You Can’t Spell “Illustration” Without “Lust”

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 3:35 pm

Margaret and I have what I would call a mature relationship. Neither of us is the type to take umbrage when the other pauses to appreciate the human form in its many and varied permutations. We both know that we want to spend the rest of our lives together in monogamous exclusivity (or perhaps exclusive monogamy [which is really just a redudant tautology {which is in fact yet another redundancy}]), and that a momentary outbreak of “wandering eye” here or there is harmless and of no significance.

That being said, I may be on the verge of getting myself into trouble. You see, I’ve got a mild case of the hots for Erin Esurance, the perky spokescartoon for esurance.com.

Erin Esurance

I don’t know whether it’s her pink hair, big green eyes, or her cartoonishly lithe-yet-buxom figure, but those bastards at Esurance sure figured out how to push some buttons.

Look, I’m not proud of this. You think I’m thrilled to be attracted to a cartoon character? I assure you I am not. Thank God my wife is sufficiently level-headed to not feel threatened by the situation….although, it must be said, she has to be wondering what kind of wierdo she ended up marrying.

Friends and family might recall having heard me talk about my “mediopathy”, my unhealthy relationship to media, mostly motion-based media. I have yet to finish the game Doom 3, despite my having waited anxiously for almost two years to play it, because it terrifies me. I get sucked into the plot of even the most formulaic movies, so that I am unable to anticipate the hackneyed plot twists and surprise endings. I get tears in my eyes when television tells me to. This is a problem. It is not the sort of problem that requires immediate action like medication or electroshock, but it is a problem nonetheless.

It has long been my feeling that the human brain is not really cut out to distinguish between a series of fluidly transitioning sequential images, coupled with attendant audio input, and actual experience. There are already terms in the human neurologic lexicon for this sort of thing: imagination and memory. I’ve often said that, in the future, the cutting-edge video game experience might well involve paying to have the memory implanted in your head of kicking some alien ass on a distant planet.

I think I’m simply more susceptible to this particular brand of toxification of my amygdala than many people. Hence my attraction to Erin.

But Lord knows I can’t be the only one. You know—just know—that she was built from the ground up by a team of advertisers and marketers to draw people’s attention. I don’t say this just because of my reaction to her; I say it because nothing on a multi-million-dollar ad campaign is there without a reason. Makes me wonder who statistically buys more of the insurance in America, men or women?

Just the fact that they gave the character a name, despite the fact that her name is never used in any of the ads, should give you an idea of how much attention she’s drawn. She has her own blog (as sterile and anemic a corporate shill as has ever been created), where you can among other things view streams of all her commercials. Could desktop wallpaper—the pin-up of the digital age—be far behind?

And of course this isn’t the first time this sort of thing has happend. Lara Croft, anyone? (Though I never personally found her all that alluring. She always looked too much like a thirteen-year-old trying to smuggle a couple of watermelons out of the market in her tank top.)

Anyway, this is not the sort of thing that is going to cause a rift in my relationship with Margaret. I’m not writing Erin mash notes, I don’t have her picture on my desktop, I’m not staying up late teaching myself Flash so I can make my own Erin Esurance pr0n. I don’t look at her in the same way that I would look at, say, an actual attractive human female. I just think she’s cute. That’s wierd, but not, like, intervention wierd, is it?

Is it?

Ahh, what do you people know; none of you understands me.

But I’ll bet Erin does.

I used to have a script embedded in this post that provided an up-to-the-minute roster of every visitor who arrived here by entering the word “Esurance” in a search engine. Eventually the list got so long that it was causing fatal timeouts on my blog. I’m still recording these hits, but the list has been removed to a separate page. You can see it here.

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8 Responses to “You Can’t Spell “Illustration” Without “Lust””

  1. Erin Says:

    My Dear Roo, I don’t think you’re weird although I am Hurt, that despite the many activities we have partaken in within your psyche you have not yet purchased my insurance. If you really care for me you will buy a policy before I end up nothing but an old remencent thought, or featured on some VH1 special with, “The Noid” or “Joe Camel” – Love and virtual kisses – Erin Esurance

  2. Uncle Andrew Says:|-|-|16/Nov/2005 16:51:59|POST /blog/wp-comments-post.php HTTP/1.1|302|5|http://www.uncle-andrew.net/blog/?p=204|Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1; .NET CLR 1.1.4322)|pteranodon.local

    Get bent, Shawn; I was watching my httpd log when you posted this. 😀

  3. Joe Says:

    The first time I saw Erin Esurance I was reminded of a character from the Flash Anamations of Kirk Millett called Nylon Futura. I also find the animation on the Esurance.com commercials reminiscent of the animation on his short video Souvenir.

    The character of Erin doesn’t actually do anything for me, not that there is anything wrong with that, but I do admit that a skilled illustrator can evoke a response that far exceeds the seeming simplicity of an image. In particular, I am always amazed by a skilled caricaturists’ talent for evoking recognizable identities from what seems at first glance to be lazy scribbles.

    I do agree with you regarding human susceptibility to flickering images and audio tracks. I have occasionally caught myself tearing up during some schmaltzy scene from a bad television show. Usually I follow up with a round of muttered cursing as I realize that I am not empathizing with any of the characters but am simply responding like Pavlov’s Dog to audio queues buried in the chord progression of the soundtrack.

  4. Joe Says:

    Sorry about double posting. Your captcha page came up without graphics so I was unable to continue and assumed that the posts were being blocked.

  5. Gavin Says:

    Phew, it’s not just me then. Only I think I’m a little worse off. Oh wait, do I have to start by saying “Hi, I’m Gavin and I’m a mediopathic”? See I have this thing for Kim Possible, (except for that weird mustache looking upper lip). Not only is she a cartoon, she’s an under age cartoon. Yes, I know, years of therapy…

  6. Uncle Andrew Says:

    Hey Joe, sorry about the captcha. That damn thing never seems to work right, and it’s hard to see what’s going wrong from this end. I think I’m going to try to disable it entirely. The rest of Spam Karma is fantastic; I haven’t had a single comment spam since I started using it.

    Hmm…you know Gavin, that Kim Possible is a bit of all right. Not having kids around a lot, I’d not seen her before. Many of the same characteristics that I find so cute in Erin. Particularly the shape of the hair, which for some reason just screams “cute”.

    Guys, I can’t tell you how relieved I am to hear I’m not the only one overly susceptible to media. Support group, anyone?

  7. Uncle Andrew Says:

    I also find the animation on the Esurance.com commercials reminiscent of the animation on his short video Souvenir.

    Dang, Joe, you may have pegged it. Very derivative. And the both of them have that sort of Warner Bros. Herschfeld thing going as well.

  8. Uncle Andrew Says:

    This may be more widespread than I had originally thought.

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