Wednesday, March 12, 2003
America had been putting up with the ongoing expansion of the corporation into American life since the end of World War II. It had been the money cow to the United States. But it had also been a filthy cow that gave off foul gases of mendacity and manipulation by an extreme emphasis on advertising. Put less into the product but kowtow to its marketing. Marketing was a beast and a force that succeeded in taking America away from most of us. It succeeded in making the world an uglier place to live in since the Second World War. One has only to cite fifty-story high-rise architecture as inspired in form as a Kleenex box with balconies, shopping malls encircled by low-level condominiums, superhighways with their vistas into the void; and, beneath it all, the pall of plastic, ubiquitous plastic, there to numb an infant's tactile senses, plastic, front-runner in the competition to see which new substance could make the world more disagreeable. To the degree that we have distributed this crud all over the globe, we were already wielding a species of world hegemony. We were exporting the all-pervasive aesthetic emptiness of the most powerful American corporations. There were no new cathedrals being built for the poor— only sixteen-story urban-renewal housing projects that sat on the soul like jail.