The Real Artificial
by Mad Dog
There’s a whole generation that thinks the word
“artificial” means “new and improved” and that ersatz is the
beginning of a sentence, as in “Er, satz the best tasting imitation
||Reality is highly
overrated. Granted we have no choice but to live in it — well,
not unless you like the idea of a rehab clinic as your retirement
community — but that doesn’t mean we have to like it. And apparently
we don’t, since most of us aren’t very interested in the real thing
anymore. Except, of course, when we drink a Coke, though even they
don’t use that slogan these days. Now it’s “The Coke Side of
Life,” which sounds more like a bad ‘80s book by Jay McInerney than
an ad campaign.
Go ahead, take a look around you.
You’ll see artificial sweeteners, artificial flavors, artificial grass
in baseball stadiums, even artificial insemination. There’s a whole
generation that thinks the word “artificial” means “new and
improved” and that ersatz is the beginning of a sentence, as in “Er,
satz the best tasting imitation bacon around.” Funny how no one bats
an eyelash about bacon coming from a lab, probably the same one that
dreamed up such Nobel Prize-winning ideas as soy meat loaf, tofu dogs,
and soyrizo, which is chorizo for people who don’t care whether their
chorizo tastes like chorizo or not.
Now I have nothing against new
products, just give them their own name and stop pretending they’re
real. They’re not. They never will be. Face it, even if it’s good
it’s still not the real thing. There’s a reason why nylon wasn’t
named ny-cotton, Pringles aren’t called potato chips, and the Scissor
Sisters didn’t name themselves Elton John Sisters, though they should
Hey, nothing says “I smell good” like the scent of
sweat, chewing tobacco, and old baseball mitts. Unless of course you
were to smell like dirt, paint, sawdust, sushi, or vinyl. Which you can.
It’s tempting to say the desire for artificiality is caused by
artificial intelligence, but why denigrate computers and robots, they
only do what they’re instructed to do. It’s the scientists and
marketers who are behind this, and they’re only giving us what we
want. Is your hair too curly? Straighten it. Too straight? Curl it? Not
enough of it, get a hair transplant. Just be careful when that
someone-who-might-turn-out-to-be-someone-special wakes up next to you
for the first time. Now there’s a dose of reality it’s hard to
Don’t like how you smell? Change
it. You can choose from at least 3,586 perfumes and colognes, including
Britney, Paris, JLo, and now one from Derek Jeter. Yes, as in the New
York Yankees shortstop. Hey, nothing says “I smell good” like the
scent of sweat, chewing tobacco, and old baseball mitts. Unless of
course you were to smell like dirt, paint, sawdust, sushi, or vinyl.
Which you can. Heck, you can even alter your personal reality so you
smell like — True Fact Alert! — earthworms and funeral home if the
mood hits you. Best of all, you don’t need to rub worms all over your
body or sleep next to a cadaver to do it. Isn’t technology wonderful?
These scents, and many more, come
from a company named Demeter Fragrance. They offer them as cologne, bath
and body oil, shower gel, calming lotion, room spray, and air sickness
bag sanitizer. So let’s say you don’t want to smell like condensed
milk, a stable, or rye bread, there’s always Whiskey Tobacco. Yeah,
right. Like I need to walk around smelling like cigarette smoke and
liquor. Hey, if I miss the aroma that much I’ll light up a Camel and
take a few swigs of Jack Daniels, thank you very much. I’m sorry, but
“All the smell and none of the fun” has never been, and never will
be, a good advertising slogan.
also tobogganing, bobsledding, and chocolaty flavored hot cocoa-like
drink in front of a fake fire in an artificial ski lodge. Just kidding.
If you want to visit a place where they’ve taken reality
changing to new heights, visit Dubai, the Gulf emirate that has more oil
than sand, and that’s saying a lot. It’s home to the world’s
largest indoor ski park. Yes, you can ski in a country where the average
daily high temperature ranges between 75F and 105F. You take a ski lift
to a height of 25 stories, then ski down the inside of a giant, slanting
metal tube filled with artificial snow. I guess it beats playing another
game of sand hockey. There’s also tobogganing, bobsledding, and
chocolaty flavored hot cocoa-like drink in front of a fake fire in an
artificial ski lodge. Just kidding. I hope.
Dubai also has a water park with fake
thunderstorms, four man-made palm-shaped islands being made from
millions of tons of trucked-in Persian Gulf sand and rock, and a fake
hotel named The Royal Accord that only existed in a BBC online game but
keeps getting requests for reservations. Oh, and don’t forget that
Michael Jackson moved there. See, nothing in Dubai is real.
Face it, reality is dull. That’s
why the media — 24-hour cable news to really point a finger — has to
create crises. Just as no one wants to hear good news, in spite of what
they say, no one wants to hear mundane news. So everything becomes a
threat, a crisis, a conflict, and a war, getting its own slogan and
logo, complete with dire music in the background. “War in the Middle
East!” “Devastation in New Orleans!” “Heartbreak of
Psoriasis!” Remember, crises equal ratings. Heck, even Reality TV
isn’t real. After all, they know they’re being filmed, so how real
do you think they’re acting? Not to mention it’s edited because,
face it, reality is slow, tedious, dull, and doesn’t sell toilet
So where does it end? Maybe with the
ultimate, if the International Society of Artificial Life has its way.
Hey, I’m not making that up. They’re real. Honest.
©2006 Mad Dog
Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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