July 30, 2012 by David K. Sutton
A few thoughts on the Olympics and our corporate sponsor overlords
I was listening to today’s Citizen Radio episode “(2012/07/30) What the Olympics and the Springfield monorail have in common, Georgia prison hunger strike” where Allison and Jamie were slamming the corporate sponsorship at the Olympics, specifically McDonald’s and Coca-Cola. These companies are so greedy that they have exclusive rights arrangements with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) which means that your local pub can’t advertise the simple fact that they have a TV, and it can be tuned to the Olympics coverage on NBC. All of these things are facts about this hypothetical pub, but if they put a sign outside stating these facts, they will get their asses sued by their corporate overlords
OK, so the pub is a business, but it’s an example of a “small business owner,” and the mouthpiece (Republican Party) to our corporate overlords has repeatedly told us we should be looking out for small business owners. But hey, it’s the “free market,” right? There are winners and losers. That’s also something they have told us. I think this is a great example of how the “free” in free market has nothing to do with freedom. The “free” in free market means big businesses are “free” to piss on everyone else so that their share price can tick up another point and their outrageously wealthy executives can buy another yacht – or maybe a car elevator for one of their six homes. I hear they are all the rage.
Are we supposed to think that a steady diet of McDonald’s is common for an olympic athlete? To watch their commercials you would think that is the case. Same goes for Coca-Cola. What athlete doesn’t quench their thirst with a fizzy bottle of high-fructose corn syrup after competing? – This is literally the case in one commercial I saw.
I’m not even bashing advertising itself. Hell, I use ads to support the cost of this site. But with the size and power of the IOC, they can afford to be more discriminating in their choice of sponsors. And even if we accepted McDonald’s and Coca-Cola as sponsors of the Olympics, the heavy-handed restrictions imposed by these big businesses is unsavory to say the least. If it wasn’t for greed, I’d think these businesses were really insecure.
But this is all acceptable to us because its the free market flexing its muscle, and that is synonymous with personal freedom, because our corporate overlords and their mouthpiece have told us so.
Enjoy the Olympics!