I’m sure that if you’re over 50, you understand what I mean when I complain about the changing speech patterns in today’s pop culture. Where are all the teachers like Miss Lamb, my music teacher in elementary school, who still teach the importance of enunciating so that people don’t misunderstand what you’re trying to say?
Like, the song in the Citi Bank commercial where the young man and woman flit about town with their Citi Bank card buying up stuff for a weekend adventure? A little romance is thrown in to grab attention by mentioning buying diamonds or something, and then the song voice-over begins. By that time the young woman has begun climbing up this impossible looking crook-nose rock formation with the young man somewhere below. (It’s an arch in the famous Arches National park in Moab, UT by the way.) Was it something about somebody mashing potatoes? Around Thanksgiving, I thought maybe she was out climbing while the cook was stuck at home cooking and telling somebody to mash the potatoes. But what did mashing potatoes have to do with climbing?
Last week I solved the mystery by googling Citi Bank tv commercials. It’s a New York musician who goes by the name of L.P. (for Laura Pergolizzi) singing Into the Wild and it is a catchy tune. The beginning lyrics that sound like mashing potatoes is really “Somebody Left The Gate Open,” and according to this website Girl on the Rocks was designed to inspire women intrigued by the sport, but intimidated by its male dominance and stereotype as “extreme;” to instruct women on technique, strength, and mental agility from a woman’s perspective; to empower women to climb harder and with more courage. Okay, I forgive Citi Bank, but couldn’t there be subtitles? So people won’t think their ears are clogged with wax?
Just for the record, I began a draft of this post a couple of days back. This morning I noticed that other, more prominent people have taken notice of the Girl on the Rocks ad. You might enjoy Jeanne Moos amusing report (click here) from this morning on CNN. You may have to endure a short commercial from esurance before the report, but it’s worth the wait. It’s gratifying to know I’m not the only one with problems hearing.
While we’re on the subject of commercials, have you seen the Nelson Mandela public service announcement airing in various incarnations over the years? I have the utmost respect for Mr. Mandela and what he stands for, but after numerous times straining to understand the message I still didn’t know what he was saying other than something about color and tolerance. Yesterday, thanks again to Google, I learned that what he is saying is this: “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” It’s a very important message but I doubt everybody who sees it understands it. Again, aren’t subtitles in order? Even in the Survivor series, subtitles are often used for speech patterns that may be difficult for some to decipher. I don’t take it personally that so often it’s that of southerners.
Last but not least, Hubby and I and our inquiring minds want to know this. Those video diaries Jamie Curtiss refer to in the Activia commercials! What are they? I shudder considering the possibilities. Some things are just better left unsung.