This Exists: ABC Pants

rube-goldberg-pic Great news! For the low, low price of only $128, you could purchase this desperately needed corporate product. Yes, these are — in the phrasing of the corporate maker — “anti-ball crushing” pants! At last!

This begs the question of which is more telling and hilarious: 1) the claim that pants, in themselves, have ever harmed or even mildly disturbed anybody’s testes, or 2) the product’s pre-literate promise to crush anti-ball.

Either way, such is the stuff of late corporate capitalism. As burnt forest falls from the sky, the only problems getting solved are the shareholders’ pending quarterly claims.

Not, of course, that the corporate marketers will ever admit this. Consider this shameless lie from Lululemon, the wondrous seller of ABC Pants:

Why We Made This

You’ve got room to move in these quick-drying, four-way stretch pants.

If you believe that, I can also get you a great deal on a bridge in Brooklyn. LULU “made this” because, like all big businesses, it desperately needs to find new ways to commodify human perceptions and activities — i.e., to create phony needs.

Tony Gets a Hicksie

turd-trophy Anthony Bourdain is certainly somebody who would understand the immortal words of Bill Hicks.

Indeed, here’s what Mr. Bourdain said when General Motors/Cadillac slipped a product placement into one of his TV shows back in 2012.

But Bourdain’s principles end after a certain price arises, it seems. According to Advertising Age:

But this year another luxury auto brand, Land Rover, convinced Bourdain to give it prime product placement as part of its exclusive launch sponsorship of a digital extension of CNN’s “Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown” TV show. It represents the chef-turned TV star’s first brand integration deal with CNN.

Having a price point, alas, is no shield. So, an uncoveted Golden Hicksie hereby goes to Anthony Bourdain, the newest shill for this lovely little planet-killing phenomenon:

Ad Age: Some of the booming SUV market is driven by people who drive them in the city. Some might call them off-road posers. Do you target people who are actually taking the vehicles into rugged territory?

Kim McCullough, VP-marketing for Jaguar Land Rover North America: We often use the analogy with high-end watches that are safe for 40 fathoms deep. Now, no one is going to go scuba diving that deep, but they want to know that they have something that is engineered to that level, so that is part of the appeal. In the Northeast when you have inclement weather, when you have a lot of rain or flooding, being able to know that, ‘Hey I can get out of this situation because I do have a capable product’ is absolutely part of the appeal.

An Especially Disappointing Golden Hicksie

Stephen Hawking undoubtedly knows better:

If machines produce everything we need, the outcome will depend on how things are distributed. Everyone can enjoy a life of luxurious leisure if the machine-produced wealth is shared, or most people can end up miserably poor if the machine-owners successfully lobby against wealth redistribution. So far, the trend seems to be toward the second option, with technology driving ever-increasing inequality.

So, what in the universe is he doing here?:

Not only is this an ad for the machine that is, barring sharp and unlikely new forms of popular education and intervention, virtually certain to finish completing “the second option,” but it is for an “SUV” version of said machine.

So, alas, Professor Hawking, to go along with your Lucasian Chair, etc., you hereby receive the un-coveted Golden Hicksie.

Meanwhile, the ad itself is a rather pristine exhibition of the profound adolescence of the contemporary overclass mind:

“Have you ever noticed how some people in life seem to get away with everything?”

and

“We live our lives from an elevated perspective. We keep our head [is this a British sic, or a grammatical match with the time-honored royal we?*] in the clouds.”

Wow.

*Either way, it’s funny.

October (Non)Surprise

fox with dead hen Guess what? That’s right. The Federal Communications Commission, after striking the pose that it would respect the results of a period of public comment, is going to preserve net non-neutrality! Internet access, one of our epoch’s most basic and simple services, will continue to be given over to the corporate profit ranchers who understand and use the gift as a license to steal.

Here is the scheme, as described by The Wall Street Journal:

Advocates of net neutrality say that the only way to achieve it is to classify the Internet as common carrier, or a public utility.

The broadband providers would like the FCC to keep them classified as information services, which makes the industry subject to far less regulation.

Caught in the middle, Mr. Wheeler is close to settling on a hybrid approach, people close to the chairman say. The emerging proposal is a departure from an FCC plan put forth last spring, which kept broadband classified as an information service, though Mr. Wheeler at the time made clear that he welcomed input on whether to go the common-carrier route.

The plan now under consideration would separate broadband into two distinct services: a retail one, in which consumers would pay broadband providers for Internet access; and a back-end one, in which broadband providers serve as the conduit for websites to distribute content. The FCC would then classify the back-end service as a common carrier, giving the agency the ability to police any deals between content companies and broadband providers.

This of course, means that “consumers” will not be able to avail themselves of common carrier rights vis-a-vis the internet overlords. Only the FCC will have that privilege, and only as relates to backroom dealings. Anybody want to guess what that will mean? Take heart, o yearners for democracy and real economy: The fox is going to be watching (part of) the henhouse even more closely!

And, meanwhile, what a phrase, this “caught in the middle.”

On one side stand the overclass Robber Barons, with their sponsorship of the entire political show.

What’s on the other side, you might wonder?

Well, according to the Sunshine Foundation’s analysis of it, in the record-smashing public commentary to the FCC, “less than 1 percent of comments were clearly opposed to net neutrality.” Moreover, the Sunshine Foundation found it “actually surprising how many of the submitted comments seemed not to have been driven by form letter writing campaigns.”

Of course, this is “caught in the middle” quote, is quite accurate politically, despite the numbers of human noses on each side. Our mighty regulators are indeed stuck play-jousting in the spaces between the investing class and the 99 percent. At the ready they stand, on their golden leashes, armed with quivers of wet noodles!

FCC Surpasses Orwell

orwell-truth Zerobama promised his suckers constituents net neutrality. They are getting the exact usual. Per The Wall Street Journal:

The Federal Communications Commission advanced new Internet rules that would ban broadband providers from blocking or slowing down websites, but allow them to strike deals with content companies for preferential treatment.

So, those who own the roads can’t slow somebody down, but can sell access to faster routes? Only in America, folks, does such blatant DoubleThink get reported straight out, without the slightest snicker or blush.

Of course, how do Comcast and its soon-to-be-acquired “rivals” own the road? Graft, pure and plain.

And check out the ultimate Obamian trick the FCC is now using to finish sealing the deal:

The broadband providers have signaled that they can live with Mr. Wheeler’s approach as drafted.

Democratic commissioners Jessica Rosenworcel and Mignon Clyburn joined Mr. Wheeler in voting to advance the notice of proposed rule-making, which will now be open to public comment for 60 days, followed by another 60 days for replies.

Observers expect unprecedented engagement during the comment period, but it remains to be seen how much the final proposal shifts from what Mr. Wheeler has already proposed. Mr. Wheeler’s proposal assumes a strong FCC would aggressively police deals between providers and content companies.

Yes, it certainly does remain to be seen. Any wagers?

Meanwhile, here’s what the WSJ says about the Democratic Party:

Democrats are largely in favor of net neutrality but still divided on the best approach, with a few favoring reclassification and others still on the fence. Mr. Wheeler’s approach also has found favor with some Democrats who worry reclassification would kill investment in broadband deployment.

Translation? Five words: “The Democrats oppose net neutrality.”

Creep of the Day

creep Hey, kids, let’s have a bit of fun, shall we? Which of these three realities, as reported upon in Advertising Age today, gets your vote as marketing creep of the day? All three strike your humble editor as strong, strong candidates.

(1) An advertising agency called Victors & Spoils, which operates thusly.

(2) A corporate lawyer arguing that the FTC should continue “encouraging industry self-regulation.” Because, you know, that’s what the people really want.

(3) A “mobile marketing” exec using his visit to his 10- and 14-year-old nieces to spy and report on their use of “social media.”