thumping the tub
Tub-Thumper - 1. A speaker or preacher who for emphasis thumps the pulpit; a violent or declamatory preacher or orator; a ranter. (from This blog will be a combination of reasoned posting somedays and an occasional rant.
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
In South Asia, if you head up toward the Himalayas you might find a few battles going on. There are separatist movements, Maoists and Royalists and religious groups battling things out with each other. On the other side of the mountains there are the Tibetans and the Chinese. There are also the eternal struggles of the people against the elements in hostile climates with the severe weather in the mountains, or the monsoon, or the heat.

Now there are visible manifestations of all these battles but another battle you will see almost everywhere and in some of the remotest places around the Himalayas is Coca-Cola V Pepsi.

It is incredibly depressing. You walk up some mountain trail, immersed in the beauty of it all and come to a tea shop, most likely a wooden hut with a fridge hooked up to a generator, covered in Coke or Pepsi signs. The advertising budgets for these 2 companies exceed 1 billion dollars. That's more than a lot of countries spend on health and education. Just think what they could do for the world (and even themselves) if they both agreed not to advertise for one year. The spin-offs in terms of good publicity would most likely mean that they could go on rotting people's teeth for years.

What's more, it is often not for the locals as they can't afford to buy it - it is for you. In other words some worthless piece of marketing shit has went up that mountain to ensure that you can't get away from the things you were trying to get away from in the first place. They also now have to do clean up campaigns on Everest (Sagarmatha is it's real name) because of all the shit that Westerners drop on their way up.

It's just another indicator that as well as military and economic dominance the United States also has established cultural dominance. Partly, this has been achieved through the pervasiveness of Hollywood films and the US music industry. For example, in some African countries sales of US hip-hop are higher than those of local acts. This is only part of the story - a lot of the bands are just local imitations of American formats. The same formula, given a local flavour, which is why they sell beer in McDonalds in Germany. As a test I have just flicked through the 5 channels of basic TV we have in the UK. There are American made programmes on 2 of the 5 and George Bush is on the news on one of the others. That is normal for a night of UK television. It's worse if you have cable.

Don't get me wrong, I admire lots of the output of the US. I like some Hollywood films; I like a lot of US music and the occasional TV programme. I also, when hungover, occasionally buy a coke. But it is definitely to the detriment of local bands, artists and producers that the American stuff is prevalent. Everyone else is pushed out. Even the local bands who do make it big can't wait for a chance to have a 'shot at the big timeTM ' in the US.

I don't really know where I am going with this. In short, I just hope that some day, as people have been willing to go all that way to put advertising signs up, someone will be willing to go all that way to take them down again - mango juice and chai are much nicer than Coke. Oh, and Bill Hicks was right...

'By the way, if anyone here is in advertising or marketing, kill yourself. Just a little thought. I'm just trying to plant seeds. Maybe one day they'll take root. I don't know. You try. You do what you can. Kill yourselves. Seriously though, if you are, do. No really, there's no rationalisation for what you do, and you are Satan's little helpers, OK? Kill yourselves, seriously. You're the ruiner of all things good. Seriously, no, this is not a joke. "There's gonna be a joke coming..." There's no fucking joke coming, you are Satan's spawn, filling the world with bile and garbage, you are fucked and you are fucking us, kill yourselves, it's the only way to save your fucking soul. Kill yourself, kill yourself, kill yourself now.

"You know what Bill's doing now, he's going for the righteous indignation dollar, that's a big dollar, a lot of people are feeling that indignation, we've done research, huge market. He's doing a good thing." Goddammit, I'm not doing that, you scumbags, quit putting a goddamn dollar sign on every fucking thing on this planet!'
posted by michael the tubthumper @ 3:58 pm  
  • At 7:34 pm, Blogger mikevotes said…

    I love your writing.

    I remember when I was in Panama doing peace corps type work, way down South along the Pan American hwy, back in the bush where the roads stopped. And they were there, too. Except there, in the morning, the trucks would come down the highway where they would be met by locals with coolers with homemade shoulder straps. They would buy a case of Coke off the truck, and then pack it back into the bush stopping at all the little villages, selling along the way.

    The other curious consumer "luxury" item was Johnny Walker scotch. They advertised relentlessly on the AM stations that reached out back past the roads. I would climb up into an indigineous hut, platform floor, roof, no walls, and among the few belongings, a few very worn tools, a couple of old t shirts with US slogans printed on them, I would see that Johnny Walker bottle. Cost them a couple weeks wages, but they thought it showed attainment.

