Friday, June 29, 2007

The Brave New World Takes Visa

Time for a rant.

I recently saw a Visa commercial showing this morning in this city in which all this commerce is happening like clockwork, mechanically, with classical music (Johann Strauss's "On the Beautiful Danube" Waltz) as in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Donuts dropping in bags, sugar dropping in coffee, synced to the music, and everyone using their Visa card, moving one right after another. No one talking to each other or anything. Then, all of the sudden, this guy pays for his donuts with cash, and the girl behind the counter gives him this funny, glaring look, as if it was because he interrupted the seamless flow of people standing in line to check out and buy things with their Visa cards. She gives him a damn glare because he used cash, and the music stops and everything! She didn't talk to any of the people who were swiping Visa cards, and she didn't say a word to him either. And then, maybe the worst thing, the slogan that appears on the screen at the end of the commercial: "Life takes Visa". Life, for crying out loud. That thing itself, that we all live, takes Visa. Said as if life runs on a credit card.

Aldous Huxley would not be surprised.

If I were ever impressed by a commercial like that--no, if I ever didn't absolutely hate a commercial like that--just take me out and shoot me, because most of what I am is dead inside already.


Blogger Jim Blynt said...

This VISA commercial is unsettling for two reasons. First, it is clearly a call to conformity, implying as it does that the automatons with their VISA cards enjoy a quality of life denied to less sophisticated folk. Just follow the cool people, and life will be good (complete with background symphonies). It's like junior high school with higher stakes. Second, the implication is that being honest and responsible with your money (i.e., paying cash for your purchases) is a bad thing. Much better, they would have us believe, to buy even the smallest purchase on credit, which is, of course, a dangerous notion for many people. Of course, the credit card companies make their money by manipulating people in this way, so it's not such a surprise. It may be a surprise, though, when the bills come due, complete with outlandish interest. At least the fools that populate this country and march in lockstep to the tune of American capitalism can also enjoy a Strauss waltz while they head to the poor house.

11:20 AM  
Blogger PintofStout said...

Great Rant! I was also bothered by these commercials (I've seen two that I can recall). My first thoughts swung to the worthlessness of our money and the parallel illusion of credit as money.

2:00 PM  
Blogger Joe Visionary said...

Yes, it was a pretty dumb commercial. Mind you, it's par for TV.

I work in broadcasting, but I don't consume (much of) what I make.

7:17 AM  

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