I know, what an inspired and unique title; right? But if I can remind people through subtle movie references to go watch one of the greatest movies ever made, well then its like the old man said…the easiest way for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing…or some such madness. This is a new world record for me…shot right out the gate with tangential nonsense. I’m honing my craft. I was born a capitalist, baptized into the fold. And Capitalists, like papists, like to dunk early. Get ’em while they’re young, and keep ’em coming back for more.
While I’ve always been a capitalist, there exist many modes of which I’ve donned. There are different modes all capitalists try on as they move from ignorant to educated…or the other way around. There is the unfettered consumerist; a person who has to consume…and if the bank-roll won’t allow for the finer things in life, chotchkies will do fine…so long as I don’t have to think about anything too much. The self-loathing hypocrite social justice worker, when I was one of these, I couldn’t stand the destruction I saw. Destruction to the environment, to people’s hearts, to the people in countries more economically oppressed than my own, upon whom it fell to manufacture the salve what calmed my consumerist soul. “I hate Wal-mart”, you could hear me yell…”I hate the way they sell things that I want at prices I can afford”…”those assholes”…”no, debit not credit”…”all of you should be ashamed of yourselves”…”yeah, receipt in the bag please”…always a sucker for comfy boxers at reasonable prices, all the social consciousness in the world couldn’t lure me away from the siren call…always low prices, always. While there are many more modes of capitalism, the one I feel most cozy in these days is the “if you can’t beat ’em, sucker punch ’em” mode. This is known by its inability to take anything seriously, and its ability to lob barrages of passive-aggressive criticism from the comfort of places far removed from retaliation. All this to say, through the years of growing older, starting as one ignorant of the consequences of my choices, to a political conservative, to a political liberal, to a realist who has come to the conclusion that one’s conservatism or liberalism (or ignorance, or realism for that matter) does little in terms of real life change…real life good, save soothing the conscience of its owner, I have come to respect, or at least recognize, when a company gets its advertising right…when a corporation’s television spot doesn’t send me into a capitalist shame spiral, running like penguin with an inner-ear infection for the nearest place to perform the sacrament duties of the rape shower. To wit, two spots I witnessed during the same break in broadcasting the other night; one was from Domino’s Pizza, the other, General Electric.
The first spot that I witnessed was done by the noon-day brightest minds Domino’s could muster; a real testament to class antagonism. Here is Joe-schmo (whose name was on the screen, but a name I can’t recall), he is a delivery driver here at Domino’s, who has invented a new fast-food culinary atrocity which you can all use on your short trip toward type 2 diabetes. Accompanied by fast pace shots of Joe-schmo doing the various things he must do to scratch together a minimum-wage subsistence to subsidize his love of carbohydrate heavy snacks that can be consumed with as little self-reflection as possible…nothing more than a salty substrate for dipping-sauces. This seizure inspiring sham was punctuated with one of Joe-schmo’s fellow proletariat’s suggestion that for his efforts Joe-schmo should become president of the Domino’s corporation, to which the current president responded with a curt “no”. The subtext being, “you just keep delivering our sub-standard product while we sell the piss out of these tasty treats you invented, and believe that we love your initiative, in spite of all of the evidence to the contrary, as you enjoy tips as royalties that promise to never creep anywhere near 1% of total the dollar amount that Domino’s has enjoyed as a result of your brain-child. Oh Karl, where have you gone? We need you now, more than ever.
With the bar set so low, it was inevitable, or at least fairly easy, for the folks at G.E. to come in and look like the hero-pirates of the commercial spot. Pillaging and thieving human dignity as a means for pimping their anti-cancer weaponry, but doing so with a care and precision that left one with the feeling of hope, or if not hope per-se, a reasonable facsimile there-of. Employees of the corporate power-house were pontificating on the fact that their jobs, their work had been instrumental in changing peoples lives, and how good that made them feel. It made me feel good for them. Then, in a flash of genius the folks to whom G.E. turn to soften their public image, used a meeting between the employees of G.E. and the patients whose live were saved by their wares to show us the human element of the the fine folks at General Electric. My tone has a confusing touch of sarcasm, but truly I found this commercial to be touching…at least when compared to the prior example.
All of this sanctimonious vitriol spewed to say one thing: with regard to capitalism, there are shades of self-absorption…not a right way and a wrong way…but many wrong ways, some of which that do not make my stomach turn…wow, this post came off more bitter than funny; if I were you…and I’m not…but if I were, I wouldn’t read this.