Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Don't Answer That

And in another useless move to attempt to promote safe sex and raise awareness of HIV and AIDS, the BBC World Service Trust brings you "condom a cappella", a mobile phone ringtone that chants "condom, condom". Wait. What?

Correct. According to the fine folks down under at, this idea is "
designed to break down Indians' reluctance to discuss condom use and to make wearing a condom more acceptable." The organizers of this campaign "hope the ringtone will become a craze among young Indians." I'm not so sure if this is a good thing to hope for. Wearing a condom? Sure, hope for that. Throngs of people who own and love a phone that belts out "condom, condom" every time it rings? Not so much. Who am I kidding here? What the hell?!

Who thinks this is a good idea? (I swear to you, if this "catches on" and bazillions of people have this damn ringtone, I'm going to build a walled off compound in the mountains of Montana (a la the Unabomber), move in and never come out.) Well, I guess that Radharani Mitra, who is the creative director of the BBC World Service Trust, thinks it's a good idea. That person said, "Ringtones have become such personal statements that a specially created condom ringtone seemed just the right way of combining a practical message with a fun approach." Uh-huh. Blink-blink. Stare. Blink-blink.

My ringtone is none. My phone is always, always on vibrate. What does that say about me? (Aside from the fact that I'll admit it feels great when it's in my pocket?) What's my practical message? Oh, I know. It says that I find the ringing of cell phones in public rude and annoying and I am not so insecure that I need to prove to the entire world that I am popular by having my cell phone ring for all of humanity to hear when I am in a public place. It also says that I will not be having a ringtone that chants "condom, condom" any time soon or ever because why would I?

What's next? Ringtones for the overweight and obese? "Fat ass, fat ass!" "Have a salad! Try a small cone!" Ringtones for the recovering alcoholic? "Coffee! Soda!" "Go to a meeting! Go to a meeting!" Ringtones for drug addicts? "Clean needles! Don't share!" "Hepatitis C! Hepatitis C!" Ringtones for public fornicators? "Get a room! Get a room!" The sad and pathetic list is almost endless.

Radharani Mitra also said that, "The idea is to tackle the inhibitions and taboos that can be associated with condoms.'' How about you tackle the "inhibitions and taboos that can be associated" with having your phone belt out "condom, condom" whenever it rings? THAT seems like something that should be leading the way in the "taboo" category. It reminds me of the Little Caesar's slogan "Pizza! Pizza!" This condom ringtone is going to be like the Little Caesar's of prophylactics. It could even have the same effect as "Pizza! Pizza!" does on most people, that being that when you hear "Pizza! Pizza!", you think something to the effect of, " Pizza." Will people hear "condom, condom" and think, " Sex." ? It's possible. I mean, after all, it usually takes a lot less than "condom, condom" to get people thinking about sex. Exhaling, for example, is usually sufficient.

I suppose I could give this a little bit of time and see if it's successful, but it won't be, so why wait? Look, if these folks want this to have any chance at all of succeeding, they're going to need to market it better. I'm thinking they need to get Apu (from The Simpsons) to be their spokesperson/cartoon and/or the condom a cappella voice. That way the ringtone could belt out, "Condom, condom. Thank you. Come again." Hil-arious. Hey, it'd be better than those two chaps down there on the right who have clearly never had the need to use a condom. I guess the opportunity just never arose. (Oh, what?! Like I can't make one joke involving a pun within the penis-erection genre?! Come on!)

By the way, you can listen to the ringtone at Just a word of warning, if you click on that link, the ringtone will start playing automatically. It's annoying and it chants "condom" in an a cappella-y fashion just like it claims it does.

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