November 24, 2012

Hayek? Adam Smith? How about Larry the Cable Guy? [McGehee]

If you watch TV you’ve undoubtedly seen the Prilosec ads featuring Larry the Cable Guy, building on his “Only in America” TV show theme to sell antacid with a flavored coating.

At first blush you might have wondered why Prilosec willingly markets its new product as “stuff you didn’t even know you wanted” like sporks and spray cheese and sweatpants dyed to look like blue jeans. But it’s a subtle buy-in to the premise of Larry’s show — which might appear to hipsters and proggs as a satire on America’s silliness and materialism.

Of course Larry the Cable Guy makes fun of the silly things he highlights on his show — after all, his persona is the stereotypically silly lower-class American that hipsters like to sneer at — but the show works because he’s not sneering. When he says he loves everything about this country, it’s the truth. And when he grinningly highlights the silly and inane about American life and says it’s what makes America great, he’s not kidding.

The fact we have people making and buying things that seem impractical and pointless shows that we have the resources to expend on non-necessities. More to the point, we have the freedom to make those choices. I wouldn’t wear sweatpants that look like blue jeans, but if I wanted to, I could find a pair and buy them because nobody has the authority to tell anyone not to bother making them to sell.

At least, not yet.

It might be interesting to see Larry the Cable Guy get a little more serious about his theme, and explain more fully why these inane products prove we’re the greatest country on earth, and why granting a class of self-appointed betters the authority to direct other people’s resources into endeavors they — the “betters” — deem more worthy, makes us less so.

He might reach more people than some think-tank egghead.

About McG

The mustache abides.

Posted by McG @ 8:14am

Comments (12)


    ” In 1977, the year I was born and the year my father and many other Jews left the Soviet Union (my mother and I left in 1978, my grandmother and great-aunt left in 1976), the Soviet propaganda machine began circulating a rumor. It went, roughly: life in America is so terrible that the old people eat cat food.

    This was…perplexing.

    People didn’t quite get it: they have food specifically made for cats in America? What a country!

    A lot of things about America remained beyond their comprehension. “

  2. “A lot of things about America remained beyond their comprehension.”

    How shocked they must be to learn that the great majority of Americans don’t understand the intentions of their own founding! So much so, indeed, that the Americans are now more than happy and willing to toss those intentions aside as so much meaningless unnecessary fluffle, only to take on the slavish attitude the Soviets would have imposed on their subjected peoples.

  3. My favorite scene in the otherwise forgetable “Moscow on the Hudson” was Robin Williams’ character going to a supermarket for coffee and upon seeing an entire aisle of coffee, dropping his shopping basket and turning in circles saying joyfully, “Coffee. Coffee! COFFEE!”



  5. In the movie “Hunt for Red October” the part that always brings tears to my eyes is Borodin’s last words: “I would like to have seen Montana.” That is an understanding of America that no Copperhead will ever have.

    In the book, supermarkets are the thing Ryan says will amaze the Russians the most.

  6. SDN, there was a story carried in the Minneapolis Star Tribune a couple of decades ago about a hockey wife from Russia. The Russian woman was grocery shopping in Canada with a couple of other hockey wives. The Russian saw the meat counter and immediately started loading her cart with meat while urging her companions to do the same, because the meat wouldn’t be there the next day.

    The other two wives had trouble convincing the Russian woman there would be meat available the next day.

  7. sweatpants dyed to look like blue jeans

    Wait, they’ve got those? Sweet, got to go get me some.

    (I’ve adopted a pants-free lifestyle. Seriously, what’s the point of being self-employed if you have to wear pants… or leave the house?)

  8. JB, the only problem with sweatpants jeans is CCW. There is just no way for sweatpants to hold up a firearm.

  9. The theme of the ad is supply-side economics in action, isn’t it?

  10. The freedom of the market.

  11. …and the ad features people getting paid to manufacture all that silly shit, so yeah — supply side in particular.

  12. (I’ve adopted a pants-free lifestyle. Seriously, what’s the point of being self-employed if you have to wear pants… or leave the house?)

    There are days that go by that I don’t even change my clothes, especially in the winter. Out of bed to the computer, program to make a living, screw around on the internet to avoid work, etc.