News+and+politics religion philosophy the cynic librarian: Bill Gates: "Buying Young Women" and "Young Men"

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Bill Gates: "Buying Young Women" and "Young Men"

I've been meaning to post on these words from the richest man since I first heard his interview on Public Radio. Yes, the title pulls the words out of context and shamelessly does so for effect. Yet, that's the point, since I want you to read Gates' words below and then listen to the interview itself where he speaks them.

In an NPR On the Media interview, Gates said:

Now, these affiliate contracts are always subject to negotiation, but it doesn't matter that it's the Internet bringing it in. What matters is that the value of those ad minutes has been increased because somebody who really wants to buy young women is paying more per viewer, and the people who want to buy the young men, they're paying more per viewer. And so as it all adds up, it's a more valuable ad minute, and the affiliate will get whatever their share is of that.
Yes, in context, on the page, it looks all innocent and almost trite. Just shop talk. There's even a bit of awe as we think about here's the big man himself giving us a bit of the real talk that real men pass back and forth when they do the real heavy lifting that's made the real world what it is.

Yet, is this man so insensitive--or whatever the right word is--to reality, and inured in his corporate-speak that he does not see that talking about buying woung women and men sounds odd, strange--even evil? As though people are just little units that are bought and sold without much afterthought.

The fact that this is purely a manner of speaking is supposed to make it more understandable. He's not talking about selling "real" people here, just air space or ad space or some such media zone that has no existence except in terms of what can be bought and sold.

This is the world of false consciousness, no? This is the world where people--young women and men--are dematerialized and packaged in a form easily convertible to capital.

Think of these words in another context, another place or time. If you were to overhear someone talking about selling young women and men you might think of human slavery or the porn world. Yet, because this is the world of business, the world where of advertising and media--where illusion passes for reality--we simply let it pass into the ears and off into the ozone.

Have you finished listening to Gates say the words? Is it just me, or is there the tiniest moment of hesitancy as and after he speaks the words; as if he suddenly realizes how weird the words he's saying sound in this context, this time/place?

Then you can almost hear him reassuring himself that this is just a matter of words, this is how they speak in the real world and, of course, the conext shows that we're not really talking about real people here.

If it's not real people, then who or what are they?

But then it all could be my imagination. You know that resentment at thinking about the richest man and how much better he is than me because he's billions and I have nothing.

Yeah, that's the ticket.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's doublespeak. It has two meanings at once, but the meaning that is "less evil" is the one that is heard and thought.