Still from a SUPERPLASTIC video showing a cartoon cat, dog, and bunny dressed in urban streetwear.

Cartoons, Circuses and Dead Celebrities

The average new car payment in the U.S. in 2022 was $700 per month, and, according to Experian, the firm that knows more about your credit than you do, the average amount borrowed was $41,665. The average length of a loan was 69.7 months. To put that into context, were you to have taken a loan of that length that you are just paying off, the year you took the loan was the year that “fake news” became a thing (or did it. . . ?) Kelley Blue Book, which tracks such things, reported that in November, the average price of a luxury vehicle was $67,050. To put that into context, the U.S. Census Bureau, which calculates such things, says that the U.S. 2021 median household income (the latest year it has the number for) was $70,784.

Mercedes-Benz, which most certainly makes luxury vehicles, announced last week that it is “joining forces with emerging entertainment brand, SUPERPLASTIC.”

SUPERPLASTIC is described as being “known for its universe of synthetic celebrities brough to life through original content on social media and ‘hyper-limited’ toy and apparel drops,” a company that “collaborates with a wide range of A-list musicians, artists and international brands.” That would include Gorillaz, J Balvin, Steve Aoki and Gucci.

To simplify things, the company has created cartoon characters that are arguably the spawn of Garbage Pail Kids and Bratz and it sells stuff.

For its partnership with Mercedes it created a character named “Superdackel,” described as “the SUPERPLASTIC reinvention and heroic alter ego of a beloved cultural icon, the ‘Wackeldackel’, the classic ‘nodding dog’ ornament that’s graced the hearts and dashboards of generations of drivers around the globe.” Erm, well, at least for those who speak German is the Wackeldackel known as the nodding dog.

The company has made a video including its cartoon characters that has them boosting a car from a New York City Mercedes dealership and bumping along and doing cartoony things to a hip-hop beat. At one point Wackeldackel transforms into his new persona, Superdackel, which includes putting on a necklace that has a massive Mercedes star hood ornament dangling from it, bringing Mike D to mind.

Not only does the whole thing smack of cultural misappropriation, but odds are that few people who are SUPERPLASTIC age-appropriate fans are going to be able to pick up something like a Mercedes-AMG EQS sedan: starting price, $147,500. (Hmm. . .maybe two households could get together and share one. . .but they wouldn’t have anything left over for the electricity needed to charge it.)


In 2020 Nipton, an unincorporated town in San Bernardino County, California, put itself up for sale. The listing price was $2.75 million. There were no takers until last week when a company named Spiegelworld, which describes itself as “a live entertainment production company, known for its shows which combine adult comedy acrobatics and music,” staged mainly in Las Vegas (e.g., Atomic Saloon Show, “where Madam Boozy Skunkton & her sensationally talented, outrageously amoral crew throw a nightly boozy-doozy of a show”), bought it for an undisclosed price, though reported to be in that $2.75 million vicinity.

Nipton is about an hour south of Vegas. According to Spiegelworld, “It will be a living town where Spiegelworld artists and performers will retreat to dream, create, and undertake unfettered artistic experimentation which will feed into the creation of Spiegelworld’s world-class shows. It will also be a place where visitors and passers-by can have an experience unlike anything else.”

It is now being called “Circus Town.” Given Madam Boozy Skunkton and her outrageously amoral crew, it is probably not of the Barnum & Bailey variety. (One can only imagine what the passers-by could encounter. . . .)

In December 1968 the Rolling Stones staged the “Rock and Roll Circus.” Although ostensibly in a big top that had seen better days, it was in a film studio as it was being filled by Michael Lindsay-Hogg (yes, he of the Let It Be Beatles documentary).

Performers included the Stones and the Who, as well The Dirty Mac, which consisted of John Lennon, Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, Mitch Mitchell, Yoko Ono, and Ivry Gitlis. And there were traditional circus performers, as well.

(The film, due to various losses and discoveries and abandonment, wasn’t released until October 1996, nearly three decades after the performance.)

One imagines that had someone looked in the couch cushions of the Waldbühne Berlin last August after the Stones’ performance there the amount of money to buy Nipton could have been accumulated.

That could have resulted in “an experience unlike anything else.”


Back in 1967 there was the seed of a rumor that Paul McCartney had died in a car accident. The plot simmered until the fall of 1969, when Abbey Road was released (“Hmm. . .why is ‘Paul’ barefoot?”). A caller to a Detroit “underground” radio station, WKNR-FM, to Russ Gibb, the impresario of the Grande Ballroom and the host of a weekend show on the station, in October 1969, propelled the notion significantly. Realize that the Grande hosted acts including Led Zeppelin, Joe Cocker, The Who, The Velvet Underground, Van Morrison, Fleetwood Mac, and many more, so (1) Gibb knew people and (2) he had more than a modicum of credibility.

But as those things do, the rumor sizzled then fizzled.

Paul, or perhaps that should be “Paul,” proved he was still alive. (Which leads to a tangent: can you really prove that you are you? I will spare you of wandering off in that direction.)

The whole “Paul Is Dead” tempest came to mind when it was revealed that “indie romance novelist” Susan Meachen, whose daughter (allegedly) announced her mother’s death on a Facebook pages in October 2020, turned out—plot twist!—to be alive!

Meachen revealed her continued existence on The Ward, her private writers’ group, on January 2.

This is not to equate Sir Paul with the author of self-published romance novels (including Love to Last a Lifetime).

But it is notable that her faked death and public resurrection was covered by outlets including Slate, USA Today, BuzzFeed, Rolling Stone, Vulture, and The Times of London.

What if Paul really is dead?

Imagine the coverage of that.

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