I’m writing this a few days ahead of time, so at this point I have no idea who’s even playing in the finals. Don’t tell me you don’t know which finals I’m talking about, either, because a) it’s one of the world’s largest international sporting events and b) it’s right there in the gosh darn title.
To stop you before you get to that particular stepping stone, I get it, Tim Howard jokes are hilarious. I agree that he is a very good keeper. Let’s not move in that direction and instead concentrate on the fact that FIFA is essentially an organization of lesser demons. There’s no way I’m going to be able to sum it up better than John Oliver, though, so here-
By request, this Shame Day is going to be a triple-feature, with three of the most insidious corporations out there out in the stocks. Now I’m currently boycotting all three of these companies (and have been for some time) and made banning them from campus the priority of my college activism. That’s all just to say that I’ve had a long time to build and hone my venomous rage and hatred of both these companies, so buckle up- this is going to be vicious one.
Let’s start with Nike.
Even the mildest of the companies many, many offenses is still pretty vile. Take a look at this ad Nike ran back in 2008 for the Beijing Olympics:
GORDON: Well Comrades, welcome to the Culture War Reporter’s off-grid, self-sustaining commune. Pour yourself some Kool-Aid and make yourself comfortable as Evan and I debate the merits of the movement.
EVAN: While we ended our last segment stating that we were going to discuss the state of the church, starting off tonight we realized a few things.
a) We can’t for the life of us find this phantom comment by Joseph suggesting such a topic [though I swear I read it].
b) We already talked about one of his topics [naps and such] and therefore should give someone else a chance.
c) Hannah has put forth a good handful of them, one of her most recent being the following:
What do you guys think about the new(?) trend back towards super-independence, by which I mean, growing your own food, creating your own textiles, etc (and taking pictures of it to put on your fancy blog….). Is this back to the earth movement a reflection of culture change or just another hippie permutation?
Back on October 15th of last year I ran a little piece on what’s not getting covered [enough] in the media. As I struggle in vain to fend off a nasty cold, I’ll be submitting a similar piece today.
Palestinians and Hunger Strikes
Today marked a massive hunger strike protest by Israeli prisoners, with over 3,000 inmates refusing meals in solidarity with another prisoner allegedly tortured to death. These strikes also call attention to the continued hunger strikes by four Palestinian inmates, the longest of whom has been on intermittent protest for 200 days, and is currently in critical condition.
While this is in the news (depending on the site), the importance of this story is that it marks a continued attempt by these prisoners at nonviolent protest- the kind many in the West proclaim would lead to justice for the Palestinian people if only they would attempt to use it. Well, here it is, and despite the attempts by these prisoners to emulate the tactics of Gandhi and MLK, they remain (surprise, surprise) rotting away in Israeli prisoners under “detainment”- that is, they may be indefinitely held without being charged with any crime. One might imagine that the attempts by the Palestinians to meet the demands of many in the west might merit some more attention.
Coca-Cola Vs Australia and the Environment
Recently in Australia legislation was passed to help meet the growing environmental issue of pollution from discarded soft drink bottles. Essentially the bill adds ten cents to the cost of each bottle, which will be refunded upon the bottle being recycled. Over 40 countries currently maintain such programs, and in Australia this legislation has doubled the local recycling rates. Coca-Cola, fearing that this environmental legislation may hurt its sales, has been campaigned viciously against this legislation and is currently suing the Australian government over it.
Let’s keep in mind here that Coke isn’t paying the ten cents- the Australian government is. Coke is simply that concerned that “tax,” for lack of a better term, is going to somehow hurt their profits.
Coke made 2.79 billion this year. I’m going to posit that 10 cents isn’t going to crush ’em.
Fracking Battle in New York
And to continue on with environmental news not in the news, the battle against fracking rages on in rural New York.
