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The latest Target ads show a woman (comedian Maria Bamford, whom I will refer to simply as ‘the crazy Target lady’, as I’ve seen her called in some comments on YouTube) ‘gearing up’ for the approaching Black Friday sales. There are several commercials portraying ‘the crazy Target lady’, most often dressed in red and exhibiting physical strength which she’ll no doubt need to trample on other people while running maniacally through the aisles of Target, maybe for an XBOX Kinect™ for her husband, a Fisher Price Imaginext Bigfoot the Monster™ for her son, or maybe Disney Princess and Me Dolls™ for her daughter. These commercials seem ‘cute’ and ‘funny’, but the subtext is clear: We, the consumers, are insane—and that’s what corporate America is counting on.

Here we see ‘the crazy Target lady’ marking off days on the calendar in red marker, dressed in a red jumpsuit doing sit-ups on the Target ball outside Target, weightlifting a Target basket full of items, and timing her gift-wrapping speed. We see her screaming maniacally at Target’s 2-Day Sale ad while searching for other things she ‘has to’ buy. We see her racing maniacally through the aisles of Target, then back home looking at herself in the mirror saying “You will win this.” She’s telling herself “Faster” while gift-wrapping, marking days off, doing sit-ups, beating her previous gift-wrapping time with a stopwatch, now weightlifting two Target baskets full of items, back home circling “4am” on the calendar, and again running maniacally through the aisles of Target attached to one of those parachutes dragsters deploy to slow down after crossing the finish line (not sure why she’d want to increase drag if she’s seeking speed). The music we hear is the training soundtrack from Rocky IV written by Vince DiCola (he also did the music for Transformers: The Movie, 1985). ‘The crazy Target lady’ is ‘gearing up’.

Here we see ‘the crazy Target lady’ well-dressed (in red), jittery, sleep-deprived, frosting a cake in the shape of a Target superstore, obliviously spooging frosting from a caulk-gun-looking thing onto the kitchen floor. Several blenders are going in the background. She lives in what appears to be a nice-sized house, which she has no doubt decorated alone because her husband is too lazy and her kids are shitheads. She’s reciting things that will be on sale. This representation doesn’t seem to affirm or promote any socio-political progress women have made over the last 50-60 years. All ‘the crazy Target lady’ thinks about is shopping, baking, decorating the house with ‘pretty’ things, and she’s willing to violate her circadian rhythm’s need for a good night’s sleep to prepare for the continuation of this lifestyle. She will have to clean up the spooged frosting.

Here we see ‘the crazy Target lady’ lying on her couch, surprisingly not dressed and ready to fly out the door when all those alarm clocks sound—she’s just, in her pajamas, and they’re not even red. At first it seems like she may be a terrorist mentally preparing herself to suicide-bomb Target, but then we remember the commercial above: She’s probably so sleep-deprived, she’ll need the cacophony of all those alarm clocks going off at once to actually wake her up. She’s singing to herself, seems like she’s hoping to stay awake and has strapped the clocks to herself ‘in case’ she falls asleep (echoing A Nightmare on Elm Street).

Here ‘the crazy Target lady’ is telling us a joke we’re maybe too stupid to figure out, so she urges us to watch the commercial again because “sometimes it takes a second to get it.” The joke, unlike our inability to delay gratification in our race to buy everything we want (or, more accurately, what’s made available to us, what we’re trained by corporations to want), takes time. The logic, then, is we’re too dumb to get the joke and certainly not smart enough to realize the joke is on us.

Here ‘the crazy Target lady’, again dressed in the red jumpsuit, is hauling two Target shopping carts loaded with cinderblocks uphill. She is again ‘gearing up’ to purchase as much shit as possible, working her legs out, strengthening them for a shopping spree which will no doubt involve maniacally shoving past people who happen to be in her way because, as she says, “that’s how you win Christmas.” Win Christmas. I’m assuming she’s Christian (as many people like to claim America is ‘a Christian nation’), so the idea that her [l]ord and [s]avior’s celebrated birthday is a competition between her and other impressionable bottom-of-the-rung capitalists existing in opposition to their own self-interests (which is actually anti-capitalist) is delightful.

