Wednesday, June 13, 2012

HOTT News Adds Pundit to the Mix

HOTT News--set to debut next month--has hired a full-time pundit to cover the 2012 presidential election. Che Clinton, who will only say his educational background is having a Ph.D. in punditry, is excited to join the HOTT News team. "I join the cable news industry at a critical time. CNN is on life support, FOX News is completely discredited, and MSNBC has hit a ratings ceiling. No one can find Current TV in their cable package. So here we come."

Curious about his first name, I asked if it was a tribute to Che Guevara. "I'm sorry, but I don't know who that is. Che is short for cliche. I specialize in cliches. You know, you can't spell my name without cliche!" I asked Mr. Clinton what kind of political expertise he will bring to the HOTT News round table. "Not much. Basically, I just repeat what I hear other people saying, but I say it in more interesting ways. Analysis is paralysis, as I like to say. Analysis is for goons is another. Primarily, I'm here to fun chat." Fun chat? Did I hear that right? Mr. Clinton continued: "Cable news excels at manufacturing controversy. And the talking heads are admirable in their blowhardness. But there's no fun. Except for Bill O'Reilly's quizzes about pop culture from the 1960s. That's super fun. Aside from that, it's miserable. Talking, talking, talking. It's bad enough to be stuck in an airport. Can you imagine being stuck in an airport and having to watch CNN? OMG, I'm having a nervous breakdown just thinking about it."

I asked Mr. Clinton if he wanted to share any observations about the 2012 presidential contest. "This election is going to be about paper or plastic. 2008 was all about the kitchen table. You know, the kitchen table as a metaphor for families hunkering down to figure out their budget and pay bills. Well, any pundit who says "kitchen table" or "pocketbook" is working with yesterday's cliches. This year the big cliche is "paper or plastic," meaning when you go to the grocery store you're given the choice of paper or plastic. Personally, I ask for both, because the paper sack is a perfect container for my empty cans and bottles, and I use plastic bags to seal up my one-year-old's poopy diapers. Sorry, TMI! But really, "paper or plastic" as a metaphor for grocery bills is going to be my bread and butter cliche. Bet on it."

Wow, he sure is good. I have to admit, I'm likely to tune in when Mr. Clinton mans the cliche machine next month on HOTT News.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Fight the Power Tools

Father's Day is around the corner. You know what that means: plenty of advertisements for power tools, golf balls, and neckties. Please, no drills or circular saws for me. I don't know how to use them. For me, a power tool is a laptop. Skip the golf balls too. It's not good family policy to spend five hours on a golf course hitting balls into sand and water. No one is comfortable wearing neckties (except for Mitt Romney), so don't buy those either. Can we order up some new cultural images of men? Are there fathers that we know that might like other kinds of gifts? How about a book? Maybe even a cookbook. No, not the ones about grilling meat. How about a simple cookbook for practical family meals with vegetables too!

Check out this Sears ad for Father's Day: "This is Destination Dad." No thanks. Instead, how about a gift certificate to a local restaurant that the family enjoys?

I give JCPenney credit for noticing that not all dads are exactly the same. They departed script with an advertisement of a gay couple and their children. Offering a diverse image of dads earned JCPenney a boycott from a group called One Million Moms (a group that doesn't actually consist of one million moms).

Recognizing the work of parents is a worthy endeavor (of course, the validation needn't come by way of consumerism). By all means, find some way to acknowledge the work of dads on this Father's Day. Buy something if you have to. Maybe even try to find a family-friendly gift for a dad that doesn't involve power tools, golf balls, or ties. (How about one of those awesome #1 Dad t-shirts?)