Archive for July 2014

What Subservient Chicken Odyssey is this?

July 21, 2014

What Subservient Chicken Odyssey is this?

Burger King-the (in) famous–North American fast food franchise–is resurrecting its famous chicken advert/viral campaign, started in 2004, whereby  a weird and wacky chicken responded to very specific Web commands typed onto keyboards by consumers. This innovative marketing initiative took the Internet by storm, proving the Internet could be used to sell products if promoted in an interactive way with consumers.

The video went viral generating one billion hits(that’s right: one billion hits!)- creating an entirely new industry–.i.e., Internet advertising–and consolidating the Internet as an important corporate marketing vehicle in North America.

The chicken even had its own website — —and was created to introduce Burger King’s Tender Crisp chicken sandwich; this site is now being resurrected by Burger King in 2014, ten years hence, to promote its new Chicken Big King sandwich. However, this time the website is absent one important ingredient—the chicken.

On the weekend of April 26th-27th, 2014, Burger King ran advertisements in 10 newspapers across America asking the question: “Have you seen this chicken?”

Burger King’s name does not appear in the advertisements because a social media campaign posing the same question is to follow.

At 9 a.m. Eastern Time Wednesday, April 30th, Burger King will post a 10 minute video covering the chicken’s imaginary life over the past decade.

There are a number of reasons for the above being mentioned in this article.

One: should this advertising campaign succeed, then the many low-paid workers in this part of the service industry will have a higher measure of job security: more customers, more work.

Two: as more and more Americans heed the public information-cum-warning campaigns about heart disease and the individual’s responsibility to maintain their own good health by making good food choices (read: avoid cow meat), chicken is now the principal choice of the masses.

Three: the fast food industry is in commercial warfare as consumers move towards healthier food choices and public health authorities declare war on companies and industries that have and are contributing to bad eating and health habits among the general public. To survive, these companies and industries are getting into market segments that have proven profitable for their competitors. Here, they do not have to invest in long-term research and development to discover such segments: just copy your competitors.

Four: with McDonalds dominating the American breakfast industry; Starbucks its coffee industry; and new entrants like Taco Bell making their presence known and felt at the bottom line; plus, rising regional players such as Tim Hortons in the northern and Eastern USA, the $230 billion fast-food industry is at a tipping point in its existence. Their sun of commercial success is about to stop shining.

Fifth: the entertainment-distraction complex  (read: film and television), allied to the rise of the Internet; and, more recently, the penetration into private life of the smart phone, has created an alternative source of knowledge and information , outside of, and in addition to the home, undermining in the process parental authority and substituting the authority of the corporation and the market where, for example, the imaginary life of a wacky chicken can be cause for attention for large segments of the Internet savvy American Public; remember this image generated one billion hits on the Internet.

When a corporation can generate one billion hits on the Internet for mass viewing of a wacky chicken whose subliminal message is mass consumption, entertainment and immediate gratification, is it any wonder the modern family is defined by a variety of child-parent conflict best dealt with by some parents through prayer for Divine Intervention when not the abandonment of their authority altogether for others?

What chance does a parent have when their authority is undermined and substituted by an imaginary wacky chicken with a call to be eaten for real in a Burger King restaurant? What chance?

Charles Simon-Aaron

Word count: 650

Monday, April 28th, 2014


Charles Simon-Aaron


Tiananmen Square Student Protests Remembered (June 3rd—June 4th 1989

July 21, 2014

Tiananmen Square Student Protests Remembered (June 3rd—June 4th 1989

I remember it well: June 3rd—4th, 1989.

I saw its televised progression care of a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation nightly newscast and remember asking (myself) for it not to lead to the dismantling of the Chinese State.

In my heart: how are a billion human beings going to collectively recover from a failed Chinese nationalist experiment. A nationalist experiment which gave a unified form to a people, state, and geographical landmass enabling them to feed and shelter themselves through their own efforts and protect China from its history of foreign invasions  and foreign occupations at the hands of Japan and various western powers, from France, and the United Kingdom to Germany.

