This is a pretty interesting mini-lecture by Nicholas Carr on media design and its impact. Along the way, you get to see how ads are starting to be sprung on us in new ways:
Mars, Incorporated, which makes profits from selling candy and pet supplies and services, wants you to see yourself as a hero of human civilization for keeping a pet dog. Of course they do!
In the process, you are asked to forget that George Washington was a major slave-owner, a fact that rather overshadows whatever love he may have had for dogs, and that it was certainly not snowing on October 4 in Germantown, which is a suburb of Philadelphia. Ah, but in the ongoing reign of Patriotic Correctness, it was always snowing on our ragtag tepeed pure-of-heart Heroes, wasn’t it?
“Follow the flattery,” says Leslie Savan.
“How strong, deep, or sustaining,” wondered Robert Heilbroner, “can be the values of a civilization that generates a ceaseless flow of half-truths and careful deceptions?”
According to the quasi-official English version of Karl Marx’s essay, “The 18th Brumaire of Louis Napoleon” hosted at marxists.org, Marx is supposed to have written this sentence:
“Each individual peasant family is almost self-sufficient, directly produces most of its consumer needs, and thus acquires its means of life more through an exchange with nature than in intercourse with society.”
Here, however, is what Marx actually wrote, auf Deutsch:
“Jede einzelne Bauernfamilie genügt beinahe sich selbst, produziert unmittelbar selbst den größten Teil ihres Konsums und gewinnt so ihr Lebensmaterial mehr im Austausche mit der Natur als im Verkehr mit der Gesellschaft.”
Properly translated, “ihres Konsums” means “its consumption,” not “its consumer needs.”
If TCT is right that “consumer” is a capitalist bias that ruins clear thinking about reality, then this little over- and mis-translation is of some importance, despite its obscurity.
The translator responsible was Saul K. Padover, by the way.
People make their own history, but they make it not however they want, not under self-selected circumstances, but out of the actual given and transmitted situation.
Science fiction has hinted at such transitions, but they may be nearer at hand than you might presume, here in our market totalitarian culture. Check out the new brain substitute from your friends at Amazon.com:
Television, of course, could very justly be seen as another brain substitute. But it, at least, is generally used with the awareness of its idiot boxery. This Orwellian device invites its smiling victims to congratulate themselves for how cutting edge it is to surrender your last few scraps of self-directed inquiry and action over to the corporate behavior-programming/commodity-pushing nexus.
Here at TCT, we keep track of the resulting Orwellian news from the general human, rather than MSM/capitalist, perspective.
The latest is more effort in the direction of getting computers to be able to read images on the internet. Currently, those remain mostly grayed-out spots to the data harvesters.
But, because of the special richness and emotionality of images, this will very likely change sometime soon. Per Ad Age:
When then-Google exec Vic Gundotra took the stage at the company’s annual developer conference, he showed a photo of the Eiffel Tower. Many in attendance automatically recognized the landmark — and so did Google’s computers.
Since that milestone in May 2013, Google, along with Yahoo, Facebook and other companies, has been struggling to get at a gold mine of potential data: the millions of images flitting about the web. Image-recognition technology is the next frontier for companies that have built multibillion dollar businesses on their ability to convert data into more personalized content for audiences and better targeting for advertisers.
“There’s this treasure trove of data these companies are sitting on in the form of the visual web. That data for the most part is uncategorized. It’s a black box,” said Justin Fuisz, CEO of Fuisz Media, a company that uses image recognition to attach branded calls to action to objects in videos.
The steps are slow, due to the genuinely deep problems involved in trying to mechanically extract human meanings from images. But some problems (not climate change, war, or poverty, mind you) simply must be solved! Hence, the state-of-affairs in late 2014:
“Our clients have never given it much thought. But as soon as it’s available at scale, it’s going to be huge,” said Doug Kofoid, president-global solutions at Publicis Groupe’s VivaKi.
“When we are talking in theoretical terms about [Horizon Media client] Weight Watchers for instance, we can identify who is pinning Weight Watchers specific materials — food, recipes — but also any type of food content that we think would be a qualifier for a potential Weight Watcher prospect. So it becomes very clearly about the actual content that’s pinned,” said Horizon Media Chief Digital Officer Donald Williams.
“The biggest surprise I had was the richness of those images and how much personal information is coming across in the richness of those images,” said Starcom MediaVest Group’s global research lead Kate Sirkin. “It really does start to give you a good flavor of interests and lifestyle and passions of the consumer.”
Big Brother would be sick with jealousy.
Remember how “it doesn’t seem possible?” How much more deluded does that sound when you realize that Newtown, Connecticut is home to the headquarters of the National Shooting Sports Association, “the trade association for the firearms industry”?
Among the many illnesses plaguing this market-totalitarian society is this sponsored solipsism, in which the world only exists for other, abstract people. In the South, they believe so strongly in the sanctity of marriage and the evils of divorce, they pass Covenant Marriage statutes. But then only one percent utilize them, and the divorce rates are higher there than anywhere else. Everybody thinks our schools suck, but also adore their own children’s teachers. People get shot on TV, right?