(Speaking of rungs, we learn in a Target commercial that was removed from YouTube yesterday that ‘the crazy Target lady’ is perfect and we are not. She is gesturing wildly as if using sign language, as if we’re deaf to her superiority. She then climbs a ladder, further proving her dominance, and taunts us. This ladder seems to symbolize the economic ladder which most of us watching the commercial will never successfully ascend. She mockingly states that Black Friday [here metonymically representing our lives as stuck in a cycle of earning only enough money to replenish corporate profits—as the money corporations spend producing these shitty ‘goods’ is so miniscule compared to the amounts they charge for them—, and therefore ultimately lacking in socio-economic upward mobility] is not a competition, as she condescendingly giggles at us, we who are unable to follow her up the ladder from the prison of our fourth wall, hence ‘beat’ her to the front of line [surpass her in socio-economic status].)

Here we see ‘the crazy Target lady’ standing outside Target’s automatic doors, the very first person in line, a long line of other shoppers slithering out into the predawn darkness. She’s staring manically through the glass and into the store, waiting for someone to unlock the door so she can run maniacally into Target for two Target shopping carts full of ‘goods’. (Surprisingly, the shoppers behind her seem ‘normal’, in that they aren’t staring maniacally through the glass—in that they, unlike ‘the crazy Target lady’, apparently have other people to talk to.) Her facial expression here never changes, just remains frozen in the sub-zero meat locker of her excitement. The guy speaking at the end of the commercial urges us to “get there first,” just like ‘the crazy Target lady’ has. It’s a race. It’s how you “win Christmas.”

Finally, here we see Target’s marketing strategy for ‘the crazy Target lady’ (Maria Bamford, who apparently played ‘the crazy Target lady’s sister, too, both of whom are meant to be ‘polar’ oppositesthe maniacal overachiever and the frustrated failure—creating a false dichotomy, which Americans love because it’s much easier to categorize things as binaries rather than ambiguous or inconclusive because Americans [all humans, really] can’t handle uncertainty). It’s kind of endearing, almost admirable the way Target comes clean and admits it’s been using such gimmicks to trick us into buying more shit.

I’m familiar with some of Maria Bamford’s work. She’s done voices for the animated shows Home Movies (Cartoon Network) and WordGirl (PBS), even did a guest spot on Mystery Science Theater 3000 (Comedy Central/SciFi).I think she’s funny, but I was at best disappointed in her role in these commercials. These commercials are not funny—they appeal to and reinforce the worst aspects of our consumer culture. They promote insane kinds of behavior, a dangerous competitive mentality which only serves to further divide people and indoctrinate them with an inflated sense of entitlement under the guise of economic necessity, and because of this people get hurt—even killed.*

‘The crazy Target lady’ is insane, and this is how Target and Wal*Mart and every other superstore we’ll shop at this holiday season views us—mindless consumers willing to harm ourselves and others for a chance to save miniscule amounts of money on things we don’t need to survive. Target and Wal*Mart and every other superstore think the American people are insane, so this is how they portray us in their commercials. And this is in no small part due to the fact that their commercials have pumped this idea into our brains for so many years that this is exactly how we behave. We are insane.

The modern human survival instinct, the need for a parent to protect its offspring, has, out of lack of any real threat to its existence, mutated into the desire to prove/exhibit superiority in socio-economic status and consumer efficiency. Who decides what the most popular anything is, or what factors determine a product’s popularity, seems ominous. Is the consumer the determining factor, or are the corporations pumping our heads full of commercials which promote false realities featuring insane characters who ‘represent’ us (who are, therefore, more relatable?) the reason we flock like lemmings to the precipice of Target’s or Wal*Mart’s or any other superstore’s automatic doorways?

