"...it's not the training to be mean but the training to be kind that is used to keep us leashed best." ~ Black Dog Red

"In case you haven't recognized the trend: it proceeds action, dissent, speech." ~ davidly, on how wars get done

"...What sort of meager, unerotic existence must a man live to find himself moved to such ecstatic heights by the mundane sniping of a congressional budget fight. The fate of human existence does not hang in the balance. The gods are not arrayed on either side. Poseiden, earth-shaker, has regrettably set his sights on the poor fishermen of northern Japan and not on Washington, D.C. where his ire might do some good--I can think of no better spot for a little wetland reclamation project, if you know what I mean. The fight is neither revolution nor apocalypse; it is hardly even a fight. A lot of apparatchiks are moving a lot of phony numbers with more zeros than a century of soccer scores around, weaving a brittle chrysalis around a gross worm that, some time hence, will emerge, untransformed, still a worm." ~ IOZ

Jul 12, 2011

More Funny. Or not.

h/t Flagrancy

Doubling down on the funny:

"Oh, the irony! Target Corp., long locked in a battle with labor organizers, filmed a notorious internal anti-union video with union actors and under the jurisdiction of one of the biggest unions in the entertainment business.

The 13-minute film, posted by Gawker this week, was designed to dissuade workers from signing up to be represented by unions. A pair of smiling spokespeople dressed like Target employees -- 'Maria' and 'Doug' -- warn workers that, despite what they may have heard, a union is a 'business,' one that is greedy for dues and will not be able to deliver on promises of higher wages. As it turns out, the video was filmed under the jurisdiction of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), according to actor (and union member) Ric Reitz, who plays Target spokesman "Doug" in the film..."

It seems, already, that folks have picked up on the banality and "cheese" factor of the video, some (see Gawker) even arguing that its low production value works against Target's anti-union aims.

I think they're missing the point.

This is a perfect sell because it's so cheese-funny, piss poor and laughable. It sends up no easily identified warning signals, no prosecutable red flags and no overt or ominous indications of planned hostility.

Which is why it's so effective. Because, for all that it works hard to be banal and harmless and crayon colored in pastels and smiling stupidity, it is clearly a threat.  If you've ever worked a stretch at any box outlet, chain or fast food joint, you'll probably recognize immediately that all the stuff you'd better remember was in the cheesy orientation videos. And they are always followed just as immediately by a raft of papers to which you fix your binding signature and, as likely as not, your commitment to non-disclosure.

This is a threat. An effective one.

Delivered from beneath the painted smile of a grinning clown...


Mimi said...

The demise of unions and the corresponding relegation of low-paid workers to barely-paid peons is well-documented. It's fascinating to know, however, that the same old anti-union sentiments are still being trotted out. Depressing, too. Good post. Thanks.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

Target also funnels shittons of money into the coffers of right-wing politicians. It's getting so a conscientious person can't shop anywhere these days (and not just for a lack of discretionary income).

fish said...

I think you are right on the clever threat interpretation. Target has shown that it can make very high production quality commercials. The cheesiness is an intentional posture to disguise true intent.