my view on marketing.

I had written a huge entry about the evils of marketing and then accidentally deleted it.  So this shorter recap will just have to do.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the media, TV shows, celebrities, sports, politics, and health topics and realizing how backwards America is.  I also realize how all of these things are rooted in marketing.  I’ve always accused journalists singularly for being selfish, pushing articles, and putting up false or inappropriate images just to make a buck or sell a pitch.  Now I’m realizing it’s not just journalism the marketing part of journalism, as well as marketing in general.

The Mascot Issue would not exist without marketing.  Eons ago, back when “racism” wasn’t a concept because White was the only race, Native American (and other minority) images, names, and stereotypes were generated to market sports teams, movies, and things like books.  Marketers are literally the people sitting around going “how can we make this obvious to the public as something they can identify with”, then selling out minorities to win over the majority.  A perfect example of this when Darrin Stephens in Bewitched has to sell dental crème.  “We all know witches have hooked noses, warts, and blacked-out teeth,” says the owner of the crème company.  Darrin doesn’t hesitate in creating an image that sells based on this stereotype.  Ethics don’t play a role in business.  And until Samantha flies (understandably) off the (broomstick)handle, Darrin doesn’t even pay mind that his own beautiful wife is a witch insulted by such discriminating images.  Today, these same logos, brand names, trademarks, and other images become a kind of metonymy for a product.  For example, “tissue” harkens to Kleenex, and we begin to think nothing is as good as that brand name.

When the media expresses its opinion on an issue, the author has to decide between pitching to this majority or understanding the minority cause.  In the case of recent articles in the Cleveland Plain Dealer and The Washington Post, some authors have taken huge risks in defending Natives in both cities against imaging by the local sports teams.  In the case of other large-stream media with other marketing interests, where unemployment is too much of a risk, this isn’t always the case.  For example, Bloomberg media rarely reports on the mascot issue, generally copies-and-pastes words when it does, and considers the issue old and “scandalous” – a rather pathetic word bank, if you ask me.

But sports continue to be marketed as the Neo-Patriotism of America.  These images become holier than the American flag.  People put more money into expensive plastic food and chemical-laden, cheap beer than they do for positive things.  They accuse doctors who save lives as making too much money and sue them like crazy for malpractice, yet it’s okay to pay a football player absurd amounts of money and let him off the hook for violating people.  Even celebrities and TV are often popular for the wrong reasons.  Shows like 16 and Pregnant, Jersey Shore, and Bridezilla make me grown as I realize how many Americans idolize these shows and lifestyles.  These become “normal” ideas of the American life.  And, trust me, I see the effects of this marketing.  When Europeans turn up their noses at Americans for being lowly and when Central Africans tell you they could never stand this country and love their lives in Cameroon, that’s when you know you have problems.  We’re not the land of the free; we’re the land of big egos, stressed lifestyles, and erroneous priotization.

And don’t even get me started on politics.  I’ve come to realize it’s just a game rich people play to be famous without having any acting skills or intelligence.  If they’re so good at raising money, why don’t they pull us out of debt?  Any person who can market themselves to win Presidency is not an honest enough person to do the job, but any person honest enough to do the job would never sell themselves out to market themselves a win.  Yup, I am disgusted with the practice of advertisement and marketing.

a time and a place, and oranges.

I remember all of the lectures growing up, how “there’s a time and a place for everything”. The three taboos in my household were simple – Do not discuss with others:
1. Religion
2. Politics
or 3. The boy you like.
It seemed pretty simple at the time, but then society taught me a plethora of news ones.

Growing up, I learned the hard way that pants and shoes are required in public, that you’re not supposed to ask family members if they bought you something for Christmas, and that telling someone loudly that they have food on their face can lead to their sudden embarrassment when the rest of the room turns to look.

As I got older, these social rules became tighter. My private school had fine dining for lunch and all of the formalities that accompanied it. There was a time and a place to gross my friends out with my chewed up food, to eat with my hands, to slouch, to not wait for the prayer before eating, to fling peas into the ceiling tiles, or to talk incessantly – and this meal time was not the time, an this dining hall was not the place. Especially if the school headmaster or stringent Latin teacher was heading your table assignment.

I was always challenged by being kind to those who were not kind to me in high school. I was told to not speak ill of those who, I knew, were speaking ill of me behind my back. There was a time and a place to say how I feel, and it was either at home, in secrecy, or never at all.

In college and in my professional life, it feels like there is never a time or a place. I’m always being watched, I’m always on my toes, I’m always trying to make friends but also keep on top, and I’m always being evaluated.

But what I want to know is, if there is a time and a place for everything, then why does it only apply to social etiquette??

This occurred to me as I was sitting in a meeting and noticed someone had a coffee mug koozy with a plug coming out of it. I thought, that takes a little out of the moment, doesn’t it? When I pour a mug of hot tea, part of enjoying the moment is knowing it’s temporary.

When I was younger, my Grandma M. would tell me that her most memorable Christmas gift growing up was an orange.

“It was the most expensive gift I had ever had. No one could get oranges in December without paying an arm and a leg for it. And now look at all of these rotting oranges getting thrown out of the grocer’s.”

I’m constantly frustrated by the juxtaposition in modern American society of do this, be that, follow these deadlines to the Verizon Wireless minute on one side of the coin, then be lazy, use energy like it grows on trees, and waste things. How is it we have to put on this façade of being one way socially, but we can be immoral, unappreciative people behind closed doors?

I want everything I do to be an orange. I want to know not just its
value but also its worth. I don’t want to live with this American mentality that things are disposable and easily replaced. I don’t want to live with an undeserving sense of entitlement. I won’t treat myself to something special just to soothe tugs of nostalgia but rather I will appreciate its absence and honor its time and place

And I will never look at an orange the same way again.