Our Media Catastrophe

The Reagan Revolution will go down as one of human history’s most successful elite schemes. As its remarkable run nears the half-century mark, it still shows precious few signs of even being politically named as a problem, to say nothing of actually being reversed. At this late date, what passes for a left continues to wander around in various self-referential circles grasping (perhaps) at micro-straws (including plastic straws) while mumble-ranting about stillborn, punch-pulling neologisms like “neo-liberalism” and “intersectionality.”

One important sign of the continuing addlepated weakness of the forces of reason and survival is their lack of alarm about the fact that, by this point, all the major outlets of public communication are in the full control of the corporate capitalist machine. As folks like Bernie Sanders labor to get civilized medical insurance mentioned within the Democratic Party branding operation, this issue, along with the other unmentioned whopper of one-person-one-vote, lies all but untouched, despite the paint-peeling facts-at-hand, which now make the institutional landscapes enumerated by Herman and Chomsky and Bagdikian look like the epoch of Common Sense and the committees of correspondence.

To wit: In any democratic society, this “news story,” which NBC News, the child of the Comcast theft-empire, would not only have cost Comcast/NBC its broadcasting licenses, but would be Exhibit A in the long-overdue move to democratize and diversify the U.S. communications infrastructure.

As it is, such shameless self-advertising propaganda by the single greatest opponent of universal media accesss goes by completely unnoticed.

13.24% to 24.24%

Those are the interest rates, “based on creditworthiness,” on the pending Apple Card, as oh-so-helpfully backed by your friends and mine at good old Goldman Sachs.

Such, it turns out, are the “interest rates that are among the lowest in the industry .”

“A new kind of credit card,” they say. “Doing things in a whole new way,” they say.

Or maybe just a sign that Apple can’t think of anything other than this to do with its ocean of unused cash?

A quarter trillion ROFLs.

A Worthy Idea: Media Strike!

Larry Sanger is a libertarian, so he has not thought through modern life’s inevitable collective dimension. We homo sapiens face unavoidable problems of how to make macro-choices and how to account for the various dilemmas of group size/social scale. In the 21st century, with 8 billion of us afoot, these shared conundrums are certainly not going to go happily away if we don’t face up to them.

His libertarian bent also means that, despite his own deep immersion in it, Sanger doesn’t seem to remember that government invented both computers and the internet.

Of course, as a libertarian, Sanger also ignores the reality that capitalists hate price competition and generally try to swallow and merge with their business competitors — making capitalism an inherently centralizing (and totalitarian) institutional order.

It thus isn’t surprising that Sanger’s call for a boycott, on July 4 and 5, of the corporate media oligopolies does not include a demand for the only institutional arrangement that could ever possibly achieve his stated goals: lavish, bleeding-edge public provision of both internet access and elementary social media platforms/apps (non-commercial alternatives to Facebook, Google, etc.).

If he thought it through, Sanger would be calling for the USPS to enter the field of modern communications media access provision and internet software development/operation, i.e., for it to fulfill its Constitutional duties by making available a safe (private), non-commercial, cutting-edge basis for maximum democratic correspondence amongst We, the People.

But, despite this fatal flaw, TCT thinks Sanger’s boycott — and it actually uses the word “strike”! — is, for now, an excellent idea. Let’s do this!

On July 4 and July 5, do not use any corporate internet or cellular media or apps. If you must look at TCT or some other non-commercial app, and if you also somehow have a way to do so without going through a corporate access pipe, please choose a non-proprietary, non-corporate browser.

As for TCT, we will be on strike then!

Election, Inc.

There are myriad reasons to find the Democratic Party’s traveling shitshow depressing. Not least among these is the open secret that said party is not actually a political party, but a mere branding operation.

But that is really the point, TCT would remind.

Just as U.S. mass media are, if viewed in proper institutional perspective, a mere subordinate vector within the larger matrix of corporate marketing, so is what passes, in this broken society, for politics.

Just as we wrongly tend to perceive TV and mobile devices as the larger, deeper, primary entity vis-a-vis corporate sponsorship, so we continue to treat the incoherent personality duel that now constitutes our method of choosing our more liberal figureheads as something natural and primary. It is, in fact, no such thing.

One major clue to the actual reality that this is all just a way of filling content hours in between ad breaks is the 18-month length of the charade. Who benefits from that? Nobody but the corporate media and their sponsors, i.e. the runaway American overclass.

Other clues to the gestural nature of the thing abound, of course. Consider, for instance, all the elementary and obvious things it would take to make the United States an actual democracy. Abolition or fundamental reform of the Senate and elimination of the Electoral College would have to top such a list. No candidate, of course, will do anything but meekly hint at even half of this.

One might also ask why the Democratic Party chooses only personages from the corporate eyeball-and-eardrum farms to ask the debate questions, as if that is a natural thing. The answer there is not hard to decipher, if also unmentioned and unmentionable.

Cities as Spyware

Have you heard about “smart cities”? Guess what? They are a marketing research operation.

This, of course, is no surprise to those of us hip to what corporate capitalism really is. By its nature, it fuels an ever-growing marketing race, which itself requires more and more spaces, places, experiences, and entities to become platforms for commodity-promotion.

Consider LinkNYC. It is run by Intersection, which is a corporate marketing agency.

Here is how Intersection’s Chief Revenue Officer describes LinkNYC, which, again, his firm runs:

With award-winning products like LinkNYC, the largest and fastest free public Wi-Fi network in the world, Intersection connects the digital and physical worlds, enhancing people’s journeys through their cities and offering brands the opportunity to drive more relevant and engaging advertising, rooted in real-world context.

Source: Advertising Age, June 20, 2019

So, yes, sports fans, the moment has arrived: American towns and cities are now themselves data-gathering tools for our behavior-engineering overclass. Big business marketing is now bigger than the biggest metropolises, which it now treats as just another deployable asset.

All, of course, with the help of our dear liberal leaders.