Whenever the world throws me a curveball, whenever an ill-wind knocks me a-kilter, whenever, in the words of William Wordsworth, the "world is too much with me," I look to find ways to center myself.
One way I do that is to walk Whiskey, my almost-ten-year-old golden retriever. Another way I try to get some peace is to walk myself, three-or-five miles, sans music or conversation. Just a silent walk, me and the birds and the sea off to one side.
The final thing I do is read. I read intelligent, well-written things and they calm me down. Like this by one of my writing heroes, Joseph Mitchell.
His clarity helps me. It's light in a world that's dark.
We live in a world, it seems to me, that is essentially devoid of clarity. A world heaped with bullshit, where confusion is often a bludgeon. Where people assault you with verbal diarrhea and knee you in the groin with a purposefully blunt lack of precision.
In other words, they don't take the time to be clear. They don't take the time to collect their thoughts. They don't in fact, take the time to think. They just spew.
We accept it. Especially if it comes from people in vaunted positions. We respect the no-clothes-ness of our Emporers. We don't call it out.
The latest affront is from my ex-agency, Ogilvy.
Once a beacon of clarity and good writing. I was proud to be an Ogilvy writer. It meant something once.
Once it was an organization that hated jargon and pretense.
But just today, I got two separate emails from two different ex-Ogilvy colleagues.
First I got this.
There is absolutely nothing about it I understand. I don't understand the words. I don't understand the utter lack of meaning. And I don't understand what Ogilvy Experience is or what a Global Executive Creative Director does.
Why run an ad that has no impact or stopping power or meaning? But I suppose those values are passe in today's high-falutin' days. What could be more old-fashioned than an ad that says something and makes you think? Why, that's harkening back to the 80s.
Then from someone else, I got this. Maybe it's even worse. If that's possible.
Again, I don't know what any of this means. Or how anyone involved in that once-great agency could regard these communications as valuable to their brand.
Dave Trott, the legendary ad person, recently asked a very simple question. Why would anyone run an ad that people don't like? Why would anyone run an ad that doesn't make people laugh, feel, smile or think?
I know it's almost 2021.
I know I don't have an advanced degree in whatever people have advanced degrees in these days. I know I don't wear a woolen hat in 94-degree heat, lean in, or live in Bushwick.
In other words, what the fuck do I know?
I'm essentially unemployed.
But here's what I know.
That shit sucks.
Maybe you should think about that.
Do something about our propagation and acceptance of crap.
Also, maybe you should watch this.
I know I did.
Two times. And I saved it too.
It doesn't suck.