Watching the news, when an anchor reports that a certain subject or issue is being talked about, it’s only because other anchors in the media are talking about it, too. It’s part of the networks’ script, and they must stick to the script: Keep the consumer aware only of what corporations who own the news companies deem necessary and accurate information. After all, Christmas is right around the corner. If they can’t scare us into buying things, they’ll pander to our immature sense of humor. As our ids balloon, fueled by the promotional helium of their ads this holiday season, I imagine them floating up into the cold air. They have targets painted on them in white. I just want one dart.

*This incident occurred at Wal*Mart 2 years ago.

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Eric Beeny ERIC BEENY is the author of The Dying Bloom (Pangur Ban Party, 2009), Snowing Fireflies (Folded Word Press, 2010), Of Creatures (Gold Wake Press, 2011), Pseudo-Masochism (Medulla Publishing, 2011), Milk Like a Melted Ghost (Thumbscrews Press, 2011), and some other things. His writing has appeared in many journals, both in print and online. He blogs at Dead End on Progressive Ave.

43 Responses to “‘The Crazy Target Lady’, or Why You Might Get Trampled to Death This Holiday Season…”

  1. Beanyman,

    Yep. If you travel to different countries it becomes evident how people see Americans if all they see is our television. Loud, crazy party animals. Some of us are those but what’s made very clear in this piece is to remember: we don’t have to be what they say. Buck it. Thanks for this.

  2. “Win Christmas,” that’s unbelievable. The thing about these ads is how deeply tragic they are. At the same time, I actually found Maria Bamford to be naturally funny, her running with the parachute or the hand motions before she gets on the ladder made me laugh when divorced from the context. So then these spots are just incredibly dark comedy, that satirize a phenomenon while encouraging it, ending on the tragedy when the Target logo appears.

    “The modern human survival instinct, the need for a parent to protect its offspring, has, out of lack of any real threat to its existence, mutated into the desire to prove/exhibit superiority in socio-economic status and consumer efficiency.” Very well put. Also, your last line about wanting just one dart. Thanks for throwing it here.

    • Eric Beeny says:

      Thanks for your comment, Nathaniel. I agree, divorced from context, Maria Bamford is funny. I can’t help but think, though, that it’s at our expense. I would only think of these commercials as ‘dark comedy’ if they weren’t trying to sell us things. (If these are dark comedy, they’re more sinister than I initially thought.) If these were skits on SNL, actual parodies of a cultural phenomenon, or something, then I could see the humor. (Not that SNL isn’t sponsored by corporations who [I use ‘who’ because corporations are now legally considered ‘persons’] want to sell us things and are using humor to trick us into doing so during commercial breaks.) But these are not divorced of context—they exist precisely as they’ve been designed to exist. I appreciate your thoughts here. Thanks again, Nathaniel…

  3. Becky Palapala says:

    To be fair, I knew plenty of women who were like this well before the crazy Target lady invasion.

    Because of course, if there weren’t women and people who understood this, who behaved like this (even if not so hyperbolically), these commercials would make sense to no one and there would be no real reason to run them. Most people who aren’t to some degree like this already will not be particularly influenced by it. They’ll find it as obnoxious as you and I do.

    So you know. It’s that old question. Does art imitate life or vice versa?

    It’s an advertisement, but isn’t it also satire?

    Isn’t it better to hold people rather than superorganic entities (“TV,” “corporations,” “media violence,” “society,”) responsible for what people do?

    I mean, I guess what I’m saying, if I stop trying to mince words, is that there is something condescending about the assumption that people can’t resist mimicking what they see on TV without concerted effort. It seems like an ostensibly well-meaning way to berate by proxy.

    Like, unable to bring themselves to say, “Black Friday Shoppers, you disgust me.” People barter with it like they’d barter with a small child who is misbehaving. “Black Friday Shoppers, I am not disgusted by you, I am disgusted by the commercials & commercialism that make you do this.”

