Monday, May 19, 2008

Cognitive dissonance, supersized

This has nothing to do with Japan but may, in a weird way, have something to do with food culture. Yesterday I was reviewing the news on Yahoo. The topic was the Myanmar government's refusal to solicit or distribute aid from foreign sources for its dying people. People were starving to death despite the world's efforts to intervene. While I was reading this a video window at the upper right of the page attracted my attention. The words "Rescue Brigade" shone in red, illuminated by a flashing Mars light. For a moment I thought this might be an appeal for aid to Myanmar, China, or any of a thousand places in the world that could use a few extra calories right now.

But, no, it was an ad for Arby's. "Are you driven by hunger?" it inquired. I didn't put on my headphones to catch the soundtrack but it looked like the premise was that our hero, Captain John Maddox, could be dispatched in an instant to your suburban US neighborhood to lay on a bag of beef sandwiches, mozzarella sticks, and a Berry Swirl to help you alleviate your boredom between lunch and dinner. The Captain himself looked as though he had been alleviating his own boredom quite a bit on the job. And I thought to myself, this is the essence of the bipolar information barrage of the 21st century, the cognitive dissonance of being alive right now. Here, on one page, the clashing extremes of deprivation and excess. To see the excess side, click below:

http://www.arbysrescuebrigade.com/

VS