Friday, October 10, 2008

Clockwork Orange

Or yellow fill in a lower grade paint. Take your pick. As part of their World Cup promotion Severe is knocking off one of the classic poster images of "Alex" from the Stanley Kubrick film adaptation of Anthony Burgess's accidentally prophetic take on the results of therapeutic society in 'A Clockwork Orange.' Purposeless gangs of youth perpetrate random acts of extreme violence to repel boredom for their own atavistic amusement. Just what paintball needs more of--the glorification of meaningless violence. Pure freaking genius.

Disclaimer: I'm using Severe here as it's current as today's mass email promotion and because the symbology might as well be a two-by-four upside the head. They aren't alone. As a product it's perfectly good paint. That's not the issue.

Paintball is rife with little Alex DeFarges (the Malcolm McDowell character pictured in the promotion) and everybody these days wrings their hands and bemoans the destructive (usually adolescent) behavior permeating tournament paintball. (And slowly leaking into every facet of paintball.) Newsflash, kids! If you'd like to pass out some blame start by looking in the mirror. Your marketing and promotion encourages anti-social and borderline violent behavior and y'all have been doing it for years. You know, the whole reaping and sowing thing?
I know, I know, you're self-righteously not having any. Dishing out culpability to PBI(ndustry) because of the outlaw rebel fantasy marketing seems over the top. You aren't responsible, you say. It's like saying video games make kids violent in real life. Maybe so. And if everyone was more or less well-adjusted a bit of bad boy fantasy would probably be harmless. But PBI isn't operating in a cultural or social vacuum. At worst what's happened is that a grown-up fantasy (that grown-ups don't take seriously) has served to feed a pre-existing beast and at best has done absolutely nothing to discourage the worst instincts of a lot of little pukes.

Beyond the facts on the ground it's also demonstrative of a couple of other PBI failings; namely rampant self-destructive me-too-ism. Ever wonder why nearly every marketing scheme is a variation on the same themes? Or why every year's new line of hip, cool, trendy T-shirts look just like everybody else? Cus it's paintball's predictable ripoff of other extreme sports gimmicks. It's fear and lack of creativity. And while everybody talks a good game and PBI is suddenly interested in actually promoting the game what is it outsiders see? Is the bigger problem ungrateful smack-talkin' bonusballing mouthbreathers or an industry-wide campaign in recent years to promote a gun related activity by aggrandizing angry, anti-social outlaw narcissism.

All that from one e-advert. Damn, I'm good. Alienated yet?


Brazilian Guy said...

Punks here use markers to shoot shemales on the street late night. When u tell someone you got some PB gear thats the first thing people ask u, some of them even want you to do it, "Will u shoot them" ?

Talking about pure sport, let me see if i got you, you´re talking the publicity showing us ultimate heartless cold badass pro-players as goal to achieve?

If you are, I think its cool, look at rugby for instance. The All-Black´s are really amazing.

Then more competitive you get, more aggressiveness you show. And usually the xtreme sports take it to another level.

original-anonymous said...

Not everybody is guilty. In my opinion the paradigm is this. Those who have the money don't have to do it (IE gardners, youngblood, ect.) Those who want the money are. Its just a matter of having the money to give the kids what they want, or having the money to show the kids what they wont.

Good writeup. Best one in a while...

Baca Loco said...

The tendency has been to blame outta control kids for most of paintball's ills and I'm suggesting that large portions of the industry encourage those attitudes with their marketing.

Glad you approve. :-) I'll see if I can pick it up. But there's still one more piece to do on PBI.

Anonymous said...

Clockwork Orange? Pretty appropriate.
I'm in paintball for 15 years from woodsball to Big Leagues and can say for sure - tournament paintball grows bullterriers. You don't have to think, you have to move fast and shoot.
Some can overcome this, some can't.