Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The protocol society.

David Brooks in The New York Times has an important op-ed piece today called "The Protocol Society." http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/22/opinion/22brooks.htmlBasically, Brooks' thesis is simple. When we as a society switched from manufacturing products to a knowledge economy we went from making things to making rules.

Something like a food-court in a mall, Brooks points out, has protocols for everything from making food, to greeting customers, to where to put the tables.

This protocolization of our economy has the virtue of standardization. When you go into a McDonald's, it doesn't matter where you are--from Alaska to Zamibia, you are in a McDonald's.

And here's the thing.

In an effort to make rules for everything, rules that every idiot can follow, we have McDonald-ized everything. The other day, my art-director designed an ad in a new campaign with the logo NOT in the lower right. That's against the rules.

Rules rule.

And when they do, creativity dies.


Russ said...

Is Zamibia the name for the newly amalgamated countries of Zambia and Namibia?

good piece, big fan of your blog, have a good Crimbo

Anonymous said...

It's the lawyering of society. The legal industrial complex has made everyone very tight-ass--and understandably so. Because if you don't do as they say, the consequences can be quite severe. Everything and anything from total bankruptcy to jail time is possible. And by the way, this has nothing to do with protocols or niceties being implemented in an attempt to make society more pleasant or even fair. It's all about one person exerting his will over another one through the use of the legal apparatus. It's a nasty business conducted by very nasty people.