Your Name Goes Here

Don’t you just love corporate jackals? There’s nothing those vampiric tyrants won’t scroll their logos and slogans across to entice you to buy more of their crap. Companies could probably sell a boat load more television sets if they discovered a way to sponsor a few passages in the bible. “Thou shall not covet, except the new and improved iToaster.”

Wherever I look in this city I see their signs everywhere. Billboards, on trucks, garbage containers, sandwich boards, on top of taxi cabs, t-shirts, hand bags, hats, store fronts, bus shelters, subway stations, inside of other businesses, on dogs, flying behind planes, in movie theatres, lamp posts, painted on the sidewalk, sports arenas, coffee mugs and on and on and fucking on. The day has even come where people sell off parts of their bodies on eBay to be tattooed with corporate logos. It makes sense I suppose. If you feel the need to wear a t-shirt proclaiming your slavery to Nike, you may as well let them tattoo their name on your balls. Merely thinking about has forced me to wipe the barf from my chest.

It goes without saying therefor that wherever these logos aren’t allowed, they soon will be. It’s only a matter of time until subway stations have their names changed from St George station to St Georges station presented by Best Buy in association with Old Navy and Alpo. We may as well just get on with it and accept these things as a fact of our future. The manufacturers of consumer goods are far more motivated to sell you more of their shit than you are interested in protecting anything not currently being used as commercial. The publics gluttonous craving to fill their lives with more and more stuff has made it so. A couple of years from now Canadian Geese will be flying south trailing banners for Molson Canadian and Tampax. Some people will one day hear the words “this Tijuana ping pong ball show is brought to you by Tim Hortons Tim Bits and their new flavour, vinegar and clam chowder medley” If we just accept defeat (or victory, depending on what side you are on) on this issue then I have a proposal that is being shot down today by the Toronto District School Board.

Recently the bloodsuckers at Future Shop had a bright idea to draw you into their stores so yo could plonk down more borrowed high interest money and buy a new Sony vibrating cell phone/crotch massager. They approached the TDSB and offered to place two brand spankin new computer labs into two schools as long as the school were near one of their stores, and the rooms were painted in their corporate colours, red and grey with no mention of their name. The kids would get some cool new stuff to learn on, and Future Shop would get to indoctrinate the kids so they would pester their keepers to take them to Future Shop and buy a new wireless Pokemon stun gun. A perfect arrangement as far as I’m concerned.

A U of T political science student named Jayme Turney told the TDSB “Accepting sponsorships makes schools obligated to corporations, which has created problems in some American schools” and cited “In one U.S. school, a student who showed up on “Coke Day” wearing a Pepsi logo T-shirt instead of the beverage sponsor’s shirt given to students for a rally “was suspended,” said Turney.

This kid, a student at a university decided that a) we’re no smarter than Americans, (you may now insert your own fit of rage here), b) that having $100 000 worth of computers so kids can learn about things like…..oh I dunno…..the perils of commercialism is a bad thing, c) that parents and teachers can’t explain to the kids where the money came from and why, d) that the government is doing a fucking swell job all on its merry well own without outside help and e) children aren’t already bombarded with advertising within their own schools.

School have vending machines. Some sell fizzy sugary drinks, some only juice and bottled water. Coca Cola has 2,800 products and many of them are water and juice. Coca Cola is getting our money, no matter what. The same goes with Pepsi and both are active in schools everywhere. It’s already happening. Critics are terrified contend that by letting corporations into schools that they will become obligated to the companies doing the invading yet sadly missing the point that the war is lost and they are already on the hook to the many suppliers.

Kids aren’t idiots. I have two of them so I know what I am talking about. Sure they are weird and sometimes I think they are under the influence of aliens, and that they are immature, uncoordinated and they smell funny. A sort of old sour cream and what I can only assume if essence of Wookie, but they sure aren’t stupid despite what they see and hear every fucking day. They know bullshit when they see it and mostly it’s because they are bright and partially because we fill them in. We’re parents. Parents have many responsibilities and hipping kids up to lifes bullshit is part of it. Oh, and you actually have to take the time to do it, there’s no time for reruns of Will and Grace, you actually have to (eeeeeek!!!) talk to them and educate them.

One of our boys has a learning disability. He’s Autistic and has a problem with hand writing. After a years of trying and mountains of paperwork that Kelly (my adoring missus, love of my life and best friend) took care of, the school board coughed up a computer for the classroom solely for him to use. Years of battling finally paid off and a kid with a disability was given a learning tool. That would great news except for the fact that the school is on analogue internet access and repeated attempts to have high speed installed (which is in most schools already) have gone completely unanswered and ignored by the TDSB.

If a corporation were asked to step up and donate internet access in exchange for some recognition, how long do you think that would take to make happen? Corporations step up to the plate all the fucking time to do good things. Look at any charity poster. They’re not painted as soul murdering (although they still are) ogres when they sponsor a cancer run or fun things like Nuit Blanche that folks like Jayme Turney I’m sure enjoy. Corporations are here to stay and so are their logos.

To deny children learning tools so some people can feel like they are fighting the good fight against the inevitable proliferation of corporations into the school system is bullshit. Kids go to school wearing t-shirts with logos on them, their parents take them to corporately owned places to eat all the time, drive preferred models of land yacht SUVs, have credit cards they spend money on, shop at preferred stores for preferred products and give them money to spend at school at a corporately owned vending machine.

One day kids will probably be named after their corporate birth-sponsor. “Come here Trojan Ultra Glide And Ribbed For Her Pleasure and have your breakfast” people will one day say. The day isn’t here yet, but it or something equally terrifying is coming, trust me, it’s like taxes. A hike never goes away or is repealed, there’s only more added on. It’s the same thing with corporate branding and although we can all probably accept that it sucks and we’d rather see a sporting event at a place named after a person or the team we are supporting rather than a credit card, at least the credit card company did something that people and especially government don’t do anymore, build things and give stuff away.

With that in mind I want Future Sop to give my kids school some free crap. They deserve cool stuff to learn with and if I as a parent have to take a whopping thirty seconds out of my day to explain where the stuff came from, I’ll do it. They say something funny like “hahaha, we get free computers because they think we’re going to shop there? That’s goofy” and then when we need a new one, we might go to Future Shop to buy a new DVD player. Or not. Maybe we’ll go to Best Buy, it’s still a free society after all and we have plenty of signs to chose from.

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~ by jeff on April 23, 2009.

One Response to “Your Name Goes Here”

  1. Have you read a book called No Logo? Theres a chapter that echo’s your very sentiments. The whole school and corporate sponsorship thing is a slippery slope. A few years ago an exec from Coca Cola was giving a speech at a university in the U.S and a good portion of the Poli Sci wing decided to show up to protest Coca Cola’s business practices in Nicaragua. Well, all the students who protested were expelled from university including members of the university press, because as it turn out Coca Cola had made a huge donation to the school the year previous, which had built the auditorium the speech was taking place in. So much for free speech, and the first amendment. the only way corporate donations should be acceptable in education is if they are in fact just that, donations, and not sponsorships. The idea of geography brought to you by Gatoraide and Helmans Mayonaise presents gym class scares me to no end, were going to raise a generation of adolescent sociopaths forecasted in books like Ferinheight 451 and A Clockwork Orange. These are troubling times.

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