Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Here�s how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.


 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate

Subscribe!
Subscribe





On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.
___________

Syndicate
RSS/XML


RSS 2.0

A nectarine is not just a nectarine

By Malcolm King - posted Tuesday, 29 April 2008


A nectarine is not a nectarine. They now affix a sticker on the delicate skin of ripe nectarines that says “nectarine”. If you peel the sticker off you take with it a part of the skin and the fruit begins to spoil. Up there for thinking. A nectarine is a commodity.

The sticker on a nectarine tells us not only that it's a nectarine but also where it came from. But that doesn't help one iota because it's in code. Consumerism consumes meanings while leaving us wondering what idiot would put a sticker on a piece of fruit telling us it's fruit.

An apple is not an apple but an indoor billboard, branded with the name of its producer. The notion of “appleness” (think crisp, sweet crunchy or cider, sex and temptation) is over wrought by the fact that it's a commodity. It's a highly polished brand sitting on crepe paper under green lights. As if the neon was signifying a return to Eden. Fat chance.

Advertisement

Universities no longer have students. They’re clients or customers buying information at $15,000 per annum. Why not float universities on the share market and that way the private sector, in our over mortgaged suburban McHouses, can get a dividend? “Hey darling, we got a dividend from McFiddle University. Shall we buy some books?” “Nah, I gotta fill up the 4WD.”

I have nothing against branding when one can differentiate between the brands. For example, what’s the difference between taking out a first home loan with the ANZ and the NAB? If you take four hours out of your life, sit with a calculator, you’ll find that there’s nothing. That’s right. Nothing. You will pay exactly the same interest over a 30 year loan (contingent on market fluctuations) with either bank.

The reason is that major banks use the same formulas. It’s not so much a deregulated banking environment with a whole array of different products but rather a kaliedescope of brands all trying differentiate themselves when, in fact, they’re selling the same thing.

Patients are customers of hospitals. If you're pregnant, you've got three days to pump that baby out, get stitched up (if necessary) and get out. The balloons and flowers haven't deflated or wilted in three days. Thanks for the crisp sheets and lemon cordial.

Three years ago a friend of mine had a mental breakdown. As he didn’t have private health insurance he could only stay in the hospital one week. That’s not even time for the Xanex and SSRI’s to kick in. He actually became more anxious about the fact that if he needed to stay longer, he’d have to take out a personal loan.

“What do you need the loan for?”

Advertisement

“Well, I’ve gone a bit bonkers and I need a hospital bed for a few more days."

“Next!” 

Consumerism consumes more than we bargain for. There's the pernicious practice of ripping off fantastic music from our common cultural heritage. I used to possess, in my head, the delightfully simple tune of the Beach Boys "Wouldn't it be Nice?" Now it has been replaced by the TV ad with Cadbury chocolate cartoon figures hell bent on cannibalism.

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. All


Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

5 posts so far.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with del.icio.us Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Author

Malcolm King works in generational workforce change. He was an associate director at DEEWR Labour Market Strategy in Canberra and the senior communications strategist at Carnegie Mellon University. He also runs a professional writing business called Republic.

Other articles by this Author

All articles by Malcolm King

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Article Tools
Comment 5 comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend
Advertisement

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy