In the middle of John Carpenter’s They Live, which was on TV in the bar tonight, I caught a commercial for Oxycontin. In this commercial, a lonely frowny cartoony guy takes a happy pill, and then he can hang out with the other cooler groovy smiley cartoony guys. I didn’t even have to wear sunglasses to watch the ad.
Isn’t it ironic? Don’t you think?
Revisitation: Given the late hour of the hour, and the not ungenerous application of Dogfish Head‘s miraculous World Wide Stout, which was dangerously on tap at d.b.a., I assumed that the whole World Wide would have seen John Carpenter’s 1988 low-budget paranoid alien pulp fantasy, They Live. Not so. By the light of day (and snow), I realize that it’s one of the most obscure of Carpenter’s pictures. It’s a goodie, though.
Basically, it concerns Nada, a regular-guy construction worker type who just happens to be Rowdy Roddy Piper. After a few random encounters with cops and helicopters and a ranting pirate TV program that keeps trying to break in on the airwaves, Roddy discovers that the world is actually run by aliens who use the media to pump out messages that keep the public subliminally in line. He finds a pair of special underground sunglasses which reveal that books, TV, billboards, and magazines are all filled with big black letters on a white background, spelling out messages like SLEEP and CONFORM and OBEY and MARRY AND PROCREATE. Thus the Oxycontin commercial was a little, well, a little too a propos.
All this back in 1988, when they hadn’t even invented Clear Channel yet.