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Bush is to Pepsi as Britney is to Corporate Responsibility
August 3, 2002
By Zachary Sire

In recent months, Americans have been inundated with countless displays of pontificating by the likes of our 43rd President, George W. Bush, and various members of his team. Some of these public displays are covered "LIVE" via the corporately owned networks, while others are tape delayed, taken from briefings generously recorded just before Bush enters in to private cabinet meetings.

While the latter are the ones that typically contain the Q&A from the "liberal media," the former are the ones that seem to offer up the most solidity and focus. Due largely in part to the fact that journalists do not interrupt our ever-bumbling Commander in Chief; he is instead giving a speech of sorts. And naturally, the tape delayed Q&As we see are done in such a fashion that the public only sees what the White House lets them see.

But back to these speeches, these "LIVE" speeches we have seen of late that are a most fascinating yet disturbing trend in this President's administration.

In each of them, whether it is on Corporate Responsibility, Strengthening Medicare, or Homeland Security, there is one thing you can bet to see every time. And no, it's not going to be Bush appearing mystified and constipated (though that is assuredly a common guarantee). It is the sudden and deliberate appearance of large wallpapered facades constructed and strategically aligned directly behind Bush, in luminous view of the cameras that, again, are "LIVE" and considered "BREAKING NEWS!"

The three topics noted above were not put in italics by accident. These "issues", these "concerns," they have taken on a whole new meaning now that the Bush administration has coupled current catch phrases with empty promises and hypocrisies. The question is, which do we believe more? The President's speeches, or the decorative decals in his background?

Suddenly, when Bush gives a speech on any given topic, for example, Corporate Responsibility, those very words, Corporate Responsibility, appear on a matte finish (multiple times no less!) behind him, in the good 'ol red white and blue.

Of course, the question here is - why? Is the public presumed to be confused unless there is a reminder note behind the person speaking? What else would Tom Ridge be talking about? He is, after all, the Director of Homeland Security; do we really need the road sign in the background?

Perhaps the meaning behind the Message Walls, as we'll call them from now on, is that the particular topic is individual. Corporate Responsibility is in itself, a brand name. It is truncated, and isolated. Strengthening Medicare is now a motto, a commercial, not by any means an ideal. So perhaps by "media-izing" crimes, threats, health and wealth with Message Walls, the public can feel better about the state of things. Words, opinions, positions, and thought itself can be glamorized in to, quite simply, a billboard - thus taking the severity and the intellectualism away from the matter at hand, and turning it all in to a fun-house.

Indeed, a fun-house with some strong words. Bush tells us that he will "see to it that corporate leaders who break the law will be punished severely", with the Message Wall hanging ominously behind him, just as Britney Spears tells us this year's upcoming North American tour will be her "best ever," with her hands folded nicely on the Pepsi tablecloth below her, and her glistening blonde locks reflecting off the giant blue Pepsi sponsorship wall behind her.

The message here of course is to sell Pepsi. While Britney may think she is benefiting from this association, it is in fact the reverse. People don't go to Britney Spears concerts because they just love Pepsi. People do however buy Pepsi because Britney drinks it. So in essence, and in undoubtedly the most bizarre comparison ever, a "Bush" is no different than a "Brit."

As Britney hawks her cola thanks to tours, banners and commercials, Bushney (sorry) pushes his Corporate Responsibility with Message Walls. For just as Britney's career and standing would be dead in the water without something flashy, without a sponsor, the same can be said for Bush.

The content of his speeches (much like his character) is so devoid of any true, well, content; he is becoming fully reliant on having an advertisement to go along with the emptiness. A marketing machine. Believe me, it works and it sells. Just ask Britney.

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