During my sophomore year of high school, the Powers That Be decided to sell out the exclusive vending machine rights to PepsiCo. Now, being the budding political firebrand that I was, as well as a lifelong Coca-Cola fan (the south has always been one of the contested fronts in the Cola Wars), I took it upon myself to revolt in the face of what I considered an inappropriate public-corporate relationship. A relationship that created a monopoly within the walls of a building that the inhabitants were legally obligated to attend and had little recourse for outside alternatives.
Enter this artwork, lovingly painted in watercolor by my baby sister (who couldn’t have been but 6 or 7 at the time) in a show of solidarity with her heroic big brother, fighting the rent-seeking corporations in the waning years of the 1990s. We always have been a pair of rebels, even if we rebel in different ways.
30 years ago today….
In April 1985, it is rumored that a collection of executives gathered at their corporate headquarters for an emergency meeting. On the table before them sat six small canisters which had been smuggled from their chief competitor’s manufacturing plant. Inside the metal cylinders lurked a secret compound which represented the next strike in a long-running war: an altered version of their rival’s incredibly successful Merchandise 7X. The substance was scheduled to be released upon the public within mere days, and these men had assembled to assess the threat. They were aware that billions of dollars were at stake, but the true power of the revised chemistry was beyond their reckoning. Ultimately, the contents of these canisters would plunge the United States into a surreal turmoil the likes of which had never before been seen.
Source: The American Gustation Crisis of 1985 • Damn Interesting
Beware the beverage-educational complex!
Local news coverage (WSB-TV-Atlanta and WXIA-Atlanta, circa 1999) of two Cobb County High Schools (Walton and Harrison) selling out to soft drink companies (Coke and Pepsi, respectively), the reaction, and the lone protester! This was probably one of those things that made me a bit of a legend amongst the halls of HHS….
As if we really thought we could make a difference. As if we really thought we could fight City Hall. As if we really thought we could fight the beverage bureaucracy.
Even my baby sister got in on the action, making posters:
Even the writers of MTV’s Daria seemed to be in on the riot (though, I’m sad to say, they probably didn’t get the idea exclusively from me):