Cultural Terrorism: Homestyle
2000-12-22 16:14:46

Cackles of the Mad Reverend
oh man i'm starting to miss Cambodia.
-- rotten elf


The Rev gives you the scoop on jamming the brain-radiation broadcasts and sending some bad waves back upstream.

I like to tell my friends, "Cultural terrorism begins at home." No, that doesn't mean that you should burn down your house or paint a huge "Anarchy" symbol outside to frighten the neighbors. It simply means that your brain is the most dangerous thing you own, and if properly used, it can do more damage than any nutcase with a gun and too many bullets.

This point was driven home to me yet again the other day, when I was at the bank. Like so many of the rest of you, I use Wells Fucko as the saps who hold and administer my cash. A couple of years back, the Fuckos forged an unholy alliance with Starbuck's Coffee. Thus, lots of Fuckos now have Corporate liquid Crank available in their lobbies.

And so it was last Saturday, when I stepped into the bank long enough to endorse my check and take it back outside to the ATM for deposit. As I stood at the form island in the bank lobby, a clutch of five men and women in their mid-fifties entered the bank. They were all garbed in the painful pastels of some chain store, but were otherwise non-offensive. Definitely tourists, though.

"Oh, a Starbuck's in the bank. What a great idea," one of the women said to her companions.

My stomach knotted. "No, it's not," I said to her with a tinge of disgust.

She turned to me. "Well, we're from Seattle."

"Oh," I said, "Then you must hate them even more than I do."

By now, her other companions had also turned to me and seemed interested in our conversation. "Well, what would you recommend," she asked.

Thinking of all the coffeehouses in the immediate area, I decided to send them to the Royal Ground on Polk Street (that's in San Fran, for all you nons out there). I gave her the directions- a whole two turns and three block walk-and off they went.

It took me a couple of seconds to realize what had just happened. I'd successfully diverted customers from Starbucks and off to a much better local establishment. It was the ultimate win-win situation: I get my jollies, the tourists get to sample local culture, and Starbuck's loses money. No broken glass, no gas masks, no truncheon-wielding oinkers-just a few well-placed words and a workable alternative to corporate whoring.

The second instance of this happened to me on Monday night. One of those pesky radio surveys called me. Answering the phone, "Bob's Used Body Parts, this is Bob," is usually good enough to stun any incoming sales calls and it nearly put my interviewer off. However, she persevered through her explanation of how they weren't selling anything, but just asking me a few questions. I loved explaining to the sweet, young, Southern-accented girl that she was, in fact selling something-me and my answers.

She went on to explain that the call could be recorded and used for other purposes (gawd knows what), at which time I acknowledged my unseen future listeners with, "Hi, everybody." Before we even got started, I was talking to "them" and said, "You know, radio would be so much better if you all would stop playing those moronic 'play lists'. They make you sound stupid." The poor dear had no idea what I was talking about.

She went on with her battery of interrogatories. Once we'd separated me out of the MTV crowd, both by age and listening preference, the real dirt began. Turns out that this polling racket wanted me to listen to groups of 10-second music samples and pick out my favorite tunes. Not just once, but several times over the next four or five months. At this revelation, my blood turned to whiskey and my feet went numb.

"No way," I said, trying not to go ballistic. "That's how play lists are assembled."

"But don't you want to tell them what you think," she pressed on.

"Not this way," I answered. "Look, this is being recorded, right?"

"Well-yeah," she stammered.

"Then let the management level just above you hear this: If you folks want to sell more music-through the Internet, retail outlets or whatever-then you have to let people know that there are more than two songs on an album. The play lists you use now play the same two damn songs over and over and over again. This is not the way to move your product. To sell music, you have to explore the breadth and depth of the whole recording."

"So you're not going to participate in the sampling," she asked.

"No. That's really all I have to say."

"Okay, she said. "Now, this isn't part of the survey I'm doing, but can I ask you a question?"

"Sure," I said.

"What was that you said when you answered the phone?" After explaining to her the idea of being a dealer in used genetically-engineered organs, I could hear the circuits deep-frying in her innocent, young Southern skull. Yep-no doubt about it-cultural terrorism begins at home.

Over.  End of Story.  Go home now.

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