Consumption Junction: We Are All Beautiful Pigs!

Are you buying what they’re selling?

Unilever, a multi-national corporation with dual parent companies, Unilever NV and Unilever PLC, has been bringing a range of products to consumers worldwide since the 1930’s. Their most recognizable products include a bevy of foods and products such as Country Crock, Bertolli, Wish-bone, Pond’s and Vaseline. They’ve also got their meat hooks in the personal products industry. Sunsilk (hey, ‘whack a blond’ on their website, or a ‘whack a brunette’ pending your disposition) is one of those but the most interesting example of complete and total corporate contradiction comes in the form of their products, Axe and Dove.

Dove has been on the warpath against the ‘beauty industry’ for the past few years. Heralding ‘regular’ women with their clever commercials about how being beautiful isn’t about weighing 110 lbs with fake breasts and collagen lips. NO! They took it to the masses and let the parishioners of YouTube worship at the altar of righteous indignation with their commersh ‘Evolution.’ Soccer Mom’s and armchair feminists rejoiced at the company’s boldness. Recently they released the second piece to ‘Evolution’ called ‘Onslaught.’ It’s a commercial that could be told from the POV of a female Tyler Durden in a bizarro world film adaptation of Fight Club.  It even looks like some Fincher acolyte was trying to harness that quick cut method. The makers of the commercial forgot some important images to include—a boot heel digging into the neck of a consumer sucking at a multi-national tit(s), zombie’s goose-stepping through the beauty aisle’s devouring entrails pushing products blindly into a razor lined cart, and a smiling and suited Group Chief Executive (Patrick Cescau) of Unilever bathing in a pool of blood and stem cells drinking champagne.

Okay so that’s the kind of extreme commercial I’d make. I doubt Unilever’s GCE even drinks champagne; he’s probably a scotch guy for all I know. So what raises my ire about Unilever? They make Dove AND Axe! WTF? It’s like watching one of those Shell or BP spots that talk about alternative energy sources.  When someone like Unilever represents itself through a campaign like Dove’s ‘Onslaught’, while making commercials for Axe that are (though humorously idiotic) blatantly misogynistic the best thing anyone can do is take those commercials and mash them up in defiance then repost it on YouTube.

You are buying what their selling!

We are all pigs, tied to a stick…

Humane Food Legislation for CA.

[A close friend of mine is working to help pass this key piece of legislation. Please repost or take a step towards helping do what you can. just imagine this isn’t about domestic animals, like, if you were who you were and it was culturally acceptable to eat other humans, you’d be bummed if you knew that someone you were about to eat was treated so poorly just so they could fill your tummy. Thats crummy right?Activate…and always let your conscience be your guide!]
Hello friends who are, or have ever been, vegans, vegetarians, and supporters thereof (and who live in CA),

I am working with a group to pass a piece of legislation that would ban the use of gestation crates for pigs, veal enclosures for calves, and battery cages for chickens. As you may know, commercial farming uses confining cages that cause immense suffering and death for their inhabitants and spread disease. The legislation is sponsored by the Humane Society of the US – they have passed similar legislation in Arizona and Florida with great success. The campaign is massive, and we need to collect 650,000 signatures by the end of Feb. to get the measure on the Nov. 08 ballot. Early polling shows the measure has incredible success (something like over 70% of Californians say they’d vote for it) but we need to get it on the ballot.

Go to to read the legislation and find out about the cages banned.

Can you help? Here’s how.

1. Become a signature gatherer yourself – contact Humane California via their website to get started. Gov’t Transparency Truthiness Org.

Sometimes I think Wired gets too caught up in their own bullshit. Lots of advertising. Then sometimes Wired surprises me with an amazing observation or just some regular information. Today I stumbled on something that is exciting for cyber-activism and could have some amazing possibilities. A system called whose stark black on white welcome page [flashes for 1.5 sec before resolving on their homepage] states; “News is what someone doesn’t want you to know. Everything else is advertising.”

