Audit Notes: Occupy Maybelline, Abramoff on the Revolving Door, News Corp. (UPDATED)

The Occupy Wall Street movement is already having its dissent commodified.

As BagNews shows, this Maybelline commercial shows its models prancing around in co-opted Occupy imagery (UPDATE: Or not. BagNews updates its post to note that the Maybelline commercial predates Occupy by a year, though it asks whether it’s been rolled out again for the events):

This ad is offensive even if you’re not partial to the protests, in no small part because it’s just awful advertising. Adbusters, which kicked off the protests, ought to love this one pitching makeup for the $46 billion cosmetics company L’OrĂ©al. I’m pretty sure they’re not self-aware to understand that this is exactly the kind of thing Occupy is protesting. That the terrible background music drones “Things are getting better” shows that.

Watch the ad and then go read Matt Taibbi’s excellent essay on how Occupy is a “a rejection of what our society has become”:

What both sides missed is that OWS is tired of all of this. They don’t care what we think they’re about, or should be about. They just want something different.

We’re all born wanting the freedom to imagine a better and more beautiful future. But modern America has become a place so drearily confining and predictable that it chokes the life out of that built-in desire. Everything from our pop culture to our economy to our politics feels oppressive and unresponsive. We see 10 million commercials a day, and every day is the same life-killing chase for money, money and more money; the only thing that changes from minute to minute is that every tick of the clock brings with it another space-age vendor dreaming up some new way to try to sell you something or reach into your pocket. The relentless sameness of the two-party political system is beginning to feel like a Jacob’s Ladder nightmare with no end; we’re entering another turn on the four-year merry-go-round, and the thought of having to try to get excited about yet another minor quadrennial shift in the direction of one or the other pole of alienating corporate full-of-shitness is enough to make anyone want to smash his own hand flat with a hammer.

— Jack Abramoff tells us how the revolving door in Washington really works, in a Bloomberg op-ed. Here he is on congressional staffers, the twentysomethings who run a surprising amount of the show:

Most staff were fiercely loyal to their boss and to the institution they served. But, once they thought there was a chance to join our firm sometime down the line, they switched teams — psychologically first, and then in conduct. Understanding this, we would drop hints about the gilded life that awaited them on K Street, or share jokes with them about our future together as colleagues.

Staff members who thought they might be hired by our firm inevitably began acting as if they were already working for us. They seized the initiative to do our bidding. Sometimes, they even exceeded the lobbyists’ wishes in an effort to win plaudits. From that moment, they were no longer working for their particular member of Congress. They were working for us. They would alert us to any inside information we needed to serve our clients. They would quash efforts to harm our clients, instead seeding appropriations and other benefits for them. I emphasize: They were working for us…

During my years as a lobbyist, I saw scores of congressional staff members become the willing vassals of K Street firms before soon decamping for K Street employment themselves. It was a dirty little secret. And it is a source of major corruption in Congress.

There is only one cure for this disease: a lifetime ban on members and staff lobbying Congress or associating in any way with for-profit lobbying efforts.

— Yet more confirmation that News Corporation still doesn’t get it.

The Guardian reports News International’s lawyer said this to a judge in a phone-hacking hearing:

Michael Silverleaf QC, for News International, said: “it is not appropriate … for claimants to conduct a crusade. The proceedings must not be conducted as a witch-hunt against my client.”

Then there’s this:

Jeremy Reed QC, for the claimants, said the computer contained 76 digital recordings, although he conceded it was not clear whether they might include hacked voicemail messages.

Reed said Evans’s computer was “the only computer that hasn’t been put through the grinder by News Group Newspapers”. News Group is the News International subsidiary that published the News of the World until it was closed in July at the height of the furore over phone hacking.

Reed added that the others had been “smashed up” when the company moved to new premises earlier this year.

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Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at Follow him on Twitter at @ryanchittum. Tags: , , , ,