WARNING: The content of The Zephyr Lounge: After Dark may say to hell with decency. Needless to say, this area is restricted to people aged 18+. The Zephyr Lounge: After Dark may touch base on, and present, material that may be of a profane and/or sexually explicit nature and should probably not be viewed by anyone. But, this is the Internet after all…
This includes training videos. Yes, videos shown to new hires from some of the most powerful (and most dead) retail and hospitality companies to ever grace American capitalism with big bucks and big dreams. Making this even better is that — as anyone who has been forced to sit through these can attest — they go out of their way to be ridiculous. And by ridiculous, I mean straight-up embarrassing.
Our first foray into insane training videos comes courtesy of Blockbuster. You remember Blockbuster, right? That video rental place that was killed by technological progress? Well, in the early 1990s, the movie rental mega-giant introduced its new, pimple-faced employees to company sales strategies via a creepy TV set-inhabiting “authority on opportunity” named Buster Sales and the bookish Marie.
Holy shit! These videos are, like, so ridiculously 90s!
Or, like Peter Engel secretly collaborated with David Cronenberg in a fluorescent/techno-horror-inspired conspiracy to destroy Blockbuster from the inside out. Seriously, who the hell wants to work at Blockbuster after watching Buster Sales all but tell Marie to get in his goddamn van?
The first video (yes, there’s more) is eight minutes of customer service, Sean Connery movies, VCP rentals, Mrs. Harris, and *swoon* Brian!
Then there’s Kristin, a customer (and presumably a friend of Marie’s) who comes to the counter with way more VHS tapes than are necessary for someone whose day is “pretty bogus, actually.” But where there’s two girls talking about how “babysitting is such a drag” in a video store, you know who can’t be too far away…
Through the first training video (and yes, I repeat, there’s more), any prospective Blockbuster employee from the early 90s must have wondered whether they were hire to sell movies or learn how to spot a sex offender.
But if you think the first one is bad…
It’s Buster Sales two, ya’ll!
While looking through “our gigantic catalogue called ‘Videolog’,” Marie and the sweater-vest-wearing Saved by the Bell nerd seem to bond over Peter Sellers, because we all know, to Marie, Peter Sellers is totally “one of [her] favorite” actors. But notice when she and Ferguson from Clarissa Explains it All look through that cinematic Necronomicon, she mentions that she can order it and give him a call when it arrives, prompting the bowtie bandit to express excitement over the prospect.
Was his expression of contentment about the ease of ordering a movie from Blockbuster or the mention of Marie giving him a phone call? I honestly cannot say for sure, because the only thing I’ve learned from these Blockbuster training videos is that everyone seems to want to awaken Marie sexually.
It’s got to be the headband.
Not to be outdone, Buster Sales once again enters the fold after Marie gives Glee Club Gary his video store nerd boner. But Sales has been spurned too many times by the curly brunette jailbait and this time, he will not be ignored. In a manner befitting Patrick Bateman, and having traded a razor-sharp axe for the sharp crashing of cymbals, Buster Sales decides the best way to “get [Marie’s] attention” is to crash them together like a gleeful menace, prompting Marie to cover her ears and agonizingly react, prompting everyone else in the Blockbuster to watch what they probably assume to be the work of an invasive devil (this was filmed in Georgia, after all).
If there is a second thing I’ve learned watching these training videos, it’s that Buster Sales is not only a pervy stalker in the Georgia Blockbuster, but probably a dangerous one at that.
Oh, and there’s Doug. Doug seems to have a lot of problems.
I know it’s been said that Netflix and Redbox were the undoing of what was once the nation’s movie rental juggernaut. But let’s be real here. If I were hired to work at Blockbuster, and this was the training material assigned to me on my first day, I’d think there was something fishy at work and promptly quit.
Seriously, the last thing I would want as a possible Blockbuster employee is to find myself talking to a creepy perv in a TV screen that no one but I could see, especially if his idea of communication is to be a pushy, intrusive ass who think he’s King Salesman and, for whatever reason, has an obsessive preoccupation with my love life.
Unfortunately, he’s also the last thing we see.
Wait! Wait a minute! Doesn’t Marie look an awful lot like the girl who played Sydney in Superhuman Samurai Syber-Squad?!
I’m not ashamed to admit that I love McDonald’s. I still eat Chicken McNuggets like they came from the table of Zeus himself. McDonald’s fries are still the best fries in the world. Hell, even the fact that I can’t go into McDonald’s without being subjected to Fox News hasn’t crippled my love of the place.
I have been indoctrinated by Ronald McDonald more effectively than any holy-rollin’ evangelical preacher who ever tried.
At the same time, I do not love McDonald’s as much as this guy.
That’s just a small sampling of Tweets about the sitophiliac incident making its tour of the World Wide Web.
The fact this story is trending speaks to our cultural relationship with paraphilias. For most of us, our thing likely isn’t a “long-winded sexual struggle” with something from a fast food dollar menu. Instead it’s hair color, eye color, breast size, booty, nurse outfits, shaved genitalia — generally innocuous stuff. But for other people, their paraphilias are a little more outside of the scope of what we would consider “normal.” After all, this isn’t the first time the Internet buzzed about someone practicing sitophilia.
Just a couple of years ago, Twitter user @VERSACEPOPTARTS uploaded vines of himself screwing a Pop Tarts box, followed by another vine of him fornicating with a Hot Pocket. But the shock vids didn’t stop at merely Internet uploads. He also sent them to the official Twitter accounts of both purveyors of snackage, which resulted in the companies blocking him and account closures by both Twitter and Vine.
