Last night, I lifted my eyes up from the New York Times to view a glossily wonderful television commercial, densely colored and so gloriously lit it could have been some Mad Man’s concept of heaven.
In fact, I’m now thinking the commercial must have been emitting rays of Zoloft-infused light. (I have to come up with some reason why I lifted my eyes to it.)
Beaming, happy people were reaching their arms out of my flat screen to embrace me with their joy in life. One after another, happy people flowed across my screen, each of them being demonstrably highly functional in their activities, whatever those activities were.
After, oh, maybe ten seconds (I’m unused to watching commercials so I’m slow to grasp the truth), I began thinking, “This better not be a Walmart commercial, this better not be…” I had about three “this better not be” thoughts before the truth was pasted over the screen.
It was a Walmart commercial. Not for the store itself or the products the company sells, but for its employees. Those happy, happy employees, beaming about how they now have health insurance for $50 a month (whatever they have for $50 a month, it ain’t health insurance), how they were now living in white-picket-fence houses, how they had risen from part-time status to full time managerial status (which is, I believe, how Walmart manipulates their employees out of various fair labor practices, like overtime and certain other benefits, like the right to form unions).
It could have been a commercial for some ecstatic mega-church. (It could have been a commercial for a Chinese i-phone factory.) But, no, it was a Walmart commercial. And instantly I understood why Walmart rounded up a bunch of their fully-owned and paid for Stepford Wives to tell us how damn happy and successful they were, working for Walmart. Devoted, even. Worshipful. (You get my earlier reference to the ecstatic mega-church, right?)
So why that commercial? Because Walmart is right now being brought to answer for its anti-labor sins by the NLRB and Steven Colbert (Daily Kos: Stephen Colbert rips into Walmart’s wage inequality.) among many, many others.
That commercial is a great example of how large corporations can use their HUGE advertising bucks in an attempt to brainwash us.
Beware. (And do look at the Colbert thing which I got from DailyKos. If I’m going to have my brain washed, I’d rather it be washed by the wit of Steven Colbert instead of the paralyzing deceit of Walmart.)