I supported the Government clamp down on the grounds China, to meet the minimum standards of civilized life in the 20th century, needed a strong central authority to keep 1 billion human beings and nation together. This position, at the time (I was a student at McMaster University: Graduate Political Science), was not popular among my University peers for whom government repression was a universal bad and a universal denial of basic human rights since it suppressed citizen protests.

My response: the western liberal model of human economic political and social development is historically unique to the West and cannot be reproduced in nations without the same history of liberal individualism, private property and secular political institutions. China during the Tiananmen Square student protests was living proof my speculations had titanium solidity.

Authoritarianism would also, I speculated, be the inevitable form of even a liberal capitalist government should such rule China at that time since getting such a large nation unified for economic development made this objectively necessary.

To my friends my words were proof I was lacking a key neurological sub-atomic molecule necessary for the existence and reproduction of civilized human life. I was made to walk alone as punishment for transgressing the liberal ideological orthodoxy of the University community. I was a pariah.

I temporarily “lost” the friendship of my Chinese friend from Singapore for whom the Communist Party crackdown of the student protest movement was proof of the utter irrationality and inhuman barbarism of communism.

For my Singaporean friend, for China to progress from the darkness of communism to the enlightenment of liberal capitalism it should be free of communist authoritarian tyranny and in someway transform itself into–in the words of Margaret Thatcher– “a nation of shopkeepers.” I disagreed.

Many years later my Singaporean friend came to a similar conclusion, after returning home: China was simply too complex for the kind of small business capitalism he had envisaged for its economic development.

The challenge for the Chinese government as China evolves is whether to continue with authoritarian rule; has it served its historical purpose of organizing the Chinese people and China’s resources into one efficient productive organism? Time alone will tell, or would it? Is authoritarianism a temporary solution to getting China started on the ladder of economic development or is China permanently marked in a posture of Communist authoritarian political authority? Is the Communist Party itself part of a future China? Can there be a non-authoritarian Communist Party in China’s future?

The Communist party solved the early challenge to its authority by the students at Tiananmen Square by crushing their rebellion, that was the devil that could be seen, what cannot be seen and cannot be prepared for are those challenges born of the very progress it has mastered and continues to pursue, now there are challenge guns bullets tanks and soldiers cannot solve.

Word count: 611

Charles Simon-Aaron

June 2, 2014








Canadian Pipedreams: Harper, Enbridge and the Pipeline with a Problem

July 21, 2014

Canadian Pipedreams: Harper, Enbridge and the Pipeline with a Problem

Did you believe Stephen Harper, leader of the Federal Conservative Party of Canada, would not have engineered delivery of the permit to build the northern gateway pipeline to Enbridge?  Me don’t think so. You, I, and every cockroach with a hearing aid in Ottawa knew Harper would deliver.

But now Harper has a problem: he has either prayed too loud to his G_d or cursed the Devil once too often: he is caught between the Devil and a very hard place. He has pleased his corporate sponsors at the expense of his base in British Columbia with 25 Conservative seats in the balance and Federal elections set for 2015.

In delivering one half of the promise made to Canada’s petrocracy (the other: Keystone pipeline to Texas) our Stephen is sweating in body parts too delicate to mention, the parts that made you possible, as is evidenced by his unwillingness, and those of his BC Conservative Party members, to endorse the victory care of the National Energy Board’s conditional approval of the pipeline on Tuesday June 17th, 2014. For them, they did not make the decision, the National Energy Board did: don’t blame me, blame them. They have anticipated the revolt of the BC electorate and have started to panic and sweat: They might lose their seats in the next federal elections and Harper his parliamentary majority.

But Harper had no choice. Perrin Beatty (Canadian Chamber of Commerce) says:  “Across the wide Pacific, Asian economies are growing at incredible speed. The centre of demand for energy of all kinds is shifting from traditional markets to these new Asian ones. Our economic opportunity is obvious and enormous. With this project and others, we can seize it.” In other words, necessity commands Canada seize the moment to exploit its oil resources for global markets. Harper and the Conservative Party were the assigned political capitalists to engineer the National Energy Board’s conditional approval. They did; now the price has to be paid–and how.

