Brushing Teeth With Crest or Colgate

flag-machineIn a similar vein, telling people about your own plans to vote can encourage others to do the same.

There’s a science to getting people to vote

If enough money is put behind an advertising campaign to buy Crest toothpaste, there will be a tendency for people to buy Crest toothpaste over other brands of toothpaste. If enough money is put behind an advertising campaign to buy Colgate toothpaste, there will be a tendency for people to buy Colgate toothpaste over other brands of toothpaste. If there are huge advertising campaigns with spending budgets in the 100’s of millions of dollars to buy either Crest or Colgate toothpaste, it does not mean, in the end, that the slim margin of people who buy one or the other brand are buying a better brand of toothpaste.

What is means is that people who buy toothpaste have bought into the trope of advertising campaigns as being truthful: that such campaigns represent truthful states of reality which are represented by the products they offer.

From some of the well-known advertising classics, that would mean such things as:

—Mountain Dew will make you white river rafting with twenty-something year olds

—Cars will hook you up with long-legged, voiceless and sexy women; or turn you into one

—Norelco electric razors are so fun that shaving will feel as though you are sledding on cartoon snow with Snoopy

—Using drugs to give men erections will make couples feel a) monogamous; b) in love while walking around the pastoral circumference of Lake Geneva; heterosexual

Within the matter of purchasing toothpaste, there is the underlying presumption that “brushing your teeth is good for you.” Within this assumption, there is the counter-implication that “not brushing your teeth is bad for you.” So, one underlying advertising assumption is to advertise products that are to be perceived by people as “self-caring” vs. the bane of “self-neglect.”

Drinking sweet fizzy soda, driving a hot car, having a baby-smooth cheek, and a stiff cock for men—all of these are cast as desirable, human norms. All of these go into the shopping cart of both “having” and “living the good life.”

Imagine buying a product sold to you that did absolutely nothing at all, however. You brush your teeth with a paste that is just a clear gel. This gel, whether it is sold by Crest or Colgate, makes for either manufacturer of toothpaste huge profits, millions upon millions of dollars. In fact, all the millions of dollars in advertising put into steering the public that “brushing their teeth is good for them,” is easily and only worth it because this plowback returns to the manufacturers, the stakeholders in the corporation, and that corporation’s shareholders, as a steady if not predictable path of increasing margins of profit over time. So, a public concern, i.e., to have healthy teeth and gums, which is valid, is exploited in this scenario of bogus toothpaste sales solely for the good of private, corporate gain.

If the American Republic actually worked as a democracy, if there actually were anything approximating a democracy, many candidates for president would be available for the voting public, not just Crest and Colgate on the shelf. The other candidates that are? Knock off generic, or small market niche, or cave-dwellers brands, scarcely important.

In the upcoming election, one brand of gel might well be made up of confetti, minced cassette tapes, and arsenic. The other brand might well be made up of pulverized iron, minced brassieres, and gunpowder. Neither is good for you. Should either win, that person representing that party, the stakeholders in that party, and the sycophantic shareholders in that party’s system will all win. They will all profit big time. One, or the other.

While the belief that “brushing you teeth” is one that rings of truth, “voting is a civic duty” is a misleading falsehood. It is, like brushing your teeth drummed into people since early childhood, hard to get over, hard to get past, hard to overcome, hard to disbelieve.

Don’t vote. Don’t vote anymore than you would buy a tube of toothpaste whose use was not just pointless, but bad for you, and bad for everyone you know, and everyone you don’t know. Don’t buy Crest or Colgate, especially this time you think about shopping for toothpaste.

Americans, just say, “No.”

Never Cool To Vote Again

nyc reservoir“You got to vote all the time. Not just when it’s cool.” —President Obama

http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-obama-graduation-20160507-snap-story.html

People should never ever vote. And I’m not the sort of guy who uses the word “should.” I avoid it. But voting? It is one thing no one should ever do. Of course there is the mythology of having a voice and that a vote is your voice, and with your voice along with millions of other voters in America, you, collectively, make democracy work. And, by direct implication, that if you do not vote, you do not exercise that voice, and put the brakes on the system of democracy. And, to boot, the undercurrent is that by not voting, you are unpatriotic, un-American, and worse.