With the @VERSACEPOPTARTS incident in mind, maybe I’m reading too much into the McChicken debacle. Maybe the McChickenlover just thought “how can I break the Internet” and decided since he did not have Kim Kardashian’s ass, he would instead just James Deen the shit out of a McChicken sandwich. At the end of the day, regardless of why this video exists, I think it is screenwriter Adam Herz‘s fault.
#KatrinaPiersonHistory, as taught by Pierson at Trump University.
U.S. HISTORY, 1492 — Present
Instructor Katrina Pierson
Fall 2016 Semester
MWF 9:30–10:50 am
Course Description and Objectives
The purpose of this course is to examine the history of the United States without bias from the liberal media or from liberal academic elites. Through reading and discussion, we will start with American colonial origins and move into the modern day. Coursework for this class will include discussion of topics in class, writing assignments, and tests.
In this course, we will examine the history of the United States and answer the following questions:
How did America’s humble beginnings affect its path to Independence?
How does religion play a part in American society?
How does America’s underdog history affect its standing as the greatest country in the world?
How has liberalism been managed as a threat to American interests?
Schweikart, Larry and Michael Allen. A Patriot’s Guide to the United States: From Columbus’s Great Discovery to America’s Age of Entitlement, Revised Edition. 10th Edition. ISBN: 978-1595231154
Back, Glenn, Kevin Balfe and Hannah Beck. Miracles and Massacres: True and Untold Stories of the Making of America. ISBN: 978-1476771205
Barton, David. The Jefferson Lies: Exposing the Myths You’ve Always Believed About Thomas Jefferson. ISBN: 978-1944229023
Course Requirements and Grading Rubric
Students are expected to come to class ready to learn. This means having all of their books and materials available for each class period. Students are expected to participate in classroom discussion and ask questions of the instructor and any guest speakers who may provide information pertinent to the class. Students are expected to put full-effort into the class, which includes reading and understanding all course materials as assigned. The grading rubric is as follows:
Attendance/Participation – 20% – I take attendance in each class. You should be on time and ready to listen to the lecture and participate in any classroom discussion.
Daily Work – 15% – Every so often, I will have small projects or assignments for students to do during class.
Mid-term – 10% – The mid-term will be held on Friday, October 14th and will cover information from weeks 1 through 8. This counts the lectures on Monday, October 10th and Wednesday, October 12th.
Group Project – 15% – This project covers the Bill of Rights. The class will be divided into 10 groups of 2-3 students apiece and each will be assigned an amendment from the Bill of Rights. This assignment is to identify the need for the amendment and the purpose of the amendment. Further, each group will assess the amendment and identify its effect on American history, from the Bill of Rights to today. Group projects will be assigned on September 16th and are due on October 28th.
Essay – 15% – Each student will be responsible for the composition of an essay examining the negative effects political and social liberalism have had in the American workplace. This essay will include effects on labor laws, the “rights” of workers, and the economy. Essays are due on Monday, November 21st.
Final Exam – 25% – The final exam will cover information from weeks 9 through 15. It will be held on Friday, December 9th.
Week 1: August 22 – 26
The New World (1492 – 1763)
America’s beginnings, from it’s discovery by Christopher Columbus to the establishment of the 13 colonies. The effects of the French-Indian War. The beginning of the mistreatment Americans suffered by the British Crown.
Week 2: August 29 – September 2
The Rights of the Colonist (1765 – 1775)
King George III starts abusing the Americans through taxation. The seeds of our golorious revolution are sewn.
Week 3: September 5 – 9
Labor Day (No Classes)
The Revolutionary War (1775 – 1783)
Americans begin fighting off their British oppressors, winning gloriously through their own force of will. The British surrender and American becomes its own nation.
Week 4: September 12 – 16
The Constitution and the New Government (1787 – 1800)
The Americans establish their government, one of God and of freedom. Controversy surrounding the role of government leads to the Bill of Rights.
Group project assignment: Examination of Amendments to the Constitution.
Week 5: September 19 – 23
The Jefferson Era and The British Return (1800 – 1815)
The Jefferson Administration. The British return and are once again beaten by American willpower and prowess.
Week 6: September 26 – 30
God and Manifest Destiny (1805 – 1850)
America begins to fully realize its religious origins during the Second Great Awakening. America moves west and deals with the hostile savagery of the frontier.
Week 7: October 3 – 7
The North and the South (1850 – 1860)
The issue of slavery is blown out of proportion by those challenging the status quo, leading to the splitting of the perfect union.
Week 8: October 10 – 14
The Civil War and Lincoln’s Assassination (1860 – 1865)
Big government tries to impose its will on the Southern colonies, who bravely fight back. President Abraham Lincoln is assassinated, paving the way for President Andrew Johnson.
Week 9: October 17 – 21
Reconstruction (1865 – 1877)
After the Civil War, the American government continues keeping their boots on the necks of the Southern states. Activist judges change the Constitution. The beginnings of the Ku Klux Klan and their ties to the Democrats.
Week 10: October 24 – 28
Communists, Anarchist, and other Threats (1870 – 1920)
Americans perverted by socialist and communist ideologies threaten the rights of business owners. Unions pop up, promoting dangerous ideology as “worker’s rights.” Anarchists resort to violence to challenge government oppression. Progressivism participates in American elections, further inflaming the conflict between workers and their bosses.
Turn in group projects
Week 11: October 31 – November 4
World War I and the Great Depression (1915 – 1940)
America comes to the world’s aid in World War I. The economy collapses, leading to the Great Depression. Franklin D. Roosevelt is elected President and decides socialism is the way to fix the economy with The New Deal.
