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March 22, 2013


In Noami Klein’s vision** of Corporate America in its relationship with world consumer society, a chronology of the rise of the control of cultural space itself through Lifestyle Advertizing is established:

1)1980s; Reagan: Reduction of public sector “prestige”, “culture”-and size! Thatcher, Mulroney. Active process of media consolidation in the United States.

2)Need on the part of agents of culture (artists, published and audio visual media) to resort more to private sector for financing.

3)”Sponsorship advertizing”: what was originally a more traditional and genuine form of corporate philanthropy morphed into simply a marketing tool, which lead to increasing corporate interest in a greater control and dominance over social and cultural events that previously were only sponsored through economic contributions.

4) The consolidation of Lifestyle Advertizing: Corporations transcend connection to their products as physical objects, and marketing is elevated to the pinnacle of business itself leading to an attempt to alter social perception of commercial interruptions and replace it with naturally presented “seamless integration”.

5) Marlboro Friday, April 2, 1993: A passing crisis in Corporate America in regards to advertizing: Phillip Morris announces it is turning away form heavy spending in marketing and will slash it’s prices instead as a way of competing with upstart competitors; but the advertizing industries responds defensively-at first-by claiming the solution is more advertizing, not less. Ultimately, it was right.

6) Mythology of Lifestyle and its expansion into life: Product exposure becomes a mythology of lifestyle (Nike, Apple, Starbucks); and this lifestyle ultimately becomes of commercial value in itself as a personal vision through which people actually live. Implicitly, then, any alteration in peoples’ vital complacency-in the form of tacit intellectual criticism of Corporate America or a serious questioning of consumer society-is clearly not conducive at an aggregate level to the perpetuation through time of this consumer life mode of the individual as a semiotic captive.

7) The problem of Unmarketed Cultural Space: “Ad cozy” media content is simply imposed on published media by advertisers; and the juxtaposition of even negative reporting with commercials on TV is also understood as a threat to the lifestyle: but the consolidation of US media allows for an even greater coordination between content itself and the commercials it is spaced between. The same basic logic is carried over to the Internet, and unmarketed cultural space becomes a negative juxtaposition itself. So make it disappear.

5) April 1998 and Gap Khakis: Integration between art-brands-culture; artist as brand promoter and live-action advertising.

6) A Third Culture: Corporate sponsorship becomes Branded Culture; and finally a third culture as a self-enclosed universe of brand name people, products and media, the Starbucks or Iphone life as dog.

But I bring the notion of semiotics to this, and describe its relationship to the de facto guardians of world order-and their relationship with world banking and finance.  And I denounce Pentagon Democracy’s shadow overriding of civilian, democratic governance and its transvestite use of American historical soft power itself as “liberty”, and the individual’s right to the pursuit of happiness as pornography in its intrumentalization of those individuals.

And I understand that my son will not grow up to live in this world.

But Klein attributes all of this, ultimately, to human, macbethian voracity as symbolized by people the likes of Phillip Knight, Branson and the CEOs of Starbucks and Apple, for example.

And in following Klein, I use the term Caliban to highlight this most primary lack of restraint and disregard for the true well being that is clearly part of the complexity of the issue, owing essentially to the absence of values outside of the supremacy of money itself and the satisfaction of only base and primary human needs.

But I also logically look towards the social actors, agents or forces that structurally (and traditionally) should have opposed this debasing of humanity through the obviation of the individual.

And this has brought me to Eisenhower and the insolvency of the US military and its relationship with scientific research-and necessarily, also, with capital.

And there also, one has to take a step back on perceiving the pungent stench again of Caliban.

And the American cultural psyche-with all its historical complexities-has to be understood in its vital repression and the simian need to impose oneself over others as a form psychological security and as a life mode.

And a narrative of Caliban and his projection as social structure itself-and as the tacit spirit of control behind world order in its current state- will take form.

And I am almost finished now.

You die!


*Term I take form Jose Enrique Rodó and his essay Ariel form the year 1900; Caliban is a character from Shakespeare’s play The Tempest which Rodó uses as a symbol.

**No Logo (1999): I make use of Klein’s analysis of the relationship between advertizing and culture of the first 3 chapters of her book. I borrow from her some of her terms and even partial syntactic structures in the form of directly transcribed notes I took while reading said first 3 chapters. But I feel no moral imperative to indicate or quote these structures due to the fragmentary and partial use I make of them on which I construct my own assertions.

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