Monday, July 30, 2007
A world without advertising.
I just returned from one of the most isolated spots I've ever been. I was on Grand Manan Island, a lonely bit of land an hour-and-a-half by ferry from the nearest town--and that town, Black's Harbour, New Brunswick, Canada, had a population in the neighborhood of 1000, little more than the population of my apartment building in Manhattan.
In his new memoir, Peeling the Onion, Nobel Laureate Gunther Grass goes on a bit of a lamentation for Germany when it falls into the Western sphere of influence after WWII and again when East Germany re-unites with the West in the 1990s. Grass decries the gross consumerism and commercialism of the American way of life. I don't disagree with Grass completely. I detest our Manolo Blahnik, mall-obsessed culture. I'm sad that our national slogan is no longer E Pluribus Unum (Out of many, One) but, it seems, Shop Till You Drop, even in the middle of a crushing war and a Defense budget of over $500 Billion. However, the world without advertising and commercialism is a pretty bleak place, too. There are virtually no stores, no products in the few stores there are and just not a lot of things you want--because there's not a lot of cognizance of consumer desire. I'll stop this here before I become too much of an aesthete for ya. I guess I'll just sum up by saying, go ahead and be mercantile. Just don't be ugly about it.
Posted by George Tannenbaum at 12:29 PM