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Edward Phillips

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Mass Marketing in America
By Edward Phillips
Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Rated "G" by the Author.

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Is there a "sucker born every minute?" Without a doubt.

Mass Marketing in America


Are you being taken?  Of course you are.  You are such a pushover that a seven year old could kick you in the shins, grab your money, and leave you wondering "What the blazes just happened?"  You are part of the great American swindle game and, what’s worse, you love it.  You love having your pockets picked while those doing the picking laugh all the way to the bank.  They take you every time you pop a beer and gather 'round your TV set for a few hours with your favorite spectator sport whether it’s football, baseball, basketball, or golf.


First, let’s establish a few ground rules:  You can call yourself a fan.  But you are really a sucker.  Why?  Because golf is a just a game--nothing more, nothing less.  And so is football, baseball, basketball, tennis and a host of other ways to hit, kick, throw, or slam dunk a ball,  None of them builds character, honesty, humility, or any other desirable human characteristic.  If you want to believe otherwise, you also have to admit that these sports also teach us how to curse, cheat, lie, gamble, knock out teeth, and engage in excessive drinking.  In addition, we do not collectively choose to reward the best players of such games with multi-millions of dollars in income, nor do we choose to call them heroes, champions, or any other name suggesting superb human qualities. Instead, there is a vast marketing “conspiracy” that achieves all those ends.  The same people manipulators could probably achieve equal results for the best bubble gum blowers, marble shooters, hot dog eaters, or for a ham sandwich running for President. 


OK, so you want some proof of my statements, do you?  Try these:  In your mind’s “eye” take a set of pictures of a golf course before Tiger Woods plays a round of golf on it.  Take another set after he finishes.  Except for a few divots here and there, did it change? The answer is “No.”  Indeed, did the world change? Again, the answer is no. But if you want to think he has somehow done something profound and worthy of millions of dollars of income, you might ask if we still have budget deficits, wars, crime, diseases, dishonesty, obesity, slavery, prostitution, and a host of other undesirable human outcomes in our land.  Of course, we do, and Tiger’s score did not change any of those realities, for the better or for the worse.


So why has Tiger been rewarded with one billion dollars of income?  Don’t those who work in plants that make refrigerators have more to show for their work at the end of the day than does Tiger?  Yes, of course they do!  But his income is at least 1,000 times more than theirs!  Why?  Is taking one less swing than his competitors at a little white ball after four days of playing this game important to anyone or anything?  Of course it is not, and no rational human being could make a good argument to the contrary.  What is the difference between a score of 272 and 273?   It’s about a million dollars to Tiger.  And where did that money come from?  Wake up, dummy.  You paid it.


So this is really about you; it’s not about Tiger Woods. He’s busy doing other things with all that money.  And it’s about television.  And creating illusions, and false dreams, and unrealistic hopes, and false idols. But mostly it’s about mass lunacy.  It is definitely about lunacy because you are getting your pockets picked 24/7 by these clever propagandists from Madison Avenue.  And you are not complaining at all.  So you’ve got to be either on the dumb side of the lily pond, or on the numb side of the propaganda heap.  I’m betting you are just temporarily nuts and numbed out by the propaganda boys.  Lucky for you, I’m here to save the day, to shake the numb crumbs out of your head, and inject some new air into your otherwise normal head.


I can already hear this counter argument building among the brethren:  "Yes, but … this is just the free market system at work.  What people do with their money is their business.  What do I care?"  Yada, yada, yada.  "How they choose to spend their money is called freedom of choice"... More yada, yada, yada.


No, it is not about free markets at work, nor is it freedom of choice.  It is 100 percent manipulation.  Through the mind numbing sounds and images of television, repeated over and over thousands of time, you have been brainwashed into not thinking while someone else is doing your thinking for you.  They are really making you into a walking, talking automaton of consumerism.  You are watching what they want you to watch on TV, reacting how they want you to react, and spending your dollars in the way they want you to spend them.  Your bank account is falling, falling, falling while theirs is rising, rising, rising.  You don’t know it because you believe you are in control.  But that’s exactly what they want you to believe.  You have been had…fleeced…picked clean to the bone.  Mission accomplished.  They is the picker and you is the pickee. 


There is a lot more to this picture than the multimillions of dollars flowing to the athletes who can barely count or speak in complete sentences. It’s also about the TV network boys, the executives, the club owners, the announcers, and the cast of thousands who conspire to take you to the cleaners.  Yes, they are all taking you, and here is the simple test that proves it:  Remove yourself from the picture (and all those like you).  Now ask yourself “Who is no longer getting paid?”  The answer is the same people who are now raking in money hand over fist—the players, the team owners, the networks, the executives, the announcers, and all those in the income stream that you and your pals created. 


Yes, there is a "Great Sucking Sound" taking place in America as dollars flow from your pockets to theirs.  Can you hear it?  Will it ever end?  Not likely. As P.T. Barnum put it:  “There’s a sucker born every minute.”  And if you are not complaining about it, the odds are nearly perfect that you are the dope being duped.


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Reviewed by Roger Hull 12/15/2012
Gotta agree with you on this one. I've wondered for years why poeople worship sports with their pockebooks. I yearn for the days when I could climb the bleachers and watch my teams play for free. I am looking forward to your take on the rip offs being purpetrated by our corporate executives.
Reviewed by Ronald Hull 7/31/2012
Reminds me of my poem, "Suckers," for some reason? Over the years I've occasionally watched "big time" sports, sometimes with other guys who weren't necessarily my buddies. I learned early on that time with buddies was largely wasted time. While I have enjoyed the commercials--especially funny or poignant ones--I have never bought anything endorsed by a famous person, except the French designer, Jay Say Pennyea.

I admire Tiger because he was a mixed race child with a great smile and healthy discipline, enabling him to score academically at Stanford as well as make amazing shots with his little white balls. The same balls that got him--understandably--many groupies to grope--who wouldn't? Magic didn't. Jeraldo didn't. But I didn't run out and buy a Buick like the Chinese did.

Why? Because, as a kid, I had a twin brother buddy and didn't need to identify my inadequacies with the local bully or star in his gang. Never developed a circle of buddies that I had to show off to with my buying power.

Reviewed by Robert Johnson 7/30/2012
The article has merit in that it points out the lack of lasting value in sports entertainment which, unlike reading or intellectual entertainment, has winners and losers so may be a "zero-sum" game. Sports do provide a conversational topics and anticipatory pleasure even to the "losers" so can not be dismissed as useless. The marketing part reminds me of the saying " the hardest thing is to be yourself in a world which is trying to make you into something else". Bottom line. A major cultural change would be required to alter the current state of affairs. I do not see any way to make it happen.

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