Week 12: November 7 – 11
World War II and the Cold War (1942 – 1989)
America enters World War II and wins in both Europe and Asia. Russia and America begin their “Cold War.” Americans prosper. The Korean War and the Vietnam War cause controversy. President Ronald Reagan finally bests the Commies.
Week 13: November 14 – 18
9/11 and the War on Terrorism (2001 – 2008)
President George W. Bush begin the War on Terrorism. Reality sets in for Americans spoiled by the Clinton Administration. The government starts attacking American’s religious rights, gun rights, and autonomy.
Week 14: November 21 – 25
Turn in essays
Week 15: November 28 – December 2
The Obama Administration: A Portrait of Failure (2008 – Present)
The treasonous immigrant, Barack Hussein Obama, becomes President of the United States and begins poisoning America with the aid of Hillary Clinton and other liberals. Obamacare is a socialist threat. Obama forces gay marriage on the public. Obama isn’t an American citizen.
Guest lecture by Jerome Corsi on Obama’s citizenship.
Trump’s America: Making America Great Again (note: the outcome of the 2016 election will have an outcome on this lecture)
Instead of buying 1001 Baby Names, how about asking your peers for naming advice?
What’s in a name?
One of the most harrowing parts of pregnancy is coming up with the name your demon-spawn will carry with them for their days. While some prospective parents fall back on such classics as “David,” “Charles,” and “Rebecca,” others choose to go down a more experimental path, giving their kids names that are “So’Unique,” they are the stuff of “Ledjend.”
There are plenty of name resources out there. For an amount of money that any rational person would consider obscene, couples buy baby naming books and argue over familial traditions, forsaking those familial traditions, or whether or not whatever name whichever parent suggests may result in their kids being stuffed in lockers.
There are plenty of naming resources out there — 10,000 Names for Your Baby, The [Insert Year Here] Baby Names Almanac, HBO. But there’s also Urban Dictionary…
Urban Dictionary contains a cornucopia of names with definitions from the minds of people like you and me. Anyone can put together a book of names and their origins, but to decide a name based on the views of your peers — the “cultural” definition, so to speak — has, in this writer’s opinion, more value than whether the name has Hebrew origins.
There are thousands and thousands of names, so for the purpose of proving my thesis — that the views and opinions of the everyday person have more influence on the lives of potential children than The Complete Book of Baby Names — I’m going to use the names of my crew from my teenage years. Each name will have the picture of a celebrity with the same name, the definition of the name from one of those scam baby books, followed by the definition available on Urban Dictionary.
300 words in, the time has come to stop delaying…
“The only name that can be spelled through 5 months of the year.” — Qu Ack
“A very HOT sexy guy who seems to be unattainable.” — Court311
“… Often RF Engineer by day, gigaloo by night.” — Yomama1
“Has a really big penis. Really big. Huge.” — Fly Grll
“A guy that is so god-like you can’t even stare at him to long without your retinas burning.” — Wiggywacky
“… the king of the fist pump; he’s so good you’d think he invented it.” — Hotpinkfuzz
“Not even Jesus or Chuck Norris are as awesome as this guy.” — Hippie Princess
“… usually have enormous dicks…” — D4ddy
“The incarnation of awesome.” — Torture12345
“… a fairly mediocre person… proud of his mediocreness, which will range from his looks to his personality to his sex life, right down to his average little penis… very mediocre pain tolerance, so much so that if he were to burn his thumb while smoking with a rate Bahamian glass pipe he would drop the pipe instead of trying to protect the priceless piece.” — The Brock Solid
“A guy who loves to take his shirt off n spin his dick around like a helicopter like Petey Pablo.” — Mixxedteal
“The most stacked geezer in existence and the king of all gym lads. His looks can kill you and his bod is amazing. He is the one and only pussy destroyer.” — Netflix And Chill All Day
“A young male man who often takes the form of a pelican.” — Mr. Squiggle
“Someone who has extordinary strength and is uber cool. Often confused with the Hulk, Hercules, or Superman.” — Will Whiteside
“A popular slang-name in the UK for a Vodka & Red-Bull alcoholic drink.” — PUNX-UK
“A sexy beast. Often horny. Loves sexual fantasies! Most likely a non-virgin before marriage. HAWT! Loyal and understanding. Beautiful.” — Cocopuffs666
“Lestrade’s sniffer dog; a man who loves dinosaurs, gets his floors scrubbed by Sally Donovan, and possibly has the lowest IQ in all of London.” — John Hamish Watson
“When you sit in a Skype call for an extended period of time and pretend you are a rock and wait for someone to mention yourself before you reveal yourself.” — Skaut
“1. a popular sirname in the United States 2. a poor city in South Carolina 3. a decaying Rust Belt city in Indiana, 37 miles NE of Indianapolis” — krock1dk
“A player who can not control his hormones. And fucks everything that walks.” –Kathy Flores
“When one uses an X-ray in the popular video game Mortal Kombat X repetitively to win a match but loses in the end.” — Arthurbobsepic
“A Mexican man, usually fat. He likes cuss at people and shove around people. Other than that, he is a sort of nice person.” — Chocolate Border Collie
“Another word for shit.” — Domaday Puran
“In Guatemala, a ‘manuel’ is similar to saying a tight ass or a stingy person. So pretty much is someone who doesn’t like to spend a lot of money and thinks everything is expensive. They want discounts on everything.” — Saul J.
