Few things induce more eye-rolling
than cliché jewelry commercials with impossibly flawless couples, dialogue on
par with that of pornos and overly sentimental background music. When it comes
to these contrived advertisements, it doesn’t get worse than Kay Jewelers. My
boyfriend and I were watching Hulu Plus the other day when the same unsettling
(and outdated) Kay ads repeatedly popped up during breaks.
The first featured a stiff J. Crew catalog-worthy man presenting his fiancée’s daughter with an identical necklace to one he had given his fianceé. “I’m so happy to be marrying your mom. You know that, right?” The stepdad-to-be presents the young girl with the gift. “It’s just like yours, mom!” Everyone is smiling and hugging and kissing. The cloying situation is exacerbated by the fact that the necklace is part of the (rather unattractive) ‘Open Hearts’ collection by Jane Seymour (aka Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman), which has a sappy message — “Keep your heart open and love will always find its way in.” Not to mention, this isn’t such a good gift idea for someone who has had or might one day need open heart surgery…
Among some of the more uncouth
YouTube comments are mentions of how this is from the “I’m doin yer ma”
collection and how the man could mistakenly appear to have questionable
intentions with the adolescent girl. All true. And what’s up with the
misleading suggestion that a kid would ever need or even want an expensive
piece of jewelry as a gift? My boyfriend’s ten-year-old cousin has LEGO Friends
and video games on her Christmas list, not a $200 necklace that she’ll lose in a
And then there was the infamous Cabin in the Woods meets American Psycho ad, in which a Patrick Bateman-esque man surprises his lover with a necklace from the ‘Love’s Embrace’ collection after stating, "I'm right here... and I always will be.” (Cue sinister laughter.) This occurs amid lightning, thunder and overall ominous vibes. The woman loves it. Maybe it’s because he’s surrounding her with the “strength of his love” by presenting her with a “diamond that captures the comfort found in each others’ arms.”
Ugh. So why exactly were these uncomfortable Kay commercials ruining my otherwise great Hulu Plus
experience? The answer may lie in the fact that it is currently “engagement season,” a prime time for these advertisements. Thank you, Jezebel for bringing
this to my attention.
And, more importantly, for the bringing this picture to my attention
I had no idea the holiday season — that glorious stretch of time between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day — was also known as “engagement season,” as disturbingly dubbed by women’s magazines. For example, Glamour Magazine has a 2012 online article titled, “Happy First Day of Engagement Season! Who's Expecting a Proposal in the Next Few Months?” on November 22 of that year. WeddingChannel.com has a similar article: “9 Ways to Know It’s Engagement Season.”
Approximately 39 percent of all marriage proposals take place between the holiday months. Sure, I’ve witnessed more than one friend on my Facebook newsfeed get engaged during this time frame (because, you know, it’s pretty inevitable when you’re in your twenties and use social media), but was unaware that this is some sort of national trend.
But now that it’s been brought to my attention, I can see why this trend exists. The holiday season is a family-centric time. People are able to take days off work and enjoy plenty of blithe celebrating with loved ones. If you’re the kind of person who wants to get married, now might be the time to make your move. Jewelry commercials cater to this big time.
And just to make myself clear, I have absolutely nothing against people getting engaged around this time or any other time. In fact, someone very close to me recently got engaged and I was lucky enough to be chosen as her maid of honor. I am genuinely happy for anyone who is genuinely happy. I don’t even have anything against jewelry stores in general, unless they are full of blood diamonds or other unethical practices.
I do, however, have a problem with commercials that portray males as saps who win their girlfriends’, wives’ and apparently stepdaughters’ affections through gold and silver diamond-studded necklaces, earrings, bracelets and rings shaped like open hearts and warm embraces — ads that depict women as shallow creatures who are at their happiest when presented with sparkly stones. I dislike the season’s “endless subliminal hum of advertisements for engagement rings,” as noted by Jezebel. But ultimately, that is the nature of consumerism, and it’s effective.
The holidays, engagement season aside, are chock-full of commercial spending and advertising. Even lesser-known Hallmark Holidays such as Boss’ Day and Sweetest Day rake in cash, so it makes perfect sense that people break the bank around Christmas. The Gallup Economy’s Oct. 21 article, “Americans' Holiday Spending Not Shut Down by Shutdown,” states that "underscoring the importance Americans place on holiday gift giving, 30% — identical to last year — plan to spend at least $1,000, and half plan to spend at least $500. Only 3% intend to spend less than $100."
So if not for the purpose of engagements, jewelry commercials portray that the time is ripe for men to splurge on their significant others with the perfect piece of jewelry for the holidays. But I would never want my boyfriend to feel pressured to pop the question or buy me such superfluous adornments, especially in an attempt to prove his love (as that would be entirely unnecessary). Some of us just want Hulu Plus to get rid of their commercials for Christmas, so instead of being enticed by jewelry, we can get back to The Colbert Report.
Marking the beginning of the holiday shopping season, Black Friday is easily the most disgusting bastardization of what a holiday is.
Let’s start with a brief history of where Black Friday began. This day has been a grotesque part of the holiday season here in America for years. Notably, in 1939 President Franklin D. Roosevelt moved Thanksgiving to an earlier date, stretching out the holiday shopping season. This change was brought on by retailers during the Depression Era, allowing people more time to go gift shopping or, more importantly, spend their money in the retailers’ stores.
Later in the 1950s and '60s, the day began to be viewed as a kind of worker-less void for shop owners as their employees started to not show up to work in order to go shopping.
Now, the day is a barbaric ritual for many people across America as they wait until store-doors open so they can grab a hodgepodge of items away from their competition and fight anyone who gets in their way.
Black Friday is like the Hunger Games but without all the talk about a rebellion against an oppressive regime. It’s just people fighting each other, and sometimes dying, for seemingly no good reason other than saving a buck or two.
Like back in 2011 when Walter Vance was trampled to death by other shoppers while trying to shop at his local Target in West Virginia. No one noticed they were literally running over a person to get their goodies.
Deaths do happen on this “holiday,” which is unsettling on its own, but the injuries far outnumber the deaths.
According to blackfridaydeathcount.com, there have been seven deaths attributed to Black Friday and a total of 89 injuries. This data only dates back to 2006, though, which means there are surely more from earlier years.
Just a quick look at this same website shows people are not afraid to pepper-spray, stab or even shoot each other, again, all in the name of savings.
What is even more unsettling is how ravenous customers are. The following compilation of Black Friday videos over the years shows just how crazy people can act on this unholy of days as people break down doors to enter stores, tear apart in-store kiosks and basically act like filthy animals.
Watching videos of Black Friday is simply depressing, and when you remember these are people and not zombies from The Walking Dead, it’s hard to think of this day as a holiday.
By definition, a holiday is when little to no work is done and people celebrate something, but more than that, holidays are meant to bring people together.
One clear example of what a holiday should be is the Christmas Truce of 1914 during the first World War. Both sides of the fighting had a ceasefire on Christmas Day along many points of the Western Front, and some points saw friendly and enemy soldiers alike exchanging gifts, food and good tidings.
That’s a holiday. Everyone put aside their differences for a short period and came together as humans.
If soldiers fighting a war can do this, why can’t shoppers perform these same acts of kindness and decency towards each other?
One good thing about Halloween falling on a Thursday is that we get two weekends of celebrity costumes to dissect.
Heidi Klum always pulls out the stops for Halloween, hosting a major bash every year. And her costumes are always over-the-top. This year is no different, though Heidi wasn’t dressed in a crazy cyborg suit or a scary Kali goddess getup — Ms. Project Runway was unrecognizable as an old ass lady!
There’s a 15 percent chance this is actually just Heidi Klum after a week with no Botox, green juice or airbrush artists.
There are essentially three categories in which Halloween costumes fall: “sexy” costumes, offensive costumes and pop culture costumes. As Julianne Hough proved with her Orange Is the New Black-face ensemble, it’s typical for costume categories to overlap. Here are my fave star costumes of the year, which happen to all be celebs dressed as other celebs. #meta
Miley as Lil' Kim
Honey Boo Boo family as the Kardashian Klan
Ellen as Nicki Minaj
Jenny McCarthy as Miley’s mouf
So apparently "funeral selfies" are a goddam thing – Bust, The Atlantic, Jezebel and others are all talking about the trend this week. Some people argue that kids of the digital age don’t know how to express their feelings except by documenting every passing moment — no matter how somber — on social media. This is just the modern way of grieving! Which actually make sense because, come to think of it, when I went to a funeral as a young teen, all the kids would snap self-portraits in church with disposable cameras, run to Walgreen’s afterward and then scan them to our LiveJournal pages — hashtags just weren’t invented yet! Oh wait, none of that actually happened because that’s fucking strange behavior no matter your generation.
Guy Fieri né FERRY is all over the news this week. The intolerable TV “chef” got into a recorded altercation with his drunk hairdresser who had just gotten sloshed on a plane (taking them to Flavortown, I presume).
Fighting is never the answer, children, but who wouldn’t want to beat down the person responsible for basing a real hairstyle...
...off of a hat primarily given as a gag gift: