Jet Blue and "Fuck You" Money

Fuck You Money

The Brit press kicks the U.S. press's butt regularly. The latest piece of quality work is the June 16 Economist cover story, "Does Inequality Matter," which questions how so much new money got into so few hands. The reader learns that the latest economic boom has led to 7.2 million millionaires and at least 425 billionaires, 274 in the U.S. alone. We now have terms like the mass affluent for those in the $250-500,000 range. According to the magazine, to be rich, you need what Silicon Valley types call "fuck you" money: a minimum of $10 million to be able to generate a work-free $500,000 a year.

Jet Blue: Airline Revolution, Media Dreck

The Masher loves Jet Blue, the new airline that's been called the most successful start-up in a generation. Jet Blue is a miracle in several ways: no seven or 14 day advance to get cheap tickets; no Saturday night stay-over required; affordable one way tickets; and a nonstop from New York to Oakland (the Masher will do anything to avoid San Francisco airport). Also, the Jet Blue staff are very bright, sexy and enthusiastic.

One of the best advertised Jet Blue innovations is a small TV screen in the back of every seat, with 24 channels of free Direct TV. And there's the rub. The programming line-up sucks. It has five sports channels with such overlap that when Tiger Woods was giving a press conference, it was on three consecutive channels. There are three financial channels, four for kids (to keep them busy on those long flights) and some other hardly compelling fare: HomeGarden TV; Tech TV; Food; Game; Weather; History Channel; A&E and for the intellectually inclined, CNN Headlines News, where everything is boiled down to a 15 second soundbite. Makes the Masher yearn for those bad movies on United.

But apparently hope is on the way. According to flight attendant Ana Marie Dougan, who says feedback may lead to some movie channels, "What do you expect? What you see on the plane is pretty much what you get on cable." How depressing, but she's right.

The Web Counter Revolution

Some have suggested that the Internet is counter-revolutionary. Now there is some evidence. According to BBC news online, the World Bank has decided to hold its annual development conference in cyberspace. Originally scheduled to take place in Barcelona, Bank officials feared that a countersummit planned by French and Spanish protestors -- which was to include a public trial of the World Bank -- would turn violent. Thus, the virtual conference.

Maybe the next move will have revolutionary hackers take down the on-line conference, doing away with World Bank development altogether.

No More Weepy-Eyed Baby Seals?

Greenpeace has gone camp in its new publicity campaign. Using postcard kiosks that grace hip cafes and clubs, Greenpeace has launched a series of postcards that rely more on cartoon graphics and tabloid sarcasm than its traditional touchy-feely nature scenes. In one, Dubya stands vacant-faced -- eyes sucked out -- beside the caption, "Corporate Polluters Ate My Brain." The other uses a fifties-esque animation of a nukes and oil martini: "The Bush-Cheney Energy Cocktail. Wanna Try It?"

You can pick up the postcards for free at Go-Card Kiosks or order them through Greenpeace's Web site: www.greenpeaceusa.org/forms/postcards/postcard.html.

While Greenpeace Goes Kitsch, Pro Choice Goes Graphic

New metro and subway ads by New York's Protect Choice (www.protectchoice.org) shows the scary and hardly antiseptic abortion options if women loose their right to choose. An abandoned car parked by a bridge boasts the placard "Abortion Clinic," while a skanky bathroom sign reads "Operating Room." The campaign is augmented by a series of outdoor posters and campus flyer suggesting other rights that could be revoked, such as a women's right to vote. Exaggeration? Perhaps. But with the right wing's established scare tactics, the Masher supposes its best to fight fire with fire.

Abercrombie and Sex: Who Knew?

Imagine the name Abercrombie and Fitch (A&F), and solid Americana comes to mind. Preppies, windbreakers and pink polo shirts. But no more. The company's ads have gotten so sexy that the Lt. Governor of Illinois, Corinne Wood, has called for a boycott of A&F, building an oddball coalition, including the National Organization for Women. (NOW complains that images in the A&F catalogue "evoke group sex." The Masher guesses NOW likes its encounters one on one.) NOW's Chicago president says it is not a catalogue, "It's a soft porn magazine," while the Rev. Vanden Bosch, head of Concerned Christian Americans, says, "The exploitation of sex and young people in A&F's catalogue is not only atrocious but also a psychological molestation of their teenage customers."

Pleeeeeze! The Masher is finding this hard to believe, but figures A&F knows a publicity coup when they see one. Their quarterly catalogues have a growing 300,000 circulation and cost $6 if you don't go into the store -- which is probably now being overrun by the turned-on hordes.
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