Meet the New Year, Same as the Old Boss

Or, Where are you now that we need you, Susie Chapstick?

There was something creepy about the in-your-face New Year’s from Times Square, carried by all networks and ubiquitous in blogs and obscure cable channels. The Center of the Universe is New York City, of course, as witnessed by wire stories from around the globe on the Times Square wing ding. New York didn’t return the favor, seemingly.

Dec 31 - 2008

NIVEA handed out free hats for maximum signage

The media glut of Times Square images all but shoved any other New Year’ s celebrations out of the national mediasphere. Only saw one video image flash by of London, Paris, Sydney in the tubal libation that passes for ‘coverage.’

And the night was owned by Nivea (German skin care company) and Toshiba (Japanese electronic gizmo company*), with Nivea controlling the “ceremonial button” that the Clintons and NY Mayor Bloomberg pushed to set the giant crystal ball a fallin’ toward the multiple giant TOSHIBA signs that could not be avoided.

[* Wikipedia:

In 1987, Toshiba Machine, the subsidiary of Toshiba, was accused of illegally selling CNC milling machines used to produce very quiet submarine propellers to the Soviet Union in violation of the CoCom agreement, an international embargo on Western exports to East Bloc countries. The Toshiba-Kongsberg scandal involved a subsidiary of Toshiba and the Norwegian company Kongsberg Vaapenfabrikk. The incident strained relations between the United States and Japan, and resulted in the arrest and prosecution of two senior executives, as well as the imposition of sanctions on the company by both countries.[3] … Senator John Heinz of Pennsylvania said “What Toshiba and Kongsberg did was ransom the security of the United States for $517 million.”

… In March 2008, Toshiba announced that it had launched a new company in America called, “Toshiba America Nuclear Energy Corp”. The primary mission of the company is marketing and promoting advanced boiling water nuclear power plants and providing support for related services.

You might want to take a look at this New York Times article.]


Jeepers. You’d think we could get some US companies to sponsor the New Year, wouldn’t you?

There, to push the “ceremonial button” — as the news called it — were New York Mayor Bloomberg, formerly a Democrat, then Republican, now an “independent” whose cronies got the “term limits” law waived so that he can run for a third term, the former first couple, former President Clinton and Secretary of State designee, Sen. Hillary Clinton, branded with the Nivea logo. Appropriate for Hillary, since, as Secretary of State, her first job will be to placate our foreign overlords.

Jan 01 - 2009b

Nivea über alles

Take that as a metaphor. Consider the FedEx Orange Bowl, the Rose Bowl (presented by CITI), the NOKIA Sugar Bowl (no, not Japanese, but Norwegian), the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl, and of course, the Outback Bowl, brought to you by Outback Steak Houses, who seem to think that they’re Australian and have to teach Americans about how to have a good steak.

And, of course, the Capital One Bowl.* [* “… previously known as the Tangerine Bowl (1947-1982) and the Florida Citrus Bowl (1983-2002).” Wikipedia.]

A bowl game purchased outright. None of this fruits and flowers crap. Just “What’s in your wallet?” But at least they’re “American.”

Are you beginning to understand my xenophobic rant?

Look: I don’t mind foreigners competing in the “free market” greedathon of the American marketplace. But I DO mind that we’ve sold off our American infrastructure to a bunch of foreigners with essentially no stake in our future or survival.

That can’t be good.

Remember, this country was FOUNDED on a desire to avoid foreign domination. With our GOVERNMENT $1 trillion in debt to the Chinese (so George could pay for his illegal war without a tax hike), and our ability to act seriously compromised by our foreign indebtedness, we have less and less control of our national destiny. (There’s a lot more, but it’s a holiday.)

And, I mind terribly that New Year’s Day is essentially one long ad for a bunch of faceless corporations who don’t give a damn about team loyalty, traditions, etc. Of the PAC 10, FIVE teams went to bowl games (we won all five, which is nice, but not the point). Bowls used to be for the very best. Now, there are nearly more football teams playing in the 30+ bowl games around January 1 as basketball teams invited to play in the NCAA tournament. (64)

Why? To exploit the fan base of those teams, who fill stadiums, hotels, bars and tourist attractions in cities generally warm at this time of year. Mostly, it’s a massive ripoff, based on exploiting the pride of mediocre teams.

Sorry, but the San Diego Community Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl is really a Bowl Too Far.


Coming up on ESBN: The Toilet Bowl

The national championship will be decided in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, and the winners will be handed the SEARS trophy, which is a crappy life size crystal …. FOOTBALL.


This will happen long past the point that I care, in a sport for which I used to have some affection, floating like a tiny life raft in a sea of commercials, signage, beer commercials, disinterested and functionally illiterate sports announcers, and has-been football players adding “color” to the sportscasts that often veer away from the game into conversational ephemera that literally OBSCURES the actual game from view.

You can barely negotiate New Year’s Day without stepping on a corporate logo. They’ve wallpapered this country with advertising from sea to shining sea, even to MEN’S URINALS, and other insane places. They won’t be satisfied, it seems, until they can slap their signage on the labia majora and scrotums of every willing, walking billboard in these United States.

