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Monday, February 6, 2012


I'm sick of the goddamn ukulele.

I don't know who's to blame for this. Maybe it's Jake Shimabukuro (which is fun to say) who is, like, a ukulele himbo-- if there is such a thing possible in this weird, wicked world of ours. Maybe it's Ryan Gosling's fault for being in that goddamned "Blue Valentine" movie and playing that stupid song for that blonde bitch before everything went to shit. But something is going on in this country, and that something has to do with the fucking ukulele. It's small, it's happy, it's bright, it's cute, it looks like it's supposed to be played by midgets wearing rainbow suspenders and I don't give a fuck if I never hear the goddamned thing ever again.

I think the first commercial I saw where the ukulele was featured as the background music was for a goddamned refrigerator-- maybe a year or so ago-- and it was a refrigerator that had a lot of special features. Side-by-side pull-out drawers, and there was a fucking kid pulling out orange juice for himself or something, and there was this delightful ukulele music playing while all the refrigerator doors opened to reveal pristine shelves filled with immaculate, sumptuous-looking bounty as if to say, if you buy this fridge, not only will you eat well and live clean, but twinkling, sparkling ukulele will play as the soundtrack of your life.



If you ever opened up my refrigerator, you'd probably throw up, and Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D Minor would be blaring in your ear as you did so. And it wouldn't be played on a fucking Tiny Tim guitarette either. The notes would be screamed by a 500 pound German woman being put to death.

Over the course of the last year or so I've noticed a dramatic uptick in the number of commercials and television shows using the ukulele to let you know that their product or service or character is happy and that, if you align yourself with it/them, you will be too.

Even as early as 2009, some asshole who plays ukulele wrote on a message board:

"Anyone else noticing more and more ukulele music being used in TV commercials? Maybe it's because I'm a new player and all excited about all things ukulele, but I'm hearing more ukes in TV ads than ever before.

The two that come immediately to mind are an Iams dog food commercial and a Sprint phone commercial. I know I heard at least one more recently, but I can't remember who it was airline, I think.

Both have very catchy, infectious uke music in the background. Is it just me, or are you folks hearing the same thing I am?"

Yes, asshole, I am hearing the same thing you are, and I've had kind of enough of it. There are approximately 47,637 other musical instruments out there, marketing research analysts-- just once, I'd like to see a Nissan commercial with background music provided by a theremin. Or what about a life insurance commercial featuring a jew's harp? And, let's face it, there's just not enough prime-time television in this country augmented by the anguished bleats of traditional highland bagpipes.

Maybe I'm just projecting deeper psychological issues here. A few years ago, I started playing banjo. I don't know why I picked it-- I tried guitar in college and fucked that up, maybe I thought an instrument with one fewer string would yield more success. It did, but not much more. Anyway, when my mother-in-law found out I was playing the banjo, she mailed me her old ukulele. And I was like, that doesn't make any sense. I'm trying to learn one instrument, why would I interrupt that flow and switch to trying to learn a different instrument with different tunings and chords and styles? I never touched the ukulele. It's on top of my closet lying inert next to a backpack shaped like a teddy bear, which is also lying, inert. Of course, now that the ukulele is so popular in mass media, it's virtually a guarantee that I'll never touch it. I hope the banjo always remains an obscure instrument for bespectacled losers who make questionable wardrobe and occasionally facial hair choices. If I'm ever going to learn a sixth chord, it had better stay on the fringes of musical society.

And, as for the ukulele, I know it's just a fad-- something that scores well with test audiences, whatever-- they ranked it as the instrument that makes them feel the least like committing suicide, so now they use it in commercials and sitcoms. Like all fads, though, it's destined to go the way of the dinosaur.

Hey-- wow! Think about THAT! A DINOSAUR playing the UKULELE!

OH! Oh, man! I'm a fucking genius.

1 comment:

  1. My parents used to distribute Iams dog food.

    That's all I've got.


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