Tag Archives: PSA

Link Dump: #36

Over the past week or two, we’ve been caught in a flurry of graduation ceremonies, cross-country bus rides, and poor Internet connections. But here, at long last, is a collection of old links, plus Lance Henriksen’s happy family brandishing its kitty at the end of The Horror Show (1989). Just a warning: it’s going to be a tough summer here at Pussy Goes Grrr, and in order to survive, we might need your help. If you’re at all interested in writing a guest post or two, or even a summer-long guest series, please email p.g.grrr@gmail.com. We love new voices! And now: links.

Here’s a few quickly culled search terms from the past few days: “disney princess doing silly faces” (because, you know, why not?) which is inevitably accompanied by “eating pussy in restaurant”; the semantically ambiguous “i want women pussy”; and finally, that old favorite “erotic decapitation.” Yeahhh.

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Link Dump: #30

I don’t want to be buried in a pet sematary. I don’t want to live my life again. Especially if living my life again involved being attacked by Church, the scary-as-fuck kitty cat from Mary Lambert’s Pet Sematary. (I’ve never seen it, but Ashley assures me that it’s terrifying.) Whether or not you’re fond of zombie cats, you’ll probably love these links, which include the funny, the sad, and the just plain ridiculous:

  • Sometimes kids’ books are actually more for adults. Brain Pickings documents a few of those times, including the great Matilda and The Phantom Tollbooth.
  • Nathaniel was out of town this past week, so I helped run the “First and Last” game over at The Film Experience. It was an amazing experience; go over and see if you can guess my and Dave‘s picks!
  • In case you need more evidence that the legislators in Arizona are completely off their rockers check out this birther bill: got a foreskin? YOU AIN’T AMERICAN!
  • In “Ashley totally called this” news: Nic Cage was arrested early Saturday morning for drunkenly yelling at and pushing his wife.
  • Rick “Frothy Mix” Santorum is distancing himself from his campaign of “Fighting to Make America America Again”. Why, you may ask? Because he found out a similar phrase was already used by Langston Hughes. Dickbag.
  • If you have a lot of time to spare, then check out these 15 hugely entertaining movie cliché montages.
  • In New Zealand, a new billboard campaign is attempting to lower motor accident fatalities by raising “maximum awareness through unease”. What exactly does this mean? Bleeding billboards.
  • After a Tumblr user speculated that most women “probably find catcalling flattering” (cause what’s more flattering than men feeling entitled to yelling shit at you on the streets?), the Tumblr How Many Women was born; if you want to see just how many ladies love the street harassment go there (spoiler: none of them do).
  • If you want to see some beautiful swan songs, look at Flavorwire’s “Famous Artists’ Last Works,” which starts off with Duchamp, Klimt, Van Gogh, and more. (Yay, paintings!)
  • Guy Maddin was recently given free rein to grab some DVDs and Blu-Rays at Criterion Collection headquarters. Watch the video here. I really want “BAG!” to become an Internet meme. On a related note, I realized that I am disturbingly similar to Guy Maddin.

In terms of search terms, we had some weird ones this past week. Someone asked the obvious question, “why did barbara stanwyck wear that ugly wig in double indemnity,” while someone else inquired incoherently, “which actrees expose there pusy during a flim souting, photo.” Another visitor was wondering “awkward with women is it because of porn”; that might be the case if you watch porn where “every woman in the room was systematically fucked.”

There was one question, though, that I can’t answer: “fucking to women during his pregnancy is safe or unsafe.” Because I don’t know what that means. Finally, we had some great, bizarre search terms, “video erotic beheading” (somebody likes Videodrome-style porn?) and of course, the inevitable “the digestive system theme song.” I wish I knew the tune to that.

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Link Dump: #6

Halloween’s getting closer every day! Aren’t you excited?? Can’t you feel the tangible excitement in the air?! I know I can. But alas, we’ve still got a month and a half, so in the meantime, here’s some reading material with the PGG stamp of approval. Also, tune in next week as we bring you The Fifth Element, The White Ribbon, Julianne Moore, and more.

