Companies arent beings. Maybe thats why their sorrow at the Paris attacks leaves a bitter feeling in my mouth

It all happened so fast.

The attacks, the sporadic first news reports, the frantic called to speak to my family in Paris. My belly in bows, the torrent of tweets, the footage of the guy playing Imagine. The bad mottoes, the good mottoes, the cringe-inducing Facebook berths. The conference with a acquaintance, whose ex-partner spent hours on the Bataclan floor in a ocean of blood before the police arrived.

And then, the condolences for my country.

The condolences brought forward by my colleagues.

The condolences expressed by my barista.

The condolences expressed by my doctor.

The condolences expressed by … Amazon.

The support expressed by eBay, with a big LibertA( c ), EgalitA( c ), FraternitA( c) mansion plastered across their site.

The tribute from Uber, with a disperse of tricolor autoes across its app.


The pitch-black ribbon on Apples website discreet, but present.


Worse still: a tone-deaf blogpost by a site rewarding France by making a list of tech commodities created by French squads( thank you for having the kudos but maybe not the best time ).

National grief is a difficult and complicated process. France is, for the third largest meter this year, mourning the loss of its insouciance . Our managers was indicated that we were at war. We have to digest the fact that our country made citizens capable of such all-encompassing hatred. All this is no small-minded task.

The pain is shared by all of us, but a golden rule only applies: dont capitalise on sorrow, dont profit from it. Perhaps this is why big companies enforcing their pity on the rest of us leaves a bitter feeling in my lip: it is hard for me to see these gestures as anything but profiteering.

Companies are now posing as entities capable of empathy, never mind that they cannot possibly are talking about all of its employees. This is something that raises us a pace closer to endowing them with a human characteristic: the capacity to express emotions. They think theyre sentient.

If this sounds crazy, its because it is.

In the US, the debate about corporate personhood is ongoing. The supreme court already ruled that corporations are indeed beings in some contexts: “theyve been” granted the right to spend money on political issues, for example, as well as the right to refuse to cover family planning in their employee health plans on religious grounds.

Armed with these rulings, firebrands continue to colonise “peoples lives”, accompanying us from the cradle to the grave. They see you grow up, they see you die. Theyre benevolent. Theyre family.

Looking for someone to prove me wrong, I asked Ed Zitron, a PR chief executive, about these kinds of tactics. Zitron points out that tech business are, in a number of cases, performs a helpful service as in Facebooks safety check, T-Mobile and Verizons free communications with France, and Airbnbs decision to compensate multitudes for giving beings stay longer for free. Those are tangible gestures the equivalent of fetching grief-stricken neighbours dinners to sustain them, rather than sending a hastily-written card.

Anything else, he says, is virtually good-old free publicity: an empty gesture, a non-movement, a sanguine pretend-help that does nothing other than promote themselves.

Its hard to disagree with him and illustrates how far firebrands have further infiltrated “peoples lives” since the publication of Naomi Kleins No Logo, which documented advertising as an industry not only very interested in selling commodities, but also a dream and a content. We can now add sorrow surfing to the list.

A few years back, Jon Stewart mocked this sorry state of affairs 😛 TAGEND

If simply there were a mode to prove that corporations are not beings, establish their inability to passion, to show that they lack awareness of their own fatality, to read what they do when you walk in on them masturbating …

Turns out we cant business will love you, in sickness and in health, for most effective and for worse, whether you miss it or not.

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