I definitely had that “stranger in a strange land” feeling yesterday. I was listening to Marketplace and they started talking about NASCAR. NASCAR is foreign enough to me to begin with but it wasn’t the racing that got me. Marketplace is a finance program and so they were talking about the marketing of NASCAR. One wag said that NASCAR was “a business opportunity disguised as a sport.” Sponsorship is everything in NASCAR. It is how the fans can actually be involved. They talked to one man who used to drink Chocked Full ‘O Nuts coffee till Folgers started sponsoring his favorite driver so he switched to Folgers. Then Folgers dropped him and Maxwell House picked him up so the guy switched to Maxwell House. It wasn’t “he has it on his car so it must be cool”, no it was more crass. The fan felt that buying that product was helping his driver make money. Who cares that the coffee is crap.

Anyway, listening to all that made me feel very alien. There is something fundamentally wrong with the way that works. People spend money on things they may not be interested in because a rich car owner has charged that company tens of thousands of dollars to paint it on the car. And people think they’re participating by doing this. What a strange world we live in.

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