Tuesday, January 09, 2007

truth in advertising

I was driving past Toyota of Dallas the other day and got to see yet another nauseating display of patriotism-as-advertising on their giant jumbotron sign thingy facing I-635. I forget the exact words but the message was something along the lines of the following...

God bless the USA and our troops fighting to protect our freedoms.

To the folks of Toyota of Dallas (from whom I bought my previous car)...fuck you. And to every other company who uses that kind of blindly jingoistic patriotism in order to sell us more shit we may or may not need...fuck you, too.

I've been fortunate in that I've only had one episode where I've worked - for fourteen years and in marketing, no less - where our company tried the patriotism-as-advertising thing. And it was the only episode I can recall where I just flat refused an assignment on principle. It was right after September 11, 2001...back when everybody was driving around with their "We Will Not Forget" and "United We Stand" bumper stickers, wearing red, white and blue on every occasion, plastering the American flag on every stationary object within reach, etc. I forget what the specific task was that I was asked to do, but I remember it involved running some sort of print ad or something with our name and some variation of the phrase "God Bless America"...clearly designed with the same distasteful and opportunistic zeal every other marketing/advertising department in the country was trying to employ during the months after 9/11. I was asked to write the copy for the ad, just as I'm asked to write the copy for every other thing that represents us on paper or online. I just remember telling my boss something like, "I'm sorry, but if you're going forward with this idea, I'm going to ask you to please ask someone else to take care of this. I know you don't understand, but I find this approach to advertising personally offensive and I cannot participate in good conscience." They wound up not doing the ad after all, but I felt better for having put my foot down.

At any rate, the point of this post is (as is my tendency) to direct the folks who truly believe - or at least don't stop to think about - the idea that "our troops (are currently) fighting to protect our freedoms." No, they're not. I'm not questioning their bravery or their motives...each of them probably has more courage and sense of duty to our country than I will ever posess or comprehend. But what they're fighting - killing and dying - for right now hasn't the slightest thing to do with freedom...ours or anyone else's.

Please check out the following from one of my current journalistic heroes, Chris Floyd. His article bluntly and articulately spells out what "our soldiers" are really fighting for. It's pretty plain, pretty simple, and pretty obvious for those who choose to take the time to think about the current situations in Iraq and Afghanistan (and Iran).

And if you don't...if you choose to believe that what we have are "troops fighting to protect our freedoms"...well, I don't know what else to say except: fuck you. You have the ability and, yes, the freedom to investigate and question what's being reported from myriad sources. By choosing to remain oblivious, you're as guilty of murder as anyone else in our current government's advertising campaign known as "the war on terror." If you haven't woken up yet, I doubt you ever will...

New Oil Law Means Victory in Iraq for Bush

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