Tales of Triumph in Targeted Advertising

The musical rock-and-roll group They Might Be Giants, dork anthem pioneers, said in their song Kiss Me, Son of God:

“I built a little empire out of some crazy garbage

Called the blood of the exploited working class.”

I’m not 100% sure on what that exactly means, but I’m pretty sure it’s some sort of metaphor. More specifically, it could be some sort of metaphor about capitalism.

People on my television have told me that capitalism is the backbone of our nation. As an employee of a Fortune 500 company, I have signed a written commitment stating that I believe this to be true. What can I say? My hands are tied.

As a newly-minted champion of capitalism, I feel I must divulge something. You, the consumer, have no original ideas or thoughts. We’ve thought of them for you already, long ago. Our great trick is allowing you to believe that you are creating virgin opinions, un-probed by the long member of industry. That last sentence I wrote? It was constructed in the 1970s by powerful men (always men) wearing fine Italian slacks.

The German social critics Adorno and Horkheimer wrote in their seminal work The Dialectic of the Enlightenment:

“Even the aesthetic activities of political opposites are one in their enthusiastic obedience to the rhythm of the iron system.”

A truer statement has never been uttered by neo-Marxist heathens.

Nothing you do or say matters. Every meaningful idea that has ever fired across your synapses has fired across someone else’s years ago.

On a long enough timeline, your existence is rounded down to zero.

Considering the intelligent and forward-thinking audience to whom I’m bestowing this information, I’ve come to two conclusions:

1) You have come to this realization already, and have been unsuccessfully attempting to shield yourself from the truth.

2) My words have made you realize the breadth of your insignificance, answering a life-long question you weren’t quite sure how to ask.

Either way, it’s kind of a bummer, right? You may feel that you need some help to cope with this crippling understanding. Well, we here at Big Business have already thought of that, too.

Behold this recent screen capture:

It’s quite genius, actually. We have set up a system to oppress you, and when you become aware of it, you look for solace in the same system.

Sorry, readers. That’s the way it is. But look on the bright side. In 20-70 years, you’ll be dead.




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David G. Temple is the Managing Editor of TechGraphs and a contributor to FanGraphs, NotGraphs and The Hardball Times. He hosts the award-eligible podcast Stealing Home. Dayn Perry once called him a "Bible Made of Lasers." Follow him on Twitter @davidgtemple.


4 Responses to “Tales of Triumph in Targeted Advertising”

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  1. People’re always going on about the death of originality (and how things are getting worse), but the species keeps innovating (and things keep getting better). But, by definition, the job you took means that you’re inherently conservative and haven’t the disdain and discomfort necessary to innovate; I’m sure your company will deliver a radically cool new pour spout for detergent or a six blade razor very soon, though.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  2. action jackson says:

    dude, those ads are targetted for things google thinks you are interested in. My ads are almost aways for drills, drill bits, and bolts, on account of I have a business which uses copious amounts of such things. Google knows this about me.

    If you are depressed, google knows it. If you searched for something related to dpression, google knows it. If you use a Chrome browser, google probably knows that you ate a bunch of ice cream for breakfast, and feel kind of gloomy now. Since you write for notgraphs, it probably associates you with Dayn Perry, and assumes you have depression.

    Brings us full circle to the principle that capitalism knows everything.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

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