MiSC/MEDiA: Why I Loathe TV Advertising With Such Abiding Passion

The restaurant scene from Brazil superbly captures the gulf between products as advertised and as actually delivered.

This isn’t my first post on this topic. I doubt it’ll be my last. Why return to such a theme? This time it was prompted by a silly FB post by a friend about which David Bowie number, of four he specified, ‘would you rather’… etc.

Pointless silliness, perhaps? Well, yes. I.e. totally suited to and at home on FB. As, indeed, is the constant harassment of advertising. But it so happened that the most popular choice was Heroes. Admittedly an excellent song. But, for me at least, tarnished by its heavy usage in adverts.

I also recall the pride with which several drummers on a FB drummer’s forum related that they had been in that recent ad’ for a gambling sports sponsor that features hordes of drummers. I’m glad to say I can’t recall exactly which such parasitic body it was.

I’d love the exposure that might bring (well, perhaps for a few of the more ‘featured’ of the many hundreds of otherwise anonymous players). And I’m sure the nuts and bolts of actually filming it might also be fun. Did all these drummers get get paid, I wonder?

But what about taking a principled stand against the cancerous blight on our society that is gambling? Or even advertising as a whole? Or, better still, advertising as a hole… specifically, an arsehole’!

Talkin’ ass: the allure of the ad’ (Renault Megane).
The anti-climax super-unsexy reality!

That’s r-r-r-r-right f-f-f-f-folks, I’m talkin’ ass! Now I felt this way long before I saw Bill Hicks do his anti-advertising schtick. Indeed, a loathing for advertising – and a contempt for gambling – was something I learned at home, mostly (I believe?) from my father.

But in order to keep things relatively short and ‘sweet’ here and now, let’s wrap this up with a short consideration of ‘the asshole in contemporary culture’ (sounds like a topic on a college degree syllabus!).

It turns out that some of the ugliest ideas of the worst types of racists and those dearest to many a ruling elite converge, for differing reasons, around a certain nexus of ideas. As mentioned above, I don’t intend to go into great detail on the subject(s) here. Perhaps another time?

What I will say is that there’s a culture of brashly aggressive ugliness, massively on the increase, from the politics of Trump, to the shouted egotism in rap, or the gurgling screams of extreme metal. It’s also manifest in the strident upbeat chirpiness, and even – I contend – the zombie-smiling lockstep of Nuremberg-rally style formation dancing.

The massive and very visible rise of the latter, especially obvious in advertising, had me baffled for a little while? Why the sudden effusion of such stuff? And then it struck me; we now have loads of educational institutions, pumping out hordes of glassy eyed dreamers, who have become production line product, trained in dance and/or drama.

And what’s the glorious acme of their profession most might earn a buck or two from? Depressingly, it’s advertising. I suppose some might get Butlin’s style gigs. Some might go on to teach more aspiring dreamers. But, as with Fine Arts and Music, most will have to eke out a living by other means.

Dammit! I’m still skirting around my chief focus… the omnipresent asshole! So, let’s get to it, let’s really get stuck into the fundament/als! Thar’ she blows…

Basically it boils down to this; would you be happy inviting the kind of hectoring, patronising, wheedling, insinuating assholes that one hears in advertising in off the street to harangue you in your home? ‘Cause that’s what we’re all doing, when we tolerate advertising.

Again, rather depressingly, that’s what a great deal of what I’m increasingly thinking of as contemporary serf-culture trains us to do. If you like a lot of modern pop music, which includes supposedly ‘underground’ or counterculture (but in reality totally commercially co-opted) genres like rap or metal, you’re already being inoculated in the required ‘herd immunity’ to such internalised or even self-inflicted bullying.

Anyway, enough ranting, or sounding off, or whatever it may be. For now! my thoughts on all this are fairly clear, if not, perhaps, terribly well formed. But they may change, with time, and further consideration or information. For the time being, however, I remain resolute in my disavowal of the pollution that is most TV advertising.

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