  • The one and only Paracinema Magazine is releasing their 10th issue, and it’s available to pre-order for the low, low price of $7. Added incentive: you can read my short piece on the exploitation film Sex Madness. What are you waiting for? Go, pre-order, and support high-quality film writing! Also, congratulations to the Paracinema crew on 10 great issues.
  • Elli Agg, a Greek fan of Amanda Palmer, posted this amazing song called “Dear AFP” on YouTube. She’s so cute, talented, and inspiring; you owe it to yourself to listen.
  • Via the Found Footage Festival, here’s a hilariously nightmarish PSA made by an insurance company. I have a strange affinity for bizarre PSAs, as I’ve demonstrated in the past, and this is a pretty great one, with its laughably over-the-top accidents.
  • Having followed it since December ’09, this week I won The Film Experience’s movie identification game “First and Last” twice in a row! My satisfaction in winning is only matched by the pettiness of my achievement.
  • This ad for “Great Old Spice” body wash is both professional-looking and full of lolz. Of course, I’m a sucker for all things Cthulhu, but seriously: they worked in so many Lovecraft references.
  • John Carpenter made another movie! The Ward, his first since 2001’s widely panned Ghosts of Mars, debuted at TIFF earlier this week, and MUBI has the scoop on its critical reception. Consensus so far is that it’s not Halloween great, but it’s solidly good.
  • Want more classic Carpenter? Radiator Heaven is hosting John Carpenter Week from October 3-9 in honor of the maestro’s revived career. I’ll probably be writing something for it too. (Like so much else, it will involve Lovecraft.)
  • Whether you love her or hate her, you can’t argue with the power and passion of Lady Gaga’s “Repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” crusade. Go her! Talk about having a positive impact on the nation.

And now that you’ve read our online recommendations, here are our weirdest, ickiest, WTFest search terms from the previous week, most of which contain the word “pussy”:

  • We’ve got some pussy abuse, like “why do women like doing dog food in puss” and “fire extinguisher in pussy.” Please, no. Dog food and fire extinguishers have their purposes, and they do not involve pussies.
  • Oddly enough, we had two searches for Yakov Smirnov jokes, those being “in soviet russia leg breaks you” and “in russia bread eats you.” Maybe they were looking for this?
  • FYI: “please rape me style clothing” is not a productive search. There is no such style of clothing.
  • I suspect that the person looking for “excited cock and wild pussy have cartoon” may have been after this very old, very NSFW cartoon
  • And finally, nothing could beat the raw strangeness of “agatha christie books + bottle in vagina.” Don’t explain it to me. I just don’t want to know.

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Following up: Jack Chick and PSAs

So, tomorrow my winter break begins. I’ll be in Mound (aka suburban hell) for a week, then back here to work as an office assistant for the Cinema & Media Studies department. Exciting! And just before I leave, I want to write a short post following up on some topics I’ve delved into recently, namely Jack Chick’s The Gay Blade and public service announcements.

So, speaking of Chick, I glanced around WordPress and learned that there are, in fact, several whole blogs devoted to analyzing/attacking his work. These include “Our Lady’s Blog: Why is Mary Crying?,” which mainly goes after Chick’s anti-Catholicism, as well as “Investigating Jack T. Chick,” which I consider a worthy cause. Chick’s reclusiveness, coupled with his wackiness, really makes him prime material for wondering, “Who is he really, anyway?”

Like me, “Investigating Jack T. Chick” saw fit to tear apart The Gay Blade; however, they did it more from a Christian, scriptural point of view, observing how Chick’s claims don’t even stick to actual Christian beliefs – and, for all his obsession with biblical fidelity, Chick doesn’t even really quote the Bible correctly (inserting, unsurprisingly, extra homophobia). I don’t agree with the entire article, but multiple points of view on evangelical comic book craziness are always better; also, they link to this great little humorous take on The Gay Blade. My favorite part: “In the drawing here, we can be sure that these men are not gay! NOBODY IS WEARING BIG TINTED GLASSES!”

So, if anyone out there is, in fact, interested in my perspectives on Jack Chick’s viewpoints and artistry, I’m sure there will be plenty more to come. And so, about PSAs: Ashley and I recently watched the Nostalgia Critic’s “Top 11 Drug PSAs,” and it got us thinking about all the exaggerations and insinuations that branches of the U.S. government tried to shove down our throats alongside mid-afternoon cartoons back in the 1990s. For a sample, we turned to the Nostalgia Critic’s source, and looked at Retrojunk.com’s list of ’90s PSAs.