Bryin (traditionally spelled ‘Brian’)
“1. A guy who’s heart is captured by the same girl always yet lives his life as if she didn’t exist when she’s not around. 2. Term for the best guy friend conversationalist. Someone you can vent to an actually get feedback and opinions. 3. A reliable “lean on me” kinda friend” — Amanda Nicole Romanach
“A highly intelligent guy who is handsome, funny, sexy, a great kisser… hung like a horse.” — Priviledged
“Also known as ‘Thundercock.'” — Diggidy332
“From the Celtic meaning having a very large penis and a lot of sexual stamina.” –Trevor82
“Usually referred to a big black bear. Has the ability to kill you but is too damn lazy and just goes ‘wwwooowwwww…….'” — Damnit Brian!
“The standard IT guy’s name.” — DaWordSmith
“A formidable foe to normal people. Intelligent, strong forceful. A weird hybrid of a bully and a nerd. As well as the first dictator of the America and king of the new peaceful world. Also known as Timebomb and various other variations including at least TB.” — TkTb
“A man who is above all men. He reads the Urban Dictionary definitions and laughs at them.” — TheKarmaMan
“Name for a person capable of maintaining a massive erection through hours of vigorous intercourse with even the most experienced women.” — SuperBabyMethod
“A magical tree that grows fruits that have been combined with other fruits.” — Raiza
“Treena: Groovy woman of rock and roll a love of Music.” — Treena McQueen
“Somebody who has just got what u need. A ‘Jeff’ is somebody who knows what it’s about.” — Je2f
“The correct spelling of Geoff.” — AdrianBourke
“A skeeza and a pleasa. Has the biggest schlong, dinga dong, kinga kong (if ya know what I mean).” — Clever Bastard
“… a name given to perhaps the only people with the capability of defeating Chuck Norris. When Chuck Norris needs help, Jeff is the person that he will call.” — No, Bob Is Not My Uncle
“Broken penis caused by walking, slamming or, running into something or someone.” — Jamesyo
“An amazing person who plays guitar, likes alternative rock, and most likely sports a faux-hawk.” — Glassesandglitter
“A sneaky fucker. Acts all innocent but then surprises you with a whole storm of everloving shit.” — Mungus Hungus
“The guy who ALWAYS takes a dump at work, he may even describe it to you. Will repeatedly tell the same joke ‘I just got paid to take a shit!'” — JrPw
“A name, not relating to the book ‘Twilight’. Most Edwards are ashamed to be associated with such an embarrassment of a book. Every time a girl meets an Edward, some instinct in their deranged little fan-girl heads causes them to blurt out ‘OMG EDWARD LYKE EDWARD CULLEN OMGOMGOMGOMG<3333333333 ARE YOU A VAMPIRE?!'” — Xhoi
“A character for the mass mess TWILIGHT. A 108 year old virgin, supposedly a vampire, who sparkles in the sunlight, loves a bland character due to their smell and has no personality. He is most noted for his stalking of said female.” — SparkleEater
“Albino crackhead with Lyme disease; has the smile of a rapist and should get a new weave.” — Ruthhii.
“Explosive. Diarrhea. With. A. Running. Drip.” –Thiefingdude
“A bong with a pentagonal base, making it less likely to tip over and spill.” –Deece
“A rare species of mosquito. Edwards are very large, reaching around six feet of height at adulthood. Their pores contain small neon sacs, which emit a white glow in certain lights, and cause Edwards to stay indoors most of the time.” — Seven8910
“A sexual predator who loves being taken from behind!” — Wilbarwrite
Well, this has been an interesting experiment. I guess the biggest takeaway here is that one should probably not use Urban Dictionary as a means to determine what to name their offspring. Aside from the fundamental lack of definitions for Raiza and Treena, most of these names contain references to big dicks and oral sex.
I suppose we shouldn’t be to shocked, though. This is the Internet, after all.
Also, you probably shouldn’t name your son Philip.
When it comes to fetishes, “to each their own,” even if that fetish involves breastfeeding.
There are plenty of sexual fetishes out there, many of which define the relationship of the people involved. Some couples engage in dom-sub relationships. Others dress up like animals. I say “to each their own” when it comes to how people interact intimately, even when the intimacy between two people crosses over into whole new realms of bizarre.
I’m not talking about furries either. There are things more bizarre than furries.
ABRs involve the suckling of a woman’s breast by one or more adult partners on a regular basis. The nursing isn’t necessarily sexual for all ABR couples, instead a method for cultivating intimacy and tenderness between partners. In Jennifer Mulford’s experience, her arousal and sexual fulfillment from having her breasts played with during sex contributed to her stumbling upon a website devoted to ABRs, relationships of which very grew envious.
She dedicated herself to finding someone with whom she could have an ABR, which led her to discussing her desire with an ex-boyfriend, Brad. He mentioned his favor of large-breasted women, which prompted Jennifer to bring up ABR. Brad was open to the idea and their relationship began.
“At that moment I knew I had a partner for life… We both wanted the same thing out of the relationship — a magical bond that only breastfeeding can achieve.”
Jennifer quit her job as a bartender to devote her time and energy to their relationship, which involves dry-feeding and pumping her breasts to produce milk in two-hour intervals.
ABRs aren’t necessarily a new thing. The whole concept of adult women nursing other adults has been noted through most of modern human history. In the Middle Ages, subliminally erotic visions of saints have been noted, wherein breastfeeding is a poignant factor. Caritas Romana, or Roman Charity, is a story about a woman who breastfeeds her incarcerated father who was sentenced to death by starvation. A variation of Caritas Romana appears at the end of John Steinbeck’s 1939 novel, The Grapes of Wrath, and like the source material, presents a conflict between choosing to maintain a cultural taboo, resulting in someone’s death, or breaking the taboo to save them.
