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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Ready? Aim? Shave!

There's a war out there, my friend.

And I'm not talking about this namby-pamby, heard-it-all-before shit going on in Afghanistan and Iraq. I'm not talking about Northern Ireland or Bosnia or even the Sierra Leone or Tibet. No, an epic and volatile struggle for power is happening right under our noses. And under our chins. And along our jawlines. Not to mention our pubey-pubes, if we are so inclined.

That's right, kids, I'm talking about the Razor War.

Oh, you haven't heard about it?

Well, apparently, it's been raging like an irritated patch of neck skin since 2003, and it's a war being fought by razor companies Schick and Gillette.

Now, I, frankly, never was really aware that there was a Razor War going on in the world, but, apparently, I'm ignorant of a lot more than that, so my own personal obliviousness shouldn't be too much a surprise but, ever since my wife informed me of this state of warfare, I have become, shall we say, piqued?

Product war itself is nothing new. Pepsi vs Coca Cola, Chevrolet vs Ford, Aunt Jemima vs Uncle Ben, Honda vs Toyota, Vagisil vs Dyosport, Wagner operas vs getting hit in the face repeatedly with a cast-iron Ebelskiver pan... you know. But it can truly be said that there is no consumer product war going on than the fight for razor superiority being waged in magazine ads everywhere, fought long and hard by Schick and Gillette.

Now, when I first heard that there was a war going on betweeen these two razor companies, I immediately put my money on Schick, thinking they were German. I mean, "Sccchiccck," right? But, after a cursory investigation (the kind I conduct most frequently) I realized that Schick was not German at all, but English! A subsidiary of a long-forgotten company called Wilkinson Sword, established in 1772 to manufacture-- you guessed it-- swords! Oh, and guns, typewriters, bayonets, gardening tools, 850cc motorcycles, and an in-line four cylinder engine for a quaint British motorcar called "The Deemster."

The fact remains that, through its alterations, mergers, and acquisitions, Wilkinson Sword has always been interested in sharp pointy things that have the potential to draw blood, harkening back to that ancient, English desire to repress its thumping, palpable desire for sex and violence.

Ever read "Hamlet"?

While sword production itself ceased in 2005, Wilkinson Sword (through its threatening, Germanic-sounding brand-name, Schick) has been busily trying to gain ground in the razor war against its faggy-sounding competitor, Gillette. Though sounding French and, therefore, gay, Gillette is number one in razor sales globally, though, for some reason, Schick has cornered the Japanese market. I think there's a racist joke in there somewhere, but I'm too tired to help it materialize. You're welcomed to have a go at it in the comments section.

Anyway, I've been thinking about this so-called Razor War for a good long while now (and by "good long while now" I mean "as I type this sentence") and I think Schick and Gillette are going about this all wrong. See, they're waging this war by inventing new razory-type products and devising new, clever advertising campaigns, full-page glossies in my car magazines (yes, I read car magazines-- surprised?) and tired, careworn reinventions of the same old thing. While I have never served in the armed forces, my father has, and I think I know a vicarious thing or two about warfare, and I am convinced that Schick and Gillette are going about this Razor War thing all wrong.

I think they need to start actually killing each other.

If you think about it-- it's the only sure way for one company to gain world supremacy over the other. Honestly? There's only so many times you can reinvent a goddamn blade that cuts your fucking hair off, right? Eventually, they're going to tire of that shit and they're not going to know what to do next. It is obvious to me that the answer lies in bloodshed. Now, Schick, formerly Wilkinson Sword, a goddamn manufacturer of weapons of death and destruction for over 200 years ought to have figured this out by now, and I'm a little disappointed that they haven't. But it's not exactly a notion that one hits upon whilst sitting cross-legged in a drawing room sipping Prince of Wales tea at 2:30 in the afternoon.

Seriously, though, how cool would it be to see executives and sales managers from Wilkinson Sword and Procter & Gamble (Gillette's O.G. Pimp-Daddy) cutting each other like motherfuckers in the street in order to gain another share of the safety razor market? Heavily armed squadrons of Schick razor developing technicians rappelling through plate-glass windows to surprise-attack Gillette executives during a board meeting! Bring back the swords and bayonets!

THAT, motherfuckers, is war.


  1. I'll watch this rumble on the sidelines with popcorn - I use Bic.

  2. Schick? They're still Wilkinson Sword here in England. Just in case you're interested for some reason.

  3. Oh, he's interested. There's no apparent reason, but he's interested.


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