Comments on a cultural reality between past and future.

This blog describes Metatime in the Posthuman experience, drawn from Sir Isaac Newton's secret work on the future end of times, a tract in which he described Histories of Things to Come. His hidden papers on the occult were auctioned to two private buyers in 1936 at Sotheby's, but were not available for public research until the 1990s.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Laugh of the Day - Canadian Guardsman Picnic

"Canadian Guardsman Picnic" advertisement for Windsor Canadian Supreme Whisky (1978). Source.

I just ran across this ad from 1978 in an old Popular Mechanics.  I was saved the trouble of scanning it for the blog because it was already online; incredibly, someone is selling this single-page ad for over USD$7 on ebay. The ad runs:
"This Canadian has a reputation for smoothness. So you won't catch him drinking anything less than the smoothest whisky around. Windsor. A whisky made with glacier-fed spring water and aged in the clean, clear air of the Canadian Rockies."


  1. I'm going to just outright overlook the fact that you were browsing through issues of 'Popular Mechanics' from the 1970s and say that is an awesome picture!

    My first thoughts were simply that yes, he is pretty smooth and hey, why is he drinking in uniform? Then I began to notice the troubling details. A flower in her hair and a hat too? Do girls do that? And why is she staring cooly and rather hypnotically at whoever has interrupted them (me?) while his gaze wanders elsewhere. In fact, the more I look at him the less smooth and the more worried he seems... And what is he trying to indicate to us by pointing at her hat?

    A deceptively simple composition... :D

  2. Hey Lee, It didn't occur to me, but yeah, the Popular Mechanics remark needs explanation. I was clearing off a shelf in my family's home; these are my father's old magazines.

    One thing I noticed in all these magazines is that the cigarette ads (especially for Salem) were hypnotic and creepy. I've commented before on the blog about how sinister and morbid imagery was subliminally worked into ads from this period. At first, you have a laugh at the clothing etc. but then you think, 'Yeah, why is he pointing to her hat?' Why are they gazing at us so directly (element of threat)?

    Have a look at the vintage ad browser, and you will certainly see some eye openers

  3. Here's my post on subliminal advertising:

    I am starting to wonder, with the use of CGI and computer graphics, whether old laws regulating subliminal imagery and messages need updating.

  4. And I would add to that that we forget how booze and cigarettes were everywhere in the 70s. Google 'when did people stop drinking at work' for example. The cigarette ads confirm the tobacco industry's domination of the culture; pretty much all adults smoked. I don't think anti-drinking and driving campaigns came in until the 70s. Now, several reports indicate that Boomer women (one demographic group targeted by these ads - especially Virginia Slims) associated smoking with emancipation. They are now beginning to die from lung cancer.

  5. I was largely jesting with my earlier comments but looking through those posters reminds me of just how manipulative advertising for cigarettes and booze used to be. Lots of attractive women giving me that same appraising stare - am I smoking/drinking a sufficiently manly brand - and lots of rugged men challenging me just as directly ('How come I enjoy smoking and you don't?' was my favourite!). And it's interesting to see how those aimed at women play very strongly, as you said, on ideas of emancipation (and also playfulness - the implication being that you'd have to be pretty uptight not to enjoy a smoke...).

    I'm with you on the need to look carefully at how subliminal advertising is employed, especially now the internet has conditioned us to sifting through large and varied amounts of information with roving and often unfocused eyes...

  6. Yes, if you Google 'Salem cigarette ads' and 'Winston cigarette ads' and look at image results, you will notice they changed in the late 1970s and became dramatic and menacing. Salem, in particular, took the challenging stare one step further and messed with the model's eyes in the developing process, so that they had an Exorcist look to them. They also had some really nasty ads where the models are simply shadows in a landscape.


    Stanford is doing research on this:

    Shadow images:

    Subliminal imagery now is a serious concern because digital media can do anything and for such short amounts of time that we would never catch manipulated pictures. I don't know what the laws say on this matter.

  7. More shadow people in cigarette ads: