Quote of the Day: Truth for the Animals

Dmitry Orlov says it’s boondoggles chasing boondoggles.  The late, great Marvin Harris simply labeled it “intensification.”

Either way, the point is that overclasses do one thing and one thing only — pursue the tactics and strategies that carried them to the top of the societies to which they dictate the terms of life.

Alas, as both Orlov and Harris argue, this reliance on doing the same-old-same-old only gets stronger after class decrepitude arrives and the underlying conditions for further exploitation (and further life for the proles) begin to erode themselves.  Just when they most need fresh ideas, established overclasses instead only redouble the old ones.

Any brush with the news of the day provides ample proof of this thesis.

My task for today is to pass along the sub-news that the point applies to big business marketing as well as to macro-economic policy and geo-politics.

Consider this comment from Douglas Brooks, Senior Vice President of the Aegis Group’s Media Marketing Assessment unit:

When the fish get finicky, it makes you a better fisherman.  The presentation of the bait and how it’s delivered — getting it in the right spot at the right time — becomes critical.

This quote comes in a February 23, 2009 Advertising Age column reporting on how television marketers are seeing the effectiveness of their profit-seeking behavior-modification efforts increase, despite the times.  [Article title: “Guess Which Medium is as Effective as Ever: TV”]

Notice the reduction of the supposedly holy and wholly sovereign “consumer” here.  In this case, it’s to “fish” swimming past baited hooks.  Just as often, it’s to dogs, frogs, pigs, or chickens.

Them’s the terms of the trade inside the leading institution of cultural planning in America, folks…

The Bonfire of the Retail Vanities

The above two images [click them for a larger view] are of the row of shops across the street from the law office where I work.

From left to right, here is the list of these oh-so-vital service-providers:

Sofa – Table – Chair, upscale furniture boutique

Wishing Well Floral & Gifts

Bone-Jour, gourmet dog food bakery (I’m not making this up!)

Miss Meers, women’s “Sex and the City”-style shoe boutique

Sit Still, haircuts for toddlers

Spoiled Rotten, upscale children’s clothes

Aqua Nails Bar, purveyor of manicures and pedicures

Seeing this string of shops, you have to wonder pretty hard about the future of this society.  This is the stuff for which we allow our overclass to continue closing factories and dictating the technologies and terms of “our” supposedly non-negotiable way of life?  This is the bedrock of an economy?

VEED #2: Bottled “Vitamin Water” For Dogs/Puddles for People

Advertising Age‘s February 25 issue reports that the Cott Corporation, “the world’s largest retailer brand soft drink provider,” has just begun marketing Fortifido, a bottled “vitamin water” for dogs!

One could comment on how the whole “vitamin water” marketing scam preys on people’s old-fashioned ignorance about vitamins and human (and now canine) health. One could also comment on the ecological disaster of ever-expanding plastic bottle production, as well as on its deep connections to the human race’s oncoming hydrocarbon supply crisis.

But the largest point is simply more Visual Evidence of Extreme Depravity.

Obviously, the idea of bottling water for dogs is not nearly enough to disturb the corporate capitalist conscience. Indeed, you can tell just how sensitive to human needs the renowned entrepreneurial soul really is by taking a gander at another photo from the self-same February 25 issue of Advertising Age:

What product is that woman using? Why, it’s the LifeStraw, of course! This winner of AdAge’s “Work of the Week” honor is:

the Vestergaard Frandsen Group’s mobile personal filtration system, otherwise known as LifeStraw. It is a powder-blue plastic tube—much thicker than an ordinary straw—containing filters that make water teeming with typhoid-, cholera- and diarrhea-causing microorganisms drinkable.

In other words, it is a specially filtered straw manufactured and sold at a profit by a Danish “humanitarian entreneurialism” corporation. It allows residents of the drought-plagued Third World, where daily household incomes are usually less than the price of a single bottle of “Fortifido,” to minimize the risk of drinking warm, fetid water from puddles.

If only Dr. Pangloss were here to witness this proof that capitalism really has put the best of all possible worlds beneath our very feet!

Drink it up, you lucky, lucky people!