My Capitalistic Outrage

 

I’m not one to call for boycotts or protest marches. But sometimes I see things, from sources I don’t expect, that simply make my blood boil. Take the History Channel. They have drifted from the programming I used to love back when we lovingly called it “The Hitler Channel.” They still offer some decent scripted shows and a couple of decent “reality” shows like American Pickers and Forged in Fire.

I don’t DVR much and, like most Americans, I’m not into appointment television. So last night I was catching up on a few series using the History app on my iPad. Programs still have commercials but usually the most annoying thing about them is that they are too damned loud. If you’re listening in on headsets some of them can knock you into the middle of next week. But last night was different. On came an ad for a company called North Korean Express. They offer backpacks and all sorts of merchandise decorated with North Korean propaganda posters. OK, fine. If you want to be a schmuck* and wear the shining face of Kim Jong-Un to class I guess it’s not any worse than parading around in a Che tee shirt.

Until they came to this:

The image depicts the death of a US Serviceman. As a father of a US Marine I am more than aware that if the you-know-what hits the fan on the Korean Peninsula there’s going to be a lot of our extended family, both in the Corps and here on Ricochet, who will be in the cross-hairs. I don’t find it particularly amusing or easy to brush off.

North Korea Express says that they are non-political. “We do not preach hate toward the East and the West… We do not support any politics nor [do] we discuss it.”

They may not “preach” it, but they are promoting it. And attempting to capitalize on it.

I’m disappointed in the network. Their former programming schedule of military documentaries was instrumental in my son becoming a Marine. Because of them he knew the names of Chesty Puller and John Basilone long before he ever left for Parris Island.

I reached out to A&E Networks via both email and Twitter. They have not responded as of publication. I think my voice needs amplification.

*Not my first choice of words. Choose an appropriate one from your own vocabulary.

There are 19 comments.

  1. Kay of MT Member

    What the image depicts is hateful. What is being sold, it is a bag, or back pack? A 3 bag size of what?

    • #1
    • February 1, 2018, at 6:39 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  2. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill Post author

    Kay of MT: What is being sold, it is a bag, or back pack? A 3 bag size of what?

    Now that second question is loaded. Refer back to your own vocabulary.

    Actually they sell it on all types of merchandise – backpacks, coffee mugs, key chains… whatever your little anti-American heart desires.

    • #2
    • February 1, 2018, at 6:44 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  3. James Lileks Contributor

    From their description of the backpack:

    An irreplaceable practical item for everyday usage, this backpack provides ultimate comfort and protection. Outstanding quality print turns it into the most desirable style accessory.

    Before I send a Strongly Worded Email, a question: what type of ad was it? A 30-second narrated ad, a static ad or slideshow in a window? I don’t use the app, so I don’t know. The company’s advertising contact page says History is grouped with A&E and Vice, so it’s possible someone thought it would be a good fit for Vice and didn’t bother to consider how it might strike people who watch the other stations.

    • #3
    • February 1, 2018, at 6:47 PM PDT
    • 9 likes
  4. Ekosj Inactive

    I put this quote in a comment on another post, but it is also applicable here. From the anti-communist philosopher Leszek Kolakowski :

    “There was, however, one Great Cause that has persisted more or less intact throughout the past decades in the Leftist mentality: the loathing of democratic countries. Allegiances changed, but if there was something enduring in Leftist politics, it was this: in any conflict between a tyrannical and democratic country, the tyrants were right and democracy wrong: the US versus the Soviet Union, the US versus Cuba, Israel versus Syria. Even in the case of Argentina under military dictatorship versus Britain the tyrants were right.”

    And here we see it again. In the conflict between the tyranny of North Korea and democratic USA, the Left celebrates the tyrant.

    • #4
    • February 1, 2018, at 7:07 PM PDT
    • 13 likes
  5. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill Post author

    @jameslileks It was a full-screen slide show with the most annoying NorK Pop accompaniment. But then, since I don’t speak Korean it could have been “We’re going to rain death on America.” You touch the “Learn More” Button on the screen and it takes you to the website.

    • #5
    • February 1, 2018, at 7:09 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  6. Kay of MT Member

    EJHill (View Comment):

    Kay of MT: What is being sold, it is a bag, or back pack? A 3 bag size of what?

    Now that second question is loaded. Refer back to your own vocabulary.

    Actually they sell it on all types of merchandise – backpacks, coffee mugs, key chains… whatever your little anti-American heart desires.

    You know EJ, I never rove websites so have no idea what you are referring too, or if you are just being snarky. I would never buy something with that image on it. And, would never buy N.Korean, as well as never China.