It flashes so quickly that I had to go back and refresh about a dozen times to make sure I saw it correctly. Basically the system works similar to wikipedia

“Wikileaks is developing an uncensorable system for safe mass document leaking and public analysis. Our primary interests are in Asia, the former Soviet bloc, Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, but we expect to be of assistance to peoples of all countries who wish to reveal unethical behavior in their governments and corporations. We aim for maximum political impact; this means our interface is identical to Wikipedia and usable by non-technical people. We have received over 1.2 million documents so far from dissident communities and anonymous sources…

Its worth looking at. The particular Wired post I saw was specific about a leaked 238-page document, “Camp Delta Standard Operating Procedures,” for the Guantanamo Bay war prison camp. A document that details procedures such as psychological warfare techniques, techniques borrowed by Abu Gharib authorities, which eventually led to the scandal there. Specifically about using MWD (Military Walking Dogs) to “demonstrate physical presence to detainees.”

While that is fascinating the real story is what something like means for cyber-activism. Of course there is always a dark side to new tech like this. Implications of evil can boggle the mind.

Alas, truthiness should be shared with everyone and what a faster way to accomplish this than digitally? What if the public knew everything there is to know about our practices? What if our enemies knew about our interrogation techniques?

Check this out, User Generated Smoking Guns!!!

Fire in Our Throats will Beckon…

Here is a great map of the the affected areas with info.

This morning I heard some pundit comparing Katrina to the fires in San Diego. There was a fair amount of speculation on whether the Southern California fires are more destructive or affect more people than Hurricane Katrina. Yes folks! American desire for old-fashioned competition is at its height when comparing tragedy. Over 500,000 people were given mandatory evacuation orders for the fires the past 72 hours in San Diego (upwards of 1 million have been displaced). According to San Diego officials in the newscast update from this morning (Wed. Oct 24, 2007) we’ve surpassed Katrina’s modest evacuation of 1.2 million (according to the Wiki entry regarding mandatory and voluntary evac). What those officials fail to mention is the difference in the populations of those people affected by the fires and those affected by the consequences of the storm. Lots of people may be unfamiliar with the disparity between the two. North County San Diego is populated in majority by middle to upper middle class Caucasian families. Whereas those most affected by Katrina where poor, black and in the most precarious of NOLA neighborhoods directly damaged by the broken levy.

The Witch Creek Fire, the biggest one in the county so far has scorched 150K acres and 750 homes/structures. That is massive. The Harris fire continues to blaze out of control and is moving into Mexico and of course we don’t get any news on what is happening south of the border, at least we won’t until the death toll or destruction gets so big, corporate news will HAVE no choice but to cover it. When it comes to the national embarrassment of Katrina, an embarrassment both the Bush Administration and the government of California refuses to repeat (thankfully) in their response to our current situation. It brings to mind the scenes of putrid water swirling, people on rooftops and total anarchy at the Super Dome, a ‘last resort’ sanctuary for the people who hadn’t been evacuated in time during Katrina. “The second day brought more horror, greater despair: The death toll exceeded 100 — in just one county” – Miami Herald, 2005

San Diego has been incredibly lucky in that we’ve only had minimal life lost (only 6 so far from the reports). Course they’re already putting the damage into numbers of double digit Billions. Our property value in SoCal is way higher than those in NOLA. Governor Schwarzenegger has been here since day one, shaking hands and visiting areas of devastation, almost definitely securing another bid for leader of the people’s republic of Kauli-for-nee-ah. Bush will be here tomorrow. He’s declared CA a federal disaster area. This tragedy has been handled superbly. And our leaders are patting themselves on the back already with the look of holy-shit-we-can-handle-this-thing plastered on their exhausted faces. All my friends on the coast and north of the 56 are safe and from most reports their homes are okay too. We still have another day or possibly two of these devilish Santa Ana winds. There will be questions after the smoke clears. People have realized the power of local government and the castrated sluggishness of bureaucratic federal government aid (or lack thereof for NOLA). We have seen the outpouring of compassion to the victims of the fires from our own community. An overwhelming about of aid from neighbors unaffected by the fires are giving as much as they can. There is a huge difference between SoCal and NOLA, and that is NOLA was a tragedy and the SoCal fires are a disaster. SoCal is being handled and marketed better than NOLA was and the cast of characters includes a former blockbuster movie star.

