Cheerios TV Ad: Pacifying and Deluding a Degraded Populace

There’s a new TV ad for Cheerios that I find particularly appalling:

We see a dark house, and inside a very American-looking family.  Early in the morning, Mom is mixing something in the kitchen, her young son is at the breakfast table. Dad comes in, wearing the typical hooded sweatshirt “working man” garb. Poignant music plays. Dad’s exhausted. He’s working the graveyard shift, and it’s tragic that he has to work so hard, to be away from his young family so much.  But it’s just for a “a few more weeks”, he says.  Boy looks on as Mom and Dad have serious adult conversation.

Cut to that night; 11pm reads the clock by the boy’s bed. He gets up out of bed in the dark and heads down to the kitchen where he grabs a box of Cheerios and a jug of skim milk from the fridge. Dad comes out, sees the boy, and whispers “Max! What are you doing up; it’s late!”.  The boy looks up forlornly: “I just wanted to have breakfast with you”.

Ah yes, the heartache of a boy who doesn’t get to spend any time with his father: this is what we’re using to sell you cereal. It’s the new American Way: hardship.  Life is mean, grueling, a constant uphill struggle.  Nothing is more American than a man working the graveyard shift of a manual labor job, and barely being able to support his family. After all, more and more Americans are teetering on the brink of poverty.  Let’s paint a new American dream: a dark house, no time for family, tough jobs that destroy your body, and just barely making it.

Perhaps the poor saps who are actually living this, in watching this ad, will identify their own suffering and see it as something noble.  They’ll see perfectly constructed, half-way beautiful characters such as these and aspire to nothing more.  They’ll accept their plight as “the way it is”, as something glamorous.  Blue jeans and a hooded sweatshirt and a box of cereal—these are true Americans, and therefore, my own mean hard life that lacks in freedom and joy, that is built on compromise and self-sacrifice, is righteous and patriotic.  How could one ask for more?  How could one desire or believe themselves deserving of abundance and freedom and joy?  This is how life is, and expecting more is the delusion of the entitled, of those unwilling to do the hard work that built this country.

Is this what we’ve come to as a society?  As a nation?  Glorified poverty?  Is this really what our corporations are busy doing?  Encouraging the acceptance of less?  Of a mean, meager, miserable existence?  Whatever happened to dreaming big? Since when is it OK for fathers to work all day under awful conditions and for their sons to never see them?  Haven’t we advanced beyond the feudal system?  Do we not aspire to be more than serfs?

I’m frightened by this slick advertisement, product of a multi-billion dollar operation, carefully constructed and analyzed, with just the right music and just the right amount of scruff on Dad’s face, with the house that’s neither too nice nor too run-down.  The aim is truly insidious: to pacify a populace that is being systematically degraded by feeding them images of their own despair cast in a light of nobility and patriotism.

If corporations can complete such an illusion and firmly plant it in the psyche of the poor, the enslaved will actually cling to their poverty and their misery as a sign of their virtue, their selflessness, and their patriotism.  What’s worse, they will defend their plight and the very system by which they are enslaved.

But it’s just an advertisement, right?  After all, Cheerios needs to stay ahead in the fight for food-stamp moneys.

January 2015 Desktop Calendar Background

Hello friends and Happy 2015!!!!! January feels like a big wide-open clean space for newness, and I hope this wallpaper reflects that:

January 2015 Desktop Calendar Background Wallpaper by Gabriel Roberts

This is a shot of hills in Western Colorado—on a back road between Paonia and Montrose. I spent a while relocating the “January” text until the word “January” looked so very weird and I actually re-checked the spelling. It is a fairly strange word.

Click one of the following links to download the background for your computer’s desktop: 2880×1800, 2560×1600, 1920×1200, 1680×1050, 1440×900, 1280×800

This year I’m dedicating myself to pursuing and manifesting my dreams. Now feels like the time to really go for it, to bring back ambition and to steer clear of any “ho-hum” settling or ideas of just getting by. I found this quote inspiring:

“May you turn your wishes for the upcoming twelve months into intentions. May you feel the joy of what the fulfillment of those intentions will bring. May you maintain your focus until those visions become your reality. And finally, may you take from that the lesson of how very powerful you truly are.” (source)

Thanks for being a part of my 2014.  May 2015 be the very best year of your life.


Grandpa’s Cheese Barn: Painting Pictures Ep. 25

A solo hodgepodge techno-rant, fireside from Paonia, CO. Various life updates, man vs. computer, overly suggestive texting, and the construction worker’s blues. Meanwhile, a spicy soup is cooked.

Click here to download and subscribe to Painting Pictures via iTunes:

Here’s a permalink to the episode:

Yeah Girl with Brodie Kinder: Painting Pictures Ep. 24

A Thanksgiving Day backyard apple-peeling conversation with the lovely and talented Brodie Kinder. My plight as a cripple, Turkey Day plans, the birth of the hashtag, willpower and universal novelty are discussed.

Click here to download and subscribe via iTunes:

Here’s a permalink to the episode:

More about Brodie at

December 2014 Desktop Calendar Background

Oh boy oh boy oh boy is it Christmas yet?!? Nope, but it is December! Bienvenuti! I hope you like the snow and the bare trees and the cold wind. Here’s a fresh image to plaster across the back of your computer’s imaginary desktop space:

This my street! That my car Suzy parked behind the green “December” sign. It’s a pretty great parking spot because the December sign partially shields Suzy from the main road, and also I can lean things against it when I’m loading up the car.

Winter looks beautiful around here. Very crisp light blues and browns and reds. I’m surviving well enough but need to get out and wield a chainsaw for a few hours this week to build up my cache of wood for burning inside the wood stove. Boy does that fire make warm. And a warm Gabriel is a happy Gabriel. Cold Gabe not so happy. Rather tense, worries allot, wiggles his toes excessively and sits hunched over wrapped in blankets wishing it were warmer.

Alright, I’ll let you go. Click one of the following links to get the background: 2880×1800, 2560×1600, 1920×1200, 1680×1050, 1440×900, 1280×800

I hope you have a wonderful month, that you get to spend quality time with family and read lots of books.