Apparently, some lost and deluded soul has auctioned off her legal name on eBay to the highest bidder, in this case, a gambling entity well known for publicity stunts. I refuse to mention that company’s name (or link to them) and thus encourage this behavior. If you are curious enough, I’m sure you’ll be able to find more information on your own.
Somehow, this bothers me even more than then plague of corporate sports stadium renamings …
(and what is signaled when such institutions are commoditized and the center of power shifts from community to corporations), or even that town in Oregon that (I think just temporarily) renamed itself to [a company now owned by eBay].com. Your legal name is an essential feature of your personal identity — this woman will have to sign her name as “[publicityseekingcorporation].com” for the rest of her life, on her drivers license, all legal documents (wills, title papers), any public references to her must include it, etc. She just got a real estate brokers license – who in their right mind is going to take her seriously? “Call [corporatevultures].com to list your house today!” Sure. Not to mention how confusing it will be to have [deathoftheculture].com on her signs.
This is the ultimate in intrusive advertising — from now on, every single person who wants to interact with her, will be forced to also encounter and interact with the company who paid to change her name. The most intimate of personal interactions, an exchange of names, has now become commodified and branded. What was once sacred, is now profane.
This is just wrong, wrong, wrong… it leaves me deeply disturbed; what point talking about resistance to corporatization of the culture, when people are so willing to let it invest the most intimate parts of their lives? Stuff like this used to be the domain of cutting edge science fiction, dystopian parodies of corporate commercial culture; I guess this shows that life will almost always trump fiction, eventually.
What do you think? Am I over-wrought, or do you agree that this is a signal that something is seriously wrong with our culture, that we’ve allowed the corporate world far too much leeway to intrude into our personal lives?
P.S. We really need a new category… maybe “Culture”?