26
Sep
12

What it means to be “weird”

I watched TV recently and came across something strange.  Within the span of a 5 minute commercial break, I saw or heard the word “weird” three times.

Oddly enough, none of it involved Honey Boo Boo.

You, faithful reader, may be wondering what kind of significance the word weird holds within this context, but I must first introduce the culprits.  On MTV I saw a promo for a marathon of “True Life” that promised viewers the weirdest, most shocking moments of the series (though I couldn’t find the actual promo, this casting call basically sums it up).  Next was a Bud Light commercial stating that a superstition is only weird if it doesn’t work.  And lastly was a commercial for Apple’s new line of EarPods, which boldly proclaims “Ears are weird.

Being bombarded by so many weird things in one little commercial break frightened me.  “What exactly does it mean to be ‘weird?'” I thought to myself.  “Am I ‘weird’ for not knowing what it is?!?”

Which is the exact reaction these advertisers wanted from me.  These commercials set out to segment their audience: those identifying with the advertisers are cool and “in-the-know,” while everyone else is weird.  This is classic social conformity.  Think about it: viewers of the Apple commercial are surely thinking “You’re right, ears are weird.  Good thing I bought this new Apple product to fix that problem!”

“And good thing I dropped $500 on a bastardized laptop!”

But I don’t own any Apple products, I’m not that into the NFL, and I’d rather castrate myself with a rusty butter knife than ogle at the freaks on MTV’s various programs.  So does that make me weird?

I’m also the pioneer of Extreme Lawn Care. Does that make me weird, or just gnarly?

I equate this theory to a run-in I had last week at a coffee shop in Pittsburgh.  The barista scoffed at me when I inquired about the taste of a particular coffee brew.  She acted as if I could never possibly be as knowledgeable or trendy as her because I had never heard of some shitty type of coffee that no one drinks anyway.  Nevermind the fact that I drink coffee everyday, my lame Nike Shox and stupid haircut and absence of coffee insight would forever prevent me from being on her level.  Which is basically how these commercials made me feel – not cool or included, just a weirdo.

The point I’m trying to make here is that people today are increasingly identifying themselves by the shit they buy.  It’s no longer acceptable to buy a coffee for its caffeine or own a cellphone that simply makes calls.  The consumer culture theory is more alive and well in 2012 than it has ever been – just look at all those Apple-cult assholes or coffee shop snobs.  Consumers make a statement with every purchase they make, and judging by these commercials, everyone is watching.

So what lesson did I take away from my 5 minute television experience?  Either buy the right things, or forever be weird.

… or learn to enjoy television without experiencing the episodes of delusional paranoia that blog writers like myself suffer from. That works too.

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6 Responses to “What it means to be “weird””


  1. September 26, 2012 at 11:58 pm

    I sort of like to be considered weird. I wear it proudly. I feel let down if new people don’t notice than I am weird. Maybe it was growing up near Berkeley…

  2. September 27, 2012 at 12:46 am

    The honey boo boo thing drives me crazy. I don’t watch commercials anymore with my dvr.


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