Semantic Nonsense: Super Bowl Hangover Edition

Fake News Goes Deep, Connects

Yes, I’m from New England.

No, I don’t care that you suddenly abandon the scientific method and due process the second that doing so allows you to trash a football team/player you don’t like. But it does make you look silly, so for you own sake you probably shouldn’t do it anyway.

That this point was lost on many football fans was NOT lost on spamvertisers, who used it to pull off the greatest acts of clickbait I’ve ever seen.

After the game, I saw a promoted “news” story on Twitter and other places, simply stating that Tom Brady had fallen back into controversy following the win. Unlike most clickbait, the headline was so understated it actually looked genuine. But the artistry didn’t stop there.

According to the “story,” the quarterback was taking a pair of mail-order/gas-station/as-seen-on-TV energy boosters. Further, the NFL wanted to ban them because they were sooooooooo effective, it was simply unfair to pit players using them against players who weren’t.

The ad was expertly poised for a The Onion-level confused sharing. While I do not endorse scam products, I must offer a tip of the hat to the marketing genius who so skillfully tapped in to an easy audience with just the right angle to snare them. While I hope most people would see through the story when it gets to the product shilling, it’s indirect style could get past an uncritical person’s radar. In other words, the lessons from the recent uptick in political-style fake news have been observed, learned and integrated by the purveyors of classic advertising-style fake news.

There’s no going gently down my stream

I started the game’s commercial breaks fairly disillusioned after last year’s poor showing. It didn’t help that my Fox stream dropped half of the commercials, so I’d be behind the 8-ball trying to do my usual review. While I fretted that I would do a review at all, the Mr. Clean commercial came up and I know that I must soldier on.

I wasn’t always using the Fox stream, though. I didn’t want to throw my email address at yet another website database that was destined to be stolen. Instead, I turned to YouTube Live, where a number of enterprising streamers had mirrored their TVs. I was able to get through the first quarter pretty easily, only occasionally jumping to a new stream as YouTube played whack-a-mole. Inevitably, the streamers were no match for YouTube and I had to tribute an email address anyway.

Though if I were running a bootleg Super Bowl stream, I wouldn’t do it just to beg for subscribers. Oh, no. I’d let it go for a while, running up the number of viewers and lulling them into a false sense of security. Then I’d suddenly change what I was streaming to something else. The music video to “Never Gonna Give you Up” is pretty played out, though. Nobody would really talk about getting Rick Rolled on a Super Bowl stream at this point; people would just accept it as ordinary activity and move on.

No, to achieve true Internet infamy, to do something that will live on in oral history, would take an unmitigated act of magnificent bastardry. You’d have to cut to something awful (but not Something Awful). I already decided porn was too pedestrian for this gag; I demand a higher standard of pranking from myself. This would require something shocking, yes, but also Kaufmanesque.

In other words, you should all count your blessings that I don’t have cable.

Movie trailers

In a prior Semantic Nonsense, I mentioned several movies of note for 2017 that I was either interested or uninterested in seeing. Super Bowl LI featured commercials for five of them. I thought it would be nice to do a pulse-check, given that the new Super Bowl XLIX ad for Jurassic World was what finally got me on board with it. Unfortunately, it was rough going with the trailers this year.

The Transformers: Last Knight trailer looked like it packed a lot of story into it, but I still have no idea what is up with the knight motif. Needle didn’t move much on this one.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell no Tales looks like it ends the series brief flirtation with plots not involving zombies. The twist? The zombies are looking for Jack Sparrow instead of the other way around.

How did Logan, the trailer that seemed to show so very little, pique my interest so much? Economy? Being evocative? It’s presentation seemed to carry a weight. I guess it’ll take top marks for gravitas, at least.

In stark contrast, Ghost in the Shell gave us a tagline; gratuitous placement of a skin-tight, flesh-colored costume and a couple of visual callbacks to the anime. It came off as lazy, frankly. But perhaps it was a victim of the Star Trek Beyond school of trailer-making.

Guardians of the Galaxy 2’s new trailer was underwhelming, but I don’t think it’s possible to dampen my enthusiasm for the movie.

Baywatch looks cheap. Like, really cheap. I mean, all the beach scenes look bluescreened. Save for a single shot of a red one-piece, it looked more “Gidget” than “Baywatch.” And it’s a buddy not-cop movie? I think this dark horse tried too hard to be funny bad.

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