Calling Out Statutory Rape Where It’s Due

Posted on October 22, 2012

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Earlier this year, I caught wind of a brilliant series of French Anti-Tobacco ads that set the embers of my heart aglow for intelligent humankind in Marketing and Advertising:

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These people have turned the machine back on itself by using the last bastion of non-partisan, areligious, humanity-unanimity gold: our collective wrath against harming children.  Who could disagree that these ads were right on the mark?  “To smoke is to be a slave to tobacco” [Read: to smoke is to be a slave to tobacco companies and their shareholders who don’t care whether you live or die, just as long as this quarter, you were still jonesing].

And that generic white, middle-aged suit?  Ad exec?  Big business CEO?  Faceless shareholder?  Dad, who knows best?  Well, whoever he is, he seems to know even the young among us quite well enough to put his hand on our head and get us to assume the position.  We look up at him, uncertain, but full of trust, taking the funny-tasting stick in our mouths.  And after repeated belligerent thrusts of media campaigns to convince us that we want it; and the seep of addictive chemicals to ensure that we need it, we have long suppressed our gag reflex and succumb.

This ad makes fun of us by being so unnoticeably background-bland; non-nude, non-prettified.  Oh, it’s just a child sucking a…WHAT THE?!  That’s right, world!  Are you paying attention?  Tobacco is beyond redemption.  Thanks for noticing.  Powerful PSA.  Though we could have easily replaced the word “tobacco” with crack, sex-trafficking, mindless consumerism or:

Investment and Commercial Banking.

Are these not often akin to Statutory Rape? The vast majority of private investors have no idea what / who they are “getting in bed with” when they are recommended some fund / index to invest in.  They don’t realize that management fees are secured regardless of their investments’ movements or that high-octane bonuses are rewarded expressly for unloading garnished crap onto them.  Or when students, families or small businesses take out loans–do they fully understand the labyrinthine terms of repayment and threat of life-servitude to this, even though banks often back the loans through government or private insurance, regardless?  Therefore, the disparity of knowledge / sophistication between these two parties getting into a deal together is no less horrific than in those back-ass-ward cases where 5-year-old Yemeni brides “marry” their old rotting horndog uncles.  Something gross is going down here.  One side has their entire future at stake in exchange for the other’s easy score.  One of the lives has a vastly greater risk of being shattered, while the other barely blinks.  Let’s stigmatize ALL of this, in ALL its camouflage shades of putrefaction.

We have too long sanitized such a culture of abuse by putting it in a backdrop of friendly local banks with Chinese language pamphlets, or tall, inspirational glass buildings with dudes in bespoke tailoring.

Even large institutional investment banks have screwed each other.  LIBOR rigging this year caused long-time syphilitic lovers to hold off lending in miffed contempt for awhile!  But despite no assurances that all disease was clear, the level of testosterone couldn’t handle the withdrawal for long.

In the end, the issue isn’t just that banks do and will always have the the upper hand on their clients, it’s that the lubricant of Trust is gone.  And worst of all, Greed has evolved into a drug-resistant strain that rots every contract or covenant it underwrites.  Abusing clients is not just a matter of being wrong and gross, it is painful and life-shattering for them.

That’s a PSA worth putting out there!

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