zerode – a sensibility


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Cults I Have Known

Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh

Cults tried and rejected

  • Scientology
  • Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (sheesh!)
  • Hare Krishnas
  • Revolutionary Communist Party (“Mao more than ever”)
  • Daytime soap operas
  • Wheatgrass
  • Non-fat, decaf lattes
  • Spin classes
  • Craigslist hook-ups
  • Cars

Cults embraced

  • Dogs
  • Kale
  • Coffee
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • Walks in the park
  • Parenthood

Filed under: Autobiography, Humor,

Pinch Me, I must be dreaming: Volkswagen’s sexist #fail

Still from Volkswagen "Pinch Me" video ad

Volkswagen’s “Stop Dreaming, Start Driving Event: Pinch Me” ad campaign is in heavy rotation on Hulu, so I’ve been seeing the same ads over and over again, and eventually it sunk in: there’s a pretty sexist difference between the two ads in this campaign.

The Jetta ad features a female driver and auto rep.  The driver is so excited by the Jetta’s performance she asks the auto rep to pinch her. The rep responds, “No, not while you’re driving.”

In the Passat ad, the male driver also asks to be pinched—the performance is just unbelievable. But this time, the (male) auto rep says “Okay” and pinches the driver.

It seems that, unlike men, women can’t be trusted to control a car while being pinched.

For more on sexism in advertising…Routledge Companion to Advertising and Promotional Culture

Can’t Buy My Love: How Advertising Changes the Way We Think and Feel – Jean Kilbourne

The Routledge Companion to Advertising and Promotional Culture – eds. Matthew P. McAllister and Emily West

Provocateur: Images of Women and Minorities in Advertising – Anthony Cortese

And of course there’s this…

Filed under: Advertising, Fail, ,


The DMV’s website brings you the same level of service you’ve come to expect from their brick and mortar branches:


Filed under: Fail, ,

It was that kind of day…


Filed under: Stuff

All the news that’s fit to spit

Some headlines from the rumpled paper I found on the chair at my table in the cafe this evening, this past Friday’s New York Times:

3 Kurds Slain in Paris, in Locked-Door Mystery

A Chainsaw-Free Mainstream

Visit by Google Chairman May Benefit North Korea

Man in Plastic Ball Dies on Russia Ski Slope

Monastery from Spain Ends up in California

Gun Enthusiast With Popular Online Videos is Shot to Death in Georgia

Sifting Sand To Rebuild Beaches After Storm

We live in a weird time on a weird planet.

Filed under: Stuff, , ,

Zéro de conduite, Rue Jacob, Paris

Zéro de conduite by PatXIX
Zéro de conduite, a photo by PatXIX on Flickr.

Not the film, a bar on Rue Jacob in Paris

Filed under: Stuff, ,

We love… Hannah Hart and My Drunk Kitchen

Check it out: Hannah Hart – Home – Harto & Co.

The official homepage for the latest happenings with Hannah Hart.

Come and take a load off! Have a drink, have a think, buy a shirt, couldn’t hurt.

Big fans of poetry here. Be prepared for intermittent limericks.

Find out about floor pizza, and how all food containing cheese is really just an excuse to eat cheese – and watch Hannah cut out the middleperson – in her latest video.

Filed under: Feel Good, Food, ,

The perils of non-contextual ads

Filed under: Humor, ,

Anti-Word of the Day: Onboarding

The OED word of the day is frenemy, n. :

A person with whom one is friendly, despite a fundamental dislike or rivalry; a person who combines the characteristics of a friend and an enemy. (via Oxford English Dictionary.)

For my anti-word of the day—or perhaps non-word or marketroid word of the day—I am chosing something that the OED is more likely to consider a straight-up enemy than a frenemy: onboarding

Employee Onboarding: There’s a fairly new term in the talent management world and it’s called onboarding employees.  This idea has been around for quite some time, and it used to be known as new employee orientation.  But as we’ll soon explain, onboarding is more about retaining talent than getting people settled in their new office. (via

Frankly, it sounds a bit like a kind of managerial water-boarding to me.

Whenever I hear management-speak like this, I feel like Göring (mis)reportedly did on hearing the word culture—I get the urge to reach for a weapon of some sort.

And according to those gentlefolk and scholars, Merriam and Webster, it’s not even a word:

For more, on the management practice, see Onboarding – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.



Filed under: Stuff, , , ,

tinfoil hat, n. : Oxford English Dictionary


tinfoil hat, n. :

Pronunciation: Brit. /ˌtɪnfɔɪl ˈhat/ , U.S. /ˈˌtɪnˌfɔɪl ˈhæt/

orig. and chiefly U.S.

A hat made from tinfoil.

With allusion to the belief that such a hat protects the wearer from mind control, surveillance, or similar types of threat. Frequently either extraterrestrials or the government are imagined to be the source of such threats.

(via Oxford English Dictionary.)

The earliest cited use of the term in the OED is from 1982, though the concept has been around much longer – since a 1927 science fiction story, according to the Wikipedia entry.

Be sure to check out The Tinfoil Hat Song. If that speaks to you, you might want to get Tinfoil Hat Linux. You might also want to read “MIT Researchers Claim Tin-Foil Hats Don’t Stop Government Mind Control Rays.”

Myself, I’ll stick to my tinfoil-lined duct tape wallet for the time-being. Aliens and men in black may be scary, but ID snafflers seem like a more real and present danger. How To Make A RFID Blocking Wallet.

Filed under: Humor

Spoof London Underground Announcements

“You’ve got the microphone. It’s a Monday morning. There are hundreds of bored commuters listening. The temptation is simply too much…” Spoof London Underground Announcements – Emma Clarke.

Here’s a sample.

Filed under: Humor,

All 55 Things I Own

All 55 Things I Own | Exile Lifestyle: What does it say about this guy that one of the only 55 things he owns is an electric nose hair trimmer?

Filed under: Stuff



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zerode by nick chapman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Oh—and hello to Jason Isaacs.

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is an over-caffeinated and under-employed grad school dropout, aspiring leftwing intellectual and cultural studies academic, cinéaste, and former poet. Raised in San Francisco on classic film, radical politics, burritos and soul music, then set loose upon the world. He spends his time in coffee shops with his laptop and headphones, caffeinating and trying to construct a post-whatever life.


What's in a name... The handle "zerode" is a contraction of Zéro de Conduite, the title of Jean Vigo's 1933 movie masterpiece about schoolboy rebellion.



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