Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Writing Right.

For some years now, I've used a tagline to promote my agency and my services. It's simple. And it's something I believe in. That makes it better than about 99.979-percent of all other taglines out there. Things like, "We know how to luggage." Or "This is how you sunglass." Or "Buick. The SUV built around you."

My line is: "Good writing is a business advantage." And it's based on something I've followed since I picked up, in the early 1980s, the Style Guide of the Economist Magazine. That guide begins with this simple sentence: "Clarity of writing usually follows clarity of thought." Yeah, that's right. Clarity, too, is a business advantage.

In any event at the beginning of October, the very same Economist started advertising to its subscribers a podcast called "Well Red. Inside Language and Style at The Economist." 

Though I rarely listen to podcasts (I seldom have the time. And I prefer to read.) I found an hour to take in this one, and I'm glad I did. I've pasted it above. And hopefully, it won't be so severely paywalled that you're shit out of luck. If you can't see the podcast, you can download one of their style guides here, for free. At the very least it will impress the other ones and zeroes on your hard-drive. No mean feat.

I won't go into a of details about the podcast. But one bit in particular impressed me. It gave me information in a way I hadn't heard before. So, I've gone back to it a few times and I call it to your attention here. 

At 1:30 in the video above, Lane Greene, a language correspondent for the magazine says: 

I start with words. We like to use the old, short words of the English language. Winston Churchill once said that short words are best and old words when short are best of all. That means the concrete, the simple. If you're interested in language history, the words that go back to the Anglo-Saxon period of the English language constitute the real bedrock of the language. Ideally, those words should be concrete things. Things that you can stub your toe on....

The next thing would be phrasing, when you put words together. When you put words together, you should by all means use metaphors and images and figures of speech but try not to use worn-out, exhausted metaphors, cliches and images that you're used to seeing in print. Try to come up with fresh imagery that will arrest a reader and make them pay attention.

The third thing is sentences. Our sentences should be active and they should be short. They should have a named visual or visualizable reference right at the heart of the sentence. And they should be doing something with a verb that's nice and vivid and clear so people can see it in their mind's eye. Syntax, wherever possible, should be short and simple. Hit that full-stop button as often as you can...and you'll make life a lot easier for your readers.

When I was a boy in the business there were literally scores of awards annuals on sale for half price down at the Strand bookstore on 12th and Broadway. For a time in the late 80s, I could walk down there, browse, get some Chinese food and be back in my office in under an hour. As an industry we lost a lot when we decided to eliminate agency libraries and relocate to the prairies of Manhattan where there are neither museums or bookstores. Or people.

I had no disposable income during those early days of my career but I was sure I wanted disposable income in my later days. So I saved up my lunch money and bought every annual I could find. Eventually, my collection was wider and deeper than that of the One Club. It still is.

I read every ad in those books. Ten times. Even if the ads they reproduced were so small that the body copy was just six point,
I found a way like an old scrivener squinting over the books.

Of course, I read every VW ad by DDB. Every ad Ed McCabe wrote. And Jim Durfee. And Curvin O'Reilly. And Steve Hayden. And probably one hundred more. Non ad people too, like Flannery O'Conner, Joseph Mitchell, A.J. Liebling, Robert Caro and the great writers of the Times.

I read and I wrote. 

I'm two-million words in to writing this blog and I am still learning and still practicing every day. That's the reason why behind this space. The reason why behind my every-day-ness.

There's no easy way to do any of this.

There's no short course to self-expression. Or clarity. 

Once in a while, I read a poem my best friend Fred shared with me when we were just high school juniors. Just 15 or so. It's by Langston Hughes, a poet who means a lot to me, who I return to often. 

It's as terse as a sock in the jaw. Yet it says a helluva lot. It's good. I keep learning from it. As you do from things that are good, no matter how often you revisit them.


I could tell you
If I wanted to.
What makes me
What I am.

But I don't
Really want to –
And you don't
Give a damn.

Monday, October 30, 2023

Small Beats Big.

I made my first paycheck in advertising back in 1962. I was in two commercials for Nabisco cereals--thanks to my father who was a copywriter on the brand--and I made just about the equivalent of what two Volkswagen Beetles would cost. I suppose today that would mean about $75,000, so as a four-year-old, I was doing ok.

I've never really been the entrepreneurial-type. I was always fine working for other people and through the decades I worked for a dozen agencies or more. Today, however, more than half of the agencies I used to work for, though many of them were storied and venerable, are no more. Through financial machinations and corporate sleight-of-hand, literally hundreds of agencies have been schmutzed, squozen and otherwise schmised out of business. And tens of thousands of people similarly schmutzed, squozen and schmised out of their livelihoods.

