Monday, April 20, 2009

Image is Everything

I'm growing tired of the transparent attempts at image-making.

For a while now (let's say... oh forever), it's been more about how things appear than how they are. Be it PR, spin doctors, payola, political lies, magical accounting, SEO, or any other variation of marketing (both commercial and otherwise) that puts forth an image of something in spite of the realities.

Some of this is acceptable. Marketing has existed since Oog tried to trade his old axe head for Ugh's extra piece of mastodon meat. "Oog axe still make good cut in wood. Ugh's meat almost rotten, is good deal for ugh." So there's a built-in cynicism when it comes to selling things. I knew my Transformers weren't going to transform themselves and fire lasers, but I still wanted them. I know that whatever workout plan is being hawked at 2am isn't going to magically give me ripped abs. I might not know that the topsy-turvy tomato planter doesn't come with seeds or soil, but I'm not overly disappointed when I have to buy my own.

But I expect a higher calibre of deception from politicians and major corporations. It used to be there were vast conspiracies that could never be unravelled. It used to be that a politician would rail against something and anyone who would discover his deep dark secrets would disappear. Now? If you've got a Republican senator bashing gay rights, you know he has a brothel of Thai ladyboys in his back shed, but when they get found out, he claims he was just holding them for a friend.

Or maybe the CIA has to waterboard someone 138 times to get a confession. You know the main reason torture doesn't work? Because the person getting tortured will eventually tell you whatever you want to hear to make you stop. It's completely unreliable. If they honestly don't know anything but the torturers believe otherwise, then you break an innocent person.

Or maybe you use every sneaky accounting trick you can find for your bank to show a "profit" in the first quarter of the TARP-funded fiscal year. Short version - at best they broke even, but they mostly lost money and have nothing in reserve if things keep going badly.

The markets have reacted accordingly, up a ridiculous percentage since early March. I maintain it's all smoke and mirrors and a bunch of hot air under these figures. It will all collapse again. The thing is, the government (and it wouldn't have mattered who won) is happy to let these sort of obvious, transparent, and incomprehensible lies happen, because it puts forth the appearance of good news. That makes people happy and allays their fear, even though unemployment is climbing to new highs, retail numbers still suck, and the fundamentals of a strong, efficient economy are still nowhere near being realized. It's the same mentality the Bush administration applied to the middle east. As long as you TELL people you're winning, and you're doing the right things, they MIGHT forgive the lies and destruction of what makes places like the US the bastions of freedom they were. Obama's administration is allowing this mentality to dictate economic policy because they know full well they can't do a damned thing about it no matter how many trillions they throw that way. At least, on a fundamental level, they SHOULD know this, even if all their Keynesian economic education foolishly tells them otherwise.

Oh, and while I'm ranting, it's older news, but Obama's lawyers have created a new level of secrecy when it comes to the government doing illegal things to their citizens. Essentially, it says "if we haven't openly admitted we're doing it, we're immune from prosecution." Not even Bush's cronies had mustered up the balls for that one. Throw in the FIVE RIAA lawyers he's appointed to the Justice Department and tell me what "change" and "hope" smell like.

It doesn't matter who you vote for, the Government always gets in.

1 comment:

BamBam said...

"It doesn't matter who you vote for, the Government always gets in."

And expectations would differ, why exactly?

Loved the Oog and Ugh bit though!
Brought me a little closer to home!