Tuesday, July 20, 2010


I came upon this quotation by writer Gary Shteyngart and I stopped tweeting long enough to consider it:

"Silence has been destroyed, but also the idea that it’s important to learn how another person thinks, to enter the mind of another person. The whole idea of empathy is gone. We are now part of this giant machine where every second we have to take out a device and contribute our thoughts and opinions."

The relevance of the above to advertising is as plain as sludge on a Gulf Coast pelican. We are in the business of listening and to prove that we talk all the time. We don't observe, we analyze. We don't hear, we wait.

Miles Davis, I think, said that the secret to jazz was the space between the notes. Do we ever listen for those?

Of course the dynamics of the business today often obviate listening. We must show productivity in each and every hour. We must write about companies and products before we have listened to their essence. Is it any wonder in that scenario that most "fat hapless white guys" commercials can be tagged with anyone's logo and product shot?

We are uncomfortable, uneasy, unaccepting of silence.


I have nothing further to add.


Anonymous said...

What's most prescient about MIle Davis was his need to reinvent himself and his music, much like Picasso, throughout his career rather than repeat himself or settle for formulaic reruns of what he had done before. How many in our industry aspire to that? Scant few.

Like your postings/rants/observations.

Keep it up.

A sometime visitor

Anonymous said...

I don't want my heart surgeon to be reinventing himself/herself while I'm in their OR. We are not artists, we are prima donnas. As Helmut Krone said, "Until you have a better idea, copy". right now, I'm too busy wading through a pile of briefs that are backlogged. I have no time to think about new ideas.

george tannenbaum said...

Oh, stop, anonymous two. Life isn't that hard.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I agree with the guy from China.

george tannenbaum said...

Beef and broccoli.