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July 05, 2007

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i.a.t.

food for thought. thanks. people have always bought and sold things. what is it makes now so special?

Phil

Best post yet. To be human is to have an identity, a self, in community with others, and differentiated from others. For this historically we had religion, ritual, philosophy, art. Now brands have displaced these as "identity" creation mechanisms. The poet, prophet, philosopher and the teller of folktales spoke from the holy spirit, the brand builder from the bottomline. The holy spirit teaches us to renounce temptations, blandishments, baubles and idols. The brand builder counts the number of worshippers around the idols and hopes only to build the market share of the idol is he paid to create and serve. The result are identities that are shallow, fissured, riven, desperate, depressed, or simply enthralled and complacent. We are the product of capitalism and its living indictment. Any system that produces us en masse must be flawed.

Albert

You put it well. The question of identity—of the forces that shape our individual and collective identities—is key.

In answer to i.a.t.’s comment, I think it’s a matter of degree—the degree to which corporate interests invade our built environment and brand everything that’s brandable. It’s also the degree to which we happily comply. My fear is that it’s largely corporate forces that are shaping contemporary consciousness and values.

What is or where is civil society? Is its power greater than that of the marketplace? Where do we congregate in large numbers to express and debate our values? The church? the Internet? the shopping mall? We commonly frame the purpose of education as preparing our young people for the workplace. Sometimes we mumble something about good citizenship, but do we have any clear idea what that means?

What are we living for? What is this country about, beyond maximizing the GDP?

Alejandro H. Fukit, Visiting Scholar, The Cruikshanks Center For Kiss My Ass

Found these hyenas sniffing around cruikshanks.org:

The only thing like brandimensions is brandimensions itself

A.H. Fukit's Very Short Seminars

Q: Once one has "released the hounds" can one reliably recall them?

A: No, you silly twit, they will get you coming and going. It's in their nature.

Stuart Johnson

I can see from the collaterals that the company is leveraging its extensive knowledge of industry verticals. What will you do, Dr. Fukit? Develop a 30,000-foot win-win vision based on your own smart, distributed core competency? ... Wait, I need to take this call [canned laughter].

Alejandro H. Fukit, Visiting Scholar, The Cruikshanks Center For Kiss My Ass

You have un rire at my expense, Mr. Johnson, but planting a buss firmly on Center is no job for le rank amateur. In the vaunted words of Reverend Ike, "What's love  got to do with it? Huh??"

Stuart Johnson

I leave it in your capable hands, the likes of which there is no other thing.

a.mole

Before we know it, our ability to buy something--anything--at two for 79 cents becomes a measure of our civic health...etc

This is a big one, isn't it?

Complicity.

How to addict nice decent people to the abstracted symbols of very real suffering. Hook'em so good that they'll *vote* to keep the junk flowing. Rise up to *defend* the right to "our way of life". The unfortunate oppressing the more unfortunate oppressing the more unfortunate... all the way down.

Why? Because they *have to*, since their wages are low and trending lower as the earth flattens out. They *must* buy on price. They *must* oppress. They *lose* any shred of dignity that making an ethical choice might lend them. They *become* their oppressors.

And the rulers can claim that they are responding to the voice of the people - democracy.

Diabolical.

Cait

I firmly believe that by educating people on the benefits of buying local ethical products, we can change the awful degrading system in which we have become. However, if consumers are *forced* to change without having made the conscious decision themselves, nothing good has been accomplished. It will then be only a matter of time before consumers make decisions again based only on $ price, and not the price of the decisions on their own health and the health of their children and American farms and the genetic makeup of food...

Information about how food is produced must be transparent and unbiased so that each individual may make an informed clear decision about the nutrition they serve their families.

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