Saturday, January 13, 2007

A Suspension of Disbelief

"Life is what happens to you while
you are busy making other plans"

-John Lennon

I often wonder if I am the only one that sees a totally unsustainable movie playing before my eyes when I walk into the supermarket and see Italian kiwifruit and California apples for sale here in New Zealand. NEW ZEALAND, for heavens sake, where we have spearheaded the innovation and development of these two wonderful and healthy fruits for years! Even though I have the privilege of being a consumer in the same country and proximity where they are grown, They are not available to me.

I must travel down the back roads and head out to farming country to buy direct from the grower in order to get fruit that is not flown in from half way around the world.

We are subject to the inexorable march of globalisation, with its artificially cheap products and services making us feel we are so fortunate with all our choice. We are in fact, supporting an unsustainable process of food distribution around the world. This industrialisation of our most essential of commodities is a process that requires increasingly more energy to bring goods to market than it provides the consumer. A net loss I believe it can be termed. Michael Pollan has written widely and articulately on the subject.

And the fruit can be weeks, if not months old, thanks to even more energy-hungry Controlled Atmosphere storage. Another marvellous and innovative
advance in technology that allows fruit that would otherwise be eaten within days of harvest, complete with natural sugars and sweetness, to be now harvested early and stored indefinitely in order to meet specific market demands. Remember what a vine ripened tomatoe tasted like? Jeff Nield of Aternet writes here that it is possible in most places to have a healthy and nutritious diet by eating food grown within a 100 mile radius of where you live. It should not be so difficult unless one lives in an extreme climate.

Vegan chic could only come out of New York, and the demand seems to be growing for fashion without animal cruelty, and that could only be a good thing. You might be surprised at the styles and marketing some entrepreneurs are coming up with in an effort to please their discerning clients in a green yet trendy way. Whatever works for you.

Thinking big...Whether you like their "product" or not, global superstar celebrity is a saavy and successful marketing industry. The Idol series piggybacks on that understanding, but the ones that are there, have tremendous understanding of how to work media attention. Think Cruise, Bono, Jobs, Madonna, and of course known worldwide to all but still fresh to Americans, David Beckham; who has just negotiated a $50M a year contract to market football (soccer) in the states. Oh yes, he will also play for team called the LA Galaxy. Of course you have heard of it!

Condition branding sells, and to have youth, fame, fortune, and (except for the case of Paris Hilton) talent, is a potent mix attracting the highest commercial bidder who sees a big return over 4 or 5 years in merchandise and endorsements. It will be an uphill battle to try to convince Americans to embrace the beautiful game, with their own sports so well established. With a growing immigrant population, however, the challenge is there. Good luck to him. If he teams up with Cruise in a movie though, I think I might have seen enough.

Speaking of American Idol, and perhaps its franchises in many parts of the world, this Guardian article shows how off the mark they really are. I don't think I have been able to sit through a whole episode, and now that the main player has dissed my main man Bob, it is definitely OFF the list. Get a life, buddy!

A bit of nostalgia for the aging hippie crowd. 40 years since the Famous Be-In that started the summer of Love. A bit corny perhaps? But compared with the public lynchings of Middle East dictators, I would have to say not a bad effort, folks.

"One's destination is never a place, but a new way of looking at things"

-Henry Miller

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