NOTE: No photo this week. The downloads and links aren’t working but I wrote this so I’m posting it.
I have always felt a kinship with Sylvia, “the easily irritated woman,” a character invented by Nicole Hollander. I think of her whenever a voice gets my attention. Some voices are so captivating I could listen to them forever. A good example of this is the Audible narrator of The Rules of Civility by Amor Towles. It is an excellent book and I was sorry to to come to tis conclusion because I so enjoyed the voice of its narrator, Rebecca Lowman. On the other extreme there are the voices of TV’s talking heads. It’s the nasal, tinny ones that grate.
Television commercial voices are notable because the distinctive ones are part of the product’s promotion. According to an admittedly small sample (my friends), everyone recognizes the voice of the manly underwear guy of Dry in the Fly Pants. The ads are parody of manliness (“Get a Pair”) pushing the propriety envelope but also downright funny. There’s no confusion about the ad’s target demographic. Then there are the irritating ads directed towards women. I was listening to but not watching television one day and heard a slow, sexy voice intoning “Anticipating…Feeling…Touching….” That got my attention! It was a car ad, of all things. I thought for sure it must at least be a lingerie ad. It’s hard to imagine getting that excited about an automobile, even a Jaguar. The last television commercial I find irritating is one featuring Jennifer Aniston selling eye drops. It’s hilariously earnest. Close up and looking right at us, Jennifer explains that her friends know her “so well” but (and here she really pours it on, managing to look surprised at her clueless friends) “what they don’t know is that I have dry eyes! Some friends they are!!!
I feel much better now that I’ve gotten this off my chest.
Reactions to last week’s blog, “Dread Full,” were more numerous and different than I expected. I got e-mails, phone calls and ran into friends on the street who wanted to tell me that shared the feeling. Who knew? Apparently there are a lot of us out there functioning happily in events they dreaded beforehand.