Something doesn’t add up

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Advertisements, album covers, movie posters are eye-catching, irrelevant

I’m Not Angry
Kyle Leitch

A&C Writer

Last issue, we of the Arts & Culture section had an awful lot of fun finding some of the most headscratching album covers from the annals of music history. What was printed were the covers that infected our souls, curved our spines, and, in all likelihood, would have stopped Canada from winning the war – if Canada were embroiled in one at the time. However, many albums were omitted due to page constraints and our inability to mock them with appropriate glibness.

Although this exercise was a fun little jaunt through music’s hallways of horror, it called to mind a bigger question that’s been broiling under the surface of every rational thinking human since the dawn of very early pictograms: what the fuck does this have to do with anything? What, for example, does a naked Jim Post waterboarding a rat on his face under a waterfall have to do with an album called I Love My Life? What does a dude having his codpiece literally buzz sawed in half have to do with fucking like a beast, W.A.S.P.? What does corpse-on-corpse cunnilingus have to do with the music of Cannibal Corpse? Actually, that last one may be a bad example.

Music isn’t the only perpetrator of perfectly perplexing photography, either. Films like Antichrist and Superman III, Books like Naked Lunch, and Call of Cthulhu, video games like Haunting Ground and Phalanx, they all have overly ambiguous, irreverent, or downright insultingly bad covers that have nothing to do with the content contained within these products.

The fact that mindless consumer assholes are being tricked into buying stupid stuff doesn’t bother me. If the average person engaged in that moron practice called “thinking”, they would probably be able to see through a lot of this madcap marketing miscreance. The problem is that ad executives and so-called marketing geniuses get paid thousands of dollars in contracts to decide on this inane bullshit. In offices all around the world, there are people that inspecting an epic air-brushed masterpiece and a Jackson Pollock-esque case of explosive diarrhea on canvas, and they decide that the latter of the two would best represent their product to the unsuspecting and unscrupulous mass of walking wallets that represent most companies’ “target demographic.”

Take, for instance, the case of Drew Struzan. For the uninformed, Drew Struzan is the legendary artist responsible for pretty much every Star Wars poster you could think of. In 2008, Struzan was commissioned to paint the poster for Universal Pictures’ upcoming film Hellboy II: The Golden Army. Struzan gave them a masterpiece. Instead of slapping the Struzan mural on every piece of promotional shit they could, Universal scrapped Struzan’s design, and opted for an Adobe-fueled nightmare, which features the black silhouette of Hellboy pointing at the floating Golden Army logo like it’s the god damned Star of Bethlehem.

So, to spare great artists like Drew Struzan from further futility, I’m proposing the immediate start up of an advertising agency that puts out only the most literal advertising possible. All Apple products will feature child labourers on their minimalist hipster packages, Hotwire.com commercials will feature the infuriating 45-minute phone conversation you’ll have while attempting to book a hotel, and all further issues of the Carillon will have a giant middle finger on every cover. Actually, that last one’s a pretty good idea. But I’m not angry. Honest.

Photo illustration by Kyle Leitch

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