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Let's See Those Shoes, Doll Face

Vintage Halloween Ad

THE IMAGE: A dizzy dame dressed as a witch simultaneously frightened and turned on by a creepy pumpkin-headed stranger approaching her from behind at a booze-fueled adult Halloween party that will end in a far-out orgy and/or gruesome bloodbath.

THE BAIT: Some crazy sex-themed ads that take you back to the good old days before the commie liberal woke PC cancel culture thought police took all the fun out of objectifying brainless babes.

THE TARGET: Registered sex offenders who hope viewing the photo gallery won't violate the terms of their parole, men over 75 who think they once took that sexy number out on the town, the ghost of Ichabod Crane, the ghost of Bob Crane.

THE STUPID: The featured image is from a vintage print ad for Griffin Microsheen Stain Boot Polish. It ran in 1957, not the 1970s, warning women whose primary obligation was to look presentable to potential husbands that "the goblins will get you if your shoes are dull and dingy." Though the full ad is reliably risqué, at least for the 50s (that future den mother's witch costume includes a broomstick, but no pants) and laughably outdated, I don't know who exactly the sponsor thinks would "ban" it today, or under what legal authority. I'm pretty sure that American companies still freely utilize sexist advertising without fear of reprisal, just as our all-male gender-subjugating founders intended.

Insert Your Town Here

Plane Descending Over Beach

THE IMAGE: A Royal Dutch Airlines 747 coming in for a landing just over the heads of a bunch of excited beachgoers in what will be the high point of their pointless, inconsequential lives.

THE BAIT: Images of an insanely dangerous international airport in a small town near you that somehow you never knew existed before but now definitely will avoid at all costs.

THE TARGET: People who don't know anything about the size or geographical characteristics of the locality they reside in, people who enjoy being told what not to do, people who've always lived in mortal fear of the Netherlands.

THE STUPID: There's no particular reason for anyone outside of hip-happening Western New York to know this, but Fairport is a pleasant little village on the Erie Canal with a population of 5,366. It doesn't have an airport, so huge jetliners generally don't fly there, unless we're talking about some kind of an MH-370 scenario. The reason why the headline refers to "the Fairport airport" is because this content is targeted to my IP address, which gives Fairport as my location, even though I don't actually live there. The sponsor doesn't know or care whether Fairport has an airport, good or bad, or even where Fairport is; it just utilizes some program that auto-generated "Fairport" to try to get my attention, which it did, though not with the intended result. For the record, the scene depicted in the featured image is Maho Beach, on the Caribbean island of Saint Martin, about 50 feet from Princess Juliana International Airport, and 1,900 miles from Fairport.

You're Gonna Have to Do Better Than That

Humanoid Robot

THE IMAGE: A glass-brained humanoid robot pondering which of its inefficient biological creators it should destroy first.

THE BAIT: A sizzling-hot stock tip so valuable that you'd be crazy not to immediately sell your home and move in with your alcoholic brother to invest everything in a company you've never heard of that some guy you don't know thinks will make profits you won't believe at some time you can't ascertain.

THE TARGET: People who don't realize that they'll be fighting over a can of lima beans in a post-climate change apocalypse long before uncannily lifelike robots have a chance to be developed, people who yell at grocery store workers for not accepting Bitcoin, people who think it's wise to take investment advice from an outfit that includes the word "fool" right in its name, Jeff Bezos' ex-wife.

THE STUPID: Ooo ... a CEO believes this is a good investment -- it must be true! CEO of what? I'm the CEO of this underperforming blog, and if you followed my sage investment advice, you'd end up depending on Subway coupons to live, too. And what's the "tech"? Do they mean a specific tech company, or an entire tech industry? Does it involve unsettlingly contemplative robots -- or, wait -- is the robot actually the CEO? And where did they get "35 Amazons"? Why 35? That seems oddly precise. Couldn't they just say, "This could be the next Amazon?" Or were they concerned that potential investors won't buy into a company with a projected earning potential of a mere 30 Amazons? Personally, I draw the line at 38 Amazons -- anything less than that, and you can count me out.

Black and White Lives Matter

Sexy Wild West Sheriff

THE IMAGE: A glammed-up aspiring actress / perspiring stock photo model pretending to be a 19th century Texas sheriff in the 21st century California sun, carefully keeping her Apple Watch out of the shot.

THE BAIT: A surprisingly sexy depiction of the American Wild West, heavy on saloon prostitutes.

THE TARGET: Men who've already viewed every salacious image of women taken after 1901, men who think high-quality digital black-and-white photos are really old, men with a healthy respect for law enforcement if it comes in the form of hot babes on horseback, traveling Burbank residents who miss home.

THE STUPID: Portrait of a typical Wild West sheriff: a slim 28-year-old woman in full makeup and professionally styled hair wearing a leather corset and a fashionable Kentucky Derby hat. This historic photo screams authenticity -- just don't pay attention to the hitch end of the trailer and modern buildings visible in the background. Pursuant to our strict policy of refusing to click on this craptastic content, I don't know how the headline ends; but my best guess is, "It's unbelievable how much we have ... become a nation of empty-headed ignoramuses." I'd never make it in advertising.

Infrastructure Week

Abandoned Island

THE IMAGE: A small, overbuilt, abandoned island with crumbling concrete buildings that looks like it was the scene of an accidental release of a top-secret, genetically modified virus that transformed its residents into maniacal flesh-eating zombies who gruesomely consumed each other in a horrific orgy of cannibalistic gore, but which actually is not that.

THE BAIT: A secret so dark and diabolical that it remained hidden for decades by powerful state actors until "Money Versed" bravely exposed it online in order to hawk terrible products and services.

THE TARGET: People who've never heard of Massachusetts, people who haven't seen Skyfall, cult members seeking a better venue for satanic rituals after being kicked out of the Y, mad scientists with poor geography skills, Brian Laundrie.

THE STUPID: That's Hashima Island, a former mining facility and current UNESCO World Heritage Site located a couple miles off the southwestern coast of Not Massachusetts, a.k.a. "Japan." It's been featured in several movies and TV shows. Strangely, despite no one being allowed on the island, it's a well-known tourist attraction with thousands of visitors each year.

You'll Never Be the Same

Watermelon Trick

THE IMAGE: A stay-at-home husband who will need a new nerd shirt proudly displaying the end result of a meticulous three-hour process of cutting open a watermelon in the most impractical way possible as his wife wearily sets down the pile of work she brought back from the office and imagines how she'll subsequently recount this event to her therapist.

THE BAIT: Some clever tricks to make you feel like your life hasn't been one colossal fuck-up after another.

THE TARGET: People who are willing to go to considerable lengths to impress their imaginary friends, people who love watermelon but hate the ease of serving and eating it in the conventional manner, people looking for a socially acceptable alternative to de-braining the skulls of dead hobos.

THE STUPID: In the inane idiosphere of sponsored content, nothing is just a tip or an idea -- it's always a "hack." If you discover a better way to dry out your smartphone after you accidentally dropped it in the toilet or eradicate your toenail fungus before beach season, you instantly become an ingenious mastermind who's solved the riddle of human existence. In this case, a time-consuming technique for creating the illusion of a rindless watermelon by wasting an entire second watermelon is presented not only as a "hack," but as a "life hack that changes everything," when, at most, it only changes the way you eat watermelon and your odds of ever having sex again.