I was at 'Books-A-Million', and the cashier asked me if I wanted to subscribe to a magazine. I felt sorry for her, because I know that cashiers are graded by their management on how much stuff they 'upsell'. I was transported out of the realm of logic and reason for a few moments, and a 'yes' slipped out of my mouth. It was all downhill from there.
Today's magazine struck me as particularly bizarre.
Cover: Some article about how we are becoming the Matrix.
Page one: a two-page advertisement for 'organic cigarettes'. They are "100% US Grown . . . to support our communities and the environment." I guess my dead relatives who spent years on oxygen with emphysema would be glad to know they were supporting the environment. The people I know at work who can't climb a flight of stairs, the people with heart disease, I guess they are happy to know their death is supporting the community.
"All natural" Frito-Lay chips. The funniest thing about 'all natural' is that these are all made with Genetically Modified Corn. The 'Made with All Natural ingredients' label they use even apes the 'Non-GMO' label used on hippie brands in Whole Foods. Compare:
One of these things is not like the other.
Of course, the Miracle-Gro people sued Terracycle because their packaging was vaguely similar, involving concepts like having too much green. I can only speculate that this GMO label thing is OK because the first one was a simple collection of geometric shapes and letters, which AFAIK cannot be copyrighted . I guess if they had been trademarked it would be a different story, because copyright law and trademark law are two different animals.
A couple pages later:
"Interview" with a guy from a sitcom/movie.
Important facts about viagra.
An article about the struggles of small-time miners in Chile.
A book lauding Ronald Reagan.
A two page spread. Two page spread. That is an advertisement for magazines.
"We surf the Internet. We swim in magazines"
Yes, I feel as though I am swimming through a toxic sludge soup of Viagra, Tobacco, and 'all natural' genetically modified corn mush.
A pill that helps you if you have "Too much fat in your blood". How did you get too much fat in your blood? Maybe it was from scarfing down 3 bags of 'all natural' fried genetically modified corn product? While smoking 5 packs a day of 'organic cigarettes'?
An iPhone 'App' for the "Carb Lover's Diet". No comment.
Couple pages later: iPhone ad.
Farther: Lipitor ad.
Another opinion page.
Many pages of very interesting, in depth article writing. Very valuable information here.
More ads... for more drugs. A Capella university, for-profit college that is (like many other for-profits) being investigated by the government
Wells Fargo, telling us that it cares about Black History month. Funny that because it's deep and wide involvement in the subprime mortgage market wound up hurting a lot of minorities. In fact, one former Wells Fargo manager, claims they specifically targeted African American people to put borrowers who qualified for prime loans, instead into subprime loans. Of course, free-market true believers will tell you that fraud doesn't exist, and that predatory lending doesn't exist, etc etc.
American Airlines, a taxpayer bailed-out corporation.
Ads from car dealers. Ads from automobile tire producers.
I almost didn't notice. All of this is inside a 'Special Advertising Section' sponsored by the National Urban League. It is several pages, that look just like an article (save for the 'Special Advertising Section' text at top), of what in fact amounts to an advertisement for the National Urban League. It is hard to tell it's an ad, because there are other ads interspersed with it. There are 10 pages of advertising in a row, but to the casual flipper-through it looks like 5 pages of ads and 5 pages of article text, charts, graphs, etc. But if you read it, every paragraph is about how the NUL is fighting foreclosure, NUL is fighting this and that. In between these pages, is the Wells Fargo ad about how much they love Black History, and the Capella University ad.
Next ad: hot chick advertising Sports Illustrated. Interesting thing to me is that one company can get other companies to 'sponsor' it's own product. Here it is the Las Vegas tourism people, SoBe lifewater, Nissan, and HTC.
Next: a bunch of writing about movie stars.
Articles about film stars are, essentially, advertising for movies. Movie stars go on talk shows, and do interviews, because they are plugging a product. It is, basically, advertising. If you watch Letterman and his guests are two movie stars, that is basically a 55+ minute commerical.
Ad: Western International University, which is owned by the same company that owns University of Phoenix, which is, you know. Controversial
Last page: Toyota, Louis Vitton.
What are these advertisements? They are to make you fatter, make you sicker, make you go further into debt, etc. They also make our government go into debt as well.
What are the articles in Time about? They are often about "Why are we so fat, sick, and debt laden?" And "why is our national debt is so high?" And, of course, the possible solutions.
For me, part of the reason is simple. I felt sorry for the checkout girl.
I guess my 'solution' would be to stop feeling sorry for checkout girls.
Or, maybe, to avoid stores that upsell subscriptions to magazines that I do not want or need.
Lastly, I must confess to my own hypocrisy here. For I am having this blog, here, with advertising below. The vast profits I make, that sustain my lifestyle, are possible only because of google adsense and amazon affiliates programs. The $2.30 that I garnered in ad clicks in the past 3 months, has obviously corrupted my sense of morality to the point I cannot put the beam out of my own eye, before I cast the speck out of anothers. Ah well. What can I say? I am a weak, weak person.