In pre-industrial England, “wet nurses,” who are employed to breastfeed children, were used to feed ailing adults in efforts to treat illnesses like pulmonary tuberculosis. Instances of women breastfeeding adults are also found in Islamic cultural lore and early-20th Century German philosophy.
There also exists a bar in Tokyo called The Bonyo Bar that employs nursing women to satisfy the erotic lactation fetishes of the bar’s patrons.
In the 2006 article “The breast/nipple/areola complex in human sexuality,” Dr. Roy J. Levin, a behavioral scientist, noted various studies about lactation and breastfeeding in adults.
“Approximately 33 to 50% of mothers described breast feeding as an erotic experience, while some 25% expressed guilt because of the sexual excitement that they felt (von Sydow, 1999). In a few cases the arousal is strong enough to induce orgasm which causes some nursing mothers to abandon breast feeding because of the sexual stimulation (Dickinson, 1949, p. 67; Masters & Johnson, 1966, p. 162). In a questionnaire on orgasm and pregnancy published in a Dutch magazine for women, Gianotten (1988) asked ‘Did you experience, while breastfeeding, a sensation of sexual excitement’, 34% (total n¼153) answered ‘Yes’ and to the question ‘Did you experience, while breastfeeding, pleasurable contractions in the uterine region’, 71% answered ‘Yes’. Of these 153 women who had been breastfeeding who replied to the question ‘Did you experience, while breast feeding an orgasm (during or as the result of breastfeeding)’, 12 (8%) answered ‘Yes’.”
In considering the studies referenced by Dr. Levin, it’s likely that eight percent of mothers are having orgasms while breastfeeding, while at least 30 percent are experiencing sexual arousal. It’s not wonder that adult breastfeeding has been a thing and is now a growing fetish trend.
For Jennifer and Brad, the line between nurturing and sex is thin, but manageable. They both feel they are better off having each other and the type of relationship they’ve chosen,
“It’s been difficult to distinguish the difference between nurturing and sex. Although it’s so beautiful and peaceful it’s also erotic. It’s been hard to get through the first few nursing sessions without being tempted to have sex, but each time it’s getting easier… I can come home from a very stressful day and seconds after Brad latching on I feel a sense of peace and calm. For that time I feel like we become one. I have yet to feel anything more comforting. It’s a bond that no one can come between.”
Biscuit experiments with fish and the results are disastrous for all involved.
A Word from the Editor:
Long-time intern Biscuit (who once wrote a thrilling piece for The Zephyr Lounge about a meeting with the Hamburglar) now works at TZL:AD as an executive intern, which means he has the privilege of being our source for human experimentation. Recently, we sent Biscuit on a dinner trip with specific instructions to eat salema porgy, a type of fish that has been linked to ball-tripping. These are the notes taken another TZL:AD intern observing Biscuit over the couple of days following his consuming of this fish.
Friday, June 17, 2016
5:22 pm :: Biscuit and I arrive at the restaurant.
5:23 pm :: We have to wait for a table.
5:47 pm :: Biscuit and I are seated. Our waiter, Omri, takes drink orders. Since Biscuit is under strict instruction to not consume alcohol (even though he really wants to), he orders a water with lemon. I, not concerned with solidarity, order a double-scotch, since the boss is paying because it sounds delicious!
5:51 pm :: Omri takes our order. Biscuit, again because he’s under strict instruction, orders the Salema Porgy. I order a medium-rare steak.
6:25 pm :: Service is slow.
6:27 pm :: Our food finally arrives. We discuss an Alternet article about this fish as we eat our meals. Biscuit cries a little when he starts taking bites of the fish. I chuckle inside, excited to see what will happen to “executive intern” Biscuit after eating this fish.
6:52 pm :: Biscuit and I get the check and due to uncertainty over the timetable (after all, everyone is different), we hurry to pay the bill and get back to the motel.
7:11 pm :: Biscuit and I get back to the motel. Our room smells like pee and there is a deuce floating in the pool. We decide to watch TV.
8:19 pm :: Biscuit complains he doesn’t feel so well and shuffles into the bathroom. He screams because the sink is stained brown and there’s mold on the tile floor.
8:22 pm :: Biscuit starts to hurl. He complains of blurred vision and muscle weakness as well. When I ask him what I can do to help him feel better, he asks me if I can make the waiver he was forced to sign prior to the trip “mysteriously disappear” from The Zephyr Lounge offices. I told him The Editor locked it in a safe, which prompted Biscuit to let loose a vulgar tirade the likes of which I had never heard while simultaneously puking his guts up.
8:41 pm :: Biscuit starts talking quietly in the bathroom. He mentions something about “the peas are the least impressive vegetable” to some guy named Stu. Biscuit has officially started tripping.
9:03 pm :: Biscuit lets out and scream and tries to flee the bathroom, but slips and runs into the wall. He tells me millipedes are coming from the shower head and are screaming at him. I decide I want a soda.
9:06 pm :: I get ready to leave to grab a soda. I ask Biscuit if he wants anything. He replies, “do something to assassinate the lizard battalion’s leader.”
9:10 pm :: I kick the soda machine and something red comes out. I shrug and start drinking it on my way back to my room.
9:12 pm :: Biscuit lets out another scream and tells something to “stay back.” I ask him about it, to which he replies, “the millipedes are singing in the rain!” Biscuit has turned the shower on.
