When I returned home from Iceland Monday night, after a week away, our mailbox was fairly stuffed to the pupik with about 11 or 14 pounds of mail. Most of that mail consisted of thick glossy catalogs featuring skinny models selling things to an increasingly fat population. They were sent by companies I've never done business with and, likely, never will.
These catalogs will sit around for a few weeks like fallen leaves from an over-grown marketing tree, and then in a cleaning tsunami, they'll be tossed out and make their way to a landfill in Staten Island.
Also, amid this data-driven onslaught was a small but intimidating letter-like-object from the company I work for.
It was one of those faux envelopes designed by an accountant to be two-cents less per thousand to mail. Where you have to have pull apart three sides of tiny perforations--as if you are tiny-handed like our president, or are perhaps a shoe-making elf with the requisite manual dexterity.
This piece of mail looked officious and daunting--Kafkaesque is the word--so my wife beckoned me to go through the baroque labor of opening it.
Inside was an offer to sell me insurance from a third party insurance company.
In other words, my company is selling my private information to third parties to market to me.
Yesterday in the Linked In feed of someone I respect, I saw a notice about a "human data company." Ostensibly a company that uses data to help consumers rather than just sell to them.
I'm not buying.
Data--and someone convince me otherwise--is merely a marketing term (and a good one) for surveillance. We are being stalked by the corporate state 24/7 and sold to constantly.
I don't want my habits, predilections, peccadillos, key-strokes, mouse-and-eye-movements tracked and marketed to.
These practices--cookies, tracking, impossibly Soviet agreements to terms and conditions are marketing, surveillance, gone wild. It's overstepping on the part of marketers--overstepping in jackboots.
I can't be alone in this.
I can't be alone in thinking of Garbo.
I want to be alone.