Since America began about 250 years ago, the nation has always been riven. Early on the Puritans clashed with seculars. Then, of course, we had a great Civil War that pitted the North against the South. Today, we have Red states vs. Blue, which, I hate to say it, is merely a continuation of Civil War battle lines.
I read an article this morning in "The New York Times" about the airline KLM allowing people to pick their seats according to the LinkedIn and Facebook profiles of their fellow travelers. This is hailed by airline "spokespeople" (presumably they are called spokespeople because if you met them you would want to lance their eyes with a bicycle spoke) as a great way to make flying better, more enjoyable and more suitable to contemporary tastes. The program by the way is called "Meet and Seat."
Last night I watched the Knick's sensation Jeremy Lin get crushed by the Big Three of the Miami Heat. Naturally, I saw about three minutes worth of basketball and 27 minutes of commercials. Most of them consisted of impossibly pretty, impossibly fit and impossibly smiley young people dancing and screaming with joy over their 4G connection or a chemically-enhanced cheeseburger.
There was not a single ad, not a single marketing effort that made any appeal whatsoever to me. I am not a Luddite. God knows, I am not the Dalai Lama. While I don't pine for a great deal of consumer goods, like most people there are things I want.
But I am as different from the people marketers and politicians are marketing to as I can imagine. It's as if I'm from a different planet. Oh, I know, I live in New York and New York is a bubble.
This bubble I live in is fairly large and is very affluent. Inside this bubble people do not find the crotch jokes and organ grinding that predominates in entertainment entertaining. We do not crave 99-cent tacos stuffed to the genetically-modified gills with hormone-injected cattle-product.
To paraphrase David Ogilvy, "the consumer isn't a moron..." We're just treated that way.
What's more, the logarithms that rule our online lives treat us like morons as well. They assume because my doctoral-student daughter sent me an email last night about getting an advanced assessment certification that I might want to be a dental hygienist or a nurse practitioner. It doesn't take a Svengali to see through the targetting apparatus that sends you such ads. The effect on me is just that it pisses me off.