Friday, March 3, 2017

"As Featured In"

I still don't know exactly what "as featured in" means, but I'm pretty sure there are few phrases which mean less.

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What I'm talking about is ads like this:

Experience our shamelessly-overpriced-at-$100, brass-plated, inaccurate and undependable quartz-powered disposable watch, as featured in House & Garden.

Ads plugging some obviously cheap and fake imitation of something better, "as featured in" some publication aimed at a market much too upscale for it.

2 possibilities occur to me about what "as featured in" might mean: 1) The watch was advertised in House & Garden, quite possibly with an equally-empty boast about how it had been "featured in" some other upscale rag; or 2) It's quite simply a shameless lie: there has never been any connection between this cheap brass-plated piece of failure and House & Garden, and the people who made the watch are betting that the people at House & Garden will either never hear about the lie, or not care.

(Btw, I'm sorry to have learned that House & Garden has not been published in the US since 2007.)

Enthusiastic supporters of capitalism are eager to talk about things such as IBM, Warren Buffet and General Motors, and less eager to talk about Donald Trump, the AIDS medication douchebag, homelessness, junk mail, and junk products "as featured in" this or that place. Let alone the relationships between the former and the latter. Gung-ho capitalists talk about how capitalism rewards hard work, integrity, dependability and other fine things, and in some cases, it has; but in many other cases it has rewarded entirely different things, such as naked greed, ruthlessness, indifference to people's or animals' health and well-being, deviousness, and having been born rich.

Some people say that capitalism has triumphed, others, that capitalism has failed. Some say that socialism has failed; others, that its triumph is inevitable. There is very, very little which I regard as inevitable. Also, where many or most others see black and white, I see grey, perhaps because I am less focused on how I believe things should be and more focused on finding out, as well as I can, how things actually are. I think that what we have now in the large state-run economies of the world, and have had since well before Adam Smith, is a mixture of capitalism and socialism. I think that less capitalism and more socialism would be a fine thing. But I don't think that more socialism can be imposed upon people against their will. I believe that, unfortunately, there is a widespread tendency to unquestioningly accept capitalist propaganda -- to the point that people will giggle when I say something which isn't funny like "capitalist propaganda." The fact that they giggle is one example of how successful capitalist propaganda has been.

Still, perhaps things like the 2007-2008 worldwide economic disaster and the disaster of the Trump administration are encouraging more people to think more deeply about economics. One issue where my attitude is close to black-and-white is education. I firmly believe it's a good thing. Remember how during the Presidential campaign Trump said he loved the poorly educated. Hopefully it's becoming more clear to more people that that love is not that of a shepherd for his sheep, but that of someone looking to shear the sheep and sell the wool for exorbitant profits, not to mention selling cheap brass-plated piece-of-junk watches to rubes for 20 times more than the most they could possibly be worth.

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