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future tenz
the sexier decade ahead
by jeff miller (@jmillerboston)
pop culture

In The Tenz, we fly in hovercars fueled by laughter and rock n' roll. We've adopted a single global language, which is a hybrid of all known languages with a sprinkle of jazz theory. Consequently we're all getting along much better, and everybody can dance. Moral and religious disputes have gone the way of Disco, praise Gawd.

World peace sets the stage for tolerance, innovation, and a new cultural renaissance. Creativity and intelligence are valued over celebrity and convenience. Our elected leaders are true shepherds of a collective vision for equality and the pursuit of happiness- and they can all cut a rug.

You know what else? In The Tenz there are no political parties. That's right, the only kind of parties we're interested in are the kind where asses are shakin' and the music's loud. We're quite comfortable with a Prez who addresses the nation wearing jeans and a concert T. Last month's State of the Union theme was "Rockin like Dokken." It was awesome.

Tenz are a special time. We celebrate our lives by working hard at things we love, like playing the banjo or sculpting busts. Speaking of busts, another great thing about being alive in this brave new world is that people are much less hung up about sex. With all that moral squeamishness out of the way, people are openly curious and excitable without being assholes about it. Everyone has special parts, and pretending that your special parts don't exist or getting upset over someone else's special parts would be just plain silly.

All this works just fine, if you're cool. Not sure if you're cool? Not to worry, cuz in The Tenz everyone is cool, even you.

Right about now you're probably wondering, how the F did you pull this off? Well it wasn't easy. Admitting that things really weren't that cool was, for some people, the hardest part.

First, we had to get rid of FOX News. That shit wasn't cool at all. A) it encouraged people to write incendiary Facebook posts that were intentionally divisive. B) the FOX News personalities were just too damn angry all the time.

Then we had to agree - unanimously - that America's Got Talent was a horrible, horrible show.

We also had to remind everyone that, once upon a time, Ozzy was super-awesome. he wasn't always a mumbling clown selling cellphones on TV. He invented Heavy Metal with Black Sabbath. This is a very big deal. This is important.

Yes, music was a huge part of our transformation. We had to transcend radio, TV, the Internet, and a bazillion earbuds all stuffed with Taylor Swift. We had to swan dive into the plasma pool; to seek out that elemental substance, the cosmic life force, the sympathetic resonance of our society evolving beyond it's languishing constructs...

It turned out to be a first-edition vinyl pressing of Songs in the Key of Life by Stevie Wonder, squirreled away in a Massachusetts basement by a retired COBOL programmer. Anyway, once we had that, we were golden.

Next up was eliminating all the pleated khaki pants. To accomplish this, we sent squadrons of white girls in white baseball caps into big-city financial districts. Armed with megaphones, their siren calls promising Dave Mathews tickets and Chili's coupons, the gals lured our prey out into the street, pantsed the unsuspecting bores, and sent 'em packing with a pair of boot-cut jeans from Target and, of course, a 12-inch LP of Songs in the Key of Life.

(While all this was going on, another team swept their empty cubicles for any other offending corporate paraphernalia. High-priority items included Bobbleheads, USB-powered fans, Bluetooth headsets, and 100-calorie snack packs.)

That wasn't the end. We still had work to do. We had to deal with the whole fucking WAL-MART thing. As if we didn't have enough on our plates trying to eliminate racial and religious intolerance, we also had to convince people that buying their beer-battered shrimp at the same place they shopped for tires weren't always good idear, no matter how cheap.

No, it wasn't easy. But we pressed on.

There were advertising campaigns.
We tried mascots, sweepstakes, social media blitzes and music festivals. It took us a while to get it right, but finally after several failed attempts at mass communication we came to the inevitable conclusion that the only way to "advertise" our concept was to disassemble the advertising institutions entirely.

We stormed into places like BBDO and R/GA - basically any building with cryptic partial alphabets posted outside - and we slapped the headphones right off their creative personnel's heads. We dragged 'em out into the sunlight, their Gollum-like eyes spasming with vitamin D deficiency. We took away their action figures and their ironic eyeglasses. We fed them on Kubrick and Pink Floyd, and took them on road trips to places where people say what they mean and mean what they say. We reminded them of why they wanted to create to begin with, and, sure enough, most of them agreed that they'd rather not go back to work.

(Today the big ad agencies are harmless, self-contained ecosystems of executives, account managers, and producers who quibble amicably over timelines and budgets, each of them eyeing the last slice of leftover meeting-pizza, and all of them too polite to take it.)

At first - thanks to the advent of DVRs , mute-buttons, and an overall ambivalence to brand messaging - nobody noticed. Then people began asking questions. What kind of phone should I buy? Who's go the best unlimited breadsticks? Is my dick too small? How can I grow a bigger one?

Then everyone just kind of relaxed again, deciding it was really kind of fun to solve such problems on their own.

And that's not all we've got planned. Bold new initiatives like Can We Please Finally Kill Saturday Night Live and The Resurrection of Dr. Johnny Fever set the tone for a brighter, more vibrant now - and a future that rocks like a motherfucker. In The Tenz we're singin' songs in the key of life, baby - and everyone, everyone, everyone is invited.

You, yes you have a role to play too. You don't have to take down the ad industry, wipe out WAL-MART, or rescue middling corporate culture from itself. We've already got that covered. All you need to do is put a little more swagger in your step. Turn some new friends on to some old music. Question authority. Don't settle. Be honest. Be yourself.

Our movement is built on the shoulders of folks like 11-year-old Johnny Gameboy, who traded his Wii for a Slingerland drum kit. And 38-year-old Micky Phishfan, who finally discovered Van Halen and, just today, applied a fresh VH logo decal to the hood of his hover-converted '71 Pontiac.

Yes whether you're young or old, rich or poor, country or city - this is your time.

The Tenz
are now!


Brown eyes, brown hair, bluejeans and a T-shirt. Digs loud guitars and good design. Easily hypnotized by green-eyed blondes, shiny leather, B-movies, and brightly packaged foods. He's got a bustle in his hedgerow - but he is NOT alarmed.

more about jeff miller


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topic: pop culture
published: 2.12.01


tracey kelley
1.6.10 @ 10:33p

Bring on the Tenz!

Yes, that should be a Cafe Press t-shirt.

sandra thompson
1.7.10 @ 7:53a

Heavy Metal was invented by Iron Butterfly, followed quickly by Led Zeppelin, not by Ozzy and Black Sabbath who came along nearly a decade later. Notice the "metal" in their band names which is why the genre was called "heavy metal?" I do not want to get rid of Taylor Swift or SNL. I'm funny that way and I'm just sayin'......

jeff miller
1.7.10 @ 10:01a

Appreciate your POV, Sandra...and I'm quite clear on the history of the metal moniker.
However, most heavy metal fans agree that the enduring metal legacy is indisputably owned and maintained by Sabbath and their disciples.
Zeppelin has a huge role, but they also have a broader musical sensibility and lots of Phish and Taylor Swift fans love Zep (and so do I).
And if you enjoy Taylor Swift and SNL, more power to you. For me these represent a middling comfort zone in entertainment, and are little more than vehicles for advertising. BORING.

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