Last week, GeorgeCo., LLC, a Delaware Company had a raft of client meetings. My Microsoft calendar was stretched like a pair of Sansabelt polyester slacks after Thanksgiving dinner. If my calendar had a button fastener, I would have been afraid that it would burst under the pressure and someone could lose an eye.

Don't laugh. It happens.

As I sat on the myriad Zoom calls, I got to thinking about the comedy of life.

Not the television-derived Ray Romano-type unfunny comedy, but the comedy that appears when you've worked for sixty years at something and then are forced into emotional arrears because someone who's never-ever come close to writing an ad decides that someone who's spent sixty years in the business and is making the agency a lot of money and helping to teach a lot of young people and guide a lot of clients, no longer has any value to the financial house-of-cards that we politely call in a Goebbels-like spurt of linguistic offal, a holding company.

It doesn't matter that most of what that holding company used to hold they've dropped. It doesn't matter that they've halved over the last decade how many people they employ, what matters is the eight-figure compensation packages for the anointed old boys who, again through some sort of financial sleight-of-hand, have somehow emerged on top. 

Proof you can lead a race to the bottom and finish on top.

As I sat on these Zoom calls and thought about how much my life had changed after a life in advertising, I got to thinking, also, how lucky I've been to have had that change visited upon me.

GeorgeCo., LLC, a Delaware Company is a two-person operation. And somehow, with the exception of one or two giant corporations who sought me out from my Ogilvy days, GeorgeCo gets to work not with a rogues' gallery of assistant associate junior senior management functionaries but with the people who run the various companies or founded the various companies I work for.

The stakes and pressures that come from that closeness and proximity are not to be underestimated. It can be, within the same 90-minute Zoom call both crushing and elevating. But the intimacy and importance of my role is to be envied--though it is sometimes somewhat torturous. 

While I've always written ads for a living, when you run your own place and are working for people who run their own place, you're doing more than writing ads. You're like, in fact, one of the old Greek Fates. You're charting the course for a company's future not just creating a banner ad that says $49.99/month when you bundle.

Some years ago, I got a phone call from Steve Hayden, writer on the most-famous commercial ever and former Vice Chairman of Ogilvy when I was there the first time. Steve is my mentor still and my friend. He had asked me to take over a piece of business he was working on that he no longer felt he was able to handle. 

Those were some big shoes to fill. Beyond doing the work for this client, I had to live up to Steve's expectations. 

He called one rainy Saturday as I was walking the dog and getting soaked. My dog had a better raincoat than I.

"How's it going with ___________?" he asked referring to the client he had passed on to me.

"It's going well, I think." When it comes to self-assessments, I don't like to over-commit. "It's going well, I think," I repeated. "I just got off the phone with _______. A friend of his died and he asked for my help writing his eulogy."

There was a long-pause from Steve's side of the blower.

"I'd say that's going well."

And I think that's the point today and what's been lost during the Holding Company Era/Error of modern advertising. Think about it geographically if that makes things easier. 

Advertising used to be called Madison Avenue. Agencies were located there, and on Fifth, Park, Lex, Third and Second in mid-town. Agencies were close to the center of American business because we were important to the center of American business. They wanted us nearby, so we could be in the offices and at the tables where important business ideas were derived and shared.

Today, agencies are far from their clients.

Both physically and emotionally. We're no longer intimates. We're imitates.

Concomitantly work done by agencies feels tin-eared and dopey. As integral as duck feet would be to a grizzly bear. As an industry, we're as important to our clients as sincerity is to a politician.

Big agencies, holding company agencies, the companies that control 98-percent of every advertising dollar spent will never be as big as little GeorgeCo., LLC, a Delaware Company. They can trot out all sorts of experts, all manner of proprietary systems and a host of awards as numerous as those ancient Chinese terracotta soldiers.

As Alben Barkley might have said about the vice presidency, none of that is worth a bucket of warm spit.

What matters in advertising and life is much more fundamental. And sometimes, even, more fun. 

It ain't about size. Or having 30,000 people in 64 countries. Or borderless creativity, when in truth, the joint is so noisy and chaotic, most people never talk to the person down the hall much less in Timbuktu or Montevideo. The point is something about work. And loving what you do. And helping actual people, not just awards juries you pay to play.

Not enough people understand that.

Friday, October 27, 2023

Dropping the Ball.

More than twenty years ago I had shot and edited and finished a package of a dozen spots for one of America's biggest companies.

The company made computer hardware at the time. Hardware is passé now. It's like the proof in the pudding. As a "society," we hate both pudding and proof. We prefer potential over performance. And promises made over promises kept. