A Corporate Dystopia
Our children are being brainwashed. Not overtly, mind you, and not in any way that would be so violent as to cause alarm with most parents, but subtly and persistently, powerful entities are programming and transforming the next generation of American citizens into obedient attendants and mindless drones. Without the necessary steps taken to prevent it, our future will lie in the hands of men and women who, instead of using a well-cultivated intellect, will feign attack on the problems of their day with the "Just do it." and "Why ask why?" knee-jerk responses of their wasted childhood, leaving real power to reside with their programmers: Coca-Cola, Nike, Disney, et al. By allowing corporations free access to the minds of our children (as many of us do), we take the first bold steps down the road to the Brave New World. Ignoring this threat and treating it as either non-existent or only minimally significant is tantamount to inviting Huxley's dystopian vision into our own world. In so doing, we set ourselves up for a decidedly dark tomorrow.
To the uninitiated, the society of Huxley's Brave New World at first seems to be only pure science fiction with no visible ties to reality. After all, we have no government-controlled genetic engineering of human beings in our world. We do not center our children's education around pleasure and the maintenance of happiness. We have no drug, or soma, to keep us in a state of physical bliss and emotional contentedness. Yet, for all its fantasy, there are several uncomfortably close connections with our own world in Huxley's ominous vision.
For instance, while there is currently no centralized system of large-scale genetic engineering, recent headlines would indicate that a number of individuals would indeed be very interested in cloning human beings in a laboratory. Also, while we still claim to be the disseminators of factual accuracy in our public schools, more often than not, our teachers are forced to feed our children a government-mandated curriculum which is frequently riddled with historical inaccuracy. And while we have no soma per se, we do have television, which one-ups Huxley's government-sponsored drug in that it mixes an emotional high with a powerful marketing tool, all in one convenient package. It is, in fact, this last element &endash; the barrage of commercial hoopla we must endure every time we turn on the TV or stroll through a mall or even enter a grocery store to buy a loaf of bread &endash; which poses the greatest threat to our status as a thinking, feeling, human society.
In Coca-Cola's 1997 Annual Report, we can see an example of the extent to which multinational corporations dream of market domination and the tactics they would use to achieve it. In the first few pages, one finds a series of two-page, in-house advertisements depicting various scenes from daily life around the world: a group of co-workers sitting down at...