Oddly enough, has been a good source of local news. Don’t rely on CNN to give you an accurate report of how many people are at Qualcomm. BTW – Chargers and Aztec games have been postponed, at least at the Q for this weekend.

A brief suggestion of songs for a mix.
These are examples of songs that have been coming up in the random for the past three days. I’m not sure if there is some sort of cosmic design for the way music affects a person during times of stress but a lot of these tunes are apropos of our current fiery California situation.

1. Grinderman – “When My Love Comes Down” from Grinderman
2. PJ Harvey – “One Line” from Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea
3. Radiohead – “Reckoner” from In Rainbows
4. Boys Sets Fire – “The Power Remains the Same” from The Day the Sun Went Out
5. Turbonegro – “City of Satan” from Party Animals
6. Les Savy Fav – “Raging in the Plague Age” from Lets Stay Friends
7. !!! – “Me and Giuliani Down By The School Yard (a true story)
8. Pelican – “Autumn Into Summer” from The Fire in Our Throats…
9. Ennio Morricone – “Un Uomo Da Rispettare (Titoli)”
10. Doves – “Sky Starts Falling” from Some Cities
11. The Velvet Underground – “Sweet Jane”
12. Pegboy – “Field of Darkness”
13. Counterfit – “Suckin Ma Nuts” (outtake from actual song with D Essr on Vox)

Radiohead: In Rainbows

Everyone was busy finding out that Britney lost custody of her two sons yesterday. That must suck. Just another example of America eating its young, devouring the product to spite the progeny. Should Viacom be thanked? Les Monves and his team of super villain ‘big business’ acolytes help manipulate another stars destruction. Oh well. Federline seems like a pillar of the community, let him raise the boys to the relative dissapproval of the decency and families-first police.

That is unimportant though in the grand scheme of things, that news item and what the NY Times is reporting that Black Water staged a cover-up, allegedly paying off families of victims killed in the debacle (and possible other episodes). Private security is market-speak for ‘mercenary’ and as long as folks have a firm understanding that these guys get paid way more than volunteer soldiers, they should still be held accountable for fuck-ups as colossal as allegedly killing 8 Iraqi civilians on Sept. 16th.

Swimming through all the news I heard that Radiohead announced their plans to release their latest record, In Rainbows. This is culturally significant because Radiohead is the greatest rock group of my generation and I don’t care if you disagree. Actually it is significant because the band is releasing their 7th studio album online for “whatever you feel like paying,” which is hilarious and a huge sign that the billion dollar music industry had better start paying attention. They are also releasing a ‘Discbox,’ containing two LP’s, one with the entire In Rainbows and another, second LP with ‘extra songs,’ plus a bunch of art and a booklet. Sort of like what they did for Kid A with the CD release but about 100 times better because not only do you get vinyl, you get access to it all in MP3 format – and it’s not Kid A. How about that? So I bought it. I got sucked in. I bit the lure and swallowed the hook. Good job Thom and Co., now we’ll have to see if we can sync it up to Lightyears or maybe Ralph Bakshi’s Wizards with a bong load or two [like PinkOz!!!]. Its a gift that’ll be good enough for me and my wife, who is also a huge Radiohead fan.

This was the best news I have heard all week. Now I have something to look forward to. Black Water, Britney, Illegal Foreign Occupation of a sovereign country, Darfur, Monk Protests in Myanmar – all that shit just slides to the back for a few brief minutes. I’ll let you know how the vinyl is as soon as I get my hands on it. In the meantime I’ll report on how the MP3’s sound as soon as I get access on Oct. 10th.

Who needs record labels?

UPDATE: Check out the Review!