Monday, June 28, 2010

I don't want to hear about it.

Since I grew up in the crazy hippie days of the 1960s and 1970s, I often heard that it makes no sense to read or view something that isn't contemporary because if that something we are viewing or reading isn't about the immediate world, it can't be relevant.

We hear this all the time in advertising. And so the relevant ethos of the day, fart jokes, prevail in much of what we do.

On Saturday night I saw Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice" in Central Park with the 70-year-old Al Pacino playing Shylock.

The audience was rapt when Pacino was on stage. When he whispered, he really whispered. And you could hear him, despite the police helicopters and laughing picnickers frolicking outside the theater.

The whole play was wonderful. The lusciousness of the language. The humor, the conflict. The debate it generated about Shylock. Was he the victimizer or the victim.

I don't want to hear things aren't relevant because they're old. Things aren't relevant if they suck.


Tore Claesson said...

Yes, Sir. And how we've come to so totally ignore the wisdom, and ideas, of yester-year, or yesterday afternoon, is a complete mystery, as the churches and synagogues and the other temples are packed with people every weekend. Isn't the bible, the old Torah, and even the new testament a little too old to be relevant? Or even the slightly younger Koran which should be way out of date by now? And still....people gather around those scripts, form their lives based on them, merry and have children and die according to their messages, fight wars over them, etc. etc. But, in advertising we behave as if mankind only consists of clueless toddlers, at most.

bob hoffman said...

Advertising used to be about finding an insight and communicating it. Now it's about identifying the next fad and jumping on it before someone else does.