Or I Shall Turn On You

(The title is just a pun on the etymology of "advertise".)

Occupy Wall Street has been a boon to me, as a major element in my third SF book is a group of activists who oppose the UN opening relations with the dromaeosauroids. Now, they mainly do it 'cause the dromaeosaurs have a social order that's technically plutocratic (though not in the abusive sense we use the term, any more than ancient India being ruled by the warrior caste was the same as a military junta). And the activists are rebels against 24th century Earth's economic system, the mutant bastard offspring of capitalism and socialism: permanent employment. See Hilaire Belloc, The Servile State.

Anyway, the Occupy Wall Street dudes are helpful, in giving me soundbites for those activists to spout. But seriously, what soundbites!

See, Occupy Wall Street is largely run by the Canadian group Adbusters. And Adbusters may be the stupidest advocacy group ever created, even in the Anglophone Left: and consider that that includes Code Pink and the New Black Panthers.

For instance, the group was founded over two lackwit longhairs' disgust at an ad by some logging companies that claimed the logging industry protects the forests. Children, remember those huge fires here in Arizona over the last few years? Although Greenshirts like yourselves bear some blame, in preventing us from fixing the problem, conditions in this state originally got to such an unsafe condition because the logging companies were protecting the forest. Specifically, overprotecting it. Adbusters' counter-ad, in which an old-growth tree tells a sapling that a tree farm is not a forest, is similarly contemptible—because for most ecological purposes yes it is dumbass...and much less ecologically harmful than the mess loggers and Greens between them made of Arizona's forests, by the way.

Or take the Adbusters shoes "made by fair trade shops in Portugal and Pakistan". Leaving to one side that the original "Blackspot" shoe is just a Chinese-style knockoff of a Converse high-top, the shoes cost $75.00, ten bucks more than many Converse ordered directly from Converse itself. Oh, except Converse's US shipping is $5, compared to $13 for Blackspots. And Converse has free shipping for orders over $75, which is where Blackpots—again, $13 shipping—start. They are relying on your rich white yuppie guilt to subsidize their enterprise, and then they crow that they are successfully competing with a big corporation. Their other shoe, the "Unswoosher", aside from being hideous, is a sort of Hot Topic Grunge-lite boot—it therefore deliberately avoids direct competition with Nike, despite the name, in Nike's key product lines, namely athletic shoes. That's sorta like beating a heavyweight boxer in a World of Warcraft PVP, and then going around telling people you beat him...taking full advantage of the fact that "in the ring" is usually going to be assumed.

I suppose that last point is moot, though, since shitty Adbusters ankle boots don't come anywhere near beating Nike's sales anyway. I imagine it has to do with the "poor fit" between them and Hot Topic, which as I said would be the best demo for their product.

Let us pause also to consider the staggering hypocrisy of claiming to be critical of the sort of advertising that asks people to define their identities through brand association...and then marketing a shoe based entirely on people defining their identity through brand association.

Finally, corporate personhood comes under attack all the time from Adbusters, but I always want to ask, "How does your criticism of corporate personhood (as exercised by businesses) not also cut across corporate personhood as exercised by trade unions, ethnic groups, nonprofits, professional associations, or class-action legal plaintiffs against businesses?" Sorry kids, but you can't argue atomized individualism for collectivist ends. Then again I know that "corporate" as a legal term means something different from "having to do with a corporation".

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