Wednesday, December 28, 2011

958 Art Imitates Art

958 Art Imitates Art
I. Is this what they mean by “playbook?”

Have you heard of the video game, “Hitman”?  It’s been around a long time.  It pits a seemingly invincible secret agent/hired killer against a slew and a half of enemies.  They battle each other on TV or computer screens, getting into armed conflict using such things as guns, knives and ordinary household items with super powers.

Typical game: violent, brilliant animation, no visible connection to reality.

Now, comes the book, “Hitman --Enemy Within” terribly written by Terrible Writer William C. Dietz, of whom you’ve probably never heard and with good reason.

The book follows the action you’d normally see on the game console except there are no elements of either skill or luck.  Reading the book is like watching others play the game only quieter.

But like the game, the book is filled with unrealistic violence, unrealistic characters, an unrealistic plot and no theme.

A book based on a video game.  Three hundred- plus pages of phantasmagorical gore. For the one out of 14 gamers who can actually read.

If you don’t consider video games an art form, you haven’t seen enough video games.  But how about fashion design?  Specifically shoe design.

Nike is out with a new retro version of the “Air Jordan” sneaker, kind of an imitation of its own original.  When they introduced it last week, shoppers lined up to plunk down $180 a pair.  In some cases -- Seattle, Atlanta, Jersey City, they plunked down each to secure their places on line.  Police used pepper spray.  No one was killed.  But there were several injuries in each city.

So not only are the cops imitating the performance art they perfected at the 1968 Democratic national convention in Chicago and various “Occupy” demonstrations more recently, but the accommodating civilians are re-creating their own performance art. And What Would Michael Say?

III. Insurance Ads
Then there are those cutsie insurance ads.  Advertising always has been a copycat industry, but now we’re inundated with Gecko wannabes.

GEICO’s computer-generated cartoon gecko is part of a large arsenal of cutsie commercial weapons the company fields.  There also are ads featuring cave men in business attire and a Rod Serling impersonator played by actor Mike McGlone.

Next to climb on this bandwagon was Allstate.  They, too, realize if you advertise heavily, you need variety.  So they feature benevolent, fatherly tough guy actor Dennis Haysbert of “24” TV fame as their spokesman, with a sprinkling of spots featuring actor Dean Winters playing “Mayhem” and causing crashes.

Progressive has the cartoonish “Flo” the checkout clerk, played by comedienne Stephanie Courtney.  She’s ever present and ever tiring.

State Farm has started using car and home destroying giant robots.

And General Insurance has a midget computer generated army general driving buses and cars and driving you nuts.

I’m Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2011

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