Don't Label Me!


We live in a society that loves to label and brand everything -- cars, bars, clothes, genres of music, coffee shops, even porn sites.

Throw celebrities into the mix and bingo, you've hit the Mother Lode, plus instant street cred! What a shame that we can't find anything better to crow about. And, recently I was dumbfounded by the spectacle of Times Square and its hyper use of labels while shooting a vid/podcast interview for this site.

I flashed on a memory from several years ago while watching the television coverage of the millennium New Year's Eve celebration at a friend's party: The late-great ABC newscaster -- amusingly, in this context, Canadian-born -- Peter Jennings was waxing about all that is wonderful in America and around the globe as the network switched from locale to locale, the audience would get a glimpse of our brethren in foreign lands ringing in the new century so joyously and humanely.

Paris had the Eiffel Tower bathed in lights and fireworks, London had the majesty of Big Ben and Thames River, Cairo had the pyramids, and American had a big stupid ball on top of a building with the Discover Credit card logo perched directly below. Not to mention all the other billboards that overwhelmed the Broadway marquees in Times Square. Some supermodel's face (I think it was Niki Taylor) even adorned some clothing line, though I couldn't be sure which one.

It was embarrassing to say the least.

But it doesn't end with labels.

Pop icons are paid vast sums of money to peddle dog food, tampons, aspirin, hair care products, beer, mobile phones, even limp dick remedies; all sorts of goods and services. It's as if one can't trust a normal citizen to tell us what is good for us. Leave the gullible pedestrian to figure out if the product or service is even worthy.

I can imagine this conversation somewhere in the heartland of America: "Hey, Fred, how's yer new ridin' mower workin' out fer ya?"

"Well, funny you should ask cuz Paris Hilton said it was the best. And ya know she knows a few things about ridin' things. If you know what I mean."

Even many of our self-help books that choke the aisles of bookstores are written by expert celebrity pop icons.

One has to achieve celebrity status to qualify as an "expert." So forget the degrees from universities, whether it be a Ph.D. or Juris Doctor, if you've sold a million copies of a book and played the talk show circuit like a well-groomed actor, you're now qualified to attach expert to your title.

Ironic that I would brand myself on this site.

Well, an old timer once said to me that you need to understand the rules of the game to play the game, you don't necessarily have to like them, but if you're going to win at the game you better master them.

What a hypocrite I am becoming!

And will I appear on Ellen or Oprah?

Sure, why not. And hopefully wearing some cool designer duds, sneakers and eye glasses.

peace, Dusty