J Roddy Walston & The Business
I recently watched the movie The Invention of Lying. While it wasn’t a very good movie, I have to admit that it’s an interesting conceit. So much of how our world operates is based on some kind of lie. In the movie the joke is that romantic love and Hollywood movies don’t work without at least a little stretching of the truth. Sadly, in the real world, the deception is much more deeply entrenched.
My reasons for this train of thought are twofold. First, it is election day here in America, which is the culmination of months of political showboating and histrionics. Of course, politics is just an elaborate game of weaving big lies and small lies together to create a blindfold that is then pulled over the eyes of the unassuming public. Really the whole thing is about rich and powerful people striving to become more rich and more powerful – at the expense of the poor and powerless.
As the angry bumper sticker once said, if voting really changed anything it would be illegal.
But my generic anti-establishment convictions aren’t the real reason my head is in this space. The second and more important cause for this train of thought is that I am sitting at home, for the second day in a row, waiting for Comcast to come fix my cable/internet. As anybody with a phone, television or computer knows, Comcast is a horrible, horrible company. They play a deceitful shell game with their pricing, they use shoddy refurbished equipment and nobody who works there has any customer service skills to speak of whatsoever. This is not news; these complaints are well documented, with anti-Comcast sites popping up across the internet.
For the moment though, what’s bothering me the most are the new Comcast commercials. In conjunction with their new “Xfinity” service, they have rolled out a slew of TV ads featuring trustworthy looking actors playing hardworking cable company employees. In these commercials, Mr. Credible Technician Guy looks at the camera and says things like, “Our customers matter and their time is important. If we ever miss an appointment, we’ll give you an automatic credit.”
Ok, this is a lie. Comcast does not give a shit about any of their customers – or should I say existing customers. If you’re already locked into some kind of service contract with them, then official Comcast policy is “fuck you and don’t call us, ever.”
Their phone tree is obnoxious and impossible to navigate. You have to tell the robot answering service over and over again what your problem is, and even then it doesn’t understand – mostly because it’s a fucking robot. And should you actually reach a human and tell them that you waited all day for a technician who never appeared and would now like the credit promised by their TV commercials, the answer is a flat “no.”
And speaking of the so-called “Xfinity” service, that one is a real hoot. Xfinity isn’t anything more than lipstick on a pig: it’s the same crappy service bundled with the same crappy features, all crammed into a DVR box that doesn’t let you fast-forward through commercials. Of course, on the commercials introducing Xfinity to the unsuspecting public, some overly-coifed douchebag tells his friend about all the cool things he can do now that he has Xfinity. Trembling with joy he says things like, “Now I can watch TV shows on my computer!” His friends reply with rapturous amazement. “How much does it cost!?!” they ask. “Nothing!” he cries, and then cums in his pants.
This is another lie. “Xfinity” now appears on my monthly bill with an additional charge for $6.97. When I called to ask what I was getting for my extra $84 a year, the Comcast rep explained that it is essentially the same service as before, but with a new name. Speaking of which, “Xfinity?” Really? That sounds like a cross between an extreme sports event and an off-brand soda.
Look, I know that this is just the way the world works. Huge telecommunication companies are the only ones with the resources to build an interstate digital cable system. There are only two or three of them out there, which means they pretty much get to do what they want. And there aren’t many people who have lived clean enough lives, have white enough teeth and deep enough pockets to run the gauntlet of a modern political campaign. I get it. But don’t piss down my leg and tell me it’s rain. Don’t say you care, that our opinion counts, that you’re working for us. It’s a lie. They know it, we know, you know it, I know it.
And frankly, I don’t want to hear it.