    The former is, to a lot of people, unacceptable, but doesn’t the latter carry with it the implicit message, “Please resist being the mindless sheep I believe you to be by default and that I am not?”

    • dwoz says:

      I think, Becky, that you misunderestimate the actual influence that “superorganic entities” have. Ostensibly, you’re a no-nonsense self-actualized kind of gal, (as I see myself as well, except the ‘gal’ part) and you assume that you’re the norm.

      While some altruistic particle buried deep inside me would like to agree with you, I take as my witness that after hundreds of years of doing the advertising experiment, “they” are still spending breathtaking amounts of money on it. As much as I like to believe that I am my own man and that I’m immune to that kind of influence, I note that my entire society is built on the structure that you’re dismissive of. Avoiding it is like avoiding the triple covalent bond between nitrogen atoms. It’s part of the very fabric.

      Thinking you’re immune to it is simply being willful about closing your eyes to it.

    • Eric Beeny says:

      Thanks for your comment, Becky. That’s my point: People like this exist, and have existed before ‘the crazy Target lady’ came along. But it’s because of advertising hype, and these commercials are amplifying that hype and, as you say, hyperbolizing and mocking our reaction to it via ‘the crazy Target lady’ character. And this character is mocking us. Yes, it is advertising, but certainly not satire. As I responded to Nathaniel, the intention of these commercials is to sell us things by mocking us, which is not in good humor but sinister.

      And yes, I am being condescending about people’s ability to not mimic what they see on television or any other media. I don’t have any faith in people, as a whole. And by ‘a whole’, I mean that individuals are a part of that whole and are extremely (and individually) susceptible to pressures—even obligations—to conform to that whole, to what the rest of society is doing.

      You raise the issue of misbehaving children: I don’t think adults are any different from children, except in that they have ‘somewhat’ more developed superegos. Children mimic what they see on television or in preteen-teen magazines, and they try to emulate that lifestyle/behavior/attitude/etc. Adults are just big children who receive suggestions (most often subconsciously) in the same manner, big children need their decisions made for them. As Carlin said, we only have ‘the illusion’ of choice. We only have false choices between the realities made available to us. Even on a psychological level, all human behavior is not the result of free will but is the expression of various unresolved issues.

      I remember some of your comments from my last essay, and I think you’re under the impression that I’m failing to implicate or include myself in this. I am, and I do. I go to stores, I buy things. The only time I say ‘I’ in this essay is at the end. The rest of the time, I use ‘us’. I agree, there’s no way around my existence within the culture precluding my critique of it. This is the thesis of a wonderful essay by Audre Lorde called “The Master’s Tolls Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House.” I’m still coming to terms with this paradox, but find it fun, nonetheless, to examine the culture in which I, for the most part, had no choice being raised in.

      • Becky Palapala says:

        Well, I think one way we implicate ourselves is by being willing to laugh at ourselves. If we don’t like what is reflected back in the mirror, we don’t blame the mirror.

        Of course it’s advertising, and meant to sell us things, but it is satirical. It lays bare and mocks, indeed, a societal norm/phenomenon, and I don’t think we can argue that it isn’t self-consciously hyperbolic or that it “thinks” we don’t know it is hyperbolic & mocking. Indeed, the commercials are intended to ingratiate the store to us, but it does so by appealing to our senses of humor and by making fun of a particular stereotype that most of us will openly mock in similar fashion to one another and in casual conversation.

        This is a reflection of us. Not something that is done to us.

        And I appreciate your willingness to admit your condescension and lack of trust in humanity. Not a lot of people have the nuts to do that. I, too, by and large don’t trust people to think, let alone think clearly, but I tend to blame the problem on increasing tolerance of blameshifting.

        The precedent I don’t like is this: When you say that people are not competent to think and act in a rational way, the implication is that they need someone to think for them, control their behavior for them.

        Which begs the question, “Okay, who?”