Fracking (see graphic above) is the process of extracting natural gas from the ground by piping in an as-of-yet undisclosed compound into the earth to widen natural fissures in the stones trapping the gas. The issue with this is that the process is pretty dang inaccurate, with gas (as well as the undisclosed chemicals) leaking into the local water supply, resulting in, among other issues, water catching on fire from all the methane in it. Now this is a fairly major issue, and one you’re almost certain to not see in the morning paper or the nightly news.
As before, people, it’s high time that we demand that our journalists actually act like journalists. What do you really want- news about major events affecting your life, or coverage of the academy awards?
Barring the people for whom the two are one and the same, but that’s a post for another time.
There’s a common misconception that Communism is about an all-powerful government controlling the economy. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. Despite our railing against Ayn Rand and laissez-faire economics, the end-boss that Marx actually described was the inevitable merger of big business and big government into one inbred monster. The whole point of the glorious people’s revolution was to get rid of both the plutocrat and the politician, though obviously between Stalin, Pol Pot, and Joe McCarthy, things all went terribly wrong. “Marxism” became a buzz-word for the very things it was opposed to, and the whole movement got set back a century. It’s not easy being red.
Even so, every once in a while, we manage to chalk up a point for the good guys.
This particular victory comes to us from Fort Collins, Colorado, where it was announced yesterday that the New Belgium Brewing Company has become 100% worker owned!
ARISE YE WORKERS FROM YOUR SLUMBER! ARISE YE PRISONERS OF WANT!
That’s right- owned and democratically run by the people who actually do the work. Behold the nefarious Communist agenda for America!
Now in case you’re wondering exactly who these guys are, there’s a chance you might be more familiar with some of their products- such as Blue Paddle, Snow Day (seasonal), and their most famous, Fat Tire.
This is a really, really good beer…
Now in addition to being a much needed triumph for the proletariat, New Belgium has plenty more commendable points worth mentioning.
These guys are as green as they are red, using a combination wind-power, methane, and ingenious energy-efficiency techniques to reduce power consumption.
All workers receive a free bike after one year of service.
We live in a world full of vile contemptible companies who do vile contemptible things and never get the derision and disgust that they so richly deserve (cough, Nestle, Coca-Cola, Monsanto, Nike, Caterpillar, Unilever, Marks & Spencer, cough). If those evil dirtbags can’t be publicly condemned, then perhaps we can at least swing to the other side, and offer some well-earned praise to people doing it right.
““Do we want to be good, or do we just want to look good?”
GORDON: I’m not entirely sure I can come up with any swift dismissal of this possibility, I mean- look at the world we live in. Do we believe in being environmentally and socially conscious? Absolutely. But to what extent? I mean, we’ll chuck our soda cans in the recycling, but are we gonna picket Monsanto?
Are we really just observing these “little” things because they’re expected of us? Do we actually care one way or another?
EVAN: As far as recycling goes, we do that in Canada because it’s the law. Looking good only has so much to do with it.
If we want to go with the example of, say, giving a few dollars towards an environmental organization [or maybe because the fundraiser was cute], that works a little more maybe. It at least contrasts with picketing/protesting. I think we care, but maybe not enough? That’s if we’re quantifying “care” now by the actions that it results in.
GORDON: Is it, perhaps, that we’re cynical? Do we as a generation ultimately despair of the effectiveness of any method of change? Is the reason we’re unable to really go the distance when it comes to our causes because we think it’s all just in vain?
EVAN: Do we think it’s all futile? I mean, we’re certainly led to believe that to some extent. To focus on environmentalism, the extent of the destruction to this earth is growing ever closer to irreversible, and we’re made aware of this.
As far as documentaries and the like go, however, we are told over and over that what we do does indeed matter. Being conscious about how we spend our money and that sort of thing.
GORDON: That’s what we’re told, but then again, the creators of such documentaries are overwhelmingly members of older generations.
Look at the Occupy Movement, for example.
People were there from all demographics, but more than anyone else it was the youth- our generation. Despite massive popularity, that venture ultimately met its death under the boot heels of riot cops and a fog of pepper spray.