10:16 pm :: Biscuit finally stops freaking out and emerges from the bathroom, bleeding from his knuckles and shivering. He climbs into bed and just lays there with his eyes open. I’m super creeped out right now.
10:39 pm :: Biscuit, exhausted, falls asleep. I decide to turn in too, just in case Biscuit starts freaking out again in the middle of the night.
Saturday, June 18, 2016
1:06 am :: Biscuit wakes up and pukes all over the floor next to his bed. He starts quietly crying to himself. I ask him what’s wrong, to which he replies, “there is a moose outside of the window and it’s trying to get me to swim with it.”
1:29 am :: Biscuit gets out of bed. I ask where he is going, to which he replies, “the moose won’t stop, so I’m just going to do what he says.” Biscuit, hanging brain, opens the motel room door. I slip on my shoes and follow. I want to make it perfectly clear, I’m wearing boxer shorts and shoes. That’s fucking it.
1:32 am :: Biscuit jumps in the pool and starts to splash a bit. “There!” he shouts to the imaginary moose. “Are you fucking happy now?!” I lay on a lounge and smoke a cigarette.
2:09 am :: Biscuit exits the pool and tells me the moose has decided he’s swam enough. We head back to the motel room.
2:12 am :: We re-enter the motel room. Biscuit goes into the bathroom and violently hurls again. I ask him if he’s going to shower, to which he replies, “no, because the screaming millipedes still occupy the shower head.” Biscuit continues puking.
2:31 am :: Biscuit emerges from the bathroom and climbs back into bed. He smells awful. He shivers.
2:47 am :: Biscuit is asleep. I close my eyes too.
7:03 am :: Biscuit wakes up and starts hurling again. I roll my eyes and plot to kill The Editor for thinking this shit was a good idea. Biscuit tells me the moose is in the bathroom.
8:11 am :: Biscuit exits the bathroom and returns to bed. I shove four Benadryl and some water down his throat, which he almost gives back to me. But, he surprisingly keeps it down and just shivers in bed.
8:36 am :: Biscuit falls asleep. I decide to catch some more shut-eye myself.
11:54 am :: I wake up. Biscuit is still passed out. I decide to quickly leave and grab something to eat without waking him.
12:02 pm :: I return to the motel room. Biscuit is still passed the fuck out. I decide to hang out in the room and keep an eye on him.
12:17 pm :: Biscuit is still passed the fuck out so I abandon keeping an eye on him in favor getting some fresh air. After all, Biscuit smells very bad and I’m honestly quite sick of this shit already.
12:44 pm :: While walking around the motel, I run into a woman named Catarina, who is staying in another motel room. We start talking about stuff. She eventually offers me a drink. I happily oblige.
1:32 pm :: I sit in Catarina’s motel room and suddenly hear a scream. I bolt out the door and realize Biscuit, still hanging brain, is running around the motel declaring to the world that the screaming animals are going to kill him. I quickly turn around and see Catarina fully exposed on her chair, propositioning me. Making the stupid decision, I opt instead to find Biscuit.
1:33 pm :: I can hear Biscuit, but can no longer see him. So I stop looking. I begin figuring out what I’m going to say to The Editor about taking Biscuit’s position at TZL:AD. I decide to return to Catarina’s place.
1:54 pm :: I get back to Catarina’s, but she tells me I had my chance and to go fuck myself. When I protest, she throws a lamp at me. Oh well, at least I’ll always have that picture…
2:04 pm :: I return to my motel room, then quickly leave because Biscuit puked and shat all over his bed. I go to the pool to relax.
6:11 pm :: I’m awoken by a police officer who tells me Biscuit was arrested for public indecency. I apologize for him and tell the cops that he ate Salema porgy. The cop looked confused, so I explained to him that the Salema porgy has been linked to intense hallucinations and severe illness akin to food poisoning. The officer is puzzled as to why Biscuit would do such a thing, so I explain that The Editor is a sadistic prick who wanted to publish content about the fish and what it has been known to do to people. The cop said Biscuit and I should probably look into finding new jobs, then tells me that Biscuit is holed up in a nearby hospital under intense observation.
6:41 pm :: I arrive at the hospital and look in on Biscuit. He is sedated. He fucking reeks at this point.
6:49 pm :: I go into the waiting room and fall asleep watching ESPN.
8:10 pm :: I wake up cursing myself for prioritizing Biscuit over Catarina. I look in on Biscuit. He’s still sedated. I wonder if I can smother him and no one will notice…
8:18 pm :: I go to the cafeteria downstairs and find it’s closed. I hit up a vending machine instead, creating a dinner spread consisting of candy bars, packaged cakes, and a Coca-Cola.
8:26 pm :: I return to the waiting area and continue watching ESPN while eating dinner. Biscuit wakes up, has another freak out about bees or something, then is sedated again.
8:34 pm :: I speak to the doctor about Biscuit and tell him the situation. He wishes to keep Biscuit overnight for observation. I agree. The doctor informs me that I cannot sleep in the waiting room, so I’ll have to come back tomorrow. Reluctantly, I don’t put up a fight. I’m fucking tired, cranky, and secretly hope they’ll give Biscuit an accidental dose of, like… something… that will kill him… fuck all, I’m tired!
9:16 pm :: I arrive at the motel. I jaunt over to Catarina’s motel room. I hear her going at it with someone…
9:25 pm :: I get back to my motel room and brace myself to re-enter. Surprisingly the room is clean. I collapse into my bed and watch some TV before falling asleep.
