If you’re as disappointed as I am that the world didn’t end last Friday, I have great news. You can keep putting off shopping for holiday gifts, working on those abs, and learning how to cut the grass, because the end is still nigh.
How do I know? Shit. How did Glenn Beck know gold was a good investment? If you’re paying attention, it’s obvious, and the evidence just keeps piling up. No, I don’t mean the economy, political upheaval in the Middle East, or the way natural disasters seem to happen weekly these days. I’m talking about the obvious Third Horseman of the Apocalypse, zombies.
Zombies are hot in every way right now, but the absolute hottest zombie trend in corporate America today is Referencing, the fine art of digging up something that used to be genuine, and serving it to the public as a lumbering, rotting homage to “authenticity.”
Sure, taking something classic and reconstituting it as hipster garbage has been going on forever, but I’m here to tell you we’re in a race to the End Times, when every original idea is used up and we’re left with shit referencing shit that referenced other shit. We made a “Dukes of Hazzard” movie for crissake, but the favorite target for zombie marketers is something that was cult, genuine. Consider the alarming rate at which things that once meant something are being co-opted and spit back out as soul-less decorations. Zombie marketing is the Third Horseman of the Apocalypse, generally translated as “Famine” or “Pestilence.” You have to squint a little to see it, and you might think I’m crazy, but you know who else they called crazy? Glenn Beck. And Gandi. And Cher.
Yes, that’s Miley Cyrus getting around on a bicycle while wearing an Iron Maiden Live After Death t-shirt. Live-After-Mother-Fucking-Death. Try to forget that any time soon.
And Zombie Marketing loves outdoor and action sports. Take my beloved 29ers. Flipping through a People magazine at a relative’s house over the weekend, I was surprised to find this photo:
That’s right: reality show “people” cavorting gaily on an Orbea 29er. Not a bike with 26″ wheels manufactured by Trek or Specialized but with the decals blacked over, and not a bike purchased at REI with two feet of extra hydraulic line, but a genuine Orbea Alma 29er. Like it or not, we live in a world where you might well see your Serotta in a gum commercial, your Ibis in a spot hawking Cialis. And 29ers, once the last bastion of the smuggest elite cycling bastards, are soon to show up under the Jake Gyllenhaal posse or the Kardashians. Random encounters with now common 29ers is a new level of cultural acceptance, entirely different from a “president” riding one. Count this as further proof that, once the rogue element in the world of cycling, the 29er is now standard. It’s only a matter of time before Brad Pitt’s tongue moves from counter-balancing faux Dutch hipster mobiles to helping navigate some 24-hour gnar.
Speaking of 24-hours of gnar, those of us looking to force a personal rapture should look into a Tough Mudder event:
How cool is it that, here in the 21st Century, we’ve figured out a way to market pure unadulterated pain and suffering? And they say we’ve lost our edge!
Clearly this sort of thing is designed to be all kinds of Pure, and Genuine, and Hardcore, and good for them. In making competitors wrestle barbed wire and run through fire and shit, this event is all about being authentic, derivative of nothing that’s come before it–the absolute most badass of the badass.
That’s why I’m announcing plans for a spin-off of Tough Mudder, and I’m here to tell you, Tough Mudder is a freakin’ Disneyworld parade compared to the event concept I’m working on now. Suffering is all the rage these days, and therein lies a great opportunity. Say hello to Doomsday Events, my Limited Liability Corporation, registered in Delaware, of course, for shady reasons, and my first project, Blood Mudder.
First, consider the distance. While the Tough Mudder goes on for 24-hours, Blood Mudder events go on for six months. Suck on that, tri geeks. Now you can train half a year to race half a year. Blood Mudder, FTW!
Sure, they have plenty of mud-holes covered in barbed wire–oohhh, barbed wire–scary!–but Blood Mudder will take a page from tri swims and begin with an open water swim, in boxing gloves and bowling shoes, while the crowd on the shore spits poison darts at you and lobs piranhas (there will not be any piranhas in the water to begin with–that’d just be stupid).
You like climbing walls and shit? Like rock climbing? How about scaling a 20-foot wall of crushed glass? That’s being driven toward you on the front of a semi? A semi with a giant treadmill on it’s roof? That’s right. Get some.
Think your hand-eye coordination is top drawer and you have a strong stomach? Let’s see you ride an elliptical while bobbing for severed squirrel heads in a 55-gallon oil drum, tough guy. And yes, the oil drum is filled with oil. And squirrel heads.
Stay sharp. Every night you’ll process tax returns on a bridge while dodging traffic.
And logs? Logs are hot right now in tough guy races, but that’s chickenshit. You’ll race carrying the severed legs of those who didn’t make it through the initial swim. And when we come to the chainsaw portion of the event, you’ll saw live telephone poles like a real man.
Think you can “perform” under pressure? With the Stanford Tree? While your extended family watches? I didn’t think so, Mary.
Like Chuck Norris flicks? How about 72 hours of Chuck Norris getting slapped by a mime. No blinking.
If you have no bull riding experience, riding a grizzly bear will be even more difficult.
Let’s just say competitions will not be held in any states that refuse to allow people to arm wrestle pneumatic presses.
Because they generally possess less upper body strength, women will be at a disadvantage in several stages of the race, but the forced lactation stations will not be among them. No carrying your severed leg up the burning rope until something comes out, Bronson.
Feed zones will be heavily subsidized by pharmaceutical companies. Results will vary.
I’m sure we can also manage to fit a few 24-hour mountain bike races in there, too, maybe with bikes you have to build yourself from bamboo and bones. Anyway, it should be pretty cool for a while. At least until somebody rips it off and starts doing something similar. Or tougher. I’m accepting volunteers and registrations now. Entrance fee is only $2,500, but I’ll need that in gold, please.