The Skymall Catalog is Decadent and Depraved

    I never enjoyed smoking pot.  I don’t have any moral objection to it–smoking marijuana frequently probably isn’t good for you, but it’s a hell of a lot less dangerous than the booze I poured into my poor, helpless brain on a regular basis for years.  I just never liked the way that pot made me feel.  I haven’t been stoned in years and years.

     Until this afternoon.  

     I got high on the plane (get it?  High? Plane? hardy har har).  How, you ask?  

     I’ll tell you: the Skymall catalog.  It made me trip right the fuck out.  Trippier than Burning Man, trippier than the Pink Floyd laser light show I went to when I was 19.  Trippier than the summer I spent in East Hampton with my psychopathic Ex (that was really weird–both the Hamptons and the Ex).  One time, when I was in Amsterdam, I ate half a bag of hallucinogenic mushrooms and went to the van Gogh museum.  That was trippy, but it was nothing compared to the Skymall catalog.  

     I fucking took it with me when I exited the plane.  I think I’ll display in on my coffee table next to Harper’s and The New York Review of Books, as if it was a piece of weird abstract art, or something.  

     I’m serious.  Has anyone else ever seen this shit?  Unbelievable!  I can tell you what, though–it helped me feel a hell of a lot better about my life!  God, I was feeling kinda depressed last month, what with my relapse and going to work at the Superstudio and lying to the Surgeon and freaking out about school and, you know, the anorexia nervosa.  But fuck me: at least I’m not the sort of person Skymall is marketed to!  At least I did not peruse Skymall and think to myself: Hmmm, these products are really great ideas!  I may be underemployed and weird as hell, but at least I do not have a soul so dead that I would shop out of Skymall!

    Here, come with me, comrades–we’ll take a look together.  

    Skymall perfectly exemplifies everything I hate about America.  It is profoundly dystopian.  Fuck me!  I know I’m cursing a lot, but I can’t help it–this thing is eye-popping.  If you could somehow send this catalog back in time to the people of the USSR, we’d still be fighting the cold war.  Communism never would have fallen.  It probably would have spread, actually.  Skymall would have confirmed the Soviet people’s most paranoid fantasies of American’s decadence, corruption, and misplaced priorities.  

      Clearly, this is a publication designed exclusively for individuals that have MBAs and got their undergrad degrees in marketing or, maybe, finance.  Nothing artistical (God no), nothing practical, and nothing that would require you to have more than three or four brain cells to rub together.  It is a publication for people who have a lot of disposable income, but are probably not quite rich–I’m guessing they make salaries of $100,000–$200,000.  People at the height of their income potential.  Mostly men.  Men with dogs, children they never see, houses with big lawns and BBQs, and wives they buy shit for but probably do not have sex with.  

Look at this: a steak branding iron!  Only $79.99!  You can get your name on it.

Branding Irons
For the neurotic, sadistic surgeon in your life who has everything!  

Why in hell would anyone want a steak branding iron?  What are you, Jeffrey Dahmer?  Some kind of goddamned cannibal?  What is the matter with you?  Wait–actually, now that I think about it, the Surgeon would probably be happy to get one of these for Hunnukah and brand my ass with it–“SURGEON.”  He’s really possessive.  Anyway, I am not sure that recommends the Skymall steak branding iron.  

       The Skymall demographic apparently loves to golf.  I counted at least half a dozen golf-specific items in the catalog.  This one is the most disturbing.  It is absurd, but just because it is absurd, does not mean that is not frightening.  The copy reads: “What a great hair-raising idea!”  Indeed, Skymall, indeed.

Flair Hair Visor - Adult
The “Flair Hair Visor.”  Reviewers gave this product 4 out of 5 stars.

        Hair seems to be a common preoccupation among Skymall shoppers.  They seem to have a ton of anxiety about losing their hair and/or going gray.  Okay, fine.  But look at what they will buy!

iRestore Hair Laser

        A HAIR LASER!  A hair laser HAT!  How can this not be a joke?  Look at the copy: “A new revolutionary device to control your thinning hair! 3 times better light efficiency than any other hands free laser restoration device invented!”  Only $599–DISCOUNTS DO NOT APPLY!

        (Men–my advice: if you’re balding, cut it short–or shave it if you can pull off that look–and just face the issue with dignity.  Better to be bald than undignified.  Some women will not want to have sex with a bald guy, I guess–I don’t know why not, but whatever.  However, NO woman wants to have sex with a guy that looks absurd.  Don’t look absurd.)

iRestore Hair Laser
“I will never, ever get laid unless I pay for it.”
Control seems to be a big issue for Skymall readers.  A lot of the ads talk about control–control your dog’s barking, control insects and vermin, control the whiteness of your teeth (apparently, teeth should be as white as a refrigerator), control the amount of mess in your house, or at least the ability of others to see it.  Yes, the word being used is really “control.”  I am not inferring the meaning here.  That’s what it says in the copy.

I know a lot about control.  Please take my word for it.  I study it recreationally and professionally.  It is an obsession of mine, actually–losing it (alcohol; crazy men), keeping it (starving, not letting anyone in).  My sexual proclivities.  I prefer the word control to domination actually; it feels more appropriate for what I do.

So let me tell you, gentle reader, about control: behind every controlling impulse, there is usually fear.  It’s a spectrum which ranges from mild anxiety to the most rank, nightmarish terror.  Fear is fascinating.  You can tell a lot about people by what they’re scared of.

So–judging from the ads, what are the people who buy the stuff in the Skymall catalog fearful of…?  Teeth that are not white (not looking “right”?)?  Well, yes, but there’s more (isn’t there always?)

Well, for one thing, there are lots of ads for security cameras.  Most of them are covert spy cams, like this one:
Tissue Box Hidden Camera
“Catch your wife cheating on you!”

Why would anyone want this product?  HMMMMM let’s see–maybe the average Skymall shopper is thinking, “I travel for my shitty job so much.  My marriage sucks.  I haven’t had sex with my spouse in three years.  What are they doing at home?”

They are also worried about VERMIN.  There are dozens of expensive products to locate and destroy vermin.

Deluxe Pest & Insect Repeller
I think bugs are gross too.  But you know, the upper-middle-class obsession with them is kind of amusing.  You don’t have to be Sigmund Freud to figure this out: what do the bugs actually represent in the subconscious of these affluent people?  Ugly threats trying to get in.  Why are their fears so often biological?  

Jesus, just get a cat!

Speaking of which, the domestic animals of Skymall shoppers have it pretty damn good.  Unless they bark.  Barking is not allowed.  Skymall shoppers are death on that shit.  

Deluxe Bark Control Collars
Electrocute your dog for barking!  Zapping bark control collar

            Actually, a bark control collar could be fun.  On a boy.  I could give him zaps!  It would be fun to make him scream, and then when he made noise, he’d get zapped!  Yes yes, this has potential.  

      Anyway–you know why your dog barks its ass off all the time, Skymall shopper?  Because he’s not exercised or trained.  Why not?  Because you’re on this airplane constantly and are never home.  Why do you have a dog?  Well, at least someone in your household loves you.  

        Aside from bark control collars, there is some really nice stuff for dogs and cats in this catalog.  I mean, Jeez.  This furniture is way better than anything in my apartment!

ZenHaus Dog Crates
ZenHaus Dog Crate: $599.99
Luxury Pet Residences

             Skymall shoppers drink.  That’s okay; more power to them.   There are pages and pages of strange and totally unnecessary barware.  

Margaritaville Liquor Chiller
The “Margaritaville Liquor Chiller.”  $199.   What?

        But I sympathize with these well-payed, functioning drinkers.  I mean, shit.  If I had a spouse that was decorating my McMansion in Oklahoma City with some of the home decor offerings for sale in the Skymall catalog, I would feel like I wanted to drink, too:

Squirrel Thinker Sculpture
The ad says: “He may not be the smartest squirrel in the squad, but he  does do a great imitation of a great work of art.”    It’s RODIN’s The Thinker, you barbarously ignorant fucktards!
Catch of the Day Bear Statue
Why?  Why?  Somebody call the homeowner’s association 
Elephant Sculptural Sconce
Well…at least it’s not real

           “Honey, could you put more tequila in the liquor chiller?”  Yes.  Booze.  I’d need it.  Just don’t trip and hit your head on that huge resin BEAR out on the lawn!

         Now, you’re going to need to work off all those empty calories, and you’re sure not doing it sitting on your ass on the airplane.  Don’t worry, Skymall has just the product for you:

Whole Body Vibration Trainers

             The “Whole Body Vibration Trainer.”  $3,995  Apparently you stand on it and it shakes you.  Because Americans would rather die than do a push-up.  

        I could go on–there are 200 pages of this shit–but I fear for my sanity and peace of mind.  The catalog is, I think, kind of like radiation.  You can only take it in very small doses.  Whatever you do, don’t stay in too long. 

Merry Christmas, everyone!

3 thoughts on “The Skymall Catalog is Decadent and Depraved”

  1. I have flown and seen that catalog, but I have never gone through it in such detail. It really is appalling. You must have been in one of the those situations where you were horrified but couldn’t look away. Great post!


  2. Hi John, thanks for your comment. I’m glad you enjoyed reading it.It was a blast to write. I am obsessed with this catalog and am planning another takedown on the flight home. Reading the catalog makes me feel like an anthropologist doing field work in hell.

    I think I picked on the guys enough in this post–next time I’ll look at the womens’ ads. Yikes!

    Thanks for reading my blog!


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