        And whoever it is, what makes him/her/it better or more virtuous than Target?

      • Becky Palapala says:

        This is really neither here nor there, but I should point out, too, that Target is highly philanthropic. They’re a MN-based company, and since I work in philanthropy, I just happen to know how much they give away.

        Make no mistake, they’re earning plenty of money. But as far as corporations go, along with Coca Cola, there are worse, more sinister places to be duped into spending your money.

  4. dwoz says:

    Early reports on so-called “Black Friday” here in the northeast, is that it’s “crickets”. roads are quiet, parking lots are relatively empty. We’re pretty much tapped out.

  5. Becky Palapala says:

    I don’t assume that I’m the norm.

    But then I can’t rightly say I think I’m an exception, either, without drawing flak, even by my own assertions above.

    Thinking you’re immune to it is simply being willful about closing your eyes to it.

    I don’t really care about your declarative assertions with regard to the nature of my rational process, dwoz. In terms of debate, the statement above is useless, primarily intended to incite. I assure you, I have taken everything you mention into consideration long ago, and I’ll ask you not to call me a willful ignoramus again.

    It IS indeed part of the fabric of our society. And knowing that, which I think most people do, to some degree or another, we are perfectly well-armed enough to make our own decisions with regard to what to do about it.

    Like it or not, people choose to do what they do, whether to cave to influence or not, etc. And maybe, just maybe, people, fully aware of the influence and the nature of the situation still just go shopping. They have chosen to do so, not because crazy target lady made them or because they are consumerist idiot zombies, but because they want to pay less money for items they were going to buy anyway. That is a rational, thinking decision, not a mindless one.

    • dwoz says:

      my point is that it’s impossible to assemble a truly objective view of a system from within it. Please read “you” and “you’re” as being in the general, rather than in the specific of “you personally.”

      I don’t personally think I have even the most remote opportunity to obtain an objective notion about what’s going on around me, not because I’m incompetent, ignorant, or imbecilic, but because it’s impossible.

      Perhaps one can come to some kind of opinion on one’s personal relative orientation to consumerism, and whether one is personally lock-step or oblique in relation to it. But well-armed? I don’t know. Maybe. Perhaps one’s aim is as good as one’s arsenal. Of course, when one is throwing hand grenades, accurate aim is famously irrelevant.

      • Becky Palapala says:

        Maybe impossible, maybe not.

        Maybe more possible for some than others.

        Then again, if you believe what you’re saying, the very assertion (this is why it is odd that you’re so assured of it) stems from your position within the system. Certainly, if we can’t be objective, then there is no reason that you should be sure you’re more correct than me. Or that you should know, objectively, about the possibility/impossibility of being correct about the nature of the system. So you’re kind of chomping at your own tail. From that position it’s just as easy to argue that people are so used to being told that they can’t understand it, that they are powerless against the superorganic juggernauts, victims of the system, and that they lack agency within it, that, regardless of the truth of such assertions, they play that role. That argument reveals a paradox, the only solution to which is to declare that we have some amount of objectivity. I don’t think I’m the norm in the sense that everyone arrives at the same conclusion as me. But I think I’m the norm in the sense that people weigh their options and evidence like me and simply arrive at different conclusions.

        But, impossible or not, we’re not absolved of the obligation to try to understand it. And to try to do so objectively, even if we arrive at different conclusions. I, for one, am not willing to throw my hands up and go, “well, it’s just the man!” Because of course, there will always be a man. The Man never goes away. Ever. There is never NOT “The Man.” So once we accept that the man simply IS, we have to turn our attention to what we do have control over. Ourselves.

        My assertion is that our behavior is a larger determiner of The Man’s behavior than we would be encouraged to think, and potentially more so than the The Man is a determiner of our behavior.

        • dwoz says:

          The fact that it’s impossible to be objective doesn’t preclude being correct. It’s just that our certainty in a position has to be taken with a grain of salt.

