Wednesday, September 28, 2005


Is there a company as vile as Nike? I know the competition is crowded, and my post title is ultimately hyperbolic. But still, I think Nike has a good case as the most revolting company around if the standard is how many sectors of public life it corrupts.

First, there's sports as a whole. What Nike has done to the NBA is a clusterfuck of awfulness, for instance. Not that I have given a shit about the NBA since Dr J. retired from the sport when I was a kid, but I still hate to see a company essentially running a whole sports league as its marketing fiefdom.

And when you talk about the NBA, talk about black popular culture is not far behind. How Nike exploits black consumers is a tragedy. It's a sad thing indeed to see a segment of the population so disaffected and abused supporting an entity that thrives on socking it to the poorest of other countries. I admit that to a degree, black culture itself shares blame in this. Being economically excluded for so long, however, makes it understandable (if tragic) that when money does come, the result is that so relatively much is spent on exorbitantly overpriced personal luxury items like $100 sneakers. But without Nike, and its whores like Alonzo Mourning, constantly inculcating the practice, it would soon if not cease be seriously curtailed. I don't know his attitude to Nike, but I'm willing to guess that Eton Thomas has the potential to be a socially-responsible NBA star (and here's a wingnut screed to prove it) in a way that would scandalise corporate whores like Michael Jordan or Mourning.

Nike is of course notorious for claiming that false advertising is "free speech" and protected by the First Amendment. In doing so, it not only has the support of the nutjob libertarian/randroid branch of wingnuttery (and that quintessential Uncle Tom, Clarence Thomas), which is predictable, it too has the support of the Bush administration, which in turn again demonstrates the Bushies' pattern of being for the Bill of Rights if it can be made somehow to apply better -- or, preferably, only -- to the mega-rich.

NPR reported on Nike's recent profit surge, which the commentator attributed to news of Nike entering the low-scale shoe market (through Wal-Mart, if I remember correctly -- if so this would be truly a partnership from hell) and to a sales boom in Latin America which, if true, would be sad for the same reason as given for Black America (the poor being groomed to fuck over the poor elsewhere).

Anyway, fuck a bunch of Nike. Enjoy the first link, it's really withering and righteous.