    Also, occasionally I am struck by the fact that some of the logoed detritus of our society will still be packed in dirt after our civilization falls. Some of the plastics we use will last a hundred thousand years.

    You rambled, so I rambled.


  • At 10:36 pm, Blogger michael the tubthumper said…

    all ramblings are welcome.

    its a horrible thought isn't it? after the human race is gone there will still be little plastic mickey mouse's, coke bottles and star wars paraphernalia lying about the place.

  • At 2:41 am, Anonymous Mickey Z. said…

    You sure said it, Michael: "As military and economic dominance the United States also has established cultural dominance."

    America doesn't always have to send in the Marines. They can send in McDonald's...with the military threat always looming.

    On a somewhat related tangent: In almost health food store I visit here in NYC, I meet a worker who came here from Nepal. Just about every single one of them is here temporarily and speaks wistfully of the day they can return home.

  • At 9:10 am, Blogger Brewski said…

    Michael is correct! The particularly virulent corporatism of the U.S is horrifying. I spend half my life avoiding it, and usually fail. 'Violent' cultural imperialism really gets my goat.

  • At 10:32 am, Blogger michael the tubthumper said…

    one thing tho, the locals aren't sitting about waiting for coke and pepsi to turn up. they are more bemused by it than anything else and figure that if some arsehole wants to walk up a mountain to stick up a sign then let him. they are not now sitting waitnig for the day that the dr pepper salesman turns up.

  • At 8:06 pm, Anonymous Mew said…

    It always amuses me (or depending on my mood makes me want to do violence) when people trot out the old cliche "The US has never declared war on a country with a McDonalds". Yeah, might want to think about the implications of that...
    Only a very slight tangent - my favourite music video of all time (at the moment anyway :-) ) is Rammstein's 'Amerika'. Genius; you need have no idea what they're singing, you still know exactly what they mean. Can't find a valid link, sorry.

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What is Tubthumping and who is doing it?

Name: michael the tubthumper
Home: Glasgow, Scotland
About Me: Tub-Thumper - 1. A speaker or preacher who for emphasis thumps the pulpit; a violent or declamatory preacher or orator; a ranter. This blog will be a combination of reasoned posting somedays and an occasional rant. 28 years old, I write and research for a couple of websites and also do my own stuff.
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Thumping The Tub Video

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I have made a few short movies. Here are links to free downloads for them all in the order that I made them (as far as I can remember). Please feel free to use, distribute, disagree with, shout at etc etc

  • Praise The Lord and Pass The Ammunition
  • This was a REAL song from World War 2. I was so stunned by it I had to make a movie

  • How Far Is It From Here to Nuremberg
  • This is my attempt at a video for the excellent, if worrying, David Rovics (see links) song

  • What You Like
  • I believe the word for this is "splenetic". Only 20 seconds long.

  • Imperial Measures
  • What is going on in Iraq? Some things you knew, some you didn't. A couple of bits of info are out of date now.

  • Wish You Were Here
  • Wish You Were Here is a 6 minute film about the unprecendted rate of animal extinction we are currently experiencing

  • Gorillas and us
  • I don't like creationism, neither did Douglas Adams

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    some of the blogs I look at
    Arse of the month

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    The inaugural 'Arse of the month' award goes to our very own Scottish First Minister Jack (Joke) McConnell. He seems to spend a lot of his time sucking up to english politicians and yet it appears they don't even know his name. Follow the link to see..

    It's All Gone Scottish

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    A list of some other Scottish sites and blogs most of which, if not all, are pro-independence. I don't agree with content on all of them obviously. Some are Scots at home, others abroad.

  • The Scottish Patient
  • Kim Ayres
  • Our Scotland
  • average tosser
  • 1820
  • big stick small carrot
  • J. Arthur MacNumpty
  • World of Jack McConnell
  • The Firefox Chronicles
  • Independence 1st
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  • Scottish Independence Guide
  • Small Nation
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  • Radical Glasgow
  • Want to Swot?

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    If you like this site and think it is time to start getting informed here are a few real favourites of mine that will help you blow away the corporate and government propaganda you are constantly bombarded with. It is added to every so often.

  • politics and the english language
  • Beyond Hope
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  • a cultural chernobyl
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  • shooting an elephant
  • a war crime within a war crime...
  • the menace of liberal scholarship
  • the modern era of law
  • naming the problem
  • the four ages of sand
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  • countering corporate power
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