Sunday, June 19, 2016
7:17 am :: I wake up and groan. Biscuit is still in the hospital, but I have no desire to see him. Checkout time is 11 am, so I still have a bit of time to get something to eat, pack up my stuff (and Biscuit’s) before heading to hospital to pick him up. I think I’ll procrastinate.
8:02 am :: I leave my hotel room and head to a nearby diner to get some grub. I can still hear Biscuit’s screams in my head. I wonder if the son of a bitch who thought this story was a good idea The Editor will spring for some therapy when we get back.
8:26 am :: I am waiting on some eggs and hashbrowns.
8:33 am :: My eggs and hashbrowns arrive. I’m underwhelmed.
9:19 am :: I get back to my hotel room and veg out for a while. I also pack my stuff and haphazzrdly throw Biscuit’s into his bag.
11:37 am :: Biscuit is discharged from the hospital and we head back to the office.
Falling profits. Damaged image. Exclusionary. Abercrombie & Fitch: why are you still a thing?
10 years may as well be a century. The once mighty Abercrombie & Fitch retail empire is crumbling like someone left the door unlocked for invading forces and they have no one to blame but themselves. Like most corporate enterprises, despite the sinking ship they plow on, doing all that they can to patch the holes before the decks are completely engulfed in icy water. But Abercrombie & Fitch, like the Titanic, is likely beyond repair, the most graceful scenario being to abandon this ship that has seen so much controversy over the last decade that it’s a wonder they’re still (for what it’s worth) floating.
So, Abercrombie & Fitch, why the hell are you still a thing?!
Abercrombie & Fitch: From Fox Tails to Chasing Tail
In 1892, David T. Abercrombie and Ezra Fitch founded an upscale sporting goods store, whose historical clientele included the likes of presidential badass Teddy Roosevelt, aviation badass Amelia Earhart, literary badass John Steinbeck, and musical badass Cole Porter. If Abercrombie & Fitch had remained a sporting goods store, their tale might have been very different, but alas, by the 1980s, Abercrombie & Fitch, purveyor of the rugged outdoorsy man’s man and owned by now-defunct sporting goods retailer Oshman’s, was on life support and in danger of flat-lining in an age where men saying “quite” while quail hunting had fallen out for favor for men saying “ooooooh” while wearing neon tights and flammable hair.
Enter Mike Jeffries in 1988, fresh off early successes in birthing a yuppie mallrat empire with Express and Victoria’s Secret. Limited Brands bought Abercrombie & Fitch, then began to inject new life into the brand, abandoning the sport hunting image for a more casual, apparel-based brand. Abercrombie & Fitch, as we know it today, was born.
The brand would prove popular enough to warrant new stores popping up like zits on a pale-faced adolescent and would become a retail empire in its own right. So much, in fact, that it spawned several other brands, including SoCal beach-douche oriented Hollister Co., bohemian-douche oriented REUHL No.925, and even a lingerie brand, the “down under” douchette-oriented Gilly Hicks.
After we all survived Y2K, Abercrombie & Fitch was rated the sixth most popular brand out there by teenagers in the United States. In 2006, Abercrombie & Fitch became the first hostile belligerent to invade Canada since the Fenian Brotherhood. But then the Great Recession came, and not even the mighty Abercrombie & Fitch was immune. Between economic losses and bad publicity, the brand began to suffer mightily, to the point where the future of Abercrombie & Fitch is about as uncertain as whether Satan will finally come for the soul Rush Limbaugh is alleged to have had and sold.
Abercrombie & Fitch’s Douchebag Dossier
While Abercrombie & Fitch became associated with frosted tips and outrageous price tags, the brand also became synonymous with levels of corporate douchebaggery eclipsed only by a select few. Their name became a punchline, their brand hazed in the media and in the court of public opinion like the people who sported their lightweight oxfords and distressed jeans did to pledges during rush week. Hell, sketch comedy show MadTV shot flagrantly homoerotic parodies of the company not once, not twice, but seven goddamn times.
Seems like a pretty harsh criticism of a company just trying to make a buck, right? After all, it’s not like Abercrombie & Fitch is deserving of all this crap thrown at them, right?
A significant portion of Abercrombie & Fitch’s criticisms come from three areas: promotion, product, and, to put it bluntly, racism and misogyny.
In the 1990s, the company began producing A&F Quarterly, a periodical that showcased the company’s product through imagery that promoted the brand’s image. The periodical was shot primarily by photographer Bruce Weber — who was known for his erotic “beefcake” photography — and Sam Shahid — who was well-known for his sexualized Calvin Klein ad featuring then-jailbait Brooke Shields — and was purposed to further establish the Abercrombie & Fitch brand with youth and sexuality.
The above images are owned by Abercrombie & Fitch and the photographers who shot them. The Zephyr Lounge: After Dark in no way intends to profit off the images and believes the usage in this article constitutes fair use on grounds they are being used in an informative capacity.
The pages of A&F Quarterly were emblazoned with naked youth being naked youth. It’s almost like The End: Montauk, NY, only instead of portraying the blithe ethos of youthful freedom it exploits those themes for the purpose of strident, covetous capitalism.
The “magalog” became phenomenally popular, but that popularity came with a cost. Conservative and religious groups called for boycotts of the brand due to the nudity and erotic tones in A&F Quarterly, ultimately succeeding in getting the publication pulled from shelves by 2003. Then CEO Jeffries stated the removal of A&F Quarterlyhad more to do with it “getting boring” than public pressure.
