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Trendy Corporate Nonsense is the dominant cultural force today. It includes two major phenomena.

First and foremost it is the epidemic of consumption products whose only inherent value is that they are appreciated and recognized by other consumers, and the accompanying marketing that inflates the value of those products. For instance, we as a society are convinced wholesale that Nike shoes are superior to Payless shoes, even though they are both made with the same materials by the same children in the same sweatshops. The only difference is the superficial placement of logos and colors on the Nike shoes, and the hyper marketing that engrains that logo in the minds of the public. Thus the Nike shoes are more coveted and can be sold for five times the price, being considered more valuable for no reason other than the marketing that has gone into them. This is nonsense, because rationally the shoes shouldn’t be any more valuable, its trendy because the inflated value is dependent on and due to the changing whims of status-seeking consumers, and its corporate because the marketing is carried out as the brainchild of large multi-nationals. Hence Trendy Corporate Nonsense.

This consumer product aspect of Trendy Corporate Nonsense is not limited to apparel, but touches every kind of consumer product. Any time a product achieves a value that exceeds its usefulness or quality Trendy corporate nonsense has reared its head. Another example is SUVs, whose fuel economy and abysmal safety performance make them lemons as far as urban driving is concerned, and yet they possess an inflated value as a status symbol by the 95% of drivers who never take them off road, and actually retail for higher prices than safer, more fuel efficient autos.

One of the first examples of Trendy Corporate Nonsense was the invention by De Beers in the 20s and 30s of the concept of using diamonds, up to that point rather worthless industrial tools, as an engagement present. This was followed by the coonskin cap marketed by Disney in the 50s. Although changing fashions and status seeking had always existed in human societies, these were the first instances of a group of marketers actually consciously setting out and conspiring to create desire for a useless valueless product. The years since, of course, have seen an explosion of trendy corporate nonsense marketing, to the point where culture, which used to be a somewhat ‘bottom up’ phenomenon of people responding to their lives by creating, has become a ‘top down’ by-product of the process of selling.

The other manifestation of Trendy Corporate Nonsense is the phenomenon of meaningless newspeak that governs the workplace. Minimum wage cashiers are told that they are ‘team members,’ temporary placement agencies speak of ‘fulfilling the dreams’ of applicants, and employees everywhere are encouraged to be ‘pro-active’ and participate in a ‘paradigm shift.’ These types of phrases mean nothing, aside from being painfully ironic, of course, but the point is not to communicate anything other than a mutual ethic of being willing to ‘play the game.’ Thus, they’re trendy, nonsensical, and of course, corporate.

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