Pop Culture Takes a Shot at Paranoia

As with many guys in the USA on New Year’s, I’m in a room with a big screen TV and college football playing. The particular game is the Konica-Minolta Gator Bowl, but the thing that motivated me to write this entry is a commercial from Konica-Minolta. They are selling office equipment (having sold off their photographic equipment division to Sony), including an advanced copier. The commercial shows two office workers discussing the capabilities of their new Konica-Minolta copier, and one of them mentions the built-in biometric access facility. The other one responds with a warning that the machines are going to take over the world and take dominion over humans. The first office worker gives him a look that plainly says, ‘What a nut’, and turns away.

I think it says something when marketing for a major corporation here is willing to take a pot shot at this sort of paranoia.

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Wesley R. Elsberry

Falconer. Interdisciplinary researcher: biology and computer science. Photographer. Husband. Christian. Activist.

4 thoughts on “Pop Culture Takes a Shot at Paranoia

  • 2008/01/02 at 7:57 am
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    They didn’t really take a potshot at it, did they? They pointed away from the issue, which is that corporations and governments, not machines but the owners and leasers of those machines, are a danger. They turned that legitimate concern into a nutball conspiracy theorist thing. True, that’s marketing all right — marketing designed to sidetrack the legitimate issue and tar those who bring it up as nuts.

  • 2008/01/02 at 10:36 am
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    Yes, capitalism and governments are each dangerous. That doesn’t mean that we will be doing without them, not does it mean that everyone threatened by new technology is perfectly justified, either. There are neo-Luddites out there, and they don’t need anything more than the sort of ridicule served up in the commercial I discussed.

  • 2008/01/04 at 10:27 pm
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    My point was that the commercial was an effective marketing strategy aimed at sidetracking legitimate and needed debate by preemptively placing all criticisms in the nutball category. This is common (and why wouldn’t we expect it from corporations, since it’s in their interest to demonise their opponents by taring them with association with people those opponents don’t actually agree with). For instance, on the recent “Green Week” on NBC, the one environmental guy on “30 Rock”, the only one who took it to heart, was presented as a nut. Coincidence? Sure. I’m sure it had nothing to do with General Electric’s ownership of NBC. Sure.

    But then I see problems with these things, and GE, and probably Konica-Minolta, will no doubt tell you I’m a nut. Right? :)

  • 2008/01/05 at 2:21 am
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    Sorry, I just don’t see the “placing all criticisms in the nutball category” part of your argument.

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