Yesterday's message looked at the question of controllers
and whether they manipulate our lives. (They do). But we didn't
consider how they may launch even more intrusive attacks in
the years ahead.
We saw in yesterday's
message that history suggests that others
will increasingly try to control our lives. All nations to
date have deteriorated, freedoms have fallen and negative energies
have evolved over time. Yet how can we see specifics of this
future? How will the controllers attack? Rolf Jensen author
Society" gave us a clue on where to look
for these answers when he wrote that the best place to see
the future is the present. What is happening today provides
clues of what comes next.
During the past thirty years of writing about international
investing and legal structures, I have seen enormous negative
(in my opinion) changes in the investment world, considerable
loss of privacy and financial freedom. But our finances are
only one of the aspects of our lives that controllers will
To better understand what controllers might do, let's look
first at censorship in media. Totalitarian governments (or
any government that does not work) must censor media. Darkness
cannot survive light. But the American media is protected by
our constitution. So the government cannot censor our press.
The government does not have to censor our media. Someone
else is already doing it right now.
Let's begin with the advertising industry as they shift from
advertising to product placement and program sponsorship. One
of the most profound changes in potential media censorship
is taking place right now because of a new use of personal
video digital technology called TiVo.
TiVo is an advanced, easy-to-use personal
TV service available for as little as $169. TiVo digitally
records television shows,
without videotape, so you can watch what you want, when you
want and allowing you to control your TV viewing in ways never
before possible. You can pause, slow motion, or instant replay
live TV. Or, with the simple click of a button, you can tell
TiVo to automatically find and record your favorite programs
every time they air so you don't miss a moment of TV. You can
even tell TiVo what you like and don't like, so it can suggest
other shows you may want to record and watch, based on your
interests. The TiVo remote control also has a three-speed fast
forward button that enables you to skim through anything on
your TV screen including advertising. This even includes a
unique Smart Scan feature that compensates for reaction time
when fast-forwarding to ensure you won't overshoot the spot
where you resume your program. (I am just writing about this
but haven't experienced it because we don't have TV at Merrily
This anti-advertising feature has whipped the advertising
industry into gear. Madison Avenue has been one of the greatest
controllers of this last century. Their most potent weapon
has been advertising on T.V. The ads on television have given
much of the world their tastes, desires, attitudes, and deepest
motivating beliefs. Yet as reported in USA Today's Friday December
20th article, "Rising 'ad skipping' to sink TV ad budgets".
So you can see this is changing.
The article says,
"Three out of four national advertisers say they will
cut TV ad spending because of ad skipping by viewers using
personal video recorders (PVR or TiVo), according to a study
released Monday by Forrester Research and the National Association
of National Advertisers. The marketers say they will slash
their own budgets as the number of thousands of households
owning PVRS is forecast to rise 30 million in the next five
years from less than 2 million now. Marketers predict that
would cut ad budgets 20% to 40% and two thirds say they will
spend more on program sponsorship and product placement, two
formats unaffected by the PVRs. According to the format 49%
of consumers will have some form of on demand TV by 2007."
Madison Avenue is not about to give up the influence they
have grabbed. Product placement and event sponsorship are two
insidious ways they intend to continue their domination of
the public ideal.
Product placement means that subtle advertisements are placed
right in the script of a TV program or movie. For example Ford
Motors paid millions to the producer of the latest James Bond
film to make sure that a Ford was the latest Bond car.
Have you noticed how in recent films that actors are once
again smoking a lot, even though having the fag dangling does
not seem to enhance the character or may even seem to run counter
to the character's nature? Chalk the glowing weed trend up
to product placement.
Program sponsorships run the gamut from Enron field to all
the logos and decals and tags on racing cars, sailing vessels,
around-the-world balloons, football and basketball gear, player
uniforms, etc. Perhaps the day will come when sports uniforms
will be patchwork quilts of logos and all national events such
as the Rose Festival Parade, will be the IBM Rose Parade, etc.
The nasty thing about these new ads is that they blur the
line between editorial and finance as they weave commerce into
creativity and art. Money and creativity in the media have
always been at odds. Many a writer has had to fight to get
an article published that might run contrary to the interests
of a big advertiser.But product placement forces us to be increasingly
alert. With ads we know we are being given a pitch and we can
choose to look and listen or not. At the least we can watch
and listen with a grain of salt.
As this trend grows worse will we see shows like "Marlboro
Survivor", where only smokers get to try to be the winning
survivor in some remote spot? Will family T.V. be dominated
by the "McDonald Family", a weekly stories of a happy
Brady Bunch family that run a Golden Arch franchise? How about "Everybody
Loves Ray, the Ford Mechanic"?
As programming is swamped with commercial interests, innovation
and individuality can be stifled. This is already happening.
For example Paul Zane Pilzer states in his book "The Wellness
Revolution", that many "leading actors lean toward
eating vegetarian diets lacking in processed and addictive
fast foods. Yet these societal role models for fitness and
beauty are cautioned by their managers not to let their eating
habits be known to the press, lest they be boycotted by T.V.
producers in an industry where most of their revenue comes
from advertisements for processed foods and fast food restaurants."
This is one of the worst forms of censorship. Leaders of the
community are not allowed to state their beliefs and live openly.
There is little difference between the economic risk they face
and having a censor directly telling them what not to do. Role
models that societies need to grow and evolve positively not
only are denied the freedom to speak opening, but are forced
to hide their light!
Dig deeper. How will the Politicos react when they realize
that no one is going to tune into their pathetic TV ads (usually
drumming their opponent into the ground). At least some commercial
ads are entertaining. No thinking person enjoys political ads.
Will we be forced into "Oprah with Al" (oops I guess
Al has decided not to run so maybe it will be "Oprah with
Tom or George" etc. How does "60 Minutes with Your
Republican" sound? Will we see politicians written into
the script of "ER" and such drama, where they can
unleash their political dialogue amidst the tenseness of the
Already the politicos are the masters of PR. Our news is dominated
by what the politicians say and write. Look at the ongoing
Trent Lott affair. The Senate leader gave his opponents an
inch and they are taking a mile of our time and space. Will
TV shows become late minute scripts based on such issues? Will "White
House" and similar shows be molded by current administrations
just as plays, TV and music have been controlled and molded
by totalitarian regimes? This is to be seen but watch the next
elections as they will provide clues.
Plus there is the sneaky way that governments manipulate business
and consequently affect our media and the daily products we
use. Current campaign reform makes it harder for big business
to directly buy government officials. Perhaps we'll see a George
burger featured at Burger King, etc.
We'll look more at how controllers attack (businesses especially)
in tomorrow's message. Then we'll get to the crux of this matter
and see what we can do about all this without totally disrupting
Until then may whatever you do be inspired.