Don’t Know What I Want, But I Know How To Get It

Let me apologize for random, incoherent, nature of this post. My editor demanded a raise so I had to fire him, but judging from the previous content he wasn’t doing a very good job anyway.

As some of you know, I was an economics major in college. There are many reasons why I chose this major, most of them less than honorable, but the main reason was because I was good at it. For some reason, economics just stuck in my head.

I was at the campus bar one night in my junior year and ended up talking to one of my professors. I spent most the discussion in a drunken rant about the fact that calling economics a “social science” demeaned the word science and that the whole discipline was crap. This is the benefit of going to a small liberal arts school. Fortunately, he was also drunk and probably didn’t remember the argument, or at least never held it against me.

I went to the Redskins game last Sunday. One of the advantages of going to see a sporting event live was that you didn’t get to see commercials. I know that there are always sponsorships, etc. at games, but now Dan Synder has actual commercials play on the big screen during time outs/any break in play. At least at home, you can change the channel, maybe see what is happening in another game, but in the stadium you are trapped. I didn’t really notice this at the first game that I went to this season, but it really bothered me on Sunday. These constant breaks and pleas for your attention turn the game into a series of vignettes, rather than a coherent story. It is also possible that my disgust for the Redskins play bled over into disgust about the whole experience.

While the Redskins are the Washington sports team, I found this ramrod of advertising very un-Washington. Without getting into a debate about which is better, one thing that Washington clearly has over New York is a lack of billboards and public advertising. While not completely free, advertising in public space is very rare, less than any other city that I have been in.

For example, when my band use to play in New York a lot, we would drive from school, and after crossing the GW Bridge proceed down to Chelsea along the Henry Hudson Parkway. I remember a huge screen, like an lcd television thing, off the parkway near the Chelsea Piers that showed commercials. It was just hypnotic, this huge glowing thing was impossible to avoid while driving. I figured that it was placed there by a secret cabal of Body Shops and Car Insurers to increase accidents and drive up premiums in the city.

We just don’t have that sort of thing in DC, probably because most of the buildings are owned by the Government, National Park Service, or the Smithsonian. That is why you occasionally see the driving billboards around, but not very frequently. I think that I passed one billboard on my walk to work this morning, and it was poorly maintained. The fact that you can still see advertisements for “K Street” produced by George Clooney on telephones speaks to the lack of an organized public advertising push in the District.

I say all of this because I just started reading “No Logo” by Naomi Klein last night and wanted to reveal a clear bias I already have towards agreeing with it.

Then I see this on Lifehacker. Apparently, Adbusters is sponsoring a “Buy Nothing Day” this coming Black Friday. Well, I am going to participate. Granted, I wasn’t going to go shopping on that day anyway because I am not insane/masochistic, and I have to work. But now I get to not shop for political reasons! My hope is that this feeling of self satisfaction will make working on Friday easier to stomach.

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