Evil: It's the New Good!

Shut up and drink your high fructose corn syrup, sucker

The devil isn't evil, he just has lousy PR.

Examples? They are legion. Here's one the Powers That Be
desperately hope you'll swallow, a nasty piece of marketing gall meant
to stab at your intelligence and bitch-slap your intuition, but which
is nevertheless being force-fed to you as happy environmental manna, a
viciously deformed version of something called "progress."

Here is "clean coal." Isn't it beautiful? Truly, the hell-bound ad agency that coughed up that one even had the nerve to film a commercial
featuring Kool and the Gang's "Celebrate" playing over perky scenes of
manic Americans sucking down electricity like John McCain sucks down
extra oxygen, claiming that coal is America's namesake resource and we
should therefore kneel before it and worship it like apple pie and
horrible sex-ed and Lindsay Lohan's nipples. Did I mention the coal
industry's PR people are going to hell for this? Count on it.

There is, of course, no such thing as "clean coal."
It's as impossible as a humanitarian Republican, as insulting as
Homeland Security. Even Obama gets it wrong in his support of this
lethal oxymoron. There are only two options: Brutally pollutive coal
extraction and burning techniques, rapacious strip mining and millions
of acres of destroyed forest and contaminated water tables and toxified
air and one of the most environmentally destructive energy sources on
the planet; or new and slightly less horribly pollutive coal
extraction/burn techniques that attempt to rein in a few of the more
toxic pollutants, but not including carbon dioxide or, you know, cancer
and death. That's about it.

Translation: "clean coal" is not only one of the most
insidious, repugnant oxymorons -- right up there with "friendly fire"
and "conservative think tank" and "Alaskan teen virgin" -- it's also
one of the deadliest.

Not good enough? Don't you worry.

Here is high-fructose corn syrup. It appears the corporate
whiners down at the Corn Refiners Association, unhappy with the
billions they've already made on the staggering rise of their dreadful
product and apparently tired of their gunk getting such a bad rap from
every doctor and health mag from here to the Mayo Clinic, have launched
a sweet little counter-offensive aimed at proving their goop is, well,
slightly less evil than you thought.

Here is their cute little commercial:
Two generic moms, one pouring her kids a big, fat glass of bright red
HFCS-laden pseudo-juice, as the other frowns and says gosh golly Susan,
you feed your kids that crap? That has high fructose corn syrup in it!

And the first irresponsible mom just smiles an 'oh you stupid
bitch' kind of robotic smile and says hey, HFCS is really no worse than
sugar, it's natural because it's made from corn, and it's perfectly OK
in moderation, so shut the hell up and drink your nauseating
food-colored crap, Marjorie (please note: I might be paraphrasing

Isn't that lovely? To be fair, they have a meager point.
Despite its highly processed nature, HFCS might very well be exactly as
bad for you as plain ol' sugar (by the way, thanks to the wishy-washy
FDA, "natural" is a completely bulls--t term that means nothing;
calling HFCS "natural" is like calling Cindy McCain natural). But its
manufacture is simply awful, from the tons of pesticides used to grow
all that needless industrial corn to the ridiculous and devastating
farm subsidies that force farmers to grow far more of it than our
country can possibly use.

Which is why HFCS is everywhere and in everything, from soups
to whole-grain bread, crackers to ketchup to pickles to tomato paste.
Thanks in part to the violent ubiquity of HFCS, bloated Americans now
consume a total of 100 pounds of sweetener a year, per capita. Go read
your "Omnivore's Dilemma" or rent the "King Corn" DVD to see just how
awful this stuff is. The Corn Refiners Association is praying you

On it goes. Every major oil company has a pseudo-green,
false-front "Let's take care of our planet" BS campaign underway,
whitewashing their evils so insultingly it's like Dick Cheney wearing a
PETA T-shirt to a canned pheasant hunt. Even the king of consumer
mediocrity, Microsoft, launched a "Vista: It's not quite as awful as
you've heard" campaign to help stifle the low-level groans of 20
million bug-addled users.

And recall, won't you, a couple of years back, when Wal-Mart
launched its own ad campaign to counter all the negative press it was
getting about its nasty labor policies, the lawsuits and infractions
and claims of forced overtime, even lovely hints of sexism and racism
and blurry photos of secret underground lairs where 10,000 paunchy
middle managers met to skin live kittens and drink the blood of
sweatshop workers and sacrifice their dreams as they chant Shania Twain
lyrics in their underwear (again, paraphrasing).

Of course, Wal-Mart, rather than actually improve its policies, instead spent millions to make itself merely look
friendlier, touting all the (low-paying, often part-time, generally
miserable) jobs they bring in to a community, and gosh, just look how
happy those cashiers seem to be, and never you mind the vague threats
that if anyone tries to unionize, a pale army of sexless managers will
follow you home and kill you in your sleep with this 20-pound tub of
cheese-coated popcorn. Mmm, wholesome.

But perhaps none of these examples can top the scabrous GOP,
suddenly being repackaged and resold to exhausted, Bush-ravaged
Americans as "the maverick party," with John McCain desperately trying
to distance himself from the worst and most abusive administration in a
lifetime, all the torture and warmongering and pandering to the
religious right, even as he so obviously plans to continue it all.

It's a rather sickening marketing ploy, made even more
contemptible by McCain's choice of VP, not someone of sharp political
acumen who will challenge his decisions and offer insight and inspire
confidence, but Sarah Palin, former mayor of a piddling, eyeblink of a pee-stop town
in rural Nowheresville, a shrill woman of zero political accomplishment
clearly brought on board to lure both confused white women and the hard
evangelical right, a minor state governor who thinks Creationism is
dandy and who just got her first passport in 2007 and who would happily
pass a law to force your daughter to have the baby if she'd been raped.

Truly, Palin is that most dangerous of self-aggrandizing
right-wing politico, a potentially very powerful woman full of moxie
and nerve and intensely intolerant, extremist views who actually hates women. Really, you can't get much more Republican than that.

And lo, in the spirit of Wal-Mart and the Corn Refiners
Association and the clean-coal cretins trying to make their rampant
evils seem slightly less, well, evil, we humbly offer to McPalin this
new marketing slogan: "The Republicans: An entirely new kind of
contemptible you hadn't even thought of yet."

Just trying to help, really.

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