Thursday, March 23, 2006

SHELLING SKULLS: more clams per gallon than ever!

Looks like I'm not the only one out here who sees the grim visage of death when drive`n by these pumps. The images here are not mine own, and here I was thinking I might be driving myself skully seeing deathshead down on the street corner. Those who've read my recent posts probly're well aware, thoughts of death abound in my noggin; that is thoughts associated with the merchants of fossil fuels. I mean; just in cursory judgment of those booking around in gas-guzzlers by the cover: the title 'fossil fuels' oughta give one a clue about what it is we're really dealing with here. Fuel made of fossils, that in turn (of phrase) fuel the creation of further fossils by spreading death (because you are what you eat right?). This is no big secret right? 'Phi'--- the Greek's irrational death number of the golden ratio; which defines the downward spiraling arc of most shells, horns, fingernails, fibornaci sequences in the constantly shedding skin of reptiles--- is evident here. Shell oil's name and logo, itself a shell for the holdings of the corporate entity, advertises that fact. "Hey loyal consumer you know your car is powered by the desecrated/'refined' ancestral remains of life extracted from their ancient resting grounds. And look: we know it all to well too? So come on down and get your piping hot death juice by the gallon!" How many shells had to die in order to make the barrel used at your local pump every day? Marvel comics antihero 'the Punisher' makes sure that what goes around comes around. And the karmic wheels, on India's mothergoddess of destruction, Kali's bus go round and round. And once all that remains dries up, and the story unfolds whereby our earthly inheritance is finally squandered: the wealth of untold and unfathomable generations dissolves like so many holdings of Enron stock ; gone in a puff of smoke and mirrors, and exhausted like so many millions upon millions of tons of carbon dioxide. Like: how many of the four horsemen were really driving SUVS? Is the road to hell paved with good intentions driving on the way to &/or fro home or work? Or is hell brought to you by the fine people who brought you paved roads in the first? Are we bound to become just some more roadkill?
Or are they? Are we just on the cusp of an evolutionary shift of gears, where we see these guys as the dinosaurs they burn up? Or by the selfsame law of the jungle, where again: we are what we eat... If we can't kick the monkey off our back, will us talking monkeys be driving towards extinction? ... with all the rest of the natural world riding shotgun in tow in the undertow.

And while I obviously appreciate the prominent sentiment behind this artist's design, I always thought the original design had the skulls proportions more aligned with their logo. Basically I'd make the skull even bigger. Picture if you will projected over where the written word 'Shell' is well placed, your favorite dead and gone grandparents' dentures. If they were in their mouth, then the sockets would be more where the shell curves out. You can picture it probably better than I crudely can, but here goes nothing for you...

The whole head would have its chin held high, as it's set up to look down upon you from above. And in truth, this is the kind of disembodied perspective held by most transnational conglommerates in what has come to be defined as Late Capitol, where buisness interests have been legally extricated from having to keep any connection to their hometown roots: an enterprise's holdings may be traded freely across national borders. Achieving a kind of astral projection and immortality by virtue of their legal status as people extraordinarilly granted corporations, these artificial beings existing only in the mind, composed of interchangeable and replaceable human position, who can not be be held individually accountable for the actions of the group: should one head roll the hydra lives on. We see the archetypal icon of a severed head on a stake rear its ugly head, and sense an almost extra-terrestrial like presence looking down upon us lowly humans from above... as after all this is a sign designed to be lofted high and sell us from miles away.

But in an effort to "really see the skull behind the face", what are we to make of the use of this common business practice of utilizing "faces in places"(c.) at all? It's common place to seek to provide a surrogate for the human connection that Modern horsepower demands exclude. Business is all about fulfilling your clientele's needs... but sometimes its about creating a need you're in a position to fulfill. When you think about War for Oil think about the Opium Wars. Gas pedallers are in cahoots with armed forces (like literally in the case of Exxon-Mobil in Indonesia) driving the market towards them. If former cokehead, recovering alcoholic, and admitted Christian, President W., knows anything it's addiction... especially as he addressed the union: to foreign oil. Here in this biz its perhaps even more an issue than elsewhere, and mayhaps that's why you see such a proliferation of the "faces in places"(c.) tactic.
Is that why bp's pacman and Marathon's M
-man are the cutsiest, they have more to hide, or 'more face to save' as it were? Whereas Citgo's gentle giant nosed one is just generally attractive in truth more. If advertising is an appeal to genetically hard-wired emotional cues, endowed us by way of our reptilian, hind-brained, primitive ancestry; an attempt to use our instincts against our better judgment of the neo-cortical variety... than presenting us with another pretty public face to buy into is strategery intended to mask possibly insidious intentions. These are the same impulses that get our asses moving, mowing with petrol our solitary grass strain sown lawns in the heat of Summer, a yearning for returning to the "pre-historical" past of the Garden of African grasslands habituated by humans' progenitors Homo habilis. Nostalgia can be a bitch, just like life. Must we still go thru the tomb to reenter the Womb? or can we put the brakes to these viscous cycles of addiction?


Blogger Stoph said...

am in san francisco for a spell, and am excited by the facts that: 1- all the corner shell shacks have ground level signage. the verticality demanded of dense urban dwelling places higher market value on signage plastered at lower altitudes than in my hometurf sky country, perhaps?
2- to see stations iterally called U.S. Smog and Gas I think. irked that vacation camera is saying its full but won't let me delete but the 10 shots I've taken since arrival out of the hundreds I found still there when I jakked in @ walgreens. I'm told the smog's such an issue that all cali cars must have their emissions checked. license to kill, but still: it's refreshing to breathe in the open atmosphere here. I could post all day about differences but y'know I'm all about looking for commonality.

Sun May 07, 04:11:00 PM PDT  

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