The End of the Cold War as Summated by “Brands of the World”

When deep space exploration ramps up, it’ll be the corporations that name everything: the IBM Stellar Sphere, the Microsoft Galaxy, Planet Starbucks. – Fight Club

We all know that companies (and specifically, the economic polices set forth by mercantilism) played a huge part in the founding of European America.  It’s probably safe to assume with The Narrator that when they run out of stadiums, giant companies will, indeed, have a hand in naming the stars in the next push of industrial expansion.  Behold, friends, The Facebook Nebula.

There’s a reason “branding” has become such a ubiquitous noun-verb in recent years, and it’s obviously tied to our increasing consumption of dynamic visual media.  In a nifty meta-critical move, sites like Brand New and Brands of the World help we consumerist natives remember our lives in corporate logos even as they help curate (you knew it was coming) good and bad design features from which emerging and veteran creatives can draw inspiration or caution.

I’m working on a new infographic for the blog that I hope to put up later today.  During my research, I was struck by the succinct political history implicit in what’s going on here:

Put your shoe on, Nikita.

 

Considered in light of the grist-milling  Soviet system, “designer: unknown” and “contributor: unknown” become rather chilling political statements.  “Status: Obsolete” heralds the world we still live in:  Soviet weapons and technology still unaccounted for, Soviet scientists still off the grid, regional economies still shaky, but also millions and millions of people more free; in some places, truly, in others by comparison and in degree.  Imperfect, even dangerous as all of this is, we’re reminded again and again that people cognizant of their dignity as human beings will rise to demand that dignity recognized, that sovereignty civilly reckoned with if not yet fully honored.

The CCCP’s obsolescence was as far from inevitable as is the rise of true freedom in Russia even now.  Consider all that remains to be seen as revolution moves through North Africa and possibly beyond.  We have seen freedom ramp up, and if and when it coalesces into free societies and governments, it will be the people that name everything: Free Egypt, Free Tunisia, Free Libya.  Free Iran. What might these emerging societies teach us about our own bondage to the Dutch West India Companies of our day, and to entrenched political attitudes that keep us from the business of prudent, engaged, informed civil life? Might this be the end of the world as we know it?  Let’s hope.

 

Martian Starbucks by firexbrat via Flickr.

2 thoughts on “The End of the Cold War as Summated by “Brands of the World”

  1. “….bondage to the Dutch West India Companies of our day, and to entrenched political attitudes that keep us from the business of prudent, engaged, informed civil life? ” Good point. It may be a crass thing to say but perhaps in a dictatorship you know who your enemy/oppressor is. But that’s too simplistic. As western societies we have moved forward, perhaps even just small steps, in at least realising that societies can be and are manipulated by our own power bases. Populations are manipulated by fear (check your latest “Terror Alert”), advertising, half-truths (okay, lies) and more. Our own revolution must be to expose the Fat Controllers and then to enjender enough outrage amongst our peers that they do something about it (voting out, demanding resignations, or whatever) and to not take another shot of Soma. It’s the last bit that’s going to get harder.

    1. freedom, as basic a thing as it is, is also one of those things that can slip away when we’re not paying attention, sort of like good health, love, or a healthy environment. thanks for this comment. we have to watch, and that means we have to witness and bear witness to what larger powers are doing in our name, on our behalf, or for our supposed (sometimes, sometimes no) collective good.

Join the discussion!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.