This is unsurprising.

What IS surprising is that you, Dear Reader, undoubtedly think that my last metaphor was hyperbolic. Take a look around and reconsider.


‘Wizmark, The Interactive Urinal Communicator’

After all, the “football games” aren’t the point. Conning the fans of the various football teams into ponying up the major cash that is needed to attend the game, selling the crap of their corporate masters, and making sure that Budweiser (now owned by Belgians, ergo “An AMERICAN beer”) and Coors get plenty of time for idiotic commercials.

Commercials that don’t honor you as a thinking human being with free will. Commercials that don’t try to CONVINCE you to buy their product, but, rather, commercials that try to MANIPULATE your reptile/instinctual brain into irrationally buying their product, whether you need it or not.

Of the thirty plus bowl games, twenty could be cut without a bit of pain.

And Nivea and Toshiba oughtn’t be able to buy the American New Year.

But they can and they did.

Screw whoever is responsible. I’m not feeling charitable.


This rant has been brought to you by the these fine sponsors …

  1. The Free Market, Globalization A-holes who turned the USA from the largest creditor nation, and largest exporter of finished goods in the world to the world’s largest exporter of raw materials, importer of finished goods and biggest debtor nation, starting virtually on the DAY that Saint Ronnie of Ray-Gun took office.
  2. The nations of Japan and Germany, who have pretty much accomplished economically what force of arms could not, thanks to #1.
  3. The mindless greed that has turned American sports into a travesty of Marketing Gone Wild, and created a large, organized, illegal betting pool on amateur sports, virtually guaranteeing a “bribed refs” or other game-fixing scandal, when billions are at stake in games in which the only people who don’t profit handsomely are the players themselves.
  4. The patriotism that thumps its chest with military flyovers and National Anthems and color guards before the game, and colludes unconsciously with the slow extra-national takeover of our industries and our publishing by foreigners (over 50% of the major publishing book trade is owned by foreign companies.) And doesn’t give a damn that we can’t even sponsor our own NEW YEAR. Who are more concerned with hating ‘foreigners’ from the Middle East (as in a Muslim family removed TODAY from a D. C. flight and then not rebooked, even though cleared by the FBI) than with addressing the real problems of foreign ownership of our major industries. (See #10).
  5. All those Asian car companies who don’t have any problem with stealing our national symbols and heritage to market their goods: the Hyndai (Korean) Santa Fe, filmed against the backdrop of Monument Valley. The (Japanese) Toyota “Tacoma.” I promise you that if Ford tried to market the “Mount Fuji SUV” in Japan, with kewl shots of the vehicle zipping around famous Zen Monasteries and up ol’ Mt. Fujiyama there would be riots in the Tokyo streets.
  6. The geniuses at Dodge, with their new subliminal blipvert “hemi” commercial that has steroidal guys in generic gray t-shirts (get this) that say “MILITARY” (olive drab and the guys wear dog tags), “COWBOYS” (wearing cowboy hats), “FIREFIGHTERS” (in RED boldfaced generic sans serif typeface), and “CONTRACTORS.” As close to subliminal advertising as is legal, possibly, and certanly intended to entirely bypass the conscious mind. Because, you know, your work vehicle should be bought for “image” and “whim” to more efficiently keep your family in food, shelter and clothing.
  7. The OTHER geniuses at LEXIS (Japanese luxury car), who want you to buy a high end luxury automobile at the beginning of years of economic hardship because it will be as good as your Big Wheel (boys) or your miniature pony (girls) were when you were a kid getting a Christmas present. (They even hype to the girls how JEALOUS their little sisters were).
  8. Anybody who thinks that #7 and #8 DOESN’T betray a psychology of almost criminal exploitation.
  9. Those “good American” corporations who moved their operations offshore because they don’t think they should have to pay any taxes to the commonwealth of the society from which they draw their profits.
  10. Those same ideologues who keep trying to convince us that illegal alien employees working in slave conditions for slave wages are to BLAME for slavery, and, therefore, the precipitous drop in American wages. (The Venn diagrams of the two sets of #9 and #10 overlap quite a bit, sad to say.)
  11. Whoever said that a capitalist will sell you the rope to hang him with.
  12. And, finally, those idiots defacing United States coins (a crime, BTW) to create fake keepsake Barack Obama Commemorative Kitsch.

Tell ’em what they’ve won, Johnny.




cross-posted from his vorpal sword

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About Hart Williams

Mr. Williams grew up in Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas and New Mexico. He lived in Hollywood, California for many years. He has been published in The Washington Post, The Kansas City Star, The Santa Fe Sun, The Los Angeles Free Press, Oui Magazine, New West, and many, many more. A published novelist and a filmed screenwriter, Mr. Williams eschews the decadence of Hollywood for the simple, wholesome goodness of the plain, honest people of the land. He enjoys Luis Buñuel documentaries immensely.
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