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August, 2001, Volume 8 Nr. 12, Issue 96

AD'ing CONTRAST, CONTRADICTION IN GENOA
by Jozef Hand-Boniakowski, Ph.D.

Everyone has to pay their bills.  The media is no exception.  Millions of North American residents' incomes are generated by gainful employment keeping the Greenspan micro-management system functioning, to the degree that keeps him his job and determines likewise for the rest of us.  Others make their livelyhood in not so respectful ways.  While the jobs that we have, many out of necessity or circumstance, may say little about our character, ideology and guiding philosophy, perhaps the job itself and the context in society within which it is offered say more.  In this issue I explore the addition of advertising directly to or in the near-field of media news content and juxtapose it to the now infamous G8 "Summit" which took place in Genoa, Italy on July 20, 2001.

I suggest that the deliberate insertion of advertisements, mind proaganda, positioned for effect tells more about the society presenting the news story than the news story itself - much more. 

A July 15, NYPOST.COM, "World News" story written by Uri and entitled, "Israel's Foes Gear for War" appears with a photo captioned, "Gunned Down in Gaza: A friend kisses the body of a Hamas terrorist yesterday - shot by Israelis while trying to plant a bomb at the Gaza-Israel border."  Slide far right, an AT&T Wireless ad admonishes an orgasmically content and smiling cell phone user to "Get up to 3000 additional minutes with select AT&T Wireless plans online."  The reader is horrified at the death of a terrorist, the photograph playing on the emotions elicited: how can one have sympathy for a "terrorist."   It's as if the content cell-phone woman is joyfully spreading the news, and, she is.  The news is not that of yet another tragic death in the two-thousand year conflict in the "Holy Land" and the failure of humanity to come to terms with its violent nature.  The news is, "Fuel for the Talking Machine", three-kilo-minutes of cell phone air time.  We are further jerked back to the present moment, left to set aside, practicing detachment and developing further desensitization through the other more important pronouncements on the page: "PageSix.com" with a picture of Hugh Heffner and the caption below, "Problems for Playboy?" At the top of the page we find, "Click Here for Your Free Credit Report."  One might wonder why the media bothers to place any news item on the page at all?

An AFP (Agency France Press) news post, dated Saturday, July 21, 6:05 a.m., Genoa, Italy time, entitled, "Killing of protester stuns G8 summit" at the G8 summit appearing on the Yahoo (Singapore) site, http://sg.news.yahoo.com/010720/1/19j57.html, at the time of my viewing had an advertisemnt running down the right hand column asking, "Cockroaches taking over your house?  Find pestbuster on Yahoo! SIngapore Y! Pages."  Pest extermination across species underscores the obsession the rich and powerful exemplified on this day of imfamy.  Transferring cleansing the house to cleansing the streets, any  legitimacy the 8 all male respresentatives of the world's richest nations in coming together to undemocratically attempt to set global policy for the rest of humanity has been lost. 

"The death occured during a violent assault on a carabinieri vehicle which led to the injury of some troops inside...Witnesses said the police van then backed over the dying man's body",

akin to insecticide sprayed on swarming cockroaches, with a few being smushed underfoot by the exterminator.  I first found out about this killing through the Indy Media center on-line.  The reporter, a local Vermont young man, was in Genoa covering the events and witnessed the entire episode.  Carlo Guliani, age 23, a Roman who lived in Genoa, a cockroach exterminated by the system.   There is, however, an ever-growing swarm of cockroaches worldwide.  As French President Jacques Chirac of France told reporters shortly before beinginformed of Giliani's death, "One hundred thousand people don't get upset unless there is a problem in their hearts and spirits."  Indeed.

The irony of this marketing format, which I'll call, contradictory contrast conditioning (CCC), is that it takes place with the conscious realization of editorial policy.  Forget the death of the protester.  Remember the exterminating ad.  It is much more important.  Deliberate conniving commercial ad placement underscores the absurdity of the contrast and accentuates the reason for the corporate class media's existence.  It is not to bring forth the news.  Rather, the news brings forth the brain share to the advertiser.  How much of the truth is present thusly?

I first became aware of CCC in 1994 accidentally.  As a roaming teacher, that is, one without a classroom of their own, I was teaching Algebra in an English teachers classroom.  Often, I would stay during her class and visa versa.  There were two desks and two large bulletin boards.  Someone had posted Time  magazine's famine and starvation front cover on the English bulletin board (I suspect the teacher) by removing the two staples and taking the entire long front and back off, opening it to its full length an stapling it to the board.  The long jacket to the magazine was particularly lengthy in this issue, being a full folded inward sheet longer than normal to accomdate the ad on the back two pages.  One could hardly not be affected by the CCC of a starving Sudanese physically on the same sheet of paper with a two page sprawl of a white male hunk lying on a sandy white beach peddling men's cologne.  The image is vividly in my mind seven years after the fact.   The white man's body, hardly emaciated, was headless.  No point in putting a face on cologne.  The same stark CCC is evident in television news, the tragic, followed by the commercial; the supposedly newsworthy followed by the important.  The power to regulate, deliver and control, to present humanity with one face while disguising the methods and means of control through clever, seduction, cuteness, even humor.   One is tempted at times to even smile at the contradiction, carefully, not forgetting that the contradiction runs deep within the ruling elite that would stop at nothing to maintain it. 