This is by no means a comprehensive catalogue, but it’s a start, and I’d love to explore the content and storytelling of these ads in the future. Some are just surreal and disorienting; others are patronizing and laughable; and yet others are starkly nightmarish. I’d also like to learn more about how they came to be written and filmed – who determined which ideologies they’d be expressing? PSAs are especially interesting to me because they’re like a covert intrusion into children’s culture: amidst all the hyperkinetic cartoons and commercials for toys or sugary cereal, we’ve got these little government-sanctioned voices going, “Don’t do drugs!” or “Exercise!” in all kinds of creative, often unexpected ways.

I’ll probably post more on PSAs another time (I just have the oddest obsessions, don’t I?), but for now, here’s one of my favorites among those we uncovered. It’s not from the ’90s – rather, it was released in 1969 – but it’s so catchy and upbeat. It sounds like the kind of song they’d play in ’70s movies when they wanted to evoke the ’30s. It speaks to a younger, more innocent time in our nation’s history. A time when we all had VD.

That’s right! Kids practicing violin! Librarians, pregnant women, butchers! Ballerinas, old businessmen, babies, joggers! They all have VD! The PSA is one of the few art forms that could turn venereal disease into a loving ballad. The message is definitely a good one, and one which carries over to the present (even if the term “VD,” sadly, does not): e.g., not just gay men and junkies get AIDS. But the way it’s being communicated – it’s so whimsical, so fancy free, just makes you want to dance while carrying a parasol!

So that’s my two bits for the day, digging up some more information about my strange, strange hobbies. Finally, a little note: tonight, Ashley embroiled herself in what we might as well call Squirtgate. Basically, a sex blogger called the Kinky Jew posted this “sarcastic humorous post” about why female ejaculation is “EW.” It’s kind of bullshit. And commenters were not happy, and Ashley was one of them. Definitely go read it for yourself. And now I bid adieu to blogging from Northfield for the next week.

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“Not even once”: PSAs and horror

So, I haven’t posted in 2 weeks and Ashley has not in 1 week. This is very sad, but the facts are these: we both have significant non-blog obligations (e.g., writing other things, going to classes, illustrating, studying, etc.), which unfortunately must come first. However, since it’s the Halloween season – a season I have been greatly enjoying, whether by watching movies like Frank Henenlotter’s Basket Case or by writing scary stories/comics/oral narratives – I’d like to try and post as much as I can on the subjects of fear and horror.

They’re both really near and dear to my heart, for a number of reasons that begin with fear’s huge role in my life. What can I say? I am a generally fearful person. And I think fear is important: first, on an evolutionary level, to keep you from being killed by scary things and second, on a personal level, because fear is fun. Let’s face it. We like being scared. It engages the body, it gets neurochemicals flowing, it’s just really appealing to us as human animals. And so I continue in my extensive study of the horror genre. I’ve recently started thinking about one curious location where horror can be found: public service announcements, or PSAs.

PSAs are frequently government-produced or else made by nonprofit organizations, and their purpose is, for the most part, to direct behavior – to guide people onto one path or another that will presumably be better for their physical and psychological health. Often, this leads to accusations that PSAs are ridiculous on one level or another for their presumptions that they know how you should act, as well as their attempts to “scare you straight.” These are the kinds of tactics I’m talking about. This type of PSA, from what I’ve seen, predominates. They’re basically cautionary tales, but adapted to the medium of advertising, which means they’re usually about 30 seconds long. I have to applaud the organizations that produce them, because they often compact such a huge, effective message into such a small time-span.

Granted, some PSAs may appeal to your intelligence and sense of responsibility – I think, for example, of Smokey the Bear’s “Only you can prevent forest fires!” – but even these would often resort to showing the consequences of the behavior in question (i.e., a forest fire and its horrific implications). The simple fact is that you can sway more people by scaring the shit out of them than by trying to convince them that they should be smart enough not to do drugs (PSAs’ most frequent target), or drink poison. You want to really show kids why they shouldn’t drink poison? Overwhelm their senses with a melange of darkly psychedelic animation, represent household cleaning products as monsters, and top it all off with a menacing voice reciting a chorus of nursery rhyme simplicity: “Mr. Yuk is mean. Mr. Yuk is green!”

