Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Really?

So last night I was watching TV when this commercial for a work clothes retailer called Work'N Gear came on. It was a pretty standard until the logo popped up at the end.Now maybe I'm totally off base here but that's a pretty offensive, right? Just say the "NGear" part aloud and see if any black people around you punch you in the face (or if you are black yourself, if you punch yourself in the face). I don't think I'm reaching for this one. I seriously think this is one of the biggest advertising missteps of all time. As soon as the logo flashed on the screen I was like, "Dear Lord, is that real?" At least the company's Website is equal opportunity and this black dude didn't have any problem rocking some NGear threads... "You know, were just manly guys who like to do manly things."

7 comments:

je said...

Doug, I think the question here is, are you serious? With all due respect, in all the years that I have known you, this has to be one of if not the most ludicrous assertions you have ever made. Now remember I am saying this with all due respect. With my not having seen said commercial, I am going solely on your "article", I can unequivically say that you are wrong and even a signing monkey would not have jumped to this ridiculous and downright sophmoric conclusion. How can you possibly get the "n"word from this company's name? First of all, the "N" should be pronounced with "work" part of this phrase, as evidenced by the placement of the apostrophe after the k and before the n. I am not sure if you are aware of this, but an apostrophe placed near the end of a word signifies that a letter has been dropped in order to combine two words or "contract" them into one. Hence the correct and universally understood pronunciation of this would be "work in" gear, which is an obvious play on the oft used workin instead of "working". Secondly, if Amy the signing gorilla from Congo accidentally puts the n with gear or leaves of the word work, then there still is no problem, because that word should sound like "in"gear. That should be in no way offensive to anyone. The epithet that you allude to has the "i" emphasis after the letter n, not before. In addition to that, the pronunciation of gear is not the same as that of "ger". This also leaves your thought lacking in accuracy. For you to have come to your conclusion means that you are phonetically and grammatically challenged; dyslexic (all of which I hope not for your sake since writing seems to be important to you); or when you say or see this you have a Freudian slip and you have a deep seated fascination with this word that you feel and know to be taboo. Another option, and knowing you, I would assume it to be the correct one, is that and your "white guilt" laden brethren have such a hypersensitivity to anything even remotely racial or class based, you feel then need to defend the poor little oppressed minority no matter how silly or insignificant the cause. In this case, as is often the result, given all the reasons that you are wrong, it is actually insulting that you jump to this conclusion. Since anyone with little to no literacy skills can see the normal way to say this, by the transitive properties, you are saying that black people standing around punching you invariably lacks those skills. And furthermore, your notion that the illiterate black person around you will immediately resort to violence is also incredibly offensive. In summation, I, a black guy, am more offended by your take on this brand name than the nonexistent possibility of racial insult that could occur. I guess you thought you were being progressive and considerate, but sometimes a folksy slogan is just that.

Doug the Punter said...

Josh, I clearly understand the grammatical and phonetic implications of the company's name, I never doubted that the company intended for its name to be pronounced "Workin' Gear;" I never claimed that the full name should be said any differently. In fact, I alluded to the correct pronunciation when I wrote the name of the company like this "Work'N Gear," providing the space for clarification. However you conveniently ignored that in your lengthy diatribe. Furthermore your point concerning the placement of the apostrophe helps prove my point. Visually, the apostrophe separates the "N" from the "Work" and places it directly in front of the "Gear." As such the effect I was alluding too is more visual than anything, something that clearly went way over your head. I forgive you for this obvious error. As for the pronunciation I am fully aware that one's first attempt to pronounce NGear would be "in gear." However, by my writing that "NGear" could be offensive most normal people would briefly toy around with the pronunciation and produced the obvious slur within their first few attempts. Again I forgive you for your error, you are not a normal person and never in a thousand years be confused with one. Moving on to one of your final points, when I saw the logo the NGear part jumped out at me visually, there was no deep-rooted psychological reason for my doing this (unlike your penchant for entertainment news). Also I never "asserted" anything but instead asked whether I was off base. And on to your black people and violence thing, I made no specific distinction about black people being more violent than others. In fact, many of my posts have contained allusions to people of all colors committing random violent acts (such as Isaac from the Real World). Anyway I am going to be posting two clips that would seem to support the conclusion that you, not I, made about race and violence. So to conclude, I was making a joke, clearly you didn't get it and, I admit, maybe it wasn't that funny or valid in the first place. Understand that this blog is like a monkey house (similar to the signing monkeys you randomly brought up in your thesis), its just me and my buddy throwing our crap against the wall and hoping something sticks, sometimes is does, sometimes it doesn't. Finally, get off your high horse for once in your life and I accept your apology.

One more thing, Josh. You wrote, "the nonexistent possibility of racial insult that could occur." I am curious as to how something with zero chance of happening ("nonexistent possibility") could actually take place ("could occur"). That seems like a pretty obvious contradiction there. Perhaps you should focus more on your grammar.

Ted said...

SLAM!

je said...

Doug, I do not doubt that you are aware of the proper pronunciation of work'n gear, nor do I think that you are a latent racist, which along with dyslexic and "phonetically challenged"(which I am pretty sure I made up by the way). My retort was made in the same joking manor that your post was, with a funny take on an underlying unpleasant issue. I just chose to write in my typical pseudo intellectual tone, hence a Frued reference in the same breath as one about a monkey that uses sign language, in a text that began with a Ricky Bobby quote. I am happy to see you admit that your joke was not really valid, and I accept your apology for accepting my nonexistent apology. As far as that crack about me as a normal person goes, one would need only to look at your likes and dislikes to see that you should not be throwing bricks in that glass house of yours. I still think you are tilting at "N"bombs. Do you see how I juxtaposed a Don Quixote allusion with the use of a funny euphomism for the n word.

And Doug, I stand by my rhetorical device of nonexistent...occur. The answer to your question, is that something with no chance of happening indeed could not occur, which is my point.

Doug the Punter said...

Thank you for your apology Josh, I graciously accept it. Also while you may defend your completely paradoxical (and perhaps ironic) sentence you have no ground to stand on when you use the word "manor" instead of "manner." I figured someone with as many manors as you would have the proper manners to not confuse the two homonyms. Got you good, rookie biotch. Check and mate, my good friend. Maybe next time...

Ted said...

OH SNAP!

je said...

Touche that I used the wrong homophone. I also misspelled a word, but that does not make my point any less correct or yours less wrong.