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corporate dominance | media criticism

Cyber Monday: How the Corporate Media Manipulates The Public Into Mindless Consumption

Every "news" broadcast in every city in the nation has been running non-stop feature stories today about something dubbed "Cyber Monday." Newspapers, radio broadcasts, and even podcasts are talking it up. Cyber Monday, Cyber Monday, Cyber Monday, Buy Buy Buy Buy.

Where did this come from? Did anyone ever hear of "cyber monday" before today? Why is it breaking over everyone's lips so suddenly...as if by plan? Perhaps because it was a plan.
Smiling anchormen and women widen their eyes and shake their heads and tell us that "They" (that ever nebulous archetypal They with a capital T, whoever They are) are calling today "Cyber Monday." But really, what they mean is, "they" (small t, meaning the corporate media pushers themselves) are manufacturing something out of nothing. "Everyone's doing it," we're told. Happy, smiling, frolicking, shop-shop-shoppaholic-ing consumers rushing eagerly to their computer screens to buy buy buy for the holidays. This is what it's all about, after all. Christmas in America. Plenty to take, plenty to buy, plenty to waste here in the land of plenty. Over the weekend, the corporate media told us where all the big sales were, and how desperate all our neighbors were to get there first, and how to beat them to the punch. They played us images of desperately greedy consumers barging through wal-mart doorways at the crack of dawn, shoving each other out of the way, racing off to get their fixes among the racks. "Wish you were here."

This was the example we were bludgeoned into believing we should be emulating. Beating people out of the way so you can grab that last Elmo doll, that means you must really love someone, right? To fight so hard for them to have that big red wad of yarn and cotten and plastic and glue. "Everyone's doing it, c'mon, you know you want to do it too." But that was yesterday's news. We all know about "the busiest shopping day of the year," after all they've been indoctrinating us into that frenzy for years. We even have our own tradition -- Buy Nothing Day -- to fight them back to the aisles and boardrooms from which they came. We were becoming immune to the charms of so much glittering plastic dangled out before us on the Friday after Thanksgiving. Sales were slumping. They needed to sell us something new.

And so they have. Look! A new phenomenon! It's sweeping the nation! Heh, we're all part of it, right? Wink. "They" are so right. Look at us. Wink. All buying up shit off the internet, snapping up these great deals and doing our shopping from work and home and motel rooms and wireless hubs all over the ether. How easy. How convenient. It's the next big thing. It is us, and we belong to it. Right? I mean, "they" are saying so. It must be true.

I wonder why more people can't see through such rude and transparent ploys. In all the millions upon millions of stories there were to tell today, how is it possible that every news broadcast in the country, every last one of them, somehow managed to insert the phrase "cyber monday," and no one seemed to overtly notice? But you can bet, cyber sales will be up tomorrow.

See, this is how the corporate media works. They sell us frenzies, scarcities, fads, and buzz words meant to turn us from person into consumer. These are just commercials, masquerading as news items, set loose on our unconscious as we're passively soaking in the soothing images flickering in the dark, there in our living rooms. We're so gullible, such suckers, I guess, that they assume we will buy it. Again and again and again. Anyone who remembers "E.T." or "cabbage patch kids," or "tickle me Elmo" or yes, "beanie babies" can describe the manner in which phoney "news" stories intentionally whip up consumerist hype to encourage the orgies of gluttony by which we are supposed to eagerly suck up crap none of us would ever otherwise have felt the urge to buy. Now, we're supposed to swallow this "cyber monday" bullshit, and head over to our computers, still blinking away the tracers left from the evening news, all mindless and zombie-like, credit cards grasped tightly in our sweaty, groping hands. After all, it's a real phenomenon. We're supposed to feel like we're part of something. A movement. A craze. Like we just can't help ourselves.

These "news" stories pretend to be studying us, rather than manipulating us. Like the whole thing was our idea. A techie, consumerist, pseudo-revolution we created. Like all those anchor people can do is just sit back and shake their heads at us in astonishment, that we could be so clever. Yeh. Hip, young, chic, and cutting edge. And who wouldn't wanna be a part of that? Grab that credit card, punch those keys, and laugh with your friends tomorrow about what great deals you found on Cyber Monday. You cool, hip thing, you.

See, they feed on our needs and insecurities. They create voids in our lives, and fill them with emptiness, which we somehow keep paying them for. They sell us faux approximations of the things we really crave. Shallow self gratification stands in for a sense of purpose, and today a manufactured cyber clique stands in for the touch of real human beings. We're hungry for a sense of community that no longer exists in America, we're starving for it. And they prey on that. They sell us membership in some nation-sweeping consumer orgy, promising us a sense of belonging, so long as we let them swipe our credit cards on the way out. They sell us "family fun" (TM), and "Christmas cheer®," and cultural participation in a culture of cardboard, bought with the bowels of the earth and the boney little fingers of third world children toiling in sweat shops for us. Yes indeed, this is what it's all about.

...or so we're told.

Yes! 27.Nov.2006 22:01

wonder

You are so right. I heard this mentioned and wondered when it all came about...this cyber monday. Had I missed something? Ha! I see that I did not miss anything and thankfully I have not been drawn to my computer to buy buy buy. Happy no online buy day.

Here is how, why and who made us CONSUME 28.Nov.2006 02:56

Jahbulon

Google video the story of making women smoke "torches of freedom" to double the public's consumption of tobacco virtually overnight. Freud's nephew!!!!!!
The Century of the Self

 http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-2637635365191428174

Right on! 28.Nov.2006 07:57

Hugh Jardon

I heard about cyber Monday last year and you are absolutely right about where this thing came from!

Coupled with the above topic in the mainstream media is the whole how the holidays stress everyone out and how everyone goes into debt this time of year.

"We" need to wrest control of the holiday season from the hands of corporate America. How do we do it? Don't buy into the hype. There are plenty of ways to celebrate and show love to others without purchasing it!

"Free" gifts 28.Nov.2006 08:24

Olwen

Each year the hype seems to get worse. There is always the latest BEST thing we HAVE to buy. We fight each other and grab the items and then, after the holidays are over, we wonder what happened. It must feel like that for the mouse in the maze.

The best gift you can give is your time and your attention. The best holiday is spent with friends or family or with strangers who would otherwise be alone. Human community. It is what we all need and what we can so easily give. It costs nothing. Don't be indoctrinated into that "frenzy". Buying STUFF does not make a holiday....it just makes the corporations happy.

well 29.Nov.2006 10:31

we could fight back

and manufacture talking CNN reporter dolls with the really stupid comments they are known for!