Adam Ash

Your daily entertainment scout. Whatever is happening out there, you'll find the best writing about it in here.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

We are fucked, fucked by commercialism

'In December, many people in Washington, D.C. paused to absorb the meaning in the lighting of the National Christmas Tree, at the White House Ellipse. At that event, President George W. Bush reflected that the "love and gifts" of Christmas were "signs and symbols of even a greater love and gift that came on a holy night." But these signs weren't the only ones on display. Perhaps it was not surprising that the illumination was sponsored by MCI, which, as MCI WorldCom, committed one of the largest corporate frauds in history. Such public displays of commercialism have become commonplace in the United States.
The rise of commercialism is an artifact of the growth of corporate power. It began as part of a political and ideological response by corporations to wage pressures, rising social expenditures, and the successes of the environmental and consumer movements in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Corporations fostered the anti-tax movement and support for corporate welfare, which helped create funding crises in state and local governments and schools, and made them more willing to carry commercial advertising. They promoted "free market" ideology, privatization and consumerism, while denigrating the public sphere. In the late 1970s, Mobil Oil began its decades-long advertising on the New York Times op-ed page, one example of a larger corporate effort to reverse a precipitous decline in public approval of corporations. They also became adept at manipulating the campaign finance system, and weaknesses in the federal bribery statute, to procure influence in governments at all levels.
Perhaps most importantly, the commercialization of government and culture and the growing importance of material acquisition and consumer lifestyles was hastened by the co-optation of potentially countervailing institutions, such as churches (papal visits have been sponsored by Pepsi, Federal Express and Mercedes-Benz), governments, schools, universities and nongovernmental organizations.' I'd like to teach the world to sing, we're fucked, fucked, totally fucked. This message brought to you by Coca-Cola. More on the dangerous spread of commercialization here.


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