Friday, July 27, 2007

Court Square, Queens, July 2007

I have two competing subjects to write about today, and since this is my last post before my retreat, I’m going to tackle them both.

One is the use of the Beatles’ song “All You Need is Love” in a diaper commercial. The other is the death of the Weekly World News.

Random, right?

Well, they’re both issues I read about recently that stirred me up.

Like many people, I hold the Beatles in a position of almost religious esteem. They were the perfect yin and yang of songwriting, the ideal balance between cerebral artistry and melodic pop fun. So when I first heard that “All You Need is Love” is going to be used in a Luvs diaper commercial, with “Luvs” substituted for “Love,” I was pretty appalled.

Unfortunately, the story I read didn’t quote Paul or Ringo - who have long since lost control of the use of their music - on what they thought of the development. For me, that was the key: What Would the Beatles Do? (WWBD)

But then I remembered “Anticipation,” by Carly Simon, and its effective use in ketchup commercials in the ‘70s. When I was a kid I actually grew to like the song by hearing it on TV. So maybe Luvs will actually be something of a boost for the Beatles among new listeners - kids who otherwise don’t know their music.

Besides, I can’t help but think that John Lennon would have found the whole situation laughably absurd.

As for the Weekly World News, I’m just sorry to see it go. It’s the supermarket tabloid that used to scream headlines about Bat Boy and Bigfoot and Aliens landing in your backyard.

When I was in college, the WWN was a staple impulse buy on late-night beer runs or snack food expeditions. My first boyfriend, Mike, used to love the WWN and we’d often read it together and laugh uproariously.

It’s one of my treasured memories of Mike, who died from pancreatic cancer just a few years after we broke up. When he was sick, I mailed him a WWN to cheer him up, and he wrote back a postcard that said “Thanks, but I broke down and subscribed!”

When I worked for a newspaper in Sarasota, I wrote an article about a church that was holding a fundraiser for a Romanian immigrant who needed a new prosthetic arm. (This is the kind of weird assignment you sometimes find yourself doing in local journalism.) The Weekly World News, of all places, picked up my story. And darned if little old ladies all across the land didn’t send money to buy that Romanian his arm. (He got it, too!)

The Weekly World News certainly never elevated anyone’s IQ. But I think it was actually far less harmful than a lot of the tabloid celebrity junk that’s being printed now - and that I never bought, even in my most late-night, drunken collegiate moments.

Enjoy the next week, everybody! Until August 6!


Anonymous said...

The WWN picked up one of your stories? I am in awe! I salute you!! I hadn't heard that it was folding - it's definitely a loss. Who will write about Elvis appearances now?? And what of Bat Boy? Must he now dive down into obscurity?

The WWN was quirky. We need quirky in a world that uses Beatles songs for diaper commercials. Yikes!

Have a wonderful retreat. I'll "miss" you - look forward to reading about how it unfolded.

LOVE today's pic. Looks like the sun is on retreat.

Anonymous said...

I had to take my son to his treatment this morning and just now came home.

I fear I've missed you and that you are on retreat. I wanted to wish you the best.


Anonymous said...

how about the National Inquirer - did you ever write for that?

Aug. 6th - I'll be off on hols. by then.
Hope your retreat is great - that its all the things you need it to be.

see you later in August.