Lately I’ve been spending a lot of time on the TV Tropes page for “Nightmare Fuel,” which is basically where people can post supposedly innocuous bits of media from their childhood that scarred the shit out of them. Children have interestingly undeveloped mental processes. While adults may have a relatively full understanding of the world – like knowing that no, Mr. Yuk labels aren’t really anything to be afraid of, and household cleaners are not marching to attack you – children just don’t.

I’m not well-versed enough in child psychology to explain how and why this happens, but I will link to Wikipedia’s page on Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget’s theory of cognitive development. Basically, children experience the world differently, because there are various orders and properties of objects they haven’t yet discovered. Even preteens will often have strange misconceptions about how the world works, physically and socially. And often, PSAs will play to these misconceptions in order to permanently scare the child away from an undesired behavior.

So we all pretty much have little ads or segments from shows that scarred us in childhood. One classic example is the flying monkeys from The Wizard of Oz. They’re relatively understandable to adults, acting as the Wicked Witch’s henchmen. But a child, seeing a monkey with wings (an unusual combination), flying through a dark sky accompanied by the Witch’s leitmotif, then picking up the protagonists and carrying them away?

It’s a nightmarish scene that can inspire intense fear, and the same goes for the “Wondrous Boat Ride” scene from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Many Internet pundits can have commented on this scene: it comes out of nowhere, takes up a few minutes of intense, frightening screen time, and is then forgotten by the film. It’s also effective in further establishing the unpredictable nature of Wonka and his factory. But to a child, seeing “Pure Imagination” followed by scenes of graphic mutilation and a trippy light show? My point is that it’s fucking scary. And this doesn’t just apply to children (I can say from experience), but for children these scenes can leave a deep emotional mark, inspire lifelong phobias, and color their still-developing perceptions of the world.

That said, you can see how PSAs aim to reach kids while they’re still young and impressionable, and guide their behavior for the rest of their lives. Yesterday Ashley linked me to the Montana Meth Project, which I first ran into in my melodrama class last year; their methods are similar to the more child-oriented PSAs I’ve been discussing, but their target group is teenagers. Hence, we get ads going after teens’ anxieties about peer pressure, sex, and their futures.

As Ashley pointed out to me, this is like a horror movie in half a minute. It’s got a concise little narrative: the girl’s going to deceive her parents and probably go to a party and try meth. But first she’s going to shower, and it’s in the shower, while she’s at her most vulnerable, that this apparition appears, of her future self, covered in scabs and scratches, begging her, “Don’t do it… don’t do it…” It uses horror iconography to communicate a very real-world message: if you go and do meth at this party tonight, you will end up a different, less happy person within a year or two. (This is the overarching theme of this campaign and the origin of its slogan, “Not even once.”)

The website notes, “This new concept is based directly on input from Montana teens,” and I find that very interesting. They’re addressing the teens’ fears head-on, building the ads around them, but twisting them into terrifying, violent mini-narratives. I think this connects to another series of ads I’ve long found very disturbing, and I think I’ll end this post by talking about them. They’re Canadian PSAs about workplace safety, designed specifically to horrify adults in high-risk jobs, and they’re produced by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board of Ontario.

What exactly about these is so scary? Maybe it’s the slogan “There really are no accidents,” which places responsibility for the gruesome manglings directly in the hands of the victims, their coworkers, and their companies. Maybe it’s the accidents themselves, clearly evocative of horror/disaster movies, or maybe it’s how self-aware the victims are. “I’ve got this amazing fiancé,” says a chief, “who I won’t be marrying this weekend, because I’m about to be in a terrible ‘accident’.” The fact that she knows her face is about to be scalded, yet goes on mechanically about her work, is just spine-chilling.

This is an aspect of the PSA that might be interesting to examine later, in more detail: the voice of reason, or of the government, that pervades them, whether through a narrator or superimposed text stating, “This is your brain on drugs,” or through these victims of meth and workplace carelessness telling their own stories. We have these grisly 30-second vignettes, and it’s all framed in such a knowing, authoritative way. This is the way the world is, the PSAs seem to say, as a woman falls off a ladder or as a scab-riddled meth addict turns up in the shower. Now you have to adjust to it.

Pleasant nightmares.

fiancé

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