Tuesday, January 5, 2016


The thing that strikes you if you ever read or re-read "Moby Dick," is how much living its author, Herman Melville had done.

He had had, by the time he was 30 and writing his classic, he had travelled the world (the hard way, on numerous merchant and whale ships.) He had made the rent in a dozen jobs.

Along the way he learned to sail, he learned carpentry, he learned the rudiments of the blacksmith's trade. He had been a file clerk, a scribe, a farmer, a vagrant. He had heard a million stories. And at a time when most people never traveled more the ten or twenty miles from where they were born, he had circumnavigated the globe half a dozen times.

He had lived life.

Which is what led him to write perhaps the greatest of all American novels.

Today, I fear the hand-sanitizer that's in every conference room and every airport first-class lounge.

I fear the shrink-wrapping and the pasteurization of life.

I fear the processed, choreographed, prescriptions that pass for insights, humor or even a gag.

I fear that we are no longer living.

There's no dirt under our cosmic finger-nails.

I worry that our industry now seems to recruit not from whale ships but from academies that study little but our industry and its adjunct, award shows.

Where's the living, breathing life?

Where's the soul?

In our attempt to create advertising, we study advertising.

When we should be studying--no, living--life.

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