Kendall Jenner Pepsi ad

The real reas­on left­ists are so up­set about the Pep­si ad is that it puts all their purely per­form­at­ive, feel­good protest ac­tions on blast.

Of course, this is hardly the first time an os­tens­ibly an­ti­cap­it­al­ist move­ment has been ef­fort­lessly re­cu­per­ated by cap­it­al­ism. My per­son­al fa­vor­ite has to be the AXE Peace ad­vert from 2014, which took an­ti­war im­agery from the pre­ced­ing dec­ade and offered it back up in the form of a body-spray. Wells Fargo sponsored a Black Lives Mat­ter event last year in which it even praised the Black Pan­thers, but then re­jec­ted a cus­tom-de­signed deb­it card fea­tur­ing a fist and the text “Black Lives Are Im­port­ant.” This des­pite the fact the bank­ing com­pany was just sued for ra­cial bi­as in deny­ing loans to black and Latino fam­il­ies.

Love it or hate it, one must give the devil its due: Global capitalism has proved far more resilient than either its harshest critics or most fer­vent champions ever expected. You have to ad­mire its per­verse abil­ity to in­cor­por­ate everything that pur­ports to op­pose it in­to it­self while also adding a price-tag.


“Com­mun­ism is not rad­ic­al,” the Marx­ist poet and play­wright Ber­to­lt Brecht once told his friend, the crit­ic Wal­ter Ben­jamin. “It is cap­it­al­ism that is rad­ic­al.” Here Brecht prob­ably had in mind the re­mark Len­in made some twenty years earli­er, ur­ging com­mun­ists to be “as rad­ic­al as real­ity it­self.” The real­ity to which he im­pli­citly re­ferred to was none oth­er than that of cap­it­al­ism. And per­haps he’s right — we’re still much too harm­less.

“Real­ist­ic dis­sid­ence is the trade­mark of any­one who has a new idea in busi­ness.” — Theodor Ad­orno, The Cul­ture In­dustry

5 thoughts on “Kendall Jenner Pepsi ad

  1. What I’d like to see is a Pepsi commercial showing looters, perhaps stepping over the bodies of dead elderly Asian shopkeepers, carrying out cartons of Pepsi. Or Islamists joking and drinking Pepsi while they behead some Christians. Anything to make a dollar.

  2. I’ll admit that it’s clever to use protest chic to sell Pepsi, but I won’t be truly impressed by capitalism until Facebook starts selling digital glass shards for people to put on their profile pics.

  3. The digital age and it’s saturated abundance of content ooze the finest form of self-regulating social collectivity.

  4. “Class society has a tremendous resilience, a great capacity to cope with “subversion”, to make icons of its iconoclasts, to draw sustenance from those who would throttle it.”

    Maurice Brinton, “The Malaise on the Left”, 1974

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