The stinging nettle of peoples democracy and the Constitutional right of protest, has arranged against Harper, the Conservative Party and Enbridge, aboriginal opposition via treaty rights, the secular of G_d of scientific research, environmental activism and governmental opposition via regulations and statutes in BC (no!: not Before Christ; but, British Columbia)

The Northern Gateway oil sands pipeline is encountering the immediate legal activism of First Nations groups affected by the potential pipeline in their territories, where 130 First Nations groups have said “NO” to the pipeline and have nearly a dozen legal challenges waiting. Over 300 independent scientists have challenged the government to reject the National Energy Board’s Joint Review Panel’s decision based on scientific errors and dubious assumptions. (John Bennett, Sierra Club Canada).

The environmental movement has publicly voiced their opposition and willingness to take to the streets for protests. In addition, the very National Energy Board Joint Review Panel that made the decision to authorize the go-ahead for the building of the pipeline did so making over 200 recommendations. When their recommendations are added to those of Christy Clark’s Liberal Government of BC, then the task of Enbridge looks like a pipe dream, for Clark has set out five conditions that needs be met before the sixty plus licenses and permits would be granted by her government (John Bennett, Sierra Club Canada). It appears all relevant authorities anticipate the organized wrath of a public betrayed and are posturing to separate from Enbridge and preserve their goodwill with that public.

Harper has delegated the task of promoting the permit victory to Enbridge, its owner; he has kept a distance from further public identification because his Party stands to lose 25 seats in British Columbia. For many in BC he has betrayed the popular will. We will now have to read both his lips and those of his fellow Conservative Party MP’s for many have lost their voice for fear of speaking, and this in a liberal democracy where all have the right to freedom of speech. Ouch! I thought Steppin Fetchit was a black actor in Hollyweird, California.

Word count: 650

Name: Charles Simon-Aaron

June 22nd, 2014











Ontario Election 2014: Rage of the Middle-Class

July 21, 2014

Ontario Election 2014: Rage of the Middle-Class

If judgment be passed on Tuesday’s June 3rd, 2014, televised debate between the three leading players in Ontario’s upcoming June 12th, election, then Kathleen Wynne, the Liberal Party leader, and the Premier of the Province, is a Premier in trouble–BIG TROUBLE.

Her competitors have solidified in the public’s mind the keywords connection between WYNNE+ LIBERAL+ CORRUPTION + GAS PLANT SCANDAL,  creating doubt the Liberal Party can avoid corruption in the conduct of its official duties should Wynne be elected

With Wynne as damaged goods at least the two alternative candidates have what it takes to win outright or lead a coalition to govern. However, Andrea Horwath–New Democratic Party– is on public record as unwilling to cooperate with the Progressive Conservative Party candidate, Tim Hudak, to form a coalition. It is impossible to believe Kathleen Wynne would attempt a coalition with Tim Hudak; but it is well within mental reach for her to join a coalition with Horwath’s NDP and govern at Hudak’s expense.

This dance of coalitions is somewhat new to Ontario which traditionally elected Parties with solid majorities, so coalition making needs some explaining.

The middle class was the electoral backbone of post-War electoral success of the Progressive Conservative Party which ruled from the 1940’s to 1980’s with this support. Then the wheels of their social stability fell apart—(via globalization)– and with it the rise of their anger, confusion, rage and fear. The alternative service economy has been an inadequate substitute for their labor since it offers low wages and economic insecurity.

The outcome of the middle class’ confusion is coalition politics where the voters who vote because they have confidence in the political process, though few in number, are rivaled by an apathetic many that refuse to vote since they do not; fewer citizens vote and as a result major parties are increasingly short of solid majorities forcing them to make coalition deals to govern.

The collection of hardships that have befallen the middle class has created a fear economy where those that have lost good paying jobs and those that remain employed live in fear: the former fears never regaining their lost high income status and the latter fears losing that status, making the vote a weapon of anger.

Hudak has successfully capitalized on the fear politics of this fear economy. It is irrational policy with vengeance as its selling point. That such politics are not in the objective interests of the middle class is not their concern; of concern is the political punishment of those imagined to be doing better at the government trough than they: here rests Hudak’s expected firing of 100, 000 “fat cat” “lazy” “surplus” and “inefficient” bureaucrats–the enemy that can be seen.

Hidden under Hudak’s waterfall of numbers are the enemies that cannot be named for to do so before the guillotine is swung is to commit political suicide: new immigrants, the poor, elderly, single mothers, unemployed and mentally ill; those members of society unable to do for self; Hudak is mandated by middle class anger to “get them.”

Hudak’s politics identifies with the explosive rage of the province’s diminishing middle-class. They are engaged in a fight against economic death. Hudak’s corporate supporters are engaged in a cynical exploiting of their misery to create a low wage wasteland in Ontario. All they now need is a political mandate from the middle class via Hudak’s victory at the polls.


P.S. At the time of writing, the Toronto Star endorses Kathleen Wynne and Globe and Mail, Hudak.




Word count: 594

Charles Simon-Aaron

June 9th, 2014




Germany’s World Cup Victory: From the Vantage Point of Anti-German Haters

July 21, 2014

Germany’s World Cup Victory: From the Vantage Point of Anti-German Haters


The World Cup Finals in Brazil 2014, for aficionados of the game was one that saw two equal opponents play against each other and one unfortunately lost. They were equal to each other in ability talent and preparation; the final result, Germany 1-0 Argentina.

The wider social response to Germany’s victory was worthy of note. For soccer lovers soccer comes first and Germany has earned our respect and admiration. We are aware of its history but modernity has evolved with new rules which Germany obeys as do all signatories to FIFA’s constitution.

For anti-German haters Germany must remain permanently shackled in a posture of subservience within the temple of contempt for its historical acts of extremity (think: second world war and the nazi party and hitler). Some commentators were unwilling acceptors of Germany’s victory wanting Germany to remain permanently postured for unending cosmic punishment for its historical acts of inhuman vulgarities. Germany should never be allowed to live beyond its second world war legacy of extremity.

Those hostile to Germany’s victory hold there is no good that Germany the nation and Germans the people can ever do that is beyond the shade of Hitler’s legacy. Here Germans are so intrinsically racist and genocidal they are believed naturally so; can never change; are genetically evil and should be hated to eternity for their nation’s historical acts of extremity. Germany’s punishment needs to be beyond that which the earth can unleash, they deserve a measure of cosmic punishment that equals their punishment and devaluation of the human form on earth.

Anti-German anger lives forever. Germans are to be hated beyond history even as they win the World Cup within history.

A German victory in the global game won fair and square by globally agreed upon rules of participation thanks to FIFA, is not a victory worthy of acceptance, for the anti-German haters, because it is letting the white skinned German devils of the West, the Devil’s offspring, off-the-hook. Now the Germans have top seed in the global imperial sweepstakes, which also includes white Americans, white South Africans, the French, the British–oh, and lest I forget also accompanied by the petit-blancs: small whites such as white Canadians, the Swedes, Dutch, Australians, Belgians, Spanish Italians; and I guess Russians for Eastern Europeans. In short, as a white people they are not alone in the league of global white supremacy. Yet, here they are singled out for the bulls-eye attack.

Within history we have the facts of globalized markets and globalized production centres, international travel, global commerce, international trade, modern telecommunications technologies (think: smartphones and cell phones and televisions, and satellite dishes, and satellites), global knowledge systems, Internet, and the reality of real-time communications across the globe. We have a United Nations to deliberate on conflicts, an International Criminal Court; we have international agreements, on shipping, insurance, air travel, mining, prisoner of war rights just to mention a few pieces of evidence of how integrated the modern world is.

With soccer it is estimated over a billion people watched the World Cup Finals in Brazil 2014 across the globe–1 billion. This was relayed via television and satellites from Brazil across the globe. All members of the human family watched. Now, as has historically always been the case, some football fans have identified with one or another of the major teams(England; Germany; France; Italy; Brazil; Argentina and Uruguay). There are Africans for whom German soccer is it; Chinese fans for whom there is no better soccer team than England; South Americans for whom Italian soccer is the best. In the city of Toronto where I live the vast majority of the German flag wavers were neither white nor German nor, for that matter, European; they were African Bangladeshi Chinese Pakistani Somalian Moroccan and Caribbean,—they were global majority peoples. Plus with the European Canadian support of Germany, the German support was diverse.

The point: in a globalized world with peoples settling in countries and climes far removed from their native countries, with a globalized connected world and with a younger generation far removed from the extreme partisanships of the post-Second World War, the anti-colonial and anti-imperial struggles of the Third World in 1960 and 1970’s, the younger generation of soccer lovers are alien to the cult and culture of separatism that predated their birth. They are the children of the globalized world; their measure of judgment is globally inspired to the affirmation and detriment of the interests of many. They are what are called in southern Africa the “Born Frees”.

Those of us for whom separatism and its offspring, racism, are the visors through which social relations are viewed—“Baby-Boomers”–have to concede that there are newer, different, alternative perceptions in our time of world-living. The diverse community of admirers of Germany’s style of play and its World Cup victory signal that the world and its peoples are changing and that the historical certainties of the “Baby-Boomers” generation are not transferable codes of living for the “Born—Frees.” Germany is earning its much sought respect and emancipation from its Hitlerite past, finding time an ally to its determined positive actions to do its best in the here and now in a game the world loves.

Liking Germany’s soccer victory in the World Cup is no longer a direct endorsement and support for political extremity and racism; the connection between the three is loosening with the passage of time, birth of new global personalities and, western European cultural and legal prohibitions against racism in general and the blatant endorsement of Hitler’s version, in particular. Those who choose to contain Germany in its post-Second World War prison of global contempt speak more so of themselves and their fear of the concessions to modernity called by civilized living.

Words: 975

Charles Simon-Aaron

July 20th, 2014














The Agony of Defeat: Ontario’s Progressive Conservative Party and the Fear of Irrelevance

July 21, 2014

The Agony of Defeat: Ontario’s Progressive Conservative Party and the Fear of Irrelevance

One of the reasons I like sports and politics is to witness the methods players use to meet the challenges to inherited habits when faced with irrelevance if they continue with losing ways. I like to see how they cope with the challenges of change; for, if they do not evolve in their endeavors they devolve into irrelevance-history passes them by. Ontario’s Progressive Conservative Party is facing just such an encounter with irrelevance or political death.

Ontario’s Progressive Conservative Party (OPCP) is in deep reflection after its defeat at the June 12th, 2014 provincial election, won by the Liberals; it is fighting over its future policy direction since its “hard right-wing” policies have failed to grant it victory at the polls for over 15 years and several elections. The PC is asking the eternal question of all defeated political parties and that is, “What is to be done?”

Self-doubt has redemptive qualities, it is both a moment of doom (“woe is me”) and, a moment of liberation, (“the correct path is revealed”). The PC’s in this moment of doubt however are in danger of ignoring the signs that deep reflection is necessary since 15 years in the political wilderness means the PC are functionally irrelevant to the political evolution of the Province. The province has changed and the PC has remained the same. They are so out of touch, their name should be changed to the Ontario Regressive Conservative Party.

Central to the regression of the PC is the failure of its policy makers to understand the historical after-effects of the Mike Harris era on the popular psychology of the province’s populace. Politics is perception and the PC are perceived as a heartless, cold-blooded, anti-worker, pro-business political party, this in an era of frozen wages, redundancies, unemployment, higher living costs and lowered standards of living for the vast majority of working people, the majority of voters. They are perceived as the Devil’s Party and the refusal of its policy makers to acknowledge this fact is a block on their understanding of their electoral demise and incapacity to embrace policies consistent with preserving the social good in the widest possible sense which the Liberals have done.

Now, the Liberals have to deliver and avoid the charge they are political parasites that campaign left and govern right, which suggests they are masters of deception and artists of insincerity. However, irregardless of their perception, and this is important for the PC, as a party it is believed they have the social good at heart. They are not going to destroy the infrastructure of society and make fear an ingredient of politics to create a smokescreen for attacks against the popular good, what Naomi Klein calls “The Shock Doctrine.”

What provincial politics has declared and the PC policy makers have to accept is that the tide has turned, both globally and locally, against right-wing shock and awe austerity politics and if the PC wish to reinvigorate themselves at the polls they have to abandon their commitments to this political formula and resurrect their “progressive” heritage, last upheld by the Bill Davis’ Progressive Conservative administration of the 1970’s and 1980’s which upheld the common good of workers and business.

Taking detours into cosmetic multiculturalism by placing politicians from communities of new Canadians in polling areas where their communities are located simply avoids an engagement with the absence of policies consistent with the common good-the winning politics. Only abandonment by the PC of right-wing austerity shock and awe politics and adoption of common good policies will enable the PC to successfully contest future provincial elections.

June 26th, 2014

Charles Simon-Aaron



Stories a Name can Tell

July 21, 2014

Stories a Name can Tell

There am I in the digital universe doing information indulgence care of the BBC, ESPN, and Google News -(soccer, folks)- and along came a signifying digital interloper causing cognitive dissonance. The surprise was the name of one Benedict Cumberbatch; an actor, English, of theatre, television, and film, most famous for playing the title role in the Sherlock Holmes television series.

The moment the Cumberbatch name was sighted it became a source of attention, I asked myself, because of what the name signified and was a signifier of, for me, “is he Caribbean heritaged?”

Or, to be charitable and politically correct to the other nations and peoples of Caribbean Civilization, since the English-speaking ex-colonies of England are but part of a greater cultural political economic and linguistically diverse region “ does Benedict Cumberbatch …play cricket, eat callaloo and salt fish, bake breadfruit, eat guava, cassava, plaintain, edoe and/or yam?” Is he a descendant of cane cutters?

Through Internet searching, I was both surprised and not surprised to discover he is both of Caribbean Civilizational heritage and not of Caribbean Civilizational heritage. So how can he be and not be at the same time? Is he or is he ain’t?

But then when I read entries in the digital universe about him, intuitive suspicions were confirmed, for Mr. Cumberbatch was that historically peculiar variant of the Cumberbatch family, an English-English Cumberbatch in contrast to the Caribbean-African descended Cumberbatch’s descended from sugar cane cutting enslaved Africans in the Caribbean and Americas. His name was an imperial interloper into the drama of this history.

The Caribbean-African descended Cumberbatch’s lived in ex-English colonial dominions like Barbados, Guyana, Dominica, Jamaica, Antigua, St-Kitts and St-Lucia. Their name was one of the many English names my ancestors claimed as their own, either because they worked on a plantation owned by their name sake, or, once worked with an overseer with such a name, or found the name associated with a person of local distinction or heard of it from the Bible and liked it, or were commanded by force of law. This naming practice was repeated throughout the Caribbean and Americas by enslaved Africans be they in Spanish-, Portuguese-, or, Dutch-speaking dominions.

This latter feature of Caribbean colonial history, explains the variety of names among the African-descended players from the Caribbean and Americas in the 2014 World Cup of soccer in Brazil. You had Valencia from Ecuador, to J. Campbell of Costa Rica, to Juan Zuniga of Colombia, to Nigel de Jong of the Netherlands and Jozy Altidore (Haiti) of America. Of course there are many others, but this sample was chosen to make a point: there is more to name than the name itself.

A name is history, culture, economics, gender, and politics. It is time, place, identity and purpose. It is change, stability, violence and revolution. It is us when faced with ourselves and us when we run from ourselves. It is, lastly, a digital entry for the state in its bureaucratic management of society.

Benedict Cumberbatch’s name belongs to him; it also belongs to the history of Britain and the many nations and peoples its imperial past gave birth to. And Benedict whilst not of Caribbean African heritage is by virtue of his ancestral ties part and parcel of that heritage as are those who claimed that surname as their right marching forward into the future unknown part of the ancestral heritage of his England, regardless of what the English might think and or feel-his name says so.

Pages: 594

Charles Simon-Aaron

July 20th, 2014










Benedict Cumberbatch:

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