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May Day, 2001

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I really, really don't want this page to be "political," but I can't help but wonder about the connection between McCarthyism and Madison Avenue. McCarthyism was that dark period after World War II when "communism" was turned into a dirty word and anyone who suggested sharing as a viable means of getting along was blacklisted and sometimes imprisoned. So, while Joe Stalin was murdering people in Russia, the US government took a more sanitized approach, shrouding the proceedings in a aura of legality, even televising the hearings. Is it any coincidence that those chiefly targeted were those in the "entertainment" industry? Actors, directors, producers, writers--all came under congressional scrutiny. Most were intimidated and silenced, brought into line to promote "the American Way of Life," which in the post-WW2 economy meant encouraging isolation through suburbanization to increase individual consumption. It's startling how little has changed since then. Military spending remains at "Cold War" levels, and 50+ years of advertising has shaped wants and created false needs, conditioning the populace into believing that each person needs one (at least!) of everything. So, shit, forgive my screed, but it sure as hell felt good to join with others as a community. And it was free...