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