Well, it looks as if the most popular news stories of the last couple of days either revolve around mental Austrian blokes jumping out of balloons 40kms above the Earth or news & current affairs programs ‘revealing’ Internet trolls. One of these stories is worth reporting…

The other is a story about Internet trolls.

Felix Baumgarter is basically Red Bull’s corporate puppet, but it doesn’t detract from the fact that he’s a crazy son-of-a-bitch. Apparently he suffered from claustrophobia from wearing that fully enclosed helmet for some time in the testing phase of the iconic jump he just completed and had to speak to sports psychologists for a while to cool his nerves so that he didn’t lose his shit on the ascent to the designated jump height (he actually ended up rising a little further than he planned to). This is the same guy that flew across the English Channel unaided by any type of engine using a specially designed carbon fibre wing and has BASE jumped (Buildings, Antennas, Spans & Earth) off a whole raft of gigantic buildings (see: Taipei 101) & religious landmarks (see: Christ the Redeemer).

I love how in all of this, Red Bull has made a real point of giving the public the impression that they’re in it for the mystique of the endeavour alone & have fed us a bunch of horseshit about ‘humans striving for the unknown’ like this thing wasn’t engineered from the outset to help drive sales of their energy drinks. You don’t fool me, fuckers.

I mean, it’s pretty fucking obvious isn’t it? Red Bull’s tagline is, “Red Bull gives you wings” so it makes perfect sense to align their brand strategy with human endeavours that occur either entirely or predominantly in the air, hence their continuing sponsorship of the Red Bull air race, their undying support of Red Bull X-Fighters (a bunch of motocross riding douches doing ‘one-armed Supermans’ on their motorbikes in arenas around the world) & a number of other ‘extreme’ pursuits, such as cliff-diving, surfing & Formula 1 racing. I could go on…

“It’s been a loooooooong road, gettin’ from there to here…”

Realistically, despite the huge cost of the Stratos operation, it’s still relatively cheap advertising for Red Bull. The images of Baumgarter leaping from his capsule 40 kilometres above the Earth were beamed across the world on the Internet, television and print media, directly into people’s homes & subsequently into some of their hearts as we watched on collectively, some of us worriedly, as the Austrian exited his capsule, his subtly branded Red Bull space suit resplendent in the oxygen-starved stratosphere as he fell gracefully to Earth.

The subliminal message as he fell?

“Drink Red Bull. Just like Baumgarter, it gives you WIIIINGS”.

Fuck that. I haven’t drunk a Red Bull since I stopped working for them in 2010. That shit gives you AIDS.

/end communication