The Future of Schools

In market-totalitarian America, everything must serve the overclass, and increasingly so. Hence, the latest marketing platform? The institution known as school. Per Ad Age:

Kleenex (an ecocidal marketing/waste endeavor of Kimberly-Clark Worldwide, Inc.) had approached Studiocom with an interesting challenge: create a back-to-school push promoting the brand’s “stronger, more absorbent tissues.” Problem was, “No one cares when a brand says something like this,” said Creative Director Todd Slutzky. “It’s basically a meaningless statement like ‘new and improved.'” So the Studiocom team decided to put the brand to the ultimate test–in the hands of some science savvy kids. The agency went out to the top 100 science elementary and middle schools around the U.S. and asked them to come up with creative ideas to test the strength of the new tissues.

Ten of the schools took part, each backed by $5,000 funding from Kleenex. The Studiocom team then captured the most creative and compelling “Xperiments” on film.

Here’s the smarm and teacher prostitution that “positions” this appalling trick:

Gosh, I wonder how Kleenexes would do in a strength test against the cloth handkerchieves they are designed to obscure. Science anybody?

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Shamelessness

This overclass is so dominant, so safe from criticism, they increasingly just directly tell you what to do, despite your own obvious conflicting interests:

Without delving into cell phones’ ruinous effects on the cognitive and behavioral dimensions of the social fabric, contrast that spot with the work of Chris Jordan.

jordan

Vance Packard* is spinning in his grave.
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*Note also the typically insipid book description from Amazon:

The Waste Makers was the first book to probe the increasing commercialization of American life—the development of consumption for consumption’s sake.

“Consumption for consumption’s sake”? Um, no. Consumption for profit’s sake. It continues to amaze TCT how thoroughly the great sacred “consumption” doctrines remain safe from the slightest mental effort.

And how sad is it that the “progressive” publisher assigned the modern introduction to Packard’s classic to somebody unable or unwilling to mention the powers-that-be, let alone explain the basics of capitalism, i.e. the new Don Quixote [or is it catspaw?] known as Bill McKibben?

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Gougers’ Paradise

The glories of leaving things to “the market” prove themselves from the very outset. Here’s a graph from today’s New York Times:

birth

And, of course, it gets even better! According to the Times:

The chasm in price is true even though new mothers in France and elsewhere often remain in the hospital for nearly a week to heal and learn to breast-feed, while American women tend to be discharged a day or two after birth, since insurers do not pay costs for anything that is not considered medically necessary.

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Buttwipes

Shitty systems generate shitty products. Add in commodification, juvenilization, machismo, waste, and the awful role of venture capital, and you get the following string in Nero’s late-fire fiddle:

Can’t make this stuff up.

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Still Vaster Wasteland

tvpile Television, vehicle of the national hologram and central nervous system of corporate capitalist sales efforts, might be human history’s most deadly invention. Mostly, that’s due to its slyly corrosive effects on human analytical skills. But there’s also a physical side. Today’s New York Times reports that the pace of TV set replacement has doubled in recent years, as makers have pushed flat-panel monitors. Meanwhile, “recycling” of old TVs is mainly a scam, with mountains of old sets just lying around in various places. And the toxicity of the newfangled flat screens?

Most experts say that the larger solution to the growing electronic waste problem is for technology companies to design products that last longer, use fewer toxic components and are more easily recycled. Much of the industry, however, seems to be heading in the opposite direction.

Cathode ray tubes have been largely replaced by flat panels that use fluorescent lights with highly toxic mercury in them, said Jim Puckett, director of Basel Action Network, an environmental advocacy group.

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Imperial Decline

The New York Times today features a piece on the design of the workspace at the ?What If! [note: a fine nominee for the most annoying agency name ever] marketing agency, which “works to expand the markets of businesses like PepsiCo, Pfizer and Virgin.”

The theme is postmodern playground:

work-booths

The new interiors recall the whimsies of larger creative campuses like Google. There are “stimulation” shelves for employees to display objects; white boards in the elevators (“Smiths or Cure?” read one line of graffiti the other day); a “library” with no books (just wallpaper that looks like books); and vintage stereo components that play vinyl.

Can you guess what the building housing all this behavior-engineering “play” on behalf of corporate sugar water and other forms of cash-farming used to be? Yep, a free-care hospital and a lending library.

For the umpteenth time, Orwell couldn’t make this stuff up.

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