Mon Key Wo Man

In this digital life we’re all now living does it get any better than calling AOL and canceling an account? I hate to be Flashdance about this but—Oh, what a feeling!

Finally free from those bloodsuckers who’ve been automatically nicking my credit card for a decade! And for what? Their anti-Spam software that allows thousands of total scam foreign language fishing emails to flood in from Nigeria and Bolivia? Or is it the impossibility of finding any AOL 800 numbers where you can talk to a live human on the AOL site? More likely it’s my valuable part in paying off the debt from one of the most disastrous corporate mergers in American history. Thanks Dick Parsons it’s been real but see ya .

Once, a long time ago now, they were the only game in town, a miracle for their efficiency and ease of use. But then corporate greed set in. Right about the time Time Warner got suckered in, they began to be more burden than blessing.

The best part was the sales pitch/near-begging that ensued once I said I wanted to cancel. Don’t go. Stay with us. You’re a valued customer. We need old saps like you who are still paying 1995 rates adjusted upwards to a handsome 2006 fee. When asked why I was leaving I said with much disgust, “Because I’m sick and tired of AOL!” That drew howls of laughter.

And speaking of laughs which in my book are nothing but good for ya, just when I thought the world of the music business or the high end audio business or the web porn business, or whatever bloody business I can think of is crazy, along comes the single A baseball in Brooklyn business.

I had a letter last week condemning me for hacking in print on, and I paraphrase here because I can’t remember my own words, “the marketing saturated denizens of a rapidly declining superpower.”

I was merely saying that the relentless marketing we are all exposed to 24-7 can dull the old sense just a tad. There are times when I think marketing is nearly all this country has left to sell now that our dull but arrogant chief exec., his twiddling lap dog Congress (“The gay marriages!!, oh wait, I mean the British are coming!!!) and American corporations have moved everything including the hope and paychecks of future generations off shore.

Little did I realize though that there’s a fun side of marketing that I’d never experienced until I attended a Brooklyn Cyclones game with Stereophile editor John Atkinson, his lovely Brooklyn-born wife Laura and my own razor-minded, and now baseball puzzled mate, Pip.

Just after the very old Larry King and his very young (uh huh) son teamed to throw out the first ball at Keyspan Park, a ballgame, sorry, I mean, an extravaganza of marketing run amok broke out. We had women tossing socks in washers to win gift certificates with no set value. We had some bizarreThere were teenaged cheerleaders, in pants they had to keep pulling up, who did little aside from smile, toss their hair and soak in the yearning stares of pathetic, graying, audiophilic old men. Then there was the musical entertainment, on what turned out to be their last night as an act, The Blues Brothers. No, not Aykroyd and a reincarnated Belushi but a couple of NYC knuckleheads who’ve obviously spent years living large in some kind of bizarre wish fulfillment fantasy that included a “cop car” (`a la the film) and the whole black suit and sunglasses shtick. Their last song ever, performed at a baseball game in Brooklyn?

“Sweet Home Chicago.”

The icing to this clair of lunacy was provided by an obese, Muumuu wearing local woman who wore a monkey puppet on her head, tossed out handfuls of candy from a garbage bag she brought from home and responded (like any star would) to chants of “Mon Key Wo Man.”

While all this was highly entertaining—for about an inning—she also came equipped with a whistle, which she blew just before batters from the opposing team, the Aberdeen Ironbirds, took their swings. Much like coughing before someone shoots for the corner pocket, or clearing your throat on the golf tee, this is not cool. Not cool at all. After about six innings of this mayhem, in which the poor ballplayers, reduced to a sideshow, stood and looked glum, Mr. Atkinson devised his own chant.

“Mon Key Wo Man” “Stop Your Whistling”

I do believe it was Mrs. Atkinson who began devising, out loud, places (on the Mon Key Wo Man’s anatomy) where the whistle might be “stuck.”

Silly me. I thought marketing was killing this country

Donald N.'s picture

Chill. Your right though...