MEDIA MASH: Kids and Ads, Micro-radio, Men's Health

Fast Language

Guess where can you read the following quotes?

"Globalism is the new colonialsim. Free trade doesn't make things better for the average person, it makes them worse." (Mike Dolan of Global Trade Watch)

"The companies that most aggressively stalk people as consumers are the same ones that, as employees, have abandoned them. The branding economy has been built on the backs of Third World labor." (Naomi Klein, author of No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies)

"There are so many people who are working incredible hard and not getting anywhere. For all the excitement that comes with the dotcom generation, what good is it if the school systems are crumbling all around you, if there are 25,000 prision beds built around you?" (Jane McAlevey, Connecticut union organizer)

The Nation? Nope. The Progressive? Guess again. Mother Jones? Getting colder.

How about ... Fast Company?

Who woulda thunk that the new-economy cheerleading rag's latest issue would feature three fabulous profiles (and really groovy photos) of the activists quoted above? Dolan, Klein and McAlevey are three of today's most powerful crusaders against rampaging capitalism, providing the intellect, the sales pitching and the organizing muscle and for real democracy in the new economy. McAlevey, for example, is described as "already one of the three greatest union leaders in Connecticut history" by another veteran trade unionist.

Yes, Fast Company is a seductive, corporatist magazine that doesn't exactly pander to us non-millionaires. Still, the Masher is always glad when the media establishment does some of our work for us.

Save the Children from Madison Avenue!

Hey New Yorkers! If you hate commercialism being constantly foisted on kids, get yourselves to the Grand Hyatt (Lexington & 42nd St) on Thursday, September 14, between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. A group of protesters will be there to harass the Third Annual Golden Marble awards (www.goldenmarble.com), a celebration of "excellence" in children's advertising. Giving awards for seducing kids to buy, buy, buy, and then harass their parents to buy some more, isn't just scary, it's downright offensive. A few troubling statistics:

-- Money invested in marketing to kids has increased 20-fold over the past 10 years to reach $12 billion annually

-- Kids consume 40 hours of media every week and see more than 20,000 commercials a year

- McDonalds' spends $600 million in ads, much of it aimed at children, and children account for $4.7 billion in candy sales (and we wonder why childhood obesity is such a problem)

-- 1/3 of 12 year old girls try to lose weight via diets, vomiting, laxatives or diet pills

The Masher is no media prude, but when psychologists work with marketers to exploit kids and undermine their parents, they certainly shouldn't get awards for it. For more info on the protest, contact Susan Linn of the Harvard Medical School: 617-232-8390 ext. 2328.

Save the Media from the NAB!

On the other coast, San Fran's Media Alliance is focusing the national protest spotlight on the monopoly-happy National Association of Broadcasters, Radio Division.

The NAB, arguably the most powerful lobby in DC, was primarily responsible for the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which enabled a few companies to dominate the radio market in many urban areas. Additionally, the NAB is trying to destroy the micro-radio movement by crushing FCC efforts to permit grassroots radio to emerge.

In response, media activists have planned a smorgasboard of activities to confront the NAB's conference in San Francisco from September 20-23rd, including teach-ins, media blitzes and street actions. For a great introduction, stop by the Independent Press Association's forum on the destructive practices of the NAB, on Friday, September 22, 7 p.m., at Golden Gate University, Auditorium B, 536 Mission Street.

Messy MTV Award Politics

While the New York tabs were raging silly over the message to teenagers from Brittany Spears' sexed-up dance routine, the political undercurrent at the much-hyped MTV awards was pretty messy.

On the one hand, politically radical rockers Rage Against the Machine played live, with no holds barred. But that was overshadowed by the fascist undertones of the big winner of the night, Eminem, and the 100 blond guys who marched with him as he picked up his booty. In between, Moby went mainstream by placing a Gore/Leiberman bumper sticker on the podium during his introduction. Than Rage's base player Tim Commerford climbed up some scaffolding near the stage and refused to come down, in some kind of unclear protest, maybe directed against the Enimem spectre. The sly MCs of the event, Shawn and Marlon Wayans, commented that they were glad Commerford "wasn't a brother, 'cause he probably would have had his black ass shot ... this is New York City."

Three Cheers for Sexual Harassment

Men's Health is a seemingly professional and hugely successful national magazine owned by Rodale Press. But this month's "special report," titled the "Best and Worst Campuses for Men," suggests that Men's Health isn't above infantile attitudes about male-female relationships.

As reported from ChickClick.com, the schools that Men's Health considered anti-male are thus classified because they have strong womens studies departments, comply with federal laws requiring equal funding for womens and mens sports teams, or have defined sexual harassment and date rape policies that require men to get verbal consent from sex partners. At Columbia University, says the article, "men find themselves on the defensive beginning at freshman orientation, which has included an improv session about date rape." The University of Michigan's short list of crimes includes the fact that, "the campus Women's Studies department has a heavy schedule of outside speakers."

Wow, real hostile environments for men, huh? The Masher wonders, how do these guys get to be so easily threatened?

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