We’ve obtained a copy of Target’s notorious internal anti-union propaganda video, which it shows to all new employees in America when they’re hired. As far as we know, it can’t be found online anywhere else. The 13-minute video, “Think Hard Before You Sign,” has the production values and cheesy dialogue of an eight-grade educational film. It begins with an earnest discussion of Target’s business agility, and, at about the 1:50 mark, the anti-union push begins in earnest. Highlights include:
The fictional employees’ assurance that “you can get more hours” without a union—although a persistent inability to get enough hours to earn a living wage is one of the prime reasons that Target employees in New York are now contemplating joining a union.
The repeated reminders that “you have the right” to not sign a union card, pay union dues, or have a union represent you in any way, as if union-busting were a dramatic assertion of a retail employee’s fundamental human rights.
Target director of labor relations Jim Rowader’s outfit and haircut. Hey there, Jim.
For a sophisticated multibillion-dollar corporation, Target sure turns out some shitty propaganda. (Though we knew that already.) For perspective on this video and the Target employment situation as a whole from real Target employees, see here or here.
“We are coming to a twenty-first-century crisis in America’s informal empire, an empire based on the projection of military power to every corner of the world and on the use of American capital and markets to force global economic integration on our terms, at whatever cost to others… What form our imperial crisis is likely to take years or even decades from now is, of course, impossible to know. But history indicates that, sooner or later, empires do reach such moments, and it seems reasonable to assume that we will not miraculously escape that fate.”—Chalmers Johnson – Blowback: The Cost and Consequences of American Empire
“How people themselves perceive what they are doing is not a question that interests me. I mean, there are very few people who are going to look into the mirror and say, ‘That person I see is a savage monster’; instead, they make up some construction that justifies what they do. If you ask the CEO of some major corporation what he does he will say, in all honesty, that he is slaving 20 hours a day to provide his customers with the best goods or services he can and creating the best possible working conditions for his employees. But then you take a look at what the corporation does, the effect of its legal structure, the vast inequalities in pay and conditions, and you see the reality is something far different.”—Noam Chomsky (via noam-chomsky)
I see it as a cultural criticism, even be ironic on your part.
Actually, publish on Tumblr is very fragmentary, instantaneous and convulsive. I´m the only one who blogs one subject area, 3 times a week.
There is no irony in détournement. There is no irony in a seriousness that laughs and sees irony as an outdated trend of advertising.
Consistency leads to totalizations of thought and that can be harmful. Fragments are the shards of anti-totalization. It is the way that we cut into the symbolic.