They Want to Sell the Golden Gate Bridge

The history of transportation in the U.S. has been less about meeting needs than about creating them. From the “internal improvements” of the early republic, to the railroads, urban trolleys, […]

It’s Official: Life is now a Stage Set for Ads

You may have read about the marketing campaign in Boston that turned into a city-wide fiasco.  An ad agency with the apt name of Interference Inc. deployed small electronic light […]

Who Decides Who’s Sick?

Back when, Ralph Nader used to ask college audiences, “Who defines what a problem is in America today?” Who decides that tired hair, say, is a problem of epochal proportions, […]

Billboards in Space, Accomplices in Enclosure

The greatest ally of the corporate trespasser is our human tendency to forget.  So long as a violation lingers in the memory there is a possibility of doing something about […]

Drug ads sell a problem, not a solution

It is an old saying in the advertising trade that you sell the problem, not the solution. That helps explain why the media today are awash with images of disease. […]

Agents of Distrust

The intelligence agencies of the former Soviet Bloc were more than means of acquiring information. Equally important, they were agencies of distrust. When people didn’t know who was an informant, […]

A Captive Audience of Kids

Corporations seek to dominate space. First it was physical space, and now it is mental space – what is called, in marketing argot, “mindshare.” The political Right seeks to cut […]

Willie Mays or AT&T

Before Elvis, before the Beatles, way before Michael Jordan, there was Willie Mays. Willie was new. He was cool. The face on his baseball card was coltish and fresh, not […]

It’s All in a Name

It used to be that the names of places mirrored deeper meanings, values, and our past.

Clark, Texas Has a New Name

In Scripture, the bestowal of a name was an event of great importance.  A name was an expression of character; and humans earned new ones in accordance with their inner […]