Showing posts with label self-promotion. Show all posts
Showing posts with label self-promotion. Show all posts

Friday, May 31, 2019

How to create middle-age stranglers

May 30, 1966.

Buddhist monks were setting themselves alight as the war in Vietnam intensified apace. Surveyor 1 headed for the first soft lunar landing of an unmanned American spacecraft. The Klan was being the Klan in Denham Springs, La. -- which meant that Denham Springs was just being Denham Springs.

And "A WOWIE ZOWIE ZING-A-LING SWING-A-LING THING" had just hit Baton Rouge. The Teen-Age Rattler apparently was "the new fun sensation sweeping the nation."

The reaction to this, no doubt, from every person old enough in 1966 to have spawned a teenager was "Oh, joy." Note the lack of an exclamation point.

THE TEEN-AGE RATTLER was billed as being some sort of bad-complexioned, ill-tempered, bastard child of a hula hoop and maracas.

The "bad-complexioned, ill-tempered and bastard child" parts of the description are solely mine.

I gotta tell you that, as a 5-year-old kid in Baton Rouge on Memorial Day 1966, I would have loved this shit. My parents, not so much.


For just a measly extra buck, you could buy a 45 single of the original Teen-Age Rattler song, "as recorded by the sensational Happy Four quartet." As opposed to the sensational Happy Four septet.
Considering that you could go down to the TG&Y dime store and buy a hot-off-the-record-press copy of the Beatles' "Paperback Writer" for something like six bits, I can't see the Happy Four's rattlin' wreck of a hack promotional song as much of a bargain.
THEN AGAIN, this is the 58-year-old me talking and not the 5-year-old me talking. On the other hand, the 5-year-old me had his share of Beatles' records. Until July 1966, that is.
July was the month John Lennon's "we're more popular than Jesus" interview hit the States, and Mama busted up my Beatles records. It was Louisiana; she was far from alone. Apparently, cracking up commie records from Limey purveyors of beatnik music was less inconvenient than actually attending worship services.

Not that I'm still bitter or shit.

BUT BACK to May 1966 and the Teen-Age Rattler.

At the time, the Teen-Age Rattler made no impression on the pre-kindergarten me whatsoever. As a matter of fact, I'd never heard of the things until . . . well . . . today.

My best guess is that the "Rattle in the morning . . . rattle at night . . . rattle anytime . . . it's dynamite!" sensation was a sensation in the same vein Donald Trump is sentient -- hardly.

After all, there DID come to be a Generation X. That could not have happened had the "greatest generation" quite understandably been driven to cut short the rattling lives of their rattling teen offspring.

Now let us speak no more of this. We wouldn't want to give rogue youth social-media "influencers" any ideas.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Come around and retweet me sometime

Robert Nelson, alas, is not "crushing it."

Neither has he been living his best life now.

Nor has the newspaper columnist been "livin' the life" . . . or "rockin' the town." And his personal branding has left something to be desired.

Today, when the totality of one's existence is reduced to "branding" -- and unabashed self-promotion is as much a part of "getting ahead" as continuing to breathe in and out (and suppressing one's inner Rip Torn) -- you explain a monthslong sabbatical as "an opportunity for personal growth" . . . or as "working on an exciting new project."

BUT YOU DON'T begin your first column since returning to the Omaha World-Herald this way:

You may or may not have noticed that this column hasn’t appeared in The World-Herald for quite a while.

For the last three months, I have been on a sabbatical.

Part of me would love to leave it at that. But the journalist, the part of me that seeks full disclosure from everyone else, feels I had better come clean with the reason behind my absence, no matter how embarrassing.

And besides, there are some interesting rumors out there that may or may not be as interesting as the truth.

How to say it? I went off the deep end? A screw came loose? I was off my rocker?

Actually, in all seriousness, I’ve clearly been grinding through life for quite some time with what I now know are some significant mental-health issues.

It’s estimated that one in every four Americans struggles with some diagnosable form of mental-health problem. It’s somewhat comforting knowing there are so many of us out there — so many people who know what an uncomfortable journey it can be to feel right again.

Over the last year, I increasingly had found myself struggling with depression and, at times, anger and anxiety. Some of it was simple midlife-crisis stuff.

Some, as it turns out, was more serious.
NELSON GOES ON to describe a harrowing journey to the dark side of . . . himself. An editor talked him out of committing murder. The authorities were called. A shrink took charge.

Unless your name happens to be Andy Dick, there's not much "branding" gold to be mined here. And come to think of it, what's the last job Andy Dick has held down since News Radio? Making license plates?

Oh, Lord. What would
Gary Vaynerchuk do?

How do you "tweet" yourself into the national consciousness when your daily triumph is as simple -- and humble -- as "I didn't get sh*tfaced today." Or, "Taking my meds. So far, so good. No psychotic breaks! Yay!"

This is America, dammit! Half the country is broke, the other half is worried, and the third half is making out like a bandit and bragging about it all on Twitter, Facebook and Blogger.

A nation devoted to shameless self-promotion -- to style over substance, to personality cults for profit and success -- is a nation that increasingly doesn't add up.

This nation full of failure demands we construct sunny, self-serving narratives of our lives, then sell the world on our version of the Big Lie. This nation full of tragedies writ large and small doesn't want to hear about it.

BUT NO. Robert Nelson outed himself as a fallen, broken human being, one completely average in his brokenness. One utterly unremarkable in his misery.

You want to see the one unforgivable sin in America today? That's it -- honesty. How the hell do you "crush" that?

I'm sure some folk will applaud the columnist for opening a vein in the pages of the local rag. They'll say he's brave. They'll say he's showing other suffering souls that there's hope.


These people are called "activists." Their goal in life is to harsh your mellow, which might pull the plug on the power of your positive thinking and detract from your living "your best life today." I would tend to agree with these "activists."

Then again, I think Debbie Downer is a hottie. Mwah mwaaaaaaaaaah.

The rest of you, I am sure, are saying "I knew something was wrong with that Nelson boy." Like you're not f***ed up, too -- in your own special, morally superior way, of course.

Promote that brand via social media.

RT @Revolution_21 Robert Nelson's honesty about affliction making us think of our own. Not cool. No marketing in that.
MONDAY, the "career diva" of, Eve Tahmincioglu (please don't ask me to pronounce Tahmincioglu), asked via Twitter (of course), "have we all become a bunch of self-promoting whores?"

You know, I think we have. Mostly of the "two-bit" variety.

And if you'll excuse me, I need to tweet up this post. Facebook it, too. If I'm really lucky, maybe a couple hundred people will be blessed by my deep thoughts on this matter of great importance.

Please retweet!

Because I am a whore for the postmodern ages. It's what I do. Now, how do I take that and "crush it"?