Wednesday, July 10, 2024


Of all the banalities I've heard during my 66.7 years, the most banal of all might be the one that was repeated roughly every 12 seconds when I was at R/GA back 15 or so years ago before we realized that the internet was to cesspits what donald trump is to ethics.

Back then, those under the narcotic effects of technology would sing the praises of the splendors of technology, refusing to recognize or acknowledge the corrupt and corrupting influence of great power under no governor or editorial restraint or, even, the smallest dram of fact-checking.

Back then every planner in creation was extolling the power of Sheryl Sandburg leaning in and told us on auto-repeat that "the consumer was in control." 

Somehow, the un-thinking went, the consumer could make content, could comment on a brand, could be heard and that would check the unchecked power of soon-to-be trillion dollar brands that are too big to fail and too evil to give a shit.

Yesterday, I got a text from xfinity which is owned by comcast telling me that my service will be interrupted for an unspecified length of time because they are maintaining the fiber optic cables that my fees paid for

As I do, I texted back. "I pay for 24/7 service. Will I be refunded for this outage?"

The bot of course told me that outages caused by maintenance are ineligible for credit.

Life's great when you bill what you want and make the rules you want and are so powerful that no one can do anything to protest your power.

But the consumer is in control.

Today, just about everything amerikans buy is controlled by just two or three companies. What's more, and most pernicious, is the schtupholm syndrome that afflicts most people today. What I've found is that many people actually root for oligopolies versus the people fighting them. We have been trained as a "society," to disdain people who speak out. They're regarded as trouble-makers and loudmouths. Seeing, say, Coca-Cola as the world's largest distributer of plastic pollution and diabetes makes you a pariah. "But they sponsored the concert I paid $400 to attend, and they spend $1,000,000,000 telling me how kind they are."

Not only is the consumer not in control, today's consumer is too lazy to be anything but ill-informed and so has no idea how shitty the oligopolies make life.

That includes, of course, our advertising oligopolies in which five white men control 85% of all advertising jobs and if you protest, you're black-balled out of the business. 

The diminishment of the importance of advertising, the very destruction of the industry, the self-hagiography in the industry's obsession with pay-for-play awardingness, and the constant reductions in force are identical to the modus operandi of all the monopolized industrial sectors mentioned above.

When every industry acts like an extractive industry--taking the wealth and leaving slag and detritus behind, we have a world in systems collapse.

Of course, we have political oligopolies, too, where the dimmycrats and the repugnants in a country of 330,000,000 can't find anyone more palatable than a serial thug, liar, fascist and abuser or a old-man who no longer has all his faculties intact.

They're also a monopoly.

The consumer is in control. 

Yup. Just like sand is in control of the sea


No comments: