The $35 Tablet

As I sit holding a gun on a man in a cheap motel in some unnamed, forgotten roadside community, I start to wonder how much an iPad would cost if you subtracted the cost of marketing. India has already come out with the world’s most affordable car. Now it is home the world’s most affordable tablet computer. In the 1990’s when Nike was taking a lot of heat for their sweatshops in China, the company’s response was that they were a marketing company, not a shoe manufacturer. And as a result, a $20 pair of sneakers cost $100. This is the kind of value/pricing that has resulted in our current economic situation.

America: we don’t make anything, we make everything more expensive.

It amuses me that we rabidly fight against a Value Added Tax, but willingly pay the Marketing Added Cost of everything. Capitalism is based on an informed consumer making a reasoned decision. But our decisions are based entirely on marketing campaigns that drive up the prices of shoes, movies and perscription drugs. It is no coincidence that drug costs got out of control at the same time that the federal government lifted the ban on prescription drug marketing.  Big Pharma spends more on advertising than they do on R&D. I pay my doctor to tell me what I need based on her years of medical training and practice. If all I need is an advertisement to self-diagnose, I’ll take back the last 20 years of medical bills please.

Now, back to the screenplay.

Creativity Crisis

Last week, Newsweek reported on a potential creativity crisis in America. We talk about our education system failing us with standardized tests. But standardized tests produce what a segment of our society wants; standardized graduates. Workers that are as interchangeable as the parts we used to manufacture. Entrenched interests in the form of corporate and governmental bureaucracies want to maintain the status quo. They want predictability. The Tea Baggers rally against big government, but miss the mark. The Boston Tea Party was a protest against the privileged position granted the East India Company by the crown. Read Thom Hartmann’s Unequal Protection for a good history of corporate entrenchment and the origin’s of the Boston Tea Party.

Entrenched interests in all forms stifle creativity. When empires collapse, we lose knowledge. The knowledge of how to build the pyramids embalming were lost in Egypt. The secret of cement was lost with the fall of Rome and the Dark Ages followed.  Thanks to the printing press less information is lost these days, but what risks are we taking by simply teaching our children to pass tests and consent to maintaining the status quo.


In a BBC News article today about the WikiLeaks Case there is a quote from an intelligence analyst that highlights the arrogance that permeates the field.

“Diplomatic cables don’t usually contain huge secrets but they do contain the unvarnished truth so in a sense they can be even more embarrassing than secrets.”

The idea that in an age of democracy that average citizens simply can’t handle the truth disturbs me. The mind set that the government needs to coddle its citizenry is a dangerous one. If we are never challenged with tough truths we can never develop in better citizens. Then again, we have warnings labels on hairdryers telling people not to use them while showering.

Martin Perkinson: Thinker

Created for the 48 Hour Film Project: Minneapolis 2008.  Genre: Fictional Biopic. Character: Ms or Mr. Perkinson – Substitute Teacher. Prop: A Fish. Line of Dialogue: You look very familiar. As submitted. Group B Audience Favorite.

September 2008 South Dakota Film Festival
August 2008 Square Lake Film Festival – Stillwater
July 2008 Rosemount Film Festival