Are you possibly old enough to remember cigarette advertising on TV and radio? If so you probably also still refer to David Grier as “Lamar Grier’s boy,” and you might remember who Gerald Ford’s vice president was (also Lamar Grier, I believe).
Well I’ll go ahead and date myself (severely) and say that I remember them. Not only that, I can still sing the “You can take Salem out of the country . . .” jingle, a perfectly awful yet somehow memorable song. I was four-years old and it led me to take up smoking, which fortunately I quit at age six.
You know what replaced the revenue lost from tobacco advertising? One hint: it wasn’t capo or fiddle bow commercials. Maybe that’s two hints. No, the great revenue replacer was pharmaceutical ads, and we’re inundated with them, especially on TV and radio shows with an audience demographic old enough to remember “Winston tastes good like a cigarette should,” but they’ve found enough medical anxiety and ailments to market to virtually any age group.
One thing I enjoy about these ads, besides the lengthy disclaimers (“may cause headcahes, nausea, depression, or suicidal thoughts. If suicidal thoughts occur, do not stop taking Linvogula, as muscle cramping may occur”), are the abbreviations and acronyms used for newly discovered illnesses and syndromes: “If you have any of these symptoms, you may be suffering from Irritable Bowl Syndrome with Constipation, or IBS-C,” or “Are you tired or listless, accompanied by sudden, unexplained bursts of energy? You could be suffering from Acute Lethargy with Random Spasms Syndrome, or ALRSS.”
In most cases, I’d never heard of these diseases before. I guess that’s why they’re advertising them and their treatments with the scary disclaimers.
It occurs to me It would be very useful to describe and categorize various bluegrass-related ailments and syndromes and abbreviate them accordingly. The advertising might look something like this:
“When playing shows, are you encountering sound engineers who talk down to you as if you’ve never played on a microphone before in your life? You may have Condescending Soundsplaining Engineer Disease, or CSED.”
Or, on the other hand:
“Are you a sound engineer who keeps encountering experienced bands who still have no idea how to work a microphone and want their monitors much too loud, then complain when there’s feedback? You may have Will This Show Ever End? Syndrome, or WTSEES (‘Whatsees’).”
“Do you have a mandolin player in your band who is late to most shows and rehearsals and always offers predictable but poor excuses for it? You may be suffering from Late Mandolin Player with Lame Excuse Syndrome, or LMPLES (pronounced ‘Limples’).”
“Are you operating a bluegrass festival with a gradually declining audience because a certain percentage of your attendees die every year and no new ones are coming because you just book the same bands year after year? You could have Stagnant Festival with Shrinking Older Crowd, or SF-SOC.”
“Are you recording too many takes of your songs in the studio, to the point where you’ve eliminated any imperfections, but the songs now lack life because you no longer like them by the time you’re finished? You might be suffering from Excessive Retakes with Song Burnout Syndrome, or ER-SBS.”
“Do you have a banjo player who insists on practicing Cumberland Gap or Lonesome Road Blues over and over in an enclosed space like a bus or van? You may be experiencing an ailment called Please Get a Mute Already Before I Lose My &*%**# Mind, or PGMA-BILM_M (using the acronym ‘Pigma-billem’).”
Consult your doctor before beginning any treatment.