Voting gives people that precious little feeling of having a say, of having a voice. And when people no longer have that feeling of having a say, of having a voice, even a tiny one, people begin to get choked up. If you’re at the dinner table and politely ask someone to pass the salt, you expect to be heard. And, in due course, you expect to have that shaker of salt passed your way, as soon as it is practical. You feel heard. And you feel seen. Were you to ask for the salt and nobody did a thing, it wouldn’t be long before you got frustrated, ticked off, unnerved, angry. Eventually you’d build up understandable sorts of resentments and one day, assuming no one ever passed you the salt, meal after meal, month after month, year after year, you’d flip out.

Votes give people the feeling that they are being heard. And it’s that feeling that’s so important. Otherwise you might just explode like that raisin in the sun does at the end of the Langston Hughes’ poem. And the political system, which wants very much to preserve itself, which caters only to the top interests—the top financial and top economic interests—of the folks in charge, at the direct and at the indirect expense of the folks not in charge, by giving voters the opportunity to vote, by creating the satisfying illusion of having a say in the system which really does not care an iota about the millions and millions of lives that are subject to it, the political system very skillfully does preserve itself.

Were it not for voting, people would explode. They would erupt. They might become violent. They would become revolutionary. Voting lets off that steam. Voting makes people blind to the fact that the odds of winning a multi-million dollar lottery twice are less than the odds of a father and son becoming president in a democracy that is actually a democracy. Voting makes people deaf to the fact that the odds of being struck four times in a lifetime by lightning are less than a husband and then his wife becoming president in a democracy that is actually a democracy. But this feeling of having a say, this feeling of having a voice, dulls all the five senses, and numbs completely the brains of the people.

So long as people keep voting, things will keep on being the same. The public theater of Republicans and Democrats, like the Sharks and Jets, like the Montagues and the Capulets, it just goes on and on. The same sides, the same families will stage the same centuries’ old political plays for the public, and by doing this, by putting on these plays between this side and that side, they will always keep their places, their power, their positions. It is these—their places, their power, their positions—which those in the upper echelon of society, regardless of their so-called political affiliation, which they will never under any circumstance give up or risk giving up, that the system is almost perfectly designed to preserve.

Voting is the grease to the machinery of the smoothly running wheels and gears of power, position, and generational entitlement. The American Republic is no different than an Old World landed aristocracy except for the illusion that every few years people vote, by which action the American people at large are completely blinded, deafened, and made completely dumb to the fact that it is they who are the peons, the servants, the crushed and oppressed underclass of this tiny but very powerful overclass of landed and political aristocrats in charge and in power above them. By voting in America all that happens is different branches of the well-established aristocracy of America sit at the long oak table every so often, every few years, while the other branches of that aristocracy, for the time being, eat elsewhere, until it becomes their time to sit at the table again, while the others now sit out. But like squealing pigs made frantic and excited to their own horrible slaughter, Americans keep voting and voting all the time, cycle after cycle, while the true aristocracy in charge, in the name of “progress,” keeps profiting and profiting.

This American Life

many dc tourists

When he went to the movies, once it was going and the crowd had pretty much stopped eating snacks and popcorn and slurping their sweetened drinks, he’d turn around in the movie-theater darkness and look at the people. There, they were all still, all the same. They could be old people. They could be Chinese people. They could be kids. They could be men. They could be little or big. They could be white people. They could be Cuban, or Slavic. They could be any people. They all faced the same way, quiet and all together. It was all very peaceful like that. He’d been sitting once on the Fourth of July in the grass outside. A Vermont band was playing Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture. To get the best seat, he had come early enough to be able to sit in the front row. The cannon went off. It aimed at the Green Mountains. The whole thing was over. When he stood up to leave, he saw the whole crowd of people, half of them with their right hands over their hearts, had been standing. It could have been 200 people, it could have been 500. He was the only person who’d sat through the whole thing and never risen. It had never occurred to him to stand, to salute, to honor the fallen, to commemorate the heroes, to have become part of the sea of patriots on their feet for who knows how long now in the soft country grass. He had not seen them and what they were doing, when they rose together like a sudden tide.