Friday, January 27, 2012

I Have Seen the End of Civilization, and it Drives a Jeep.

(If the embedded video gets removed, the link is:

No. Your ears do not deceive you. You have not entered some alternate universe in which up is down and down is up. That really is Robert Frosts' voice, reciting "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" in the context of a Jeep commercial.

I don't even know where to begin.

First of all, I found out about this online because we don't have broadcast TV in the house - mainly to avoid commercials. I hate them. I piss other people off because I have to mute them when they are on. I think that's because complacency sets in when commercials on radio, television, the internet, print media are part of your daily life, they fall away into background noise. As I only see the ads that come up during internet streaming of a show (and it's the same ad over and over - whose stupid idea was that? It makes me want to boycott the company, not purchase the product), I still hear the commercials. In a related parenthetical that I won't even bother to put in parenthesis because I just told you it's a parenthetical - why are the commercials louder than the show? Is it bad sound leveling on the part of the broadcast medium or is it on purpose, so the commercial will shock us out of our reverie and make us listen?

Anyway. Back to Frost. I can't believe a trustee of the Robert Frost estate authorized this. Have they READ any Frost? Is the Frost Farm in Derry in danger of foreclosure? I will, of course, be writing a letter today, because, well, letters to people like trustees of the Robert Frost estate are my form of entertainment. Is it just me, or is this akin to Apple using a quote from Walden to sell iPods?

The biggest issue, for me, is the fact that "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" is the incongruence.  The viewer who does not know the entire poem might think the Jeep and the poem are a natural fit - one is about being in the woods in a snowy evening, and the Jeep would help you do that without losing traction. But the poem is, at its center, about the quiet solitude and purity of the woods, the silence in the dark, the sweep of easy wind and downy flake.

Until the roaring engine of the Jeep Wrangler comes charging through the trees, of course.

Coincidentally, it's an ice [snow] day here in Lyme, but only for my kids. I have to go to work at my school, which is also in Lyme. I get to travel them three times more often, because I will be traveling back and forth to make sure they are not killing each other in my absence. God forbid the power goes out, because the only thing standing between chaos and relative order at the Lahey household today will be DVDs and Xbox.

But no broadcast television. Because everyone needs their snobby and arbitrarily imposed standards.


  1. "Tearing through the Woods on a Snowy Evening."

  2. THAT'S what the poem needed! A little V-8!!!

  3. I've seen this same end of civilization and was, sadly, not shocked. This is what it's come to: Robert Frost's voice as overlay to sell Jeeps. *sigh* It makes me want to hide out in a cabin, deep in the snowy woods, and never never come out.

    And yes, the commercials are louder. I read once that it's done purposefully --- as people tend to go to the kitchen or the bathroom when a commercial comes on, and this way they can still hear it. I wish I were kidding.

  4. I had no idea about this whole kitchen/bathroom thing, and I guess I was, as my husband says, "naive about the television," and had no idea.

  5. I can't speak about the trustees and their reasoning for allowing this, but nothin is sacred in tv land. Just sayin... And that is why we also do not have commercial tv in our house....not to mention the fact that we have three daughters and want them to grow up with their self-esteem still intact.

  6. Have to say that I like it. Anything that promotes poetry in the mainstream is ok with me. :)

  7. Here's a little poem I wrote:


    It's called, "Stopping By Evelyn Woods on a Snowy Evening."