Monday, 4 October 2010

Amazon Kindle: Reading is Ironic and Cool

There is an idea that is spreading through our culture like diarrhoea recently, it’s name is “indie”. Indie is magical in that no one can describe what indie is, there is indie music, indie films, indie clothes, indie hairstyles, but no one can say exactly what indie is. I’ve given the indie phenomenon some serious investigation and research and what I have discovered is that indie is a (dick)heady blend of irony and self obsession (apart from “indie music” which is simply the music industry’s new blanket genre label that seems to be sweeping in to replace the term “alternative”). Look out for indie people in the streets, the die hards will be  dressed in charity shop clothing and look proud of it, go and talk to them, the majority will be more than happy to ramble on about how they bought their entire wardrobe from an Oxfam shop and “made their own styles” which usually involves nothing more than adorning their second hand rags with trinkets and ironic accessories which can include any old bullshit imaginable, examples I have encountered include soviet medals and American hotel room key fobs. The possibilities to make yourself look an absolute twat are seemingly endless when you’re part of the indie trend.

A more worrying part of this trend is the notion that it’s cool to be a nerd, an ironic pattern of thought. This includes regarding reading as a trendy past time. You may be reading this (hopefully not ironically) and be thinking “but surely if reading is regarded as trendy then that is a good thing as it promotes an educational past time” No, you are wrong. More and more in our culture books and reading is being hijacked by these dickheads to be used as a fashion accessory. I recall an episode of some generic panel show which featured the insufferable Josie Long as a guest sporting a seemingly home made t shirt with “Kurt Vonnegut” emblazoned across it in ironically jagged letters, resulting in a nosebleed inducing amount of rage to build up inside of me. More recently the explosion of ebook readers has brought this idea of books as fashion in to the mainstream, one of the new TV ads for the new Amazon Kindle is a prime example.

The whole ad uses stop motion animation in which a stereotypically beautiful blonde haired woman (which the youtube video info box tells me is called Annie Little, what a quaint name) seems to go on a psychedelic trip through a number of scenarios with her kindle as she pulls a pouty expression because reading is sexy. My problem is not with the concept of the ad, it’s all quite nice and the stop motion is clever and though out it’s just this damn woman giving the whole thing an under current of sexual attractiveness, books are not sexy and neither is the kindle so don’t peer over the top of it at me suggestively. The music for the ad is written and performed by the actress, a docile piano and vocal tune played with all the skill of a five year old, but hey that’s ironic and cool right? No it’s drivel, the sign of a bad song is when I could have written it, it’s as bland and generic as her appearance. The kicker comes at the end with the tagline of “books in 60 seconds” if a book takes 60 seconds it’s not a book, it’s a shampoo bottle, something I think people who enjoy this advert would be better off reading.