Two Confessions and an Observation


By John Johnson

Hi John, I think you’ve landed on a significant observation. While I’m not certain that the bloated lords of Greed would ever abandon a target consumer (nor do I believe they’ve lost interest in us – witness all the garish obnoxious commercials), impoverished demographics seem to spend hugely disproportionate amounts of money on worthless shit that gives them the temporary illusion of status. 

Was it John Steinbeck who said that poor people don’t see themselves as poor, but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires? 

One of my characters (written ca. 2004) says, “…[T]he seduction of materialism is powerful. Especially to an oppressed people with little in the way of hope. And, should it triumph, it will surely suck the life from them…”

As always, a pleasure. 

—Chaparral

Two Confessions and an Observation

Confession Number One: I’m getting food stamps. Well county person put some funds into my bank account. And if it weren’t for some generous donations, I’d be in big trouble.

We need a lot more donations. We’ve been publishing one of the few progressive papers around, every month for over twenty years. On top of cutting edge news and perspective on domestic and world events, we bring you pages filled with timely information on progressive meetings and actions.

Confession Number Two: I do watch some TV. Well, maybe more than some. And I’ll bet many of you do too. (Though, of course, those of you who read our Calendar can find a lot more to do than sitting around watching TV!) Let’s face it, TV has become a lot more garish and annoying. Especially the commercials.

I see tons of ads for expensive cars that all look the same. Where are the unique Chevys, and Fords, like my ‘54 two door, with a souped-up flathead V8? Or the ‘67 Chevy Bel Air with the huge tires in the rear and a loaded V8? They were unique and fun. But these days crawling under a car or driving fast are two of the last things I’ll be doing.

“…[T]he seduction of materialism is powerful. Especially to an oppressed people with little in the way of hope. And, should it triumph, it will surely suck the life from them...”

Continuing on television’s race to the bottom, Current TV got rid Keith Olbermann, one of the better voices on TV. And MSNBC seems to have watered-down Rachel Madow. Of course, Amy Goodman is still great on Free Speech TV and Pacifica.

An Observation: Corporations seem to be shifting their interest away from exploiting the US consumer population to the fertile money-sucking potential to be found in the hungry masses of China and India.

It isn’t enough that for decades the mega-manufacturers have been exploiting the cheap unregulated labor of these unfortunate few billion? No. Now they are being aggressively targeted as consumers like a lot of sugary products, low nutrition food, liquor, etc.  And again, as with their labor, they have no government protection as the sales of their purchases are unrestricted by any health or safety regulations.  Our corporate friends just love that,  goodby America you have live up your usefulness, we have others to exploit.

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