they rearranged the world
May 19, 2014, 11:02 pm
Filed under: brave new world, the sweet life | Tags: , ,

I think advertising makes us passive. Nevertheless there are more responses, ranging from active against to neutral to passive to active for. The one I find most frightening is active for: not only is there no problem seen, but people who see a problem are actively despised.

Banksy is active against of course as a graffiti artist. He doesn’t believe that a private ad in a public space is necessarily protected. That’s a good blurring when you consider his argument against the advertisers. They compromise our world; we’re within our rights to actively redress.

Sometimes I carry a fat sharpee on my trips into and out of the city which I use to scrawl messages on violent movie posters. On ones with Hollywood stars with guns, I write COWARD. I have torn one or two off the wall, late at night when no one is watching and I’ve had a drink or two. Truancy or it could be the proper response to an offence I’ve put up with for too long, as Banksy would say.

I’ve heard Cuba has an interesting effect on visitors from commercial media saturated countries. The sudden lack of advertising messages is visceral. I wonder if we reduced our saturation levels, to say half, or a quarter, would we feel measurably differently? More peace, less anxiety?

stupid has a pricetag
March 21, 2010, 9:41 pm
Filed under: brave new world | Tags: ,

Smart critiques, stupid creates, so says Diesel.  I know I’m not to think about this too deeply, so I decided to anyway, because they keep telling us not to think and they’re always wrong.

They’re sort of right: stupid does create.  Stop making sense, said David Byrne.  But, somehow smart has to be play a role.  I mean it can’t be completely left out, can it?

It seems like an entirely crazy time to send out this message.  There are so many really big institutions and orthodoxies that we aren’t allowed to question these days.  There is mass ignorance in the cultural response to what the banks are doing to us:  a stupid reverse French Revolution in which the people revolt against what is actually good for them.  And I still can’t believe how long it took us – the smartest generation? – to figure out that the last big American war was built on a bluff – six friggin’ years!  Now that’s stupid.  We still think two weeks vacation in a year is a good idea – stupid.  We let guys who got rich making mediocre companies make health policy – stupid.   The list goes on.

Stupid has a pricetag, always has.  People die in stupid wars, lose their houses and jobs when stupid men make stupid bubbles.

I teach design and the guy who came up with this ad slogan went to design school.  For three or more years she was given design briefs, to which she responded with design proposals, was critiqued throughout, and publically presented her work to final review boards of critics.  Unless a hermit, he benefited from the conversations he had with his professors and peers.  A lot.  Life is a conversation.  You can saddle up and gallop off alone into the great beyond every once in a while, but you always come back, for dinner, for company, to find out what you did wrong, to make it better, to join the conversation.

So in a sense, smart critiques, and stupid creates.  And yes, the opposite too is true.  But as ideas they’re definitely not mutually exclusive.