Wednesday, April 05, 2006
Over the hump
I will not lie to you (more than the usual literary license-induced fibbing I normally indulge in). Theme weeks at Dizgraceland can be taxing at times. It does help me be a bit more disciplined in my writing, however. Because on any given day, I usually just wing it with free form crap that bubbles up in my head. Having a theme adds that structure many of you have ridiculed in the past.
Regardless, it is Egyptian week here at Dizgraceland. And while floundering about for Egyptian themed entries I would have been remiss if I didn't talk about Camel Cigarettes.
First, I don't smoke. And second, I have never ridden on a camel (though we have established that this is one of my life goals). Other than being bombarded with "I'd walk a mile for a Camel" commercials as a child, I never really gave them much thought until I read Still Life Woodpecker by Tom Robbins. It is a novel that basically takes place in and around a pack of Camel Cigarettes. I will not attempt to explain the book (it is Tom Robbins after all and if you want to know more, read the book).
Anyway, one of the things that fascinated me about the book's description of a pack of Camel Cigarettes was this phenomenon that, when held up to a mirror, the word "CHOICE" on the side of the pack can be read even though it is a mirror image. I personally am suprised that this has not triggered a new religion. I would liked to have shown you a photo of the side of a Camel Cigarette pack, however, I couldn't find any on the Web. Since I don't smoke, it really wasn't worth it to me to go buy a pack (and I believe this phenomenon only applies to unfiltered Camels or Camel studs as we used to call them). So if you want proof, go buy your own pack. This is a low budget blog.
What I did discover while Googling Camel Cigarettes was that there was quite a bit of hype about subliminal advertising and this particular brand of cigarettes (I won't even go into the controversy about Joe Camel and marketing to children...remember I had to listen to the "I'd walk a mile for a Camel" commercial over and over and it never encouraged me to smoke...but I don't like to walk, either).
The odd thing about Camel Cigarettes alleged subliminal messages was that the primary one is supposed to be the image of a man on the front leg of the camel on the cigarette pack. What makes it even odder is that the man is supposed to be erect (and no, I'm not referring to simply standing) and urinating. Look for yourself:
Okay, I can kind of see it, but it seems a bit farfetched on several fronts. First, how is that supposed to make you want to buy a pack of Camel cigarettes? Second, I can pretty much tell you that an erect man is not really in any position to urinate. So, as a subliminal, this is pretty lame. Throw in some photos of ice cubes with images of people having sex on them and you might have something, but not a fuzzy image of an erect man urinating. I'm in marketing and I'd have to say that is pretty much a very small niche market they'd be shooting for (no pun intended).
By the way, the camel on the cigarette pack is a Dromedary or one-humped camel that is largely found in Africa. The Bactrian, or two-humped camel is generally found in Asia. So keep this mind if you are shopping for camels (the animal) and they ask you if you want one hump or two. Now isn't this better than the Discovery Channel?
Happy Hump Day!