Wednesday, March 1, 2006


In 1929, Alfred Hitchcock directed BLACKMAIL. It was Britain's first talkie and the ads declared:

See And Hear It -- Our Mother Tongue. As It Should Be Spoken.

In BLACKMAIL the heroine of the film kills a rapist with a bread knife and thereafter the audience is drawn into her mental world. We, the audience, hear what she hears -- the word "knife" jumps out in volume every time it is spoken. As she becomes more and more distraught over the murder (justifiable as it may have been), she continues to hear "knife" louder and louder, over and over again. Clearly she is on the road to a mental breakdown: "knife," "Knife," "KNIFE!" It is a brilliant first-time use of sound and only someone as visionary as Alfred Hitchcock would employ such a daring, creative use of the new medium.

Let's now turn the clock ahead to the year 2006. As I watch television I have discovered a similar auditory phenomenon taking place over and over again. This similar auditory phenomenon is anything but brilliant. For the sanity of the reader I caution you to quit reading now -- otherwise you, too, may slowly find yourself plummeting into the depths of despair.

You see, damn near ever other commerical aired on American television uses the word "introducing." See for yourself. It doesn't matter if the ad is for a Volvo or a vulva itch suppressant, you will find yourself hearing "introducing" as often as not.

It's become a game with yours truly and his lovely wife. As soon as the word "introducing" is uttered by the announcer, both of us shout it out to one another. "INTRODUCING!" It's an addiction, a mind-numbing, Pavlovian experience which repeats itself night after night, commercial after commercial, numbing the senses while searing the brain just like the old Chinese Water Torture...

Where's the high dollar creativity that Madison Avenue is supposed to possess? Smug girly guys in Armani suits and manicured nails can't come up with anything better than "intro-fuckin-ducing?" Even the rare slick chicks bumping their heads on the glass Madison Avenue ceiling appear to be as oblivious as their male counterparts.

Hundreds of thousands of words in the English language and these advertisng wiz kids all resort to "introducing." This is pathetic; anyone with cacoethes scribendi should do better, much better.