zerode – a sensibility


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Fake TV, Fake Fireplace, Fake…


FakeTV FTV-10 Burglar Deterrent

The FakeTV simulates the light from the screen of a 27″ LCD HDTV, with simulated scene changes, color changes, and on-screen motion.  And it comes with a light sensor and timer, and it can be set to run for 4 or 7 hours after dusk, etc.

As a burglar deterrent, this seems brilliant—much more effective than leaving a light on, or even putting a few lights on timers and maybe a radio.  Everyone has seen the flickering of TV lights in apartment windows in the evenings.  I imagine this would be utterly convincing.

So why do I find it, the whole idea of it, depressing?

Since this is meant to protect your home when you are away on holiday, I thought I’d look into other holiday-oriented fakery.

More depressing—really, really depressing:


Realistic Holiday Fireplace Fiberboard:

Now every child can have his or her Christmas stockings hung with care. This unique 30 tall by 38 wide artificial fireplace is crafted of sturdy fiberboard and is easy to assemble. We even include a burning Yule log inset sure to warm your heart. This great holiday 3-dimensional decoration will become a cherished Christmas tradition for your family!

I don’t know about you, but my kids would go back to bed in tears if they came out on Christmas morning and found their stockings hung from this thing. When we haven’t had a fireplace or mantle, we’ve hung them from the tree if it would handle it, from a window, or just laid them beside the tree.

And it’s not the only incredibly crass, cheap and cheesy one of these things on the marketplace. Amazingly, just when you thought you had plumbed the depths of awfulness, you come across this:


Cozy Christmas Scene Setter — brought to you by “Party America.” Even Wayne and Garth would not say “Party on” if confronted with this:

The Cozy Christmas Scene Setter features warm, holiday images of a fireplace with a burning log, stockings hanging, candles on the mantlepiece, and a wreath above. It measures 33 1/2″ wide x 65″ tall, and can be used alone or with a scene setter roll (try the “Deck the Walls” Room Roll for example).

If they’d go back to bed in tears with the other one, they’d probably run away from home if we tried to put this thing over on them.

Not quite as bad:


Fireplace DVD: Real Wood Burning Fire (Anamorphic – FullScreen Edition)

If you must have something on the TV during the holidays—other than White Christmas, Bishop’s Wife, Grinch, etc., with the kids in the evening—then you could do a lot worse than this.

Fireplaces are nice, although there are the carbon footprint and air pollution issues to consider.  But nicer… a genuine, heartfelt Christmas where what matters are the traditions and experiences created out of love and togetherness, not matching some impossible, middle class ideal from a hundred years ago—or really from books and movies and television.

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

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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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