stylistic (sic), sexy"?

This has nothing to do with buying! What you were saying is "if you like this kind of imagery as art it implies you are this kind of person________________." A blank you still have yet to fill in, and I'm not holding my breath that you ever will.

Basically your comment was and remains trollish, sexist, hateful, bigoted, and o-so-fucking self-righteous. I'm sorry if additional people like t r a c y and zarah don't understand why it's completely not ok to insult people or question the moral well-being of people just b/c of the art they like esp. when they have no data to back up their bigoted insinuations. Personally I never question the character of people based on their race, color, creed, taste in art, etc., but I guess it's just too much to expect the same sort of tolerance out of others too. God forbid there should be any fair standard of how we should go about judging others.

Have fun continuing to hold the world to your bull-shit arbitrary standards. Just don't be surprised the next time someone gets upset when you feel the need to moralize at them for not wearing the right hat on Tuesday, or eating fish on Monday or whatever arbitrary thing you've decided makes you such a perfect fucking being.
posted by dgaicun at 2:48 PM on March 15, 2003


so what's your theory about why people like certain things? is it just some random emotion? surely not - there must be some connection between who you are and what you like. what do you think the connection is? do you think people who have a sweet tooth and particularly enjoy wine gums are more likely to appreciate pictures of abused women than those that tend to prefer saltier snacks and pickled herrings? if that's the way your theory goes then you're certainly right to be angry - it really is unfair to pick on you because you like raw fish....
posted by andrew cooke at 4:40 PM on March 15, 2003


oops. sorry - that should be don't like raw fish, i think.
posted by andrew cooke at 4:42 PM on March 15, 2003


so what's your theory about why people like certain things? is it just some random emotion? surely not

Andrew, no matter what anyone may try to tell you, there is absolutely no connection between what type of art someone likes and what type of person they are morally. There is no evidence for this whatsoever. It's the lowest sort of reactionary tripe. pxe2000 will never say what it "says" about someone if they think that picture posted above is nifty, b/c s/he doesn't have the first clue what it might say about somebody, and wouldn't have the first clue about how to support what s/he thinks it means about somebody anyway.
posted by dgaicun at 2:47 AM on March 16, 2003


no one's telling me anything, i'm just sitting here wondering. thinking about little girls liking pink posters of barbie, while i, as a little boy, loved my bedroom wallpaper covered in aircraft. i know that if i go to an art gallery with my parents they'll be more interested in the romantic and impressionist stuff, because it's "pretty", while i'll be scratching my head at the modernist stuff because it's "interesting".

now maybe you can say that all this isn't morality but culture; that they are as different as nature and nurture. even then, don't you feel uncomfortable being in a culture that accepts pictures of women that have been violently abused? where's your line?

a few months ago i read arendt's eichmann in jerusalem. i think it's a useful reference point (despite opening myself to accusations of godwin) - eichmann's morality seemed to be purely cultural. you can claim that morality and culture and unconnected, but then you're left saying eichmann was an amoral monster - satisfyingly dismissive, but of little help if history repeats itself. or you can say that he lived ina culture where certain things - superficial respectability - were valued and became values.

against my position: i used to listen to quite a bit of hip-hop music. much of it pc (spearhead, for example), but some of it gangsta. i used the arguments: it's art and unrelated to my political position; it's ironic. it's a difficult balancing act. those arguments are true while i'm aware of them. but is everyone as intelectually removed as i am? or does my buying that music may it more available to someone who takes lyrics about beating up hos as confirmation of their own experience? you can argue that i'm being condescending towards other listeners, but frankly there's a lot of stupid people out there. so am i nothing more than a tired old liberal bigot that feels the masses shouldn't be allowed the stuff that i personally enjoy?

i think i avoid that trap because i'm not claiming that images like this should be banned. that you personally should be convicted of rape by proxy. i don't even hold others to my standards - if (god forbid) i see the inside of some smelly teenage youth's bedroom with a sisley poster on the wall, i'll read it as nothing more than normal cultural detrius.

but what i won't do is accept a blanket denial from someone who appears intelligent and aware. i don't know the answers - surely that is clear - but that means i'm deeply distrusting of anyone who does. your blanket statements worry me because i don't think they can be made with such certainty. if you don't question yourself after visiting that site then you seem less humane than i would like; less moral than i expect.

a large part of morality must be doubt. the need to keep evaluating yourself. moral clarity is an extremist position.
posted by andrew cooke at 4:43 AM on March 16, 2003


thank you, andrew.

that is all.
posted by pxe2000 at 8:35 AM on March 16, 2003


don't you feel uncomfortable being in a culture that accepts pictures of women that have been violently abused? where's your line?

This is begging the question - "When did you stop beating your wife?". Your premise is distorted, b/c you start out with assumptions that have yet to be proven. I have already answered important parts of this several posts ago, in my response to th3ph17. What it comes down to is none of the ads on that site represent women getting abused. pxe2000 just takes his/her fundamentalist sensibilities and pretends Gothic fashion/attitudes = abused women*. It's just one more present the terminally outraged give themselves to fuel their favorite passtime of getting bent out of shape.

if you don't question yourself after visiting that site then you seem less humane than i would like; less moral than i expect.

Come to join the asshole choir, eh?

Well if you'll all excuse me I'm off to the homosexual chat rooms to tell the gay people why they're all going to hell. Their AIDs spreading life-style is less humane than i would like; less moral than I expect. I've got lousy arguments and evidence that doesn't support my conclusions, but the only important thing is that I can look like such the better person than them in the process.

*Omigod, look at her makeup - she looks, like, so totally dead! /hyper-ventilate]

If anyone wants to respond here's a clue- I don't give a damn what you think something means. There's scientific/psychiatric data out there- if you have a point to make, use it. Make your points with evidence, not assumption. Coz' I'll be damned if I'm gonna sit back and be called an amoral piece-of-shit just b/c I gave some artistic props to some fucking run-of-the-mill fashion ads.
posted by dgaicun at 3:04 PM on March 16, 2003


i don't know the answers - surely that is clear - but that means i'm deeply distrusting of anyone who does. your blanket statements worry me because i don't think they can be made with such certainty.

Absolute certainty? From my response to th3ph17:

Though I don't believe this to be the case [gothy fashion ads leading to violence/skewed attitudes towards women], I'm willing to admit it's possible. But nothing short of a well controlled scientific study would make me take it seriously. If the conclusion becomes unavoidable I will definitely start to re-tailor some of my views.
posted by dgaicun at 4:17 PM on March 16, 2003


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