"The Boys, in many ways, is about how to kill the unkillable – and unsurprisingly, an analogue for Superman is at the center of the story. But Superman, I can see them killing. Kryptonite, magic, red sun radiation, just being bigger and tougher, or just realizing that he is one man who can be in one place at one time, and can be managed. There are enough stories about Superman getting killed that we know it’s possible. But Superman’s owners? Not the culture that he’s part of, but the Warner Brothers Corporation that claims him as IP? That dodges through legal maneuvers and drags out court cases, that intimidates and strongarms, all in the name of securing the brand of Superman even as they could care less what Superman stands for as a character?" A lengthy meditation on The Boys, the ultraviolent, ultratransgressive and problematic-but-still-fascinating superhero comics epic as written by Garth Ennis.
On Friday, Baron Sebastian Coe, the conservative politician, former athlete, and Nike board member who is chair of LOCOG (the London Organizing Committee) for the 2012 games, ignited a furor when he said anyone wearing a Pepsi T-shirt is likely to be "booted out" because it would upset Coca-Cola, who is an official sponsor. [more inside]
The Failure of Corporate School Reform: schools and school systems desperate for funding often turn to businesses for help. According to some critics, the U.S. educational system has also adopted a corporate philosophy that is at odds with the historical notion of the "common school." Next up: "virtual education reform." A critic's claim: "controlled, rigid, anti-critical teaching results not in subjects with a greater capacity for economic productivity, but the opposite."
A series of emails released through a Freedom of Information Act request shine light on collusion between the United States government and TransCanada, a corporation building a controversial pipeline from the Canadian Athabasca oil sands into its southern neighbor. The controversy extends beyond the currently poor safety record for delivering oil between the two countries, and beyond the environmental and health consequences of the oil extraction process for locals and the cost of climate changes it will contribute to, all the way to legal wrangling between Canadian media and Saudi Arabia over the "death panels"-like term "ethical oil", based upon a conservative group's advertising that argues that the purchase of Canadian-sourced oil is a morally superior act, because of oppression of women and human rights violations by the Saudi kingdom.
If you're going to kill off an entire section of a newspaper and fire all of the staffers who work there, it's probably a good idea to get the Twitter password first. [more inside]
Douglas Rushkoff was mugged on Christmas Eve. After posting about the incident on a neighborhood message board, the response was not concern about crime or his safety but about the negative effect this might have on property values. Rushkoff writes in a new book (and discusses on BloggingHeads) the corporatization of our culture and the need to deal in currencies which are local and carry innate value. Previously.
"Like the dotcom bubble, the disaster bubble is inflating in an ad-hoc and chaotic fashion." Journalist Naomi Klein discusses how corporations and governments are working together more closely than ever, using the mandate of catastrophe — whether natural or man-made — to further concentrate power in fewer hands, with less oversight: from illegal sales of American police technology to China to avert hypothetical tragedies during the Beijing Olympics, to the privatization of water supplies in post-tsunami Sri Lanka.
What the IFPI tries to conceal about its origins in fascist Italy IFPI is the global version of the RIAA
"[C]omputer design is being dictated not by electronic design rules, physical layout requirements, and thermal issues, but by the wishes of the content industry." By deliberately breaking audio and video functionality, opening up new avenues for debilitating malware, and reversing performance gains in desktop PCs and third-party components, Peter Gutmann argues "the Vista Content Protection specification could very well constitute the longest suicide note in history."
Compassionate Slavery. A representative of the World Trade Organization proposes foreign corporate "stewardship" of workers in Africa from the moment they are hired until they die, describing it as "the best available solution to African poverty, and the inevitable result of free-market theory".
``Friendly fascism portrays two conflicting trends in the United States and other countries of the so-called "free world." The first is a slow and powerful drift toward greater concentration of power and wealth in a repressive Big Business-Big Government partnership... The other is a slower and less powerful tendency for individuals and groups to seek greater participation in decisions affecting themselves and others... These contradictory trends are woven fine into the fabric of highly industrialized capitalism.'