Wednesday, January 2, 2008

The foundation of all great civilization. And advertising.

At first I was puzzled when I read that Jean Renoir, perhaps the greatest film director of all time, once said that "the foundation of all great civilization is loitering." But now that I've spent the last hundred or so hours loitering over his remark, I think I'm beginning to understand it. What's more, I think it applies to agency life, too.

We are all too busy DOING.
We get lost in the details--the momentary upsets, the flash cuts of life, the trends, the pettiness.
We don't take the time to think.
To talk.
To share.
To kibbitz.
To contemplate.
To laugh.
To love.
To puzzle.
To ponder.
To unravel.
To experiment.

Whether it's at work or at life, we are time-sheeted into moderation and mediocrity, having to be "productive" every moment.

"What did you do today?" we ask.
Not "What did you think today?"
Not "Who did you meet today?"
Not "What did you try today?"

Oh, I'm not going aesthetic on ya.
Not preaching a Shangri-la of directionless contemplation.
But damn.
Slow down.
Don't you think?


newfriendjill said...

I see this blog entry was posted at 11am. To what timesheet code will you put the creation of it?

george tannenbaum said...


Unknown said...

That is profound. a truly intelligent observation.
you should write a entire book on the basis of it.
your chapters headers are already there.
find examples, or invent them.
this would be one of those success books that's made
a lot of loiterers rich and guru like.
you can do it.

as for loitering in ad agencies i wonder what happen to the type of research the creatives used to be sent out to. the factory tour, talking to a whole bunch of people, trying stuff, before putting anything to paper. so many of the best ideas came right out of those meetings and research trips. i think the very fact that everything is in front of us in the form of a computer make us less mobile and curious as well.
who goes to the library?
who even leaves the bloody office for lunch?
like the paperless society, the officeless society simply didn't happen. the brainless will.


Laura said...

Remember working on tissues before making tight comps, and remember setting type? Now there are ADs and CW who have no clue of life before the computer.

Maybe instead of focus groups, time sheet policing, status discussions and the mega meeting mentality, people can actually sit down and talk. Doubt it though.