Towels: The Latest Enemy of Capitalism

towelie As somebody once observed, capitalism is a system that cannot stop, cannot rest, cannot respect any boundaries, must colonize everything as it drives its players to “nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connections everywhere…over the whole face of the globe.”

In this unending totalitarian thrust, any activity that leaves room for further commodification will eventually be seized upon and efforts will be made to increase the degree to which it employs maximally profitable corporate wares. In the process, nothing counts but the bottom line.

And so it is that our old friend the Kimberly-Clark conglomerate is now pushing Kleenex brand hand towels, on the theory that cloth towels are a dire public health risk. Words can’t do justice to the amazing chutzpah of this campaign:

The shamelessness of this stunning proof of capital’s inherent heedlessness does not, of course, stop Kimberly-Clark from claiming that it “challenges itself” to “respect our planet and conserve its resources.”

Orwell was an amateur compared to this stuff.

Chutzpah & Delusion: Land Rover VEED

That’s a scan of the “Tread Lightly” ad I clipped from the local alt-weekly a while back.

Yes, folks, this is the kind of thing you can get away with in our glorious culture. Selling Land Rovers, with their 12/18 mpg rating and their $77,675 – $93,325 MSRP, under the idea that this monstrosity among monstrosities could have anything whatsoever to do with ecological concern.

The level of chutzpah, deception, and delusion involved among both the peddlers and the over-privileged purchasers of these things would make Orwell gag in surprise. The dealership — Land Rover Portland/Land Rover Oregon — says it cleans up after itself, so that somehow excuses the massive wastefulness and destructiveness of the product? Sure, yes, right.

The depravity of this is multiple. For now, though, I’ll simply repeat Robert L. Heilbroner’s words:

How strong, deep, or sustaining can be the values of a civilization that generates a ceaseless flow of half-truths and careful deceptions?