The Anti-Defamation League Imagines A World Without Hate

I’ve been writing about a lot of lunkheaded ads lately, but I’m going to take a step back for a minute to write about a video that is very well done and poignant. The Anti-Defamation League created this spot for its centennial. It features important people who were all killed on the basis of hatred and is accompanied by John Lennon’s “Imagine.” Dr. Martin Luther King and Anne Frank are probably the best known figures, but it also showcases Harvey Milk, Daniel Pearl, James Byrd, Matthew Shepard, and Yitzhak Rabin. Most hauntingly, the video contains mock newspaper headlines/stories which imagine what these figures might be doing now had they lived to see their full potential. The question “what if?” is ultimately a very sad and thought-provoking one. Still, the video ends with a feeling of hope that we as a people have learned from these martyrs and will change for the better. Great work.

My North Korean Dream

This is a post I’ve been mulling over for a while. The death of Kim Jong-il seems like the ideal time to write it.

In late August/early September, I installed the Feedjit tracker on my blog. I knew from WordPress statistics how many views Commercial Society was getting, but I had no idea where they were coming from. The tracker gives real-time updates for when people visit my site, including what post they view and their geographic location. Knowing where visitors are coming from has proven to be the most interesting part. It is absolutely fascinating to look at the globalization of advertising. Just as an example off the top of my head, there was a 20 minute span where people viewed the same post from Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Germany, and Iowa. Whenever the same post is seen a lot in a short period of time, it’s a good indication that the commercial I wrote about has just been shown on a highly-rated program, often football. To date, my blog has seen seen in over 110 countries, spanning 6 continents (still waiting on Antarctica).

Not surprisingly, one of the countries where my blog has not been visited is North Korea. I recently saw a show on the National Geographic Channel about life in North Korea. It was one of the most disturbing and unsettling things I’ve ever watched. They talked to “normal people” (though I’m sure they were carefully selected by the government). You could see the confusion and conflict in these peoples’ eyes. They said life in North Korea was great, and constantly praised the “Dear Leader”. But it was hard to tell if these people were truly happy, brainwashed, or completely miserable but forced to speak well of North Korea at gunpoint.

One thing I wondered about was Internet in North Korea. There is Internet, but it is extremely censored. In addition, common people in North Korea are starving, so it’s not like they have access to computers (or even know about them). So Internet is only for the super elite. Which means that it is extremely unlikely, if not impossible for a common person in North Korea to visit this blog.

But now Kim Jong-il is dead. Nobody knows exactly what’s next for North Korea. Kim Jong-il’s son Kim Jong-un is likely to take over…and it will probably be another awful dictatorship. So let’s assume everything stays the same. I have a dream. I have a dream that somehow a lowly North Korean peasant gets access to a computer, and somehow stumbles onto Commercial Society. Enlightened to the awesome worlds of consumerism, commercialism, and capitalism, he/she starts a REVOLUTION to overthrow the shitty North Korean government. OCCUPY PYONGYANG! FREEEEEDOM! You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.

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