Thursday, May 9, 2024


Life in the modern world--maybe life always--is an ongoing process of being bamboozled. Following this creed, this religion, this leader, this flag, will lead us to untold virtue and joy.


It's our responsibility as humans (assuming you are one) to question the Malefactors of Great Bamboozlement. It's our responsibility to question everything.


Well, as George Bernard Shaw said, "The power of accurate observation is often called cynicism by those who haven't got it."

I'm thinking specifically of the onslaughts of momentum companies and their ad agencies work to create around the latest "bamboozle du jour." Not long ago it was Crypto. Or the Metaverse. Or Web 3.0. 

Then came the tsunami of A.I. 

With no one questioning what it is. With no one saying, wait. With no one saying that for every action there's an equal and opposite reaction. ie. No one bringing up the physics of the universe to moderate the hyperbole of this latest craze. Heaven forfend, no one even clarifies what it is--basically, a pattern-matching mechanism.

Everything from Diet soda to a new girl friend has unintended consequences. Why would we act as if a new trillion dollar market has none?

Just now I saw a commercial on Linked In that starred Spike Lee for an electric Fiat 500. Predictably, he starts off cynically about the car and its Italian-ness. Just 40 seconds later, magically, he's gushing "La Dolce Vita." 

Yep. We're that dumb.

For about seventy-years Fiats have had a reputation in the US as being the least reliable cars on the road. They're now made by a company called Stellantis. Either a merger Marlon Brando playing Stanley Kowalski in "Streetcar" and the fabled lost continent, or of terrible American automotive engineering (Chrysler) and sub-standard Italian automotive engineering. 

That'll work.

Here's how Consumer Reports rates the Fiat 500. Presumably facts and such don't matter. Though we're told every day about the primacy of data.

I'd love a Fiat. They're cool. But I'm not dumb. At some point you're going to have to address the reliability elephant in the room. Ignoring it is underscoring it.

Is this the state of capitalism and advertising today that we bully people with smiles so plasticine and with so much money and exposure they ignore reality? 

Maybe because I grew up during Vietnam my norm is questioning authority. Has that dissipated? Or are we Madison Avenue-ites so work averse that we believe snow jobs will carry the day? 

Worse is the latest onslaught from the world's largest plastic polluter, Coca-Cola. The spate of bullshit and trivia from their agencies has been unrelenting. From Pong billboards in Times Square to the purported twisted logo ad campaign. Complicity from the bought-and-paid for trade-press only makes things worse.

If the trade press wasn't the bought-and-paid-for-press, or the "traitor-press" they could have run this as the headline to the above:

Rightly or wrongly, I've always believed in McCann's old slogan, "Truth, Well Told." That advertising is not supposed to lie. That bad products will die in the market because sooner or later people will wise up.

But maybe in the era of runaway monopoly control, people--what's left of our species--can no longer choose not to get fucked with an iron rod.

Everything left is a monopoly and there are few if any other choices. Even the agency business itself is monopoly-owned. With collusion driving down wages while it automates and fires thousands.

Everything from your ISP, to your airlines, to your telco, to your political party, to your automobile, to your gasoline, to your groceries are controlled by one or two companies.

They scratch each other's backs. 

They bamboozle us.

We have no recourse.

Every once in a while I think to myself (the only one who listens to me) I'm surprised no holding company tries to kill me. Literally, kill me.

But really, anything written here is meaningless to them for two reasons. One, they can't read. And two, they believe no one else can, either.


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