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TOXIC THOUGHT SYNDROME

"I don't know about where you live, but where I live there isn't a whole hell of a lot of commitment to the local arts community, and this is a good example. The notion of making money through advertising has poisoned the interest in letting less profitable but more local artists have the chance to express themselves."


12/15/2001

I am not a whore.

I am not a billboard.

I am not a carnival barker.

Every day I take the bus to work. Every day I pass this one construction site which has been a construction site as long as I can remember. Every day, I read the postings for what local bands are playing where in hopes of either seeing my own name or seeing the names of friends bands.

One day, I am going past the usual billboard and it's been painted over in a spirit-quelling gray tone with big white letters that read, "POST NO BILLS". "Jerks," thought I.

A few days later, there were bills posted. They weren't local band playbills, though. They were ads for IBM servers and funky new top-40 album releases. Since the great change, I've seen advertising for all sorts of products and services, but nothing that supports the local community.

I don't know about where you live, but where I live there isn't a whole hell of a lot of commitment to the local arts community, and this is a good example. The notion of making money through advertising has poisoned the interest in letting less profitable but more local artists have the chance to express themselves.

That got me thinking about the turn we've taken. I don't go a day without hearing words like branding and corporate presence. When the computer manufacturer that I bought my most recent computer model screwed up totally and didn't send me half of the components until 2 months later, they sent an apology golf t-shirt complete with their brand on the sleeve.

I'm not going to sit back and shill for a company that is only asking me to do this because they proved they aren't worthy of my business. How does that make sense?

Got me thinking a little further about the rest of the brands I wear, the places where we are advertising or being advertised to, and the messages we're sending. It's a sickening notion. Not long after that I went into the Gap. Could I find a shirt that didn't have great big lettering on the front announcing the store I bought the shirt at? No.

So I've made up a new game plan. I'll advertise, but only what I want to advertise. I'm going to buy clothing that promotes the things I want to see. I've never been a trendy person, but now I'm going all out.

I like punk rock, so baby I'm doing a lot of my shopping through sites like Alternative Tentacles where I can support the brands I want to.

If you like something, support it. If you don't support it, then quit flogging it. This Christmas season, buy Daddy a Become The Media t-shirt, and use it as the chance to stand up for what you want.

I'm not seriously advocating buying pornography for your mother as a means of quietly protesting globalization, I just think that maybe we need to take the time to really think about what we're promoting. That's all. You know how I get.







ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jim Martin is one of those people who can start a sentence with "The problem with democracy is that jerks like you get to vote" and end it with your wanting to be his friend. He hosts a website and has been published by Mob Hit Productions, Images Inscript, House of Pain, Scapegrace, and here at 3am.








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