When it comes to product controversies, very few companies achieved more social backlash than Abercrombie & Fitch. The company has been criticized for offering products that sexualize and offend, including:
a graphic t-shirt featuring racist depictions of Chinese immigrants that said “Wong Brothers Laundry Service — Two Wongs Can Make It White;”
a line of thong underwear at abercrombie kids in sizes for pre-teen girls that had phrases like “Eye Candy” and “Wink Wink” printed on the front;
a graphic t-shirt that said “It’s All Relative in West Virginia,” jabbing at incest stereotypes attributed to the Appalachian states;
a series of t-shirts for women that contained the slogans “Who needs brains when you have these?” (a reference to female breasts), “available for parties,” and “I had a nightmare I was a brunette;” and
more t-shirts, part of the companies 2009 back-to-school line, that contained such gems as “show the twins” (over a picture of a woman with her blouse open to two men), “female streaking encouraged,” and “Female Students Wanted for Sexual Research.”
These are just a few. Abercrombie & Fitch made the offensive t-shirt an art form, at least as it applies to general retail. Their products have been boycotted as a result of their offensiveness, with these boycotts routinely the subject of news coverage.
I suppose it shouldn’t be surprising that Abercrombie & Fitch is the retail embodiment of both your casually racist grandfather and your Miller Lite-swilling uncle whose drunken Thanksgiving rants criticize “liberals and their political correctness.” After all, the corporate culture at Abercrombie & Fitch cultivated ignorance and bigotry.
In 2004, the company found a class-action lawsuit staring it down. Eduardo Gonzalez, et al. v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, et al.alleged that the neo-preppie douche-canoes at Abercrombie & Fitch “violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by maintaining recruiting and hiring practices that excluded minorities and women and adopting a restrictive marketing image, and other policies, which limited minority and female employment.” The plaintiffs included female, African-American, Latino, and Asian-American applicants who charged that they were either not hired by the company despite strong qualifications for the positions in which they applied, or if they were hired, they were not given sales-oriented positions in the front of the store, but low-visibility positions in the back, mostly stocking and janitorial roles.
The case had significant press coverage.
The lawsuit was approved by a U.S. Federal court and Abercrombie & Fitch were forced to pay out over $40 million to the plaintiffs who were part of the suit. The company also promised to be more diverse in their operations, going so far as to hire 25 diversity recruiters, as well as a vice president of diversity, to ensure their hiring processes were no longer exclusive of women and minority candidates. The lawsuit also forced Abercrombie & Fitch to increase diversity in its marketing and advertising practices, which had long-featured white, athletic models fitting fraternity and sorority archetypes. Abercrombie & Fitch’s recruiting practices were also forced to change and become more inclusive, as the company had handled recruiting primarily in campus fraternities and sororities.
In 2006, then-CEO Mike Jeffries, the Dr. Frankenstein to Abercrombie & Fitch’s Monster, spoke of target demographics with Salon. Jeffries, channeling his inner Michael Kelso, stated that his brand was only suitable for “the good-looking, cool kids,” and that there were people who did not belong in his clothes, namely overweight people.
“That’s why we hire good-looking people in our stores. Because good-looking people attract other good-looking people, and we want to market to cool, good-looking people. We don’t market to anyone other than that… In every school there are cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids. Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive All-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.”
His comments went largely ignored until 2013, when Kirstie Alley referenced them in an Entertainment Tonight interview. Alley’s reference would later prompt talk show hosts and other television personalities to speak out against the company, notably Ellen Degeneres’ sharp “oh, Fitch please” monologue.
The 2006 Salon article suddenly sprang back to life and spread like wildfire on social media, prompting the 68-year-old campus predator to offer a rebuttal to his own words.
“I want to address some of my comments that have been circulating from a 2006 interview. While I believe this 7 year old, resurrected quote has been taken out of context, I sincerely regret that my choice of words was interpreted in a manner that has caused offense… We are completely opposed to any discrimination, bullying, derogatory characterizations or other anti-social behavior based on race, gender, body type or other individual characteristics.”
Mike Jeffries stepped down as CEO in December 2014, following 11 straight quarters of same-store sales declines.
The Future of the World’s Purveyor of Expensive, Douchey Products
At the end of May 2016, Abercrombie & Fitch, now operated by Executive Chairman Arthur Martinez (believe it or not), posted a 17.3 percent plunge in share value. The brand has been enduring financial woes since the Great Recession. The brand has fallen out of favor with the über-attractive, All-American youth it targeted like a U.S. Army drone in Yemen. Stores are closing. Brands have disappeared. Even an attempt to revive A&F Quarterly was met with lukewarm response, at best.
The damage has been done. Jeffries expanded the company too quickly and caused too much PR trouble. Even his successor is having a difficult time digging Abercrombie & Fitch out of the grave it had been digging for over a decade-and-a-half.
Falling profits. A tarnished image. A company that clings to its ways despite a new generation of retail shops like Forever 21, H&M, and Zara, more focused on changing fashion trends and affordability, vying for space in America’s dying malls. The storm that could spell the end of traditional mall retail is brewing and it seems unlikely that Abercrombie & Fitch has the wherewithal to endure it.
Three decades ago, Abercrombie & Fitch was a sinking ship. Now, those patches to her hull are once again opening and she’s filling up with water, but this time, there isn’t a Mike Jeffries to save her.
Abercrombie & Fitch is a dog riddled with cancer, whose quality of life is deteriorating, which brings us to a single, glaring question:
Abercrombie & Fitch: why the hell are you still a thing?!