In Genoa, Italy, during the night of July 21, 2001, the State put CCC into practice.  Noted author Starhawk, describes the events (taken from Zmag.org),

"I think I’m calm, that I’m not in shock, but my fingers are trembling as I write this. We were up at the school that serves as a center for media, medical and trainings. We had just finished our meeting and were talking, making phone calls, when we heard shouts and sirens and the roar of people yelling, objects breaking. The cops had come and they were raiding the center. We couldn’t get out of the building because there were two many people at the entrance. Lisa grabbed my hand and we went up, running up the five flights of stairs, up to the very top. Jeffrey joined us, people were scattering and looking for places to hide. We weren’t panicking but my heart was pounding and I could hardly catch my breathe. We found an empty room, a couple of tables, grabbed some sleeping bags to cover our heads if we got beaten. And waited. Helicopters were buzzing over the building, we could hear doors being slammed and voices shouting below, then quiet. Someone came in, walked around, left. I couldn’t seem to breath deep and I had an almost uncontrollable cough—but I controlled it.

I lay there remembering we had lots and lots of people sending us love and protection and I was finally able to breathe. The light went on. Through a crack between the tables, I could see a helmet, a face. A big Italian cop with a huge paunch loomed over us. He told us to come out. He didn’t seem in beating mode, but we stayed where we were, tried to talk to him in English and Spanish and the few Italian words I know: “paura” “fear” and “pacifisti.” He took us down to the third floor, where a whole lot of people were sitting, lined up against the walls. We waited. Someone came in, demanding to know whether there was someone there from Irish Indy media. We waited. Lawyers arrived: The police left. For some arcane reason of Italian law, because it was a media place we had some right to be there, although the school across the street was also a media center and they went in there and beat people up. We watched for a long time out the windows. They began carrying people out on stretchers. One, Two, a dozen or more. A crowd had gathered and were shouting “Assessini! Assesini!” The brought out the waking wounded, arrested them and took them away. We believe they brought someone out in a body bag.

 The crowd below was challenging the cops and the cops were challenging the crowd and suddenly a huge circle of media gathered, bright camera lights. Monica, who is hosting us and is with the Genoa Social Forum, came up and found us. She’d been calling embassies and media and may have saved us from getting hurt once the cops finished with the first building. All the time there were helicopters thrumming and shining bright lights into the building. A few brave men were holding back the angry crowd, who seemed ready to charge the line of riot cops that was formed up in front of the school, shields up and gas masks on. “Tranquilo, tranquilo,” the men were saying, holding up their hands and restraining the angry crowd from a suicidal charge. I was on the phone home, then back to the window, back to the phone. Finally, the cops went away. We went down to the first floor, outside, heard the story. They had come in to the rooms where people were sleeping. Everyone had raised up their hands, calling out “pacifisti! Pacifist!” And they beat the shit out of every person there. There’s no pretty way to say it. We went into the other building: there was blood at every sleeping spot, pools of it in some places, stuff thrown around, computers and equipment trashed. We all wandered around in shock, not wanting to think about what is happening to those they arrested, to those they took to the hospital. We know that they have arrested everyone they take to the hospital, taken people to jail and tortured them. One of the young Frenchmen from our training, Vincent, had his head badly beaten on Friday in the street. In jail, they took him into a room, twisted his arms behind his back and banged his head on the table. Another man was taken into a room covered with pictures of Mussolini and pornography, and alternately slapped around and then stroked with affection in a weird psychological torture. Others were forced to shout, “Viva El Duce!” ! ! Just in case it isn’t clear that this is Fascism. Italian variety, but it is coming your way. It is the lengths they will go to to defend their power. It’s the lie that globalization means democracy. I can tell you, right now, tonight, this is not what democracy looks like.

So then, what of the job of paramilitary forces, the Canibieri,  protecting the leaders of the G7 plus one plus a few tokens?  What of the "democratically" elected leaders such as George W. Bush, who met in Genoa and smirking lip service to help the world's poor?.  The CCC is laid bare by Starhawk's account.  It is the same contradiction exposed by Bugliosi in his book, "The Betrayal of America' where he makes the legal case for the criminality of the five Supreme Court justices' political desicion to select Bush as president.  As Starhawk states, "This is not what democracy looks like", neither there nor here.

CCC is about to take a new turn.   The World Trade Organization suffering from immense negative publicity ever since the whispers of pro Fair Trade, rather than the corporationist Free Trade, roared, is about to target youth in the United States to help rebuild it tattered image.  Deana Swift of AlterNet, "Leaked Memo Reveals WTO Plan to "Sell" Itself to American Youth", publishes the memorandum in its entirety at http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=11172.   This from the folk who would have us belief that they are acting in the best interests of the planet's poor,

"...using detailed polling information provided by Teen Data, Inc., we think we can begin to create a meaningful WTO 'brand' experience for the teen demographic. The key to our efforts will be to reach the so-called 'unaffiliateds,' that part of the demographic that has no information about the WTO 'brand' and as a result, has yet to form any kind of negative opinions. By targeting this sub-demographic through grassroots messaging, guerilla marketing and subversive affirmation, we believe we can realize significant market share for the WTO 'brand.'

The tactics in the memorandum entitled, "Campaign for Positive Anarchy" include Subversive Affirmation: the On-Air Strategy, Guerilla Marketing, Image Cultivation, and others.

Swift's article sights,

"Critics of the WTO immediately condemned the organization.  'We think it's despicable that the World Trade Organization would aim its propaganda campaign at children,' said Fiona Lippman-Suarez, a spokesperson for the London-based activist group Global Justice Watch. 'Then again, what can you expect from an organization that thinks it's fine for 4-year-olds to make footballs and carpets?'

We can expect WTO and pro free-trade CCC to become intense in the coming months.  Genoa has shown the world how intense it is, and, can be.

2001 Jozef Hand-Boniakowski, Ph.D.

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