You may have already won $10,000,000! or How shall we deliver your money? In an armored truck or straight into your bank account for the rest of your life? Just go home and wait for the mail.
It is heartbreaking to think that millions of people buy into this everyday, either your slightly senile grandmother or your hopeful husband. It is also ironic that elderly icons like Ed McMahon and Dick Clark were the faces of the shadiest sweepstakes in the United States.
Although somewhat forgotten today, there was a moment in time when junk mail didn't apply to your email. American Family Publishers and Publishers Clearing House were vicious in blowing-up your mailbox. Now if you were new to the game, you might actually open up the envelope and realize you're a millionaire. At first your heart flutters, like an adult version of Willy Wonka's golden ticket. However after reading between the lines, one can only hope you realize the entire thing is a hoax, proceeded by ripping the letter to shreds. Now this last part might not come so easy to those who can't distinguishing between fact and fiction, who believe everything they read, and those lacking a healthy dose of skepticism.
A 78-year-old woman, so convinced she had won put a welcome sign and ordered a cake to celebrate her great fortune with friends. Like so many others with the average consumer's age of 74, many suffered from cognitive and perceptual impairments along with a generation of trusting people. It is a shame.
American Family Publishers, 50% owned by Time Inc. was primarily devoted to the ripping people off with the additional accouterments of selling magazine subscriptions. There is much debate as to whether people actively had to participate in-order win, but the most interesting fact is that this investigation does not stem from archives but from landfills where garboloy-gist study trash to decipher evidence. Supposedly the company awarded $77 million in cash and more than $250,000 in smaller prizes since it started in 1977. But after much litigation, the company was required to clarify it's game rules such as consumer guarantees and no purchase necessary, however this along with their name change didn't advert bankruptcy. As a result, 32 states received a$1.25 million dollar settlement of which New York received $750,000 and distributed to 12,000 New Yorker's who subscribed to AFP. Sadly this money comes from their sale and rental address of 349,542 people age 55 and older, who bought magazine subscriptions in Florida alone.
Unfortunately the grey area still exists, Publisher's Clearing House claiming their moral hierarchy are still in business. The director advertising claims that since the companies founding in 1967 it has given away $11.25 million. Many are announced during the Superbowl continuing to over a 100 million viewers. Sure they give money away, but the chances of winning $1 million are one in 1.3 billion, but 1 in 223 for $5-$50 bucks. Their website says they have daily drawing of $1.00 Amazon Gift cards to $2,500 cash. Twice a year "hundreds of prizes" are awarded ranging from $1,000 dollars or a prize, followed by $10,000 awards chosen "nearly" every month, with the $1-$10 million big bucks awarded "at least" once a year. If only we could be so vague claiming and paying taxes?
Obviously this is life, and just another factor or test in Darwin's theory of natural selection. However it's your widowed grandmother living on a fixed income, it still really hurts. So if you ask me don't subscribe.
100 Objects of Popular and Material Culture is an blog exploring the manifestations of human consumption and commodity-ization. The purpose of this experiment is to explore material and popular culture in contemporary society by using objects and concepts to prompt wider questions and reflections. So by emulating The British Museum's and Neil MacGregor's format of A History of the World in 100 Objects I plan to satirically analyze and reinterpreted 100 material culture objects over the course of 2014. Material Culture is the study of our culture's consumption of stuff; namely the manifestation of culture through material productions where people's perceptions of objects is socially and culturally dependent. With this, objects reflect conscious and unconscious beliefs on the the individuals who fabricated, purchased, or used them, and by extension the society where they live. So examining materiality, cultural truths and societal assumptions may be discovered. As anthropologist Arjun Appaduai states "in any society the individual is often caught between the cultural structure of commodity-ization and his own personal attempts to bring a value and order to the universe of things." Objects and commodities make up a much larger symbolic system consisting of want and need, socio-economic status, fashion, etc. Often times form follows function whether the commodity, market, and or consumer forever evolve around one-another. Philosopher Pierre Bourdieu's theories of capital flow full circle; where regardless if you are a minimalist or a hoarder the world is made up of things and everyone will leave their footprint on the earth. So by humorously analyzing marketed objects and concepts, hopefully this blog will provide further incite into ideas of over-consumption, a disposable society, consumerism vs. anti-consumers, planned obsolescence vs. sustainability, as well as the greater good of mankind and future generations.