It’s been about a year since it all started, and the situation is the same, yet there’s really no push for any resurrection of the movement or even for any major protest at all. Have we given up? We’re all the same people- we have all the same drives and values- have we simply despaired of peaceful protest?
That aside, maybe you can explain what exactly happened as the movement petered out. It’s somewhat well-known that the weather was a large contributor to those occupying various streets and cities, but what else led to its collapse. Was it simply fatigue?
GORDON: I’d blame massive crackdowns on the part of the mayors of the occupied cities- let’s not forget that mayor Jean Quan pretty much turned Oakland into a warzone. Injured a protesting war vet so badly most folks thought he was going to become the first casualty of the movement (he pulled through, fortunately).
EVAN: This sort of all falls back to a point I made in relation to apathy our first attempt at this topic. That people care, but simply don’t feel like stepping outside their comfort zones. I realize that this may seem like a ludicrous thing to say in the face of the Occupy Movement, but I feel that the vast majority of youth, our generation, don’t want to do what it takes.
They, we, value comfort too much.
GORDON: I’m gonna have to second that theory.
I remember back when I was in college, going door-to-door trying to get students to boycott various unethical companies [Coca-Cola, Nike] doing business on campus. I was amazed at how many people would nod their heads and smile and agree with each and every word out of my mouth until I called on ’em to stop buying those companies’ products.
Guts. We got none. Difficulty with the concept of actual sacrifice, you know?
EVAN: And the refreshing taste of Coca-Cola is the very basest of comforts. If we can’t part with a caffeinated beverage we’re into, then what can we do?
I’ve joined in your personal boycott of the company, and although it can be a little difficult, it’s certainly nothing compared to being beaten by batons as I march on Parliament.
GORDON: Is that it then? Are our values just skewed ever so slightly in favor of immediate gratification? Do we prefer keeping our skulls in once piece over bread and freedom?
EVAN: History would say: yes. At least until things reach a certain point. Until we realize that being comfortable doesn’t outweigh what we put up with to get that comfort.
GORDON: So what’s the word for this?
EVAN: To put it simply would be “laziness,” and we both know it’s more than that.
GORDON: “Over-Attachment,” perhaps?
GORDON: “Hesitation”? “Looking back towards Sodom”?
EVAN: Looking back towards Sodom assumes that they’re actually doing something.
GORDON: It’s a fear- a very specific kind of fear. The kind where you “choke” just before doing something major.
EVAN: I’m going to say there’s probably something in French or German for that, but since we’re writing this in English we’re pretty limited in our options.
GORDON: Can we make one up?
EVAN: Heh. I don’t see why not.
How about . . . “Statusquophilia.”
EVAN: Haha, I like how we went different directions with our Greek roots.
GORDON: As do I. Shall we have the readers vote?
EVAN: Sounds good to me, and we should be wrapping things up anyway. Want to summarize how we got here?
GORDON: Ultimately, o readers, it all comes down to this. The great and terrible flaw of our generation- from what we’ve discussed- is not a sin of commission. We are not entitled, we are not lazy, we are not without our values. Our fault is in what we lack the guts to be good, the balls to be bad. In short, the unwillingness to part with what we have for the chance to attain something more. We’re trapped in a dance with the devil we know.
EVAN: Vote for the terminology you like more. “Statusquophilia,” meaning a love for things as they are, or “Fluxophobia,” meaning, in this case, a fear of sacrifice.
GORDON: For next week’s topic, we’ve got: Zombies- Are We Beating a Dead Horse At This Point?
EVAN: Or what is going on with all the wars on television? I’m referring to programs like “Storage Wars” and the like. Real wars are happening, I realize this.
GORDON: And with that, people of the interwebs, we are out of time- make sure to vote for your preferred word as well as the topic for next week, and be sure to check out our new “Fame/Shame Day” feature!