Archive for the 'Eyeballs and Eardrums (The Media)' Category
Wednesday, June 12th, 2013
2. NSA’s operation is tiny and one-dimensional compared with the data-gathering happening in the marketing operations of the 1,000 largest business corporations.
3. Much of the data being gathered by NSA already exists — and is submitted by — corporations like Google and the cell-phone squatter-oligopolies/profit ranches.
4. One excellent answer to all this spying would be to empower the US Postal Service to set up and run a national, not-for-profit, no-ads, no-spying internet and cellular network, with the explicit charge of out-competing the private sector.
5. We await any kind of left stirring…
6. “Market totalitarianism” is not hyperbole.
Friday, May 31st, 2013
Over at Advertising Age, Glenn Engler, CEO of Digital Influence Group, is discussing what’s wrong with the vanity-exploiting data scraper known as “Foursquare.” Foursquare is an app by which users “check in” at restaurants and other destinations. As they post their humble brags, of course, Foursquare’s proprietors and clients gain the ability to track these users’ movements, then correlate them with the continent of other marketing data in their possession.
In the course of his exegesis of how he would like to see Foursquare improve its value to the marketing class, Mr. Engler pens this line:
Retailers want a more targeted advertising base, but the customers are not immersed enough to be a highly valued “eyeball.”
Yes, “consumers,” that’s what you are to the overclass — an eyeball (or an eardrum) for the absorption of marketing stimuli. TCT is not making this stuff up. Merely reporting.
Thursday, April 11th, 2013
Just as Fred Taylor spoke corporate capitalism’s words about work and its control, so did Google CEO Eric Schmidt voice the system’s deepest truth about privacy in the face of marketing:
That was in December of 2009.
Dig the usefulness of the “war on terror” and its subcomponents to the marketing juggernaut. Why does the privacy of commoners not exist to Google and its customers? It’s absolutely because privacy is anathema to the basic conduct of big business in our age of two-way communications. Privacy would end the overclass’s ability to gather data on our off-the-job behavior via new media, and thereby refine and extend their sales efforts. But, thanks to the Patriot Act, Schmidt can get away without mentioning this elementary fact, and pretend he’s just a patriot doing his lawful duty.
And, as Gawker rightly remarked at the time of Schmidt’s Taylorian utterance, consider also the radical uni-directionality of the relationship in question. Privacy is nothing, a mere remnant of earlier times to be eroded and strangled as quickly as people will allow, to those looking out from the corporate boardroom. What happens in the boardroom and in the lives of the primary beneficiaries of the system? Try telling them they have no privacy rights, and that all their affairs are open to public scrutiny…
Tuesday, March 19th, 2013
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.
Monday, March 11th, 2013
This weekend, while running on a treadmill, I had the extreme displeasure of watching a half-hour infomercial for a product called the CoreBody Reformer. This is a $265 pile of junk that suggests it will burn away the fat of the obese, via a series of exercises supposedly facilitated by it. Here’s a glimpse:
In the full infomercial, which I (tellingly) can’t seem to find on the internet, there are more extended views of people — women — doing the “CoreBody” exercises. These involve balancing on the contraption’s tube while executing a series of balletic movements against some unspecified amount of resistance. Any guesses as to what percentage of the target audience stands a snowball’s chance in Hell of ever moving like that? Hence, the ubiquitous “results vary” disclaimer in the fine print.
Meanwhile, the real secret to the “success” stories — undoubtedly women paid handsomely to appear as success stories — is not the device and exercises. Also in the fine print at the bottom of the infomercial, you learn that all the “successes” shown in the ad not only posed with their CoreBody Reformers, but “followed the CoreBody Reformer® meal plan.” And guess what? Not only is this rather crucial fact unmentioned in the infomercial, but the details of the “CoreBody Reformer® meal plan” are entirely undisclosed on the product’s website!
One could write a college term paper on the various forms of fraud and theft embodied in this atrocious yet utterly typical scam, not least being the fetishization of the supposed “core” of the body, i.e. the latest variation of the hoary whopper that doing sit-ups will give you a tummy like the models in the ad. One could also note how obesity is such a perfect epidemic for corporate capitalists, a real gold mine. One could ask whether citizens would agree to having the FCC continue granting licenses to broadcasters who use their ethereal desmesnes to air such “paid programming.” One could also ponder the fact that this thing is definitely not small potatoes, in terms of sponsors, as it emanates from the Nautilus, Inc. corporation, which, as it generates over $19,000 in book profits per employee, isn’t big enough to be Fortune 500, but also isn’t close to being a small business.
Suffice, for now, to end with this depressing fact: Consumer Reports endorses this racket!
Tuesday, March 5th, 2013
Despite having its moments, The New York Times squarely remains The New York Times, of course:
Mr. Chávez changed Venezuela in fundamental ways, empowering and energizing millions of poor people who had felt marginalized and excluded. But his rule also widened society’s divisions.
Translation: By reducing society’s divisions, Mr. Chavez infuriated society’s overclasses, at home and abroad. They felt less happy, so therefore “society” was more polarized. Overclass = society, in other words.
R.I.P., and muchas gracias, Hugo…