Thanks to its superior deniability and ability to deliver Pavlovian treats, market totalitarianism works infinitely better than its state cousin ever has or could. Stalin and Hitler would be purple with jealousy at how well corporate capitalism obtains compliance from its subordinate classes.
With this in mind, ponder the fact that, as reported by Advertising Age, “[t]he escapist appeal of looking at other people’s beautiful homes turned Home & Garden Television into the third most-watched cable network in 2016, ahead of CNN and behind only Fox News and ESPN.”
The basis of this ascent is the sponsored worship of one of the core products of corporate capitalism’s sales vector, the personal residence:
Nikki Justice doesn’t seem like she’d be a big fan of HGTV’s show “Property Brothers.” A first-year astronomy and physics major at Ohio State University, she’s never owned a home, let alone flipped one. But her parents watched regularly, and now Ms. Justice tunes in several hours a week to watch one home transformation after another.
“A lot of the news these days is really stressful,” she said. “HGTV is not something that’s going to hurt me. I watch it and dream of what I want for my future house.”
So does Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins, who recently said that he prefers HGTV to ESPN. Taylor Swift shared on Instagram her affection for HGTV’s “Fixer Upper.” And Hillary Clinton said she likes “Love It or List It” and “Beachfront Bargain Hunt,” calling them “relaxing, entertaining and informative.”
CNN is itself a deeply defective product, as explained by Joseph Heath. But the fact remains: In the year 2016, HGTV is more important in the mental sphere of the United States than the supposed flagship of information about collective affairs. Note to the grandchildren…
It makes me reach for my Jacques Ellul:
As advertising of the most varied products is concentrated, a new type of human being, precise and generalized, emerges. We can get a general impression of this new human type by studying America, where human beings tend clearly to become identified with the ideal of advertising. In America, advertising enjoys universal popular adherence, and the American way of life is fashioned by it.