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.”

Pia Coybonne

grocery-list

The small things that I had remembered had been the the small things that I had  forgotten. Somewhere in the blandishments of my day to day living, the moanings and the excitements, I must have gone straight into the marketplace to pause. People must have have milling about, looking for something new, something fresh. A baby bear fed the stump end of a broken carrot? A double-terminated crystal, clear and colorless, with one of the tips smacked off? A black typewriter ribbon unspooled to line the inside of a talking doll’s universe? All sorts of events, both minor and major ones, had had some effect on my corn husk broom, the dead cats swept off the dirty midnight streets of Tunis, the speeding trains that slowed up just enough to make perfect time on the dot when arriving in Zurich, like a ballerina en pointe. All that I had overlooked, and all that had overlooked me, it was all mentioned in the waters whose rings had disappeared when the pebble I had tossed again and again sank, where the flashing coy fish swam down away to the murk and corners. Were there to have been a difference in the body politic, the grease anointing a king, or a mottled purple gown for another, surely I had raised my head to watch the geese flying overhead, flying south, or flying north, confused by the weather over which way to travel en masse upon the coming of evening during the approaching winter.

Jane Ouveille Gilbert

dc tourist hodge podge

The rumors I had had in mind were no different. The Sun rose. The Moon sank. The day’s decoys continued to deceive and to elude. By afternoon, no further change to the cycle of time was possible. Still, what lies I had believed in, I still believed in. The stew I had made with dried figs, turmeric, and other unguents had satisfied a hundred, possibly more, hungry guests. The hillside was filled with children, some of them mine, sledding, crashing happily down the slope. Candles before a sidewalk church I lit in privacy to mourners marching towards the nave, as yet unseen. Cloves of garlic by the dozen I had planted, also on my own. Once, decades prior, I was told: by fifty, you will have planted your head in the sand, you have so much to give the world. And I am seventy now, and for over twenty full years already I have defied this childhood prophecy I neither kept nor inflicted upon another. Naturally, too, as I take either a handful of cash, working as I have for many years at Comme d’Habitude, or watch a stranger’s hand swiping a plastic card for payment, none but me, none but myself, need ever know a grain of this. None but I need ever, like the seed of truth, burning alive, hidden as I have hidden mine within the tiniest fennel stalk, know a thing of this at all.

Vicktor B. Kruharth

dollar bill boy

There is no shame in being poor. One is spared having to make choices all the time. When one has money, one enters shops and stores and is always deciding this or that, or not this or not that. One is constantly making these sorts of decisions, deciding whether or not to buy the many things upon the shelves, things that wait there to be bought by my hands reaching up or by someone else’s. Whether to buy a pair of cashmere gloves or not. Because I like cashmere. Whether to buy a hand-made silk camisole from France for a lover. Because doing so is romantic, soft, and sexy. Whether to buy organic avocados. Because they taste best. In being poor I am free to wander in and out of stores. Hello, Tarik! And spend a half hour talking with him about his school days in North Africa. Hello, Suzy! And in between her holiday customers, I flirt with her only to flatter away the time, and do nothing else before leaving. It is such a relief! Everybody else is so busy with their noses in the classic or the best-seller books in bookstores they are reading and skimming with their noses deep in them for their boyfriends this year who will not be their boyfriends this time next year and they will have to put their noses in another book again the same way (making sure to only themselves—for who else would ever know?—that it is not the same book as last year, or the year or the boyfriend or the book before that) for all these different boyfriends, book after book, year after year. The floral- or fruit-scented bath soaps husbands must buy their wives which they do so out of a perennial symbol of the season’s obligation, whose failure to have done so would become a breach of custom tempting back-turned upon wordlessness at night (and no act of sex to indicate that all is well conjugally as it should be) before going to sleep, I am completely spared of too. If it is a new wife, so much the worse, and all the more difficult. Getting it right. Pleasing her. All is so fraught. I am spared it completely. I will wander on my own to the woods and with a bow saw cut down a small green tree since I cannot afford even to buy one from the local Christmas tree lot this year. And the sense of relief I feel from not having to make any of these choices this year to me is so great, I almost shudder when I remember, when I recall, having had lots of money once and being able to buy, had I wanted to, a fir tree twenty feet tall; had I wished to, buying expensive German designer shirts, and hand-crafted beeswax candles sweetly burning away my lost nights of love and languor. How free I am now that this gone. Gone! To be totally stripped of choice! To be in a position of cannot. All this is gone from me! When I wake, tomorrow I will walk alone across the causeway, my eyes looking across the flat wide open lake the wind has already passed over.

Black Friday Reverie

 

 

Everything is quiet. Nothing is forlorn. The folks have gone off to Rhode Island. Families visit Father; he is crazy, certified, a jolly lunatic. On Monday and on Tuesday, municipal services are suspended. The trash bags will be toted out to their garaged plastic containers and heaped upon heaps of trash bags, one higher than the rest the day before that, until Wednesday when all are trolleyed out. Post offices will have been unlocked three days by then. Turkey will concede to Russia. And Russia will bomb Syria. Old shelved board games will be played by neighboring children around the block. Indian Summer watches children wheeling their bicycles, up and down, back and forth with foam-padded helmets on. In other parts politicians dodge this and that as is their custom—nothing especially unusually wrong in that, no more than a tall man holding a fresh pint of lager ducking near a tossed point floating freely walking too near a local game of darts at the pub. Christmas presents are hidden in growing attic piles as mid-December will soon near. Shiny cookie-cutter snowmen, wreaths, and stars will come out from their plastic zip-locked bags stored in the high closet above refrigerators in due time. Dusted menorahs following Kislev will be fitted with eight new candles and lit for the burning days of religious notice. Giant sea turtles elsewhere underwater will have been swimming for one hundred fifty years all the while.