          I also don’t think that “the Man” has a master plan to subjugate us little folk, or even that “the Man” spends any time at all considering the notion or being interested in it. It just sort of works out that way.

        • Becky Palapala says:

          Certainty is to be taken with a grain of salt.

          So, what I said.

          I see.

  6. Eric Beeny says:

    Thanks for your comments, Becky and dwoz. I hope this post hasn’t come at the expense of peaceful discussion between you. Just remember your Beatles: We can work it out…

    Just to add a little evidence to my essay, here’s what happened this morning at the North Buffalo Target near me:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pyq7kWxmHes

    • Becky Palapala says:

      Oh man. No worries, Eric. Our mutual distrust long-preceded this post. The cause of it is something both of us would surely give different answers for. Never feel responsible for that. Just let us know if it’s bothering you. I assure you we’re quite used to it and when we can no longer stand each other, we’ll just stop talking about it.

      • Eric Beeny says:

        Thanks, Becky. I feel a little better knowing that. It doesn’t bother me to incite discussion, but it can get out of hand sometimes. I’m happy you both seem comfortable with each other, enough so that you’re both willing to be honest. Thanks again for your comments…

      • dwoz says:

        Oh, it’s quite simple really. We’re both the type that can’t just walk by a wasp nest. We have this unquenchable urge to poke it with a stick.

  7. David says:

    While I agree with some of your points, I think they are way to generalize to actually apply to the population as a whole. While thousands of people do participate in ‘black Friday’ and other such events, many thousands do not, including myself. Personally, I believe that the type ‘A’ shoppers and the ‘keeping up with the Jones’ types just stand out more, and people then tend to make generalizations about large groups of people that don’t belong to the same demographics.

    Personally, the only shopping we did yesterday was for food and we needed a new waffle iron, which we didn’t get, because they were out of the ‘door buster’ special waffle iron. That happens when you don’t make it to the store until 8 PM on black Friday. I guess I will have to spend more on my new waffle iron or just go find one at Goodwill – I am sure the Jones’ will be getting rid of a perfect good one soon.

  8. Eric Beeny says:

    Thanks for your comment, David. If I am generalizing it’s because that’s what advertisers do: They gear certain products toward certain key demographics, yes, but as a whole they gear things toward the general public, which is where they will earn the greatest profit.

    I don’t discuss people who aren’t affected/effected by commercials like this because they aren’t the point: The point is that these commercials still exist to lure people who are susceptible to this kind of influence, which is a very large portion of the population.

    And as Americans, regardless of demographics, we are all raised to believe in certain absolutes, such as the idea that Capitalism is good. Capitalism leads to this type of media, promotes this kind of behavior, which is merely another version of corporate greed.

    If each of the people running maniacally through Target or any other superstore were billionaire corporate tycoons, they’d be off in the third world somewhere exploiting people who aren’t fortunate enough to have protection under labor laws.

    Humans, in general, are greedy and horrible, and commercials like this only serve to bolster this attitude, this kind of dangerous behavior.

    Above I mentioned that adults are just big children: This is why we fight wars. Wars are just temper tantrums thrown by big children who have bigger toys to play with, and when another child comes along to play with that toy we kill them.

    Capitalism is a good justification for big children who can’t behave themselves: It says we can do whatever the free market deems profitable, that we can go take someone else’s toy, regardless of what that say about it.

    I like waffles. I hope your iron works out. Thanks again for your comment…

    • dwoz says:

      I don’t think its necessarily the fault of capitalism, as much as the fault of unbridled greed and stupidity.

      Stupidity is a weed that will grow anywhere, thrive under any conditions.

      Intelligence, by contrast, is like an orchid that requires heroic intervention to thrive in any other than it’s ideal conditions.

      The empirical evidence for this simple obnoxiously declarative assumption is overwhelming.

  9. Eric Beeny says:

    Thanks for your comments, dwoz. I think Capitalism is at fault, yet not fully to blame. Humans are greedy by nature, as they’re just animals only concerned with self-preservation, and modern humans (or, at least those indigenous to Western Civilization) have no real survival threat so this has mutated into a reckless desire for an abstract/ideological dominance over others in the form of education and wealth which, rather than following through with this Hegelian absolute, has ricocheted back to become a warped version of Marxist materiality (though Marx predicted the people would have ownership over the means of production in a real concrete, material sense after revolting against Capitalism’s inequalities which are perpetrated/perpetuated by the ownership class, those who rule over Western Civilization, which has obviously not happened).

    Capitalism is a form of natural selection, survival of the fittest. It’s a form of evolution, as everything is, but it comes at the cost of others who also wish to survive and do not have the means to do so. Therefore, it promotes the rational instinct of self-preservation through the irrational belief of entitlement, detaching itself from responsibility to amend its own flaws. Capitalism promotes division and ambivalence to the conditions of others. Since this is a perfectly natural human characteristic, you’re right that Capitalism is not fully to blame. It is maybe more accurate to say that humans are the real problem.

    • dwoz says:

      well…Hegel, Hobbes, Marx, and Smith really didn’t understand it all either. If any one of them did, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation.

      You can only ever reasonably apply this stuff at a very macro level. Once you start talking about individuals, all bets are off. Even at the macro level, you’re STILL dealing with a huge bundle of divergent variables that only ever manage to display vaguely correlative behavior in the aggregate, NOT causative.

      Unfortunately, Becky is likely to swoop in here and point out that you’ve argued yourself 180 degrees away from your premise, and therefore are pissing directly into the wind. She wouldn’t be entirely unjustified in that, though we could always imagine that your original premise was simply an arbitrary stake in the sand for the sake of starting the conversation SOMEWHERE.

      • Eric Beeny says:

        From your perspective, and many others, no they didn’t understand everything. You can say that about anyone. No one knows anything, let alone everything.

        I somewhat agree that this is a macrocosmic issue and that, on an individual basis, the parameters are drastically altered. But this comes down to the issue of choice: the individual who has the illusion of choice (which is all we have: the illusion of choice between false dichotomies, or between Dawn or Cascade [to echo the philosophical problem of 'who does the dishes']) does not have a choice at all, as we are all acculturated into the ideologies of our progenitors. The individual, according to Althusser, is then constantly interpollated, or hailed, to participate in their culture, which the individual does without consciously acknowledging their own participation.

        The relationship is much like Relativity’s incompatibility with Quantum Mechanics, in that subatomic particles do not behave in the same manner as celestial bodies. It seems we too need a unification theory here.

        I’m not sure why you feel I’ve turned away from my original premise. Could you explain this more?

  10. Zara Potts says:

    ‘Win Christmas.’
    So wrong!

    Great piece. I hate those ridiculous sales and am always amazed at how crazy people get over a silly sale.
    Although, what bothers me more – is how panic stricken people get when shops close. Here in NZ, supermarkets and shops close for two days over Christmas and you would think that they will never open again, judging by the amount of shit people buy to ‘stock up’ while the enforced closure happens. Unbelievable.

  11. Eric Beeny says:

    Thanks for your comment, Zara. Yes, people do freak out and panic in fear that they won’t be able to purchase the ‘necessary items’ to have a ‘merry’ Christmas, to make a loved one ‘happy’. I like your description of people ‘stocking up’, as the Black Friday rush does seem like a natural disaster has occurred and people are stampeding for supplies. It’s sickening, where our priorities lie in the absence of tragedy (and often in its presence, too, unfortunately: the slower, time-lapsed disasters like poverty, disease, urban decay, unemployment, homelessness, etc…).

    I posted this in a comment above, but here’s what happened yesterday at the North Buffalo Target near me:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pyq7kWxmHes&feature=player_embedded

    Thanks again, Zara. I’m happy you liked my essay…

  12. [...] Beeny takes on the crazy Target lady for The Nervous [...]

