Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Worries. And more.

This is going to be fairly heavy. So either buckle up or click somewhere else.

I worry about a lot in the world today: the dislocation of billions of people due to climate change. The end of democracy and the rise of totalitarianism. The pernicious effects of an unblinking surveillance capitalism.

I worry about never-ending wars that people aren't even aware are being fought. I worry that a mere 26 people have as much wealth as 3.5 billion people at the bottom of the economic pyramid. I worry about our inability to provide reliable electricity, clean water, smooth roads, decent educations. 

I worry about all those things. But what I worry most about is our inability as a culture, as a species to distinguish any longer between reality and fantasy.

I worry that as a culture and a species we are so distracted by the every day that we no longer notice what is happening in the world.

If you're watching and listening, you see this in small ways and large ways.

There's a photo of Trump pasted onto "Rocky's" body. People believe it. People deny the efficacy of life-saving vaccines. They deny climate change as a hoax. A staggering number of people deny that the earth is round and that Americans landed on the moon. People deny evolution. They deny gender equality. Racial equality.

Taken separately such things are scary. Taken as a whole, and a trend, they mark humanity's gallop to the end of rational thought. Or, the equal-time-ization of irrational and rational.

Some of the normalization of the irrational, the legitimizing of kooks is due to how language is being used today. Even the most benign messages we receive are so laden with sloppiness and deception that we have grown used to being brutalized by words.

This morning, before 7AM, I heard or read all this:

"Alternate side of the street parking is suspended for snow operations.(We're shoveling.)

"By continuing to use our site, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. You can learn more about how we use cookies by reviewing our Privacy Policy.(We're slicing and dicing and selling your data to anyone and everyone who will pay for it. You can't really learn more unless you have a law degree and about 20 hours to spare.")

Please note that support for the TEM application is provided by your nominated mobile administrators. (I can't believe that one person in five-thousand knows their "nominated mobile administrator." Or what a TEM application is. Or, frankly what support is.)

Nearly everything we see, hear, buy and interact with today is mean, demeaning and meaningless. We have stopped using words and images effectively because we have allowed ourselves to become desensitized to them. We no longer think about what we're writing and reading and shooting and cutting, we just string together platitudes, half-truths and tautologies that we then sand down to an anodyne nub.

I don't care what you do for a living. I don't care if you're an art-director or a writer or an anything else. We are allowing darkness to prevail because we have accepted the absence of light.

Communications should be bold. Interesting. Human. Unique. Thoughtful. And real.

That's our job.

Not as ad people.

As human people.

By the way, if you're interested in the power of the aliveness of good writing, try something by Joseph Mitchell now and again. 

You can buy his great book "Bottom of the Harbor," used for $1.83 plus shipping. If you care about words if will make you care more. If you just like a good story, it will hand you one-hundred, if you just want a sober look at sadness, it will brighten your day.

Here's a Forshpeiz, for the six of you who made it this far.


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