Flattery on Wheels: “Motorsports”

earnhardt
High-Octane Schmuck

As part of my ongoing research on automobiles-über-alles, I just watched CNBC’s documentary on the business of NASCAR.

It includes some excellent quick glimpses of the truth behind the scenes of this shameful mega-enterprise/IQ test.  Thinking they’re talking to CNBC and hence other corporate overclassers, some corporate planners briefly tip their hand about their real motives.

For instance, this admission from Tom Murphy, VP of Media and Sponsorships at the Sprint telecom corporation:

This [NASCAR] is a superior marketing asset and we judge it in the ways any marketer would, no differently than when we buy TV advertising and airtime…newspaper or magazine advertisements. This is a giant, giant ad machine.

But, while watching, I also noticed that NASCAR’s major players go out of their way to call car racing “motorsports.”

That’s another great proof of Leslie Savan’s observation that much of marketing’s symbolism is a way of flattering the perceiver.

“Motorsports!” Yeah, driving a car is now a “sport.”

P.S. The photo above is the mega-dolt peckerwood Dale Earnhardt, Jr. standing outside the fake “old western town” he has had constructed on his North Carolina property.

Talk about an excellent advertisement for radically progressive taxation…

Department of Cats and Bags

catbag Two items pertaining to the real nature of “the free market.”

Item 1: Existing Business Markets Depend on State Suppression of Basic Information

In 2003, researchers at a federal agency proposed a long-term study of 10,000 drivers to assess the safety risk posed by cellphone use behind the wheel.

They sought the study based on evidence that such multitasking was a serious and growing threat on America’s roadways.

But such an ambitious study never happened. And the researchers’ agency, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, decided not to make public hundreds of pages of research and warnings about the use of phones by drivers — in part, officials say, because of concerns about angering Congress.

On Tuesday, the full body of research is being made public for the first time by two consumer advocacy groups, which filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit for the documents. The Center for Auto Safety and Public Citizen provided a copy to The New York Times, which is publishing the documents on its Web site.

Item 2: Corporate Capitalists Know Private Enterprise is Often Inferior to Public Enterprise

A government-run public [medical insurance] plan would have “unfair advantage over private plans, eventually crowding out private plans from the marketplace,” said Bruce Josten, executive vice president of government affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

A Stroll Back through Marketing History

thalidomide My friend and colleague Douglas Pressman sends along a link well worth clicking.

These little nuggets call to mind a couple quotes by George Santayana:

Advertising is the modern substitute for argument; its function is to make the worse appear the better.

And, of course:

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

Trivial, Useless, Dangerous, and Smarmy: Downy Fabric Softener

downysmarmShe ought to be barfing in her sweater.

To see a textbook case of both commodity fetishism and the general sickness of corporate capitalism, keep an eye out for Procter & Gamble’s appalling “Feel More” marketing campaign on behalf of its Downy fabric softener brand.

The ads and promotions emerging from P & G’s campaign encourage people to interpret use of this trivial-at-best, ecologically inexcusable, and probably toxicologically dangerous product as an expression of and gateway to their deepest bonds and emotions.

Equally sick and preposterous is the campaign’s further suggestion that “fabric softener” is some kind of defense against the heightening ravages of the very investors-first system that foists this Earth- and health-endangering shit on us.

“With all the uncertainty around us today, it’s more important than ever for each of us to take solace and find pleasure in the simple things in life. Consumers have really resonated with our message,” said Marty Vanderstelt, brand manager for Downy North America.

You have to worry about the future of a culture in which the dominant behavioral influencers scientifically study ways to convince people that dumping chloroform, pentance, benzyl acetate, and dipalmitoylethyl hydroxyethylmonium methosulfate in your heated appliances and on your clothes is one of “the simple things in life.”

Etrade: Selling Stocks With Racism

racismWhile stuck watching the profoundly moronic and outdated Belmont Stakes in my apartment’s exercise room last weekend, I encountered E-Trade’s notorious “black baby” commercials.  I almost fell off my treadmill.

Watch this appalling shit here and here.

As the white baby controls all aspects of the situation and voices all the reasoned thoughts, the black baby sings, trips out, echoes white logic, and makes a sexual come-on.  Can you imagine these ads getting made and aired if the skin colors were reversed?  No chance in hell.

I guarantee you that all of this was carefully planned by E-Trade’s marketing team.  As I documented in my book, The Consumer Trap, big business marketers are extremely sensitive to racial stereotypes, and are driven by the logic of their enterprise to exploit and perpetuate, not challenge, them.

The other important aspect of this blatant neo-racism is that it is targeted at elite audiences, who absolutely eat it up, not least because they think it’s a great thing for they themselves to be willing even to look at and possibly, maybe interact with a black person (both acts they have only recently begun to contemplate).

The truth, of course, is that contrary to long-running claims that Joe Sixpack is the source of all benightedness, our lovely overclass has always held by far the worst and least accurate view of human beings and human affairs.

Ideologies, Not Facts

From the Chief Executive who just can’t stop making false promises:  For small potatoes like stem-cell research, it’s “fact not ideologies.”

What is it, though, for the institutions that affect everybody all the time?

The answer, stated by Obama today, and aired by the always-nauseating NPR during its “Hourly News Summary”:

We believe in the free market.

We believe in capitalism.

We believe in people getting rich.

It’s rather amazing.  Not only did “the free market” receive its death blow more than a century ago, at the hands of the very capitalists who still use it as a flag in which to enshroud themselves, but the overclass is now stepping up the ideology to pure religion at this point.

Look out the window!  This God is broken!