  13. lisa says:

    these commercials made me hate christmas. and target.

  14. Daniel says:

    These seem to me to be pretty clearly spoofing the idea of “winning christmas”. Very much in the vein of Maria Bamford’s satirical comedy (e.g. one cd is called “How to Win!” with her wearing a beauty pageant sash) I know that many of the spots she had a hand in writing/improvising. Of course it’s still trying to sell you stuff, and the concept of consumerism in general, but definitely tongue in cheek. In the original series of ads, last year, she also portrayed the character’s down to earth sister with the message, you don’t have to be a crazy christmas person to enjoy black friday savings. But I guess that sister wasn’t as much fun to watch.

  15. TheGrinch says:

    I’ve never been one to really “go all out” for Christmas but have know many others that become consumed by it. I saw these commericals more like poking fun at those and I harmless way of bringing people back to the ground. I highly doubt anybody saw these ads and thought, “I wanna be just like her!”

  16. SAA says:

    My boyfriend said he was going to the mall on black Friday and I was like, “Have fun!” I have no goddamn tolerance for malls on normal days, there is no way in hell I’m getting involved in that epic clusterfuck.

  17. Silver Michaels says:

    Oh… my… gawd. What a tightass you are! Lighten up. She’s funny, nothing more, nothing less. Hope you don’t beat your children if you read this…

  18. HoneyMan says:

    I think the Target Lady is just funny (and, of course, over the top).

    Pros:

    >She’s making an honest living and paying her bills.
    >People are encouraged to shop and keep other people in jobs at Target.
    >Helps the economy

    Cons:

    >Brings out people who don’t have a sense of fun
    >Some people may overspend their budget at Target

  19. Crash says:

    The parachute is for speed training. You run with it to create drag and thereby strengthen your endurance and speed. I may be a writer, but I do know a little about physical training.

  20. [...] 1, you should also know that the Crazy Target Lady is the face of your group. Are you proud of yourselves? Is this how we are spending our holidays? [...]

  21. Rishi says:

    Hi Eric,

    Great piece of writing here. I don’t know how I got directed to your page but I am glad I did.
    Firstly forgive my English as its not my first(nor second) language but i try.

    I am currently in Canada, coming all the way from India for studies. I adore most aspect of western society-individualism and the desire to explore/be creative are at the forefront. However since the last one year I cannot help but notice how consumer driven this culture is. It hit me when I worked for Mcdonalds…..I hated working in Mcdonalds and hated the mass produced food they produced. Sometimes I felt like everyone was a machine….eating manufactured food, living manufactured existence.
    This is not to say it doesn’t happen where I come from(in cases even more so) nor am I against the ways of modern society-I think technology is a boon and I own an Ipad 2. It’s just that we have to seek a balance….a balance between the way of nature and the structure of consumerism. Black Friday culture made me feel sad….sad for those “happy campers” who want to upgrade their latest gadgets just because everyone else is doing.

    In the end let me give an example of with one of my favorite movie-Fight Club. Most of us are close to the ways of the narrator and think that the Tyler Durden philosophy is correct. Wrong….nothing is right or wrong…and Durden’s philosophy is maniacal. It is the balance between the two combined with your own perspective based on your opinion of hapiness is what ultimately works. I have no problem with someone owning the latest gadget-by all means go for it….but I feel its retarded that you have to camp outside for three days in the heavy rain for it.

  22. Frankie says:

    Lighten up. This woman’s satire is hilarious. There is no purpose in over analyzing her comedic performance….this woman is flat out funny.

  23. [...] you’ve seen the crazy Target lady commercials, this concept may be a familiar one…there’s no question about it, the [...]

  24. Mom says:

    Where can I buy one of those red jump suits need it for my daughter

  25. Heath says:

    Hurrah! At last I got a webpage from where I know how to in fact obtain helpful data regarding my study and knowledge.

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