Posts Tagged ‘New York Times’

Salt: Still Safer Than Anthrax and Tastier, Too!

June 1, 2010

You'll know that the food industry lobbyists have won when you start seeing ads for this new "protein shake" popping up at your local health club.

Despite government health experts’ claim that cutting salt consumption could save 150,000 lives a year, the processed food industry is “working overtly and behind the scenes” to “delay and divert” potential regulation or guidelines.

According to the New York Times, trying to get corporations like Kellogg, Kraft Foods and Cargill to cut back a little on the salt is like trying to get a tweeker to reduce their meth  consumption – they just don’t wanna give up those little white crystals.

Corporate “flavorologists” argue that processed food tastes like “cardboard” or “damp dog hair” without added sodium, so unless you want crackers that taste like a homeless guy was sleeping inside of them or cookies that taste like a mutt’s wet ass, you better just learn how to deal with that hypertension, grandma.

Well… actually, they admit that you can make processed food taste better simply by using fresher ingredients instead of just dumping more salt into them, but that would “risk losing profits.” So instead of investing in healthier food, the food industry is throwing millions and millions into a massive marketing push with junk science and PR front groups like “The Salt Institute.

This is how the folks from The Salt Institute unwind after a long day at the propaganda factory.

Here’s my favorite clip from the Salt Institute’s Web site (and when you’re reading this, just remember that this is all funded by corporations that sell globs of chemicals designed to look and smell like food with names like “Green Slime” (a children’s cereal) and “Chicken Rings”):

Most are unaware of the 14,000 known uses for salt, how it’s produced and our success in ensuring the environmental compatibility as it provides the foundation for the quality of our lives. Mankind evolved from the sea and we have a saline “sea” within us as do all fish, reptiles, amphibians, birds, and mammals. Environmental author Rachel Carson is best known for her book on birds, but she also wrote The Sea Around Us offering this insight: “When the animals went ashore to take up life on land, they carried part of the sea in their bodies, a heritage which they passed on to their children and which even today links each land animal with its origins in the ancient sea.”

Excuse me while I wipe a salty, delicious tear from my eye – but you’ve just gotta love the corporate behemoths responsible for FrankenFoods and the dominance of factory farms quoting the godmother of the modern environmental movement. These guys must have giant, genetically modified balls to feed us propaganda so ridiculous that if irony was a dude his head would have just exploded.

Cargill’s “Salt 101” campaign is another wonderful case study in corporate psychology and ethics. In response to more and more scientists warning us that excess salt leads to terrible health problems and premature death this company launches an pro-salt advertising blitz that suggests “sprinkling it on foods as varied as chocolate cookies, fresh fruit, ice cream and even coffee.” This would be like if the gun industry put up ads saying “Shoot More People!” so they could increase bullet sales.

Cargill even recruited Food Network celebrity chef Alton Brown to push the “put salt on everything” message. “You might be surprised,” Mr. Brown says, “by what foods are enhanced by its briny kiss.”

Mr. Brown, you can kiss my briny ass – I hope my butt sweat enhances the flavor.

This is the only Salt that I think we need more of…

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I Helped Legitimize a Genocidal Regime and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt

January 17, 2010

Sorry folks, pack up your shit, we have some cabanas to build

Back in 1980, The Dead Kennedys released “Holiday in Cambodia,” a blistering critique of entitled Western attitudes towards impoverished and war-torn nations. If the New York Times is familiar with this punk rock anthem of bitter resentment wrapped in sarcastic disgust, they clearly didn’t get the joke.

Of all the tourist destinations in the world, this year the Times selected Sri Lanka as the “number one place to go in 2010.” How edgy! How provocative! How… fucking morally bankrupt are the editors at the New York Times?

Just two days before the Times offered this extremely lucrative endorsement of this “island, with a population of just 20 million, [that] feels like one big tropical zoo,” they ran another article about Sri Lanka. This article was about Sri Lankan soldiers committing war crimes by executing blindfolded-and-bound prisoners of war and the government of Sri Lanka not really giving a fuck.

While the travel piece does allude to the decades-long civil war that finally “ended” last year after the Sri Lankan government went on a merciless killing spree against Tamil rebels and all the innocent children and other civilians who happened to get in their way, the NYT writer is ready to move on from that nasty little episode and explore “this teardrop-shaped island off India’s coast, rich in natural beauty and cultural splendors.”

And just when you thought it couldn’t get any sweeter: “Decimated by the tsunami in 2004, the surrounding coastline is now teeming with stylish guesthouses and boutique hotels.” Awesome! No more of those stinky fishing villages with their grubby little huts… but if you really want to beat the crowds, you might just want to skip Sri Lanka and head straight for Darfur. I hear the dust storms aren’t too bad this time of year and when the New York Times writes about it next year, you’ll be able to say you were there first.

FAIL Brand

April 14, 2009

circuitcityfail

The goal of a successful brand is to have consumers associate a certain desired quality with that brand. BMW is luxury; Obama is hope; you get the idea. Depending on what or whom you’re trying to market, there is an endless spectrum of qualities that might be appropriate to associate your brand with, but the most successful brands focus on one quality and everything else feeds into that brand image.

Corporations spend huge chunks of their budgets building, launching and zealously protecting their brands. Sometimes these efforts are effective. A brand like Coke is so strong and popular that it has withstand decades of legitimate attacks attempting to sway the public from associating Coke with smiling polar bears and happy childhood memories to focusing on the Coca-Cola Corporation’s relationship with anti-union death squads in South America or water exploitation in India. Some brands, like Spam, AIG, or Blackwater end up so deep in the crapper that they can virtually never crawl out (In fact, Blackwater officially changed it’s name to Xe (pronounced “Zee”) and the CEO of AIG admitted to Congress a few weeks ago that that AIG name was now shredded beyond repair).

You would think that having a brand associated with bankruptcy would be bad thing, right? If you were to ask people what they think about “bankruptcy” they would probably say, “It sucks,” “Fuck that,” or “If that ever happens at my job, I’m gonna tell the boss to eat my shit on the last day of work.” Not exactly what you want people thinking about the plasma screen TV, bed sheets, or remote control can opener that you’re trying to sell them.

But the New York Times reports today that liquidators – or “asset recovery specialists,” as they prefer to be known – have actually found a booming market for brands of recently bankrupted companies, like Sharper Image, Circuit City and Linen n’ Things. The brands of these failed companies are pulling in big bucks – Systemax paid $30 million for the rights to use the CompUSA brand last year. The logic is apparently that people are more willing to trust a brand that they know (sucks) that an unknown brand and it’s cheaper to buy a failed brand than it is to build up a brand from scratch.

I just hope that someday FoxNews will go bankrupt, so I can buy their brand and use it to start marketing organic fertilizer with the tag line “FoxNews: Slightly less full of shit than before.”