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Monday, February 16, 2004
The commercial war
Yesterday I saw and add that asked "What's more patriotic than saving big money" at Kohl's this President's Day? The t.v. spot also informed me that going to Kohl's to save money was what George Washington would want me to do.
Maybe I'm giving the people who came up with this ad and the public too much credit, but I have a hard time believing that anybody can take this seriously. If they did, I imagine that one day they expect to be asked something along the lines of "what did you do on September the 11th, Grandpappy?"
"Well little George, I went to Kohl's to get some great deals and, unlike those cowards in the National Guard, I kept shopping in order to fight the terrorists."
"Wow Grandpa Luke! You're my hero!"
Nobody could expect that, and so this ad is better understood not as conveying any information beyond there is a sale going on at a specific store on a specific day, but rather as setting a mood much as is done in a great deal of other commercials for companies like Nike that have little to do with any product and use few words.
If Kurt Vonnegut is correct about the government of the United States now being "a made-for-TV movie," it follows that the speeches of the Bush Administration are really just commercials. And, given the changing stories told in them, they would have to be commercials that, like the one I've described for Kohl's, are not intended to give information beyond what a person should do -whether that be buy a product or support a policy- and yet use other details to convey the message. FReeper The Wizzard's February 13 message "***The Hard & Fast Facts The Democrats & Media STILL Don't Understand***" is in line with this thinking. The arguments are idiotic but the message is clear; George W. Bush and friends are to be supported no matter what because of his response the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 so either adopt the correct point of view or shut the fuck up.
It seems to me that a lot more holidays need to be commercialized. I bet everyone would like 50% off airline tickets each September 11, 0% financing for five years on all slaves purchased on Juneteenth, 1/3 off all Sony products each August 6 as part of a celebration of how the dropping of nuclear bombs lead to modern home entertainment and, of course, a Buy One Get One Free deal on all pork products every November 9 to commemorate Kristallnacht.
America would unquestionably be a better country if retailers and shoppers gave these holidays their due, but we also need to set a day aside to show how generous we are as a people. So, in honor of the Ghost Dance, we should set aside October for the hunting of buffalo. Any meat that we do not want should be given to impoverished Native American children.