<body> Public Ad Campaign: Reader Comments
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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Reader Comments

In case you don't read the comments on this blog, here is a recent diatribe from Ronnie that everyone should look at carefully. It is in response to some of the other comments on the "What's Left is the Idea" post, but makes some incredibly clear and incisive observations about advertising, its manifestation in the public sphere, and its effects on our social psychology. Thanks Ronnie.

Calling all critics!

1) Public property is subject to the authority of the majority. Any laws restricting the freedom of the people to express their views using public media are unconstitutional, whether these laws provide censorship, exact fees for the "service" of expression, or even require an application and identification process. MTA is a public benefit corporation, meaning that insofar as many aspects of their operations are concerned (for instance promotions), they reap both the advantages and responsibilities of any other public entity. If you don't adhere to such standards of liberty, then I suggest that you relocate to a place where the government more overtly overlooks the basic rights of the people.

2)Billboards are tools used to influence people's minds and gear them towards consumption, and it is very good at accomplishing that goal. If it wasn't an effective means of manipulation, then companies wouldn't collectively spend billions each year on advertising.

An individual with no background in advertising or psychology may make the mistake that the purpose of a billboard is simply to forge a memory of a product or company name. The truth known by most if not all who are educated on the subject is that advertising uses one or multiple "emotional appeals" to manipulate public opinion in favor of the product or company. Britney doesn't drink Pepsi so you'll remember Pepsi. You already know about Pepsi. Britney drinks Pepsi because you want to fuck Britney or you want to be Britney or you love to hate Britney like you love to hate your precious/detestable caffeinated corn syrup soda water.

This force of psychological manipulation DOES have a negative effect on society, since the vast majority of advertisements emphasize self-interest. You cannot emphasize self-interest without simultaneously de-emphasizing self-sacrifice. This means that those "buy zit cream and she may give you a hand job" commercials and even the helpful "if you smoke could look ugly when you're 40" billboards may help turn sweet little Timmy into a self-centered, self-loathing, self-improving-and-destructing Tim. Since this archetypal "Consumer Tim" is probably more likely to see the inside of the space station than his local soup kitchen or Habitat for Humanity office, anything to help slow the rapid production of Tims in this country is helpful, not harmful.

3) As for those of you who think that somehow this act is irresponsible, perhaps you should compare it to some of the "legitimate" artistic endeavors. http://blogofhilarity.com/tag/shit (look for the article "Giant Feces Destroys Swiss Town").

4) People are dying. The world is dying. If we don't do something about it, there will be nothing left of this beautiful thing we call life on this planet. One way for a skilled, creative person to make a difference is to help pull the plug on consumerist psychological manipulation, to remove us from the realm of the unreal and back into the world where your purchases and actions have real effects on you and everyone else on this goddamn rock. If you have a complaint, stop bitching at others who are trying to use their own abilities to make a difference and go do something about it yourself. Some day, despite your disapproval of his methods, you may even thank PosterBoy for drawing your attention away from the contents of a billboard and towards the issues that this world faces. With that I bid you good day. You are free to respond, but you will most assuredly receive no response. I limit myself to one blog response manifesto per annum, and it looks like I used mine a little early this year. Have a good day.

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4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow, GREAT!

now, explain that in a court of law u bafoon!

22.1.09  
Blogger Jordan Seiler said...

I think that's kind of the point.

22.1.09  
Anonymous Bizzy Bee said...

Well said. I am still surprised that the bickering kept going on that post. I guess its good to get a debate going (otherwise, whats the point) but I am surprised that a person who is so against what this site and what J.S. and P.B. are doing, would continue to return to this site daily to respond to comments (unless this is a wave of upset "anonymous" posters.

Either way, great post.

P.S. What if I love to hate fucking britney? Or even better, want to *uck Britney WHILE she is drinking a Pepsi? Damn Pepsi ads....they mess with my emotions.

22.1.09  
Anonymous 2012 said...

i don't think it could have been said any better than that. i can see that speech being presented in front of the supreme court and winning. i really believe this and feel an overwhelming sense of happiness that there are people that exist out in the world that understand what is happening to to us and trying to make a difference no matter how small or how large it may be.

23.1.09  

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