In the western United States, one of the pieces of the old AT&T corporation is called Qwest. Qwest is about to do something it knows is unconscionable — throw yet another paper telephone book onto everybody’s doorstep.
If ever anything was outdated, it is the unrequested provision of paper telephone books for every household. But Qwest cares not. Phone book advertising remains a source of revenue and profit, so onward it steams, the planet and people’s time and space be damned.
Meanwhile, to alter the mental agendas of those who will soon be burning or recycling its unconscionable droppings, Qwest is running a multi-million-dollar TV ad campaign saying this:
Join Dex® in our commitment to being environmentally responsible by recycling your outdated directories. You’ll help save valuable natural resources and reduce energy consumption.
This kind of pre-emptive interpretive suggestion is, of course, a common corporate marketing tactic. By shifting the issue from “Why another pile of useless paper?” to “What do I do with my old phone book?,” Dex spends some of its customers’ money (and its workforce’s foregone wages) engineering the mental climate its shareholders need.
Qwest an eco-criminal? No, not us! “Join us in our commitment to being environmentally responsible!”
What commitment would that be, one might wonder as one trips over 5 pounds of pointless tree pulp? None, of course. Qwest is pulling a Big Brother, pure and simple. Up is down. War is peace. Another immense waste of paper is a commitment to the Earth’s ecology.
If we ever manage to create a movement for social change we could really believe in, one of its most obvious tasks would be to nationalize all telecommunications infrastructure and provide all such services publicly, without any marketing costs or profit margins or unconscionable ecological and existential waste.
Until then, all the mental and physical garbage being foisted on us by outfits like Qwest and the cell phone corporations remains a “business” only on the basis of our failure to recognize how outdated such capitalist practices are.