    • #6
    • February 1, 2018, at 8:43 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  7. James Lileks Contributor

    If I had to guess, I’d say the ad was served up by an agency that bundles various clients, then pays the app content provider to rotate through the spots. The North Korean Express site looks too small to afford a big buy on their own; it’s basically a CafePress / Etsy thing, but they throw a few dollars to an ad network, the content gets branded as “historical,” and they’re in the channel for a week or a month.

    The next time you see an ad – any ad – on the app, check to see if there’s a small badge or line of type that identifies who’s serving it up.

    • #7
    • February 1, 2018, at 9:00 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  8. Concretevol Thatcher

    EJHill (View Comment):
    annoying NorK Pop accompaniment

    Even with the hip Che crap out there, that’s something I honestly never thought I would ever hear of in this country.

    • #8
    • February 1, 2018, at 9:15 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  9. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill Post author

    James Lileks: The next time you see an ad – any ad – on the app, check to see if there’s a small badge or line of type that identifies who’s serving it up.

    That’s the first thing I thought. But there is a mixture. Some clearly have third party disclaimers while others do not. They also run back-to-back with History Channel promos.

    I’m an old school broadcaster. If it’s in your program you have a responsibility to know it. If you’re getting money from it ignorance is no excuse.

    And I know the NorKs are not big on intellectual property rights, but I hope they’re not in for a piece, too.

    • #9
    • February 1, 2018, at 9:23 PM PDT
    • 10 likes
  10. James Lileks Contributor

    EJHill (View Comment):
    I’m an old school broadcaster. If it’s in your program you have a responsibility to know it. If you’re getting money from it ignorance is no excuse.

    Roger that.

    • #10
    • February 1, 2018, at 10:49 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  11. TBA Coolidge
    TBA

    EJHill: I don’t DVR much and, like most Americans, I’m not into appointment television.

    I’ve never heard that term before. I purely love it.

    • #11
    • February 1, 2018, at 11:53 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  12. John Peabody Member

    I didn’t immediately recognize the solider as being American until I looked closely and saw the shoulder patch. It is the ‘EUSA’ patch, for Eighth US Army, headquartered in Seoul, Korea. I did a 12-month tour in 2002.

    • #12
    • February 2, 2018, at 4:34 AM PDT
    • 9 likes
  13. Manny Member

    That is horrid. Can you supply the email address and I will send them my outraged note? Frankly I stopped watching most of these cable shows that are supposed learned. There’s a lot of suspect information in them.

    • #13
    • February 2, 2018, at 6:07 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  14. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill Post author

    TBA: I’ve never heard that term before.

    Programmers and ad folks have used that term for quite awhile now. Very few shows get the “water cooler” buzz, those that you know you have to be caught up on before you can go to work the next day or you’ll be out of the conversation.

    • #14
    • February 2, 2018, at 7:45 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  15. kylez Member

    Kay of MT (View Comment):

    EJHill (View Comment):

    Kay of MT: What is being sold, it is a bag, or back pack? A 3 bag size of what?

    Now that second question is loaded. Refer back to your own vocabulary.

    Actually they sell it on all types of merchandise – backpacks, coffee mugs, key chains… whatever your little anti-American heart desires.

    You know EJ, I never rove websites so have no idea what you are referring too, or if you are just being snarky. I would never buy something with that image on it. And, would never buy N.Korean, as well as never China.

    He was making a joke about what their bag is full of, nothing at your expense.

    • #15
    • February 2, 2018, at 11:02 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  16. Kay of MT Member

    Oh, well that’s okay then, it use to take me 10+ minutes to understand a Phyllis Diller joke.

    • #16
    • February 2, 2018, at 1:58 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  17. Nanda "Chaps" Panjan… Inactive

    GRRRRR! and What. Total. Folly. They’re the Hideous Channel, haven’t watched for years…Used to, all the time. S/F to Marine Hill and a Panda Hug to you, EJ!

    • #17
    • February 3, 2018, at 7:27 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  18. Richard Fulmer Member

    Ekosj (View Comment):
    “… the Left celebrates the tyrant.”

    And disparages free markets, free speech, and free thought.

    • #18
    • February 3, 2018, at 12:33 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  19. DavidBSable Coolidge

    This reminds me of this black cloak wearing, anti-social, adolescent angst kid who created a website who to rail against his high school which he called “Hitler High”. In the about section he spouted with complete forthrightness and straight face, “I believe in free speech. I believe in Communism.”

    It is just another variation of the theme that when one rejects Truth, he doesn’t merely believe nothing. He believes anything.

    • #19
    • February 4, 2018, at 2:21 PM PDT
    • 4 likes