Best Spots: Visitor’s View




I own a team in a fantasy basketball league, and my team is the Metairie Park Glaze. The other best teams in the Bunton League are the Kentucky Fighting Gravy, the Green Mountain Java, the Hoptown Tigers and the Louisville Breadmen. And by “best,” I don’t necessarily mean these teams always win or score a lot of points. The Hoptown squad, for example, is defensively strong (quite a rarity in fantasy circles) and the Fighting Gravy is currently struggling at 2-4.
Almost everything in life can be broken down into two categories: old school and new school. And with almost no exception, I prefer old school. I would like to think I’m old school. I would enjoy being described that way. “That’s Wall. He’s old school.” But many times, I’m afraid, I catch myself doing something that is definitely new school. We should all strive to be old school.
Reporter: Well, you told us at the draft you would win the NBA slam-dunk contest. And sure enough, here you are, holding the trophy. How do you feel about it?
Isaiah Rider: Well, I just have to love myself for that.
My friend David Helm has a theory. Every animal is either a dog, rat or monkey. For example: A giraffe is a dog, and a shark is a rat and a standard poodle is, I think, a monkey. I am not an expert on this theory, but I do think it holds water.
I like the Hewlett-Packard spot with Buck O’Neil. I really like the Miller Lite spot with the talking bull (above, left). I don’t know why the Nissan spot uses the Peanuts song. I wish it didn’t. That song was ruined for me a long time ago, when I saw some frat guys dancing to it
and they described it as the fraternity’s “theme song.” I like the Checker’s spot that
parodies car ads (above, right). I understand the spot for the Polaroid PolaPulse Light, but I don’t understand the product. Is it an expensive flashlight? I like the pudgy kids talking trash for Sega basketball. They made me laugh. And I like Lena Horne, but the Gap spot sort of frightens me.
When watching this reel, I was struck by what a mammoth industry, in the worst sense of the word, television production has become. I thought about my place in that world, and I didn’t really feel too good about it. I thought about the tonnage of craft service banana chips, gummy bears and white-chocolate-covered Oreos that were consumed on all of these shoots. And I thought about hotel bills and dinners with the client and lights and cranes and soundstages and people talking about trying to make the film look great with really saturated colors. I thought about all the people gathered around all of the monitors on all of the shoots. I thought about rental cars and upgrades and editorial house menu books.
I didn’t figure any of this stuff out. I just thought about it.
But in general, and to sum up, I just think everyone in advertising needs to go out and listen to Gil Scott-Heron’s song “Whitey on the Moon.”