BY JOEY SWEENEY
Every time a white girl tries to sing like Billie Holiday, God’s own sphincter contracts in a full-God-body (Gody?) cringe, and the universe lets go of a sigh that turns into a cough. I mean, we know this. What we cannot know is just how many cab rides in Philadelphia have produced how many full-Gody cringes, how many universal sigh-coughs that, hey universe, not for nothing, really oughta be looked at by a doctor or something.
I speak, of course, of the above commercial for Verragio diamonds at Family Jewelers of Marlton, NJ. By my own very rough estimate, the spot has been running on the small ipad screen in the back of every taxi in Philadelphia, 24/7, for the better part of two years (though it feels like much longer). This is what is known: It is for a jeweler in Marlton, NJ, with an apparently boundless ad budget (or a very, very sweet hookup). This is what is not known: Whose awful music this is, and what long-term exposure to it may bring. In one test case (my own), triggered insanity is suggested.
If you have ridden in a cab during that time, there is a good chance you have seen the ad. And after the first few times, to recognize it is to put it on mute, as I have done, splunging my finger down frantically on countless germ-covered taxi cab touch screens. When, I ask the heavens, will it end? The heavens do not answer. The only reply that ever seems to come is the one issued when I’ve finally forgotten about it, only to enter a cab and have it play once more, the minute I shut the door. And then the experience begins anew.
What is so awful about it, you ask? What horrible crime, other than an assult of barfy CISgendered pony fuckin’ fever marriage-industrial-complex garbage packed in concentrate, does this commercial commit? Well, here you may be right. This could be all about me — all about my grave intolerance of a certain type of appropriation, melded with rote, latter-day American heterosexual mating rituals. Yes. I am fully ready to say that this might be just about me.
But I don’t think so.