Interesting piece in the Guardian on the issue of sponsorship of sporting tournaments, and how this extends to controlling what fans eat, drink and wear. Of course, if sponsoring companies are going to put tens of millions into a tournament, they don't want to see competitors who don't stump up cash getting a slice of the action. Getting people to remove their trousers seems a little extreme, though.
My take is that it's an ugly reality of modern retailing. We're entering a stage where only giants can survive. Our culture is becoming increasingly sanitized and made more uniform - all cities are beginning to look the same, with the same retail chains dominating the purpose-built malls. It's big companies only, and when it comes to products such as food and drink, mainstream means grim, manufactured, sanitized, branded uniformity. Is this the future for wine?
I watched an episode of the Simpson's with the kids yesterday - the one where Homer has a crayon removed from his brain and becomes smart (sort of) for a while. He suddenly finds Springfield a hideous place to live ('what is there for a man with an IQ of 105 to do in this place?'). Eventually, he decides to have the crayon reinserted, and he's back to his old self ('Extended warranty? How can I lose?').
Being smart or having a taste for something different may be incompatible with the standardized, uniform, dull, TV-driven brand-filled lives that the marketers would like us to live. They may not yet be confiscating our wrongly branded clothing and forcing us to eat and drink their mass produced crap, but it's getting close.