Ham and cheese

Readers respond to a politico-cultural critique of Subway's sandwich ad and to an essay about metrosexual posing.

Published August 2, 2002 7:00PM (EDT)

[Read Greil Marcus' most recent Real Life Rock Top 10 column.]

Greil Marcus has to be the most negative person on the planet. He doesn't seem to like anything. His writing seems to imply that commentary is useless unless it's so arcane in its references that, most of the time, relatively intelligent people are left wondering if they missed something. Please tell Greil that he doesn't have to be the poster boy for the old, weird, America all the time. Perhaps he could provide his readers with a list of the 10 best releases this year that have also appeared on the Billboard charts.

-- T. Brosnan

I think you made a mistake in editing Greil Marcus' column in the section on the Subway commercial for the Dijon Horseradish Melt. There must be a paragraph missing. Between the two self-aggrandizing vomit stains you printed.

Is he kidding in his take on Bush and David Gregory in Paris? Wasn't it the other way around, with an elitist reporter trying to embarrass the president? Maybe you elitist journalists like to get each other's backs.

-- Don Zacharias

The Greil Marcus screed on the Subway ad was an incredible connect-the-invisible-dots exercise. By way of this twisted logic, the latter days of the Clinton administration should have seen us with Barry White doing the voiceovers for DNC commercials.

-- Greg Faubert

I did enjoy Greil Marcus' inspired satire of the hysterical anti-Bush camp. I mean, really, indicting a Subway commercial as symptomatic of the American culture's internalization and celebration of Bush's "sense of entitlement" -- in the words of James Lipton, "brilliant!"

Nevertheless, I fear that the Onion has outdone Mr. Marcus at his own game. "Grad Student Deconstructs Take-Out Menu" does a much more pointed, thorough job of skewering the self-importance of those who would read their own agenda into every aspect of the culture.

Keep plugging away, Mr. Marcus: You'll nail it yet!

-- Dan Shmikler

I was glad to find that someone else finds that "make the burger kid cry" ad for Subway offensive. The first time I saw it I was appalled. Both of my children and most of their friends had fast-food jobs at one time or another; they hated the work, they hated the way they were treated, and they found something better as soon as possible. But they learned how hard that work is, they learned compassion and respect for the people twice their age who were stuck in low-paying jobs, they learned that they wanted more out of work than a paycheck.

For Subway to have an adult (with younger sycophants) ridicule an adolescent for doing his job is a horrible way to display a product. I never did like Subway much; now I like it even less.

-- Kathleen Schultz

I happened upon an article by Mr. Marcus describing an ad that quickly turned into a diatribe stating that the president has a sense of entitlement due to his upbringing and wealth. Is Greil aware that the Kennedys are far wealthier and more storied in politics? In fact eight of the 10 top wealthiest in the Senate and House are Democrats. Does this mean they are unintelligent or biased? How much do you make, Mr. Marcus? Have any Salon dot.com stock?

-- Michael Riley

Sometimes an editor's job should be merely to prevent a columnist from being stupid in public. In the case of Greil Marcus' most recent contribution, the Salon editorial staff seems to have been asleep at the switch, and the usually affable, if politically insane, Mr. Marcus was not well served. His absurd little rant in which he draws bizarre social implications from a cleverly edgy Subway advertisement and some profoundly goofy ideas about President GWB should have been more closely examined and then summarily deleted.

It would be different if it were funny, but uh ... no, it's not. It's one of those times when you find just a little uncomfortable on behalf of someone who just embarrassed themselves and doesn't know it yet. It's kind of like when Barbra Streisand says something in public. Regardless of your ideology, it just makes you squirm, and you wish she would just sing and not speak. So now you've let Mr. Marcus expose himself to the world as a similar idiot purveyor of farcical pseudo-political flatulence (make that "fartial") instead of helping him do his nominal job as a music critic. Or is he a literary critic? Or a movie critic? It's hard to tell, really, what his intended function is, and he seems to believe himself universally qualified for criticism in general. What a gig. Never mind all that, though; next time just help the man ... edit out the stupid parts.

-- Barry Pike

I must comment on the excellent Real-Life Top 10 from Greil Marcus on July 23, especially his examination on the social impact of Dubya's ignorant smugness on the nation via a Subway ad. I haven't seen the spot, but while reading Marcus' description, I cringed at the very thought of it. It points out the very worst thing about the election of W., or for that matter most of the Republicans in recent memory: Their ascension to power seems to give license to smug ignorant "well-exercised" schmucks, like the one depicted in the ad, to strut about the world as if it were theirs, and to mock all whom they perceive as weak and ineffectual (namely, anyone who's not on board with the dog-eat-dog worldview that Bush and his ilk would have us live by).

-- Ken Munch

[Read Mark Simpson's "Meet the Metrosexual."]

As a young, straight, married guy, I found the recent article on the "metrosexual" phenom to be screamingly funny. Mostly a monologue, it was such a thinly disguised gay man's fantasy. For years, the "socially marginalized" gay male population has been dying to get some credit for its influence on fashion, music, interior design and hipness in general. Oh yeah, and there's also the long-standing gay fascination with straight men and the deeply held homo-belief that all straight men are secretly obsessed with anal sex, mostly because we want to be buggered ourselves. Rather than shed light on a new breed of straight male (the author really only came up with one so-called metrosexual), the article was more illuminative of an old kind of gay male, one who is fundamentally self-involved, piqued, horny, defensive, stylish and clever.

-- Jon VanZile

Thanks to Mark Simpson for putting a name to the trend that's been annoying me for years.

-- Willem Wennekers

Well. This really explains everything about men today. I'm not kidding. I'm going to e-mail this to all my girlfriends right now. Hilarious. Brilliant. Cheers.

-- Jennifer DeMeritt

As Stan Lee once memorably put it: "I think you need to get your friend some help. He seems to be obsessed with superhero sex organs."

-- Michael Barthel

By Salon Staff

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