Friday, November 15, 2013

Love and candor.

A few weeks ago I read Rabbi Harold Kushner's new book, "The Book of Job: When Bad Things Happen to a Good Person."

It's pretty high-falutin' stuff in general--a discussion of why "god" allows shit to happen, really bad shit, like the death of one's children or more macro things like, say, the Holocaust.

One thing I took away is this.

When you are secure in your love for someone, or some thing, or some idea, you can be critical of it, even inflammatory and caustic.

Job castigates god. It doesn't mean he hates god. It means he loves god.

This notion that true love allows for true criticism seems lost on many people.

They seem to think if you're negative about something, it means you hate it. It might very well mean you love them.

Of course, I am very very critical of the advertising industry in general, and, often, my agency in particular. That's not because I hate the industry or where I work. It's because I love such things and such places and want them to be better.

I my be vox clamantis in deserto--a voice crying in the wilderness--but I refuse to accept what seems to be the commonly-held notion that we are vendors, that we add only spurious value and that we should be under constant pressure to do crappier work faster and cheaper.

Advertising, the best advertising, can create literally billions of dollars of value for marketers that use it effectively. The list of those who do is long: Nike, Apple, IBM, UPS, Perdue, Avis, and, I'm countless others that I have missed in this morning's haze.

I critique advertising because I love advertising.

I critique my clients because I care and want them to do better.

I critique my agency because I love what I do and want to be freer to do it.

If you can't take honesty, you're at the wrong blog.


Cecil B. DeMille said...

People mistake criticism for dismissal or attack or condescension.

Real criticism has no shred of vitriol. Real criticism is born of the desire to improve, not to destroy.

The hard part is telling the difference between those who critique from love and those who do so as saboteurs.

Anonymous said...

If you don't love it, you wouldn't have stayed with it.

Criticism is always well taken but something must be right or you would have quit.

It can't be everyone is a fool, a cog, a tool, a lightweight except you.

It it were all shit, you'd be selling life insurance.

Tom B