I know what you’re thinking – who cares? But the answer is a little more important than you might think.
The Powerless President
by David Atkins (“thereisnospoon”)
Since I started writing here, I have been subject to numerous complaints from various Obama Administration defenders that I have been too harsh on the President. That the President is doing absolutely everything possible for progressive causes, and that bloggers like me should be more supportive.
That’s a pretty astounding statement considering that the appearance of David Atkins at Hullabaloo coincides with the purging of anti-Obama voices from the comment threads.
The other day Mr. Atkins made this statement:
I was walking from my parents’ home to the office of the family business three city blocks away in a 10-story Los Angeles highrise.
An alert reader who is familiar with the area said:
My guess would be home in Beverly Hills, office in Century City
It took me about thirty seconds with Teh Google to confirm the name and location of Mr. Atkins’ family business. It’s not quite 90210 but you can see it from there.
But the location isn’t nearly as interesting as what kind of business we’re talking about – a marketing research firm. More specifically – they do focus group testing.
But wait, there’s more!
I go over to Cheetoville and check out some of his posts there. This is what I find:
The problem is people like me, and the people I work for. I’m what they call a Qualitative Research Consultant, or QRC for short. Here’s my website. There’s even a whole association of us who meet regularly to discuss ideas and tactics. Together with the AAPC, the MRA, the AMA, ESOMAR, and a whole host of other organizations you’ve never heard of, we have more power and control than you know. We’re extremely good at what we do, and we do it all behind the scenes, appealing to and manipulating your subconscious brain in ways that your conscious brain has little to no control over.
Give us a little money to test some things out, and we can work magic. Our business is persuasion, and we’re very good at it. Just watch PBS Frontline’s series, The Persuaders to get just a small inkling of what you’re up against. We can make a company that earns a 38% gross profit margin manufacturing purely propriety products seem hip, cool and progressive. We can take sugar water and sell it back to you as a health drink, and even Whole Foods shoppers will believe it. We can take 30 different brands of vodka with almost exactly the same ingredients, and make you understand instantly just what kind of person drinks which brand, and how much you should expect to pay for each, without a moment’s thought. For any given category of products, I can show you a bunch of different brands, and you’ll be able to tell me a wealth of information about each one, despite the near absolute similarity of their actual products to one another. One exercise we QRC’s like to conduct involves actually turning a brand into a person in a group discussion; it’s called personification. And you wouldn’t believe how effectively and universally we can tailor a brand’s image, right down to what kind of car that “person” would drive, and what music he/she would listen to. So much attention has been paid to Naomi Klein’s outstanding Shock Doctrine, that few pay much attention anymore to her far more provocative and important work No Logo. If all Americans truly internalized the message of No Logo, people like me would be out of work, and we could really reform this country.
When I clicked on the link to his website, this is what I found:
The Pollux Group fields a team of outstanding researchers and writers from a wide variety of fields including marketing, communications, the social sciences, politics, language and economics with over 50 years’ combined experience in qualitative market research and business development.
Truly engaging today’s dynamic market landscape requires more than outside observation–it requires special inside knowledge. Our researchers are also deeply involved in the cultures of Generations X and Y, with interests in politics, music, blogging, videogames and film that make us uniquely suited to understand the complex and ever-changing trends underlying the youth and young adult market segments.
But wait, there’s more:
I just can’t help but wonder – is there a connection between Mr. Atkins’ business and his blogging?