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corporate dominance

Bi-Mart Winter Wonderland, Powered by Comcast

It warms my heart to dig through the corporate logos and shameless promotional gimmicks in search of the Christmas Spirit.
This morning, as I meditated on the meaning of the "Bi-Mart Winter Wonderland, Powered by Comcast," I realized we've all been wrong about corporate america. Obviously, giant, faceless corporations have our best interests at heart. How else explain their desire to co-opt meaningful events of cultural and spiritual significance like Christmas, by attaching their names and logos? I mean, why would Bi-Mart and Comcast sponsor a heartwarming event like this, if not for altruistic reasons? What could be more in line with the spirit of Christmas than 20 or 30 huge plastic cartoon characters festooned with colored lights, circling the Portland International Raceway, where families can drive around in a slow circle for around $10 a carload? Forget a walk around your neighborhood, get out there and drive around PIR and soak up a little of the capitalist take on the holiday season. And afterwards, why not head downtown, where you can participate in an endless gauntlet of sales schemes designed to make you feel all warm and fuzzy about spending, spending, spending. After all, that's what Christmas is all about, right?

Of course, it might ring a little less hollow if Bi-Mart et all were to actually pay a living wage to the workers whose labor makes it all possible. It might be more meaningful if downtown businesses didn't put such effort into removing poor people and people without houses from public view, so as not to disturb holiday shoppers. But let's not quibble, after all, they're giving us...what...a few santa lands and a race track full of tacky decorations. With their names plastered on em. Thanks.

The fact is, corporate sponsorship of formerly public events and social holidays comes with a hefty pricetag. We pay in a currency measured, not in dollars, but in dignity, respect, and cultural integrity. When Christmas/Yule/Chanuka is measured in shopping days and sales figures and comes with its own sponsors, it is robbed of spiritual meaning. When the Blues Festival becomes the SAFEWAY blues fest, the music isn't as sweet. When coke machines move into the halls of our social institutions, when Channel One markets their wares to our children in exchange for needed school supplies, when the Civic Stadium becomes PGE park, we have lost something of ourselves. Social exchanges become commercial exchanges, and humanity gives way to commodity.

It's time to reclaim Christmas, reclaim the commons, reclaim our communities and the richness of our culture. Take them back from parasitic corporate sponsors who get much more than they give every time they're allowed to plaster their name on one more holiday, one more cultural event, one more public space.
Amen 10.Dec.2003 10:29

sadder but wiser

Well put and entirely accurate.

Comcast Nation 10.Dec.2003 12:17

There's still room on my butt for a sticker

Perhaps we should start calling it Comcast America or American Powered by Comcast and be done with it. I understand that the Tacoma Dome will now be the Comcast Dome.

Bi-Mart on "Do Not Buy" list 10.Dec.2003 14:13

union guy

Bi-Mart remains on the "Do Not Patronize List" which is maintained by the State AFL-CIO


Don't you mean Concast! 10.Dec.2003 16:06


Are we not being conned by the ideoligy they promote.
Lets use the right description.

Key words could help get the main stream to clue in to what is going on.

It really is sad times when ....... 12.Dec.2003 13:24

Light up the world

You people are so sad that you can not enjoy something as festival as the lights forget who put them up, the fact is 1000's of people get into enjoy the lights if you don't like them STAY HOME! That is just one less car that we have deal with in the traffic (this is good traffic) wake up people and see the lights!!! I only hope that you don't have children.

to "light up the world" 13.Dec.2003 09:36


Indeed, these are sad times. You have been so steeped in corporate culture(TM), that you cannot see that this display is not about your enjoyment. This is not a gift to the community, which can arguably be said about the displays with which people adorn their homes. This is about making a fast buck off what is left of communal sentiment. This is about corporate cynicism and the parasitic use of public goods for destructive private gain.

It is you who needs to see the light. Before it's too late, before every human encounter is mediated through economic exchange, before nothing is left of us save what serves the bottom line, before our entire culture is subsumed in one giant, banal, monolithic, plastic McMall, for God's sake, wake up.

catwoman figured out we live in a consumer economy! 18.Dec.2003 00:25

violin strings

good work catwoman, you figured out that christmas is a commercial enterprise! is this news? you are absolutely right that it really sucks, but don't let righteous indignation obscure your ability to think critically. the truth is that no one: capitalists, socialists, anarchists or whoever, does any thing without an incentive. in this case it is taking an opportunity to advertise . let's suppose you own a co-op, this is the same as you sticking up a flyer for your co-op at a coffee shop that you find to be likely to draw potential customers to you. the difference is scale & i'll grant, you probably haive a higher standard of ethics than the people at the helm of either organization.

out of tune, violin string 07.Jan.2004 15:29


"the truth is that no one: capitalists, socialists, anarchists or whoever, does any thing without an incentive."

Yes, that's right. The difference is, out here in the commons, our incentives are things like, the common good, helping people, solidarity, doing the right thing, and because we care about each other. It's only in the twisted and sick capitalist model that the only "incentive" ever recognized is a fast, cheap buck. Not so long ago, people put up christmas decorations for each other out of the goodness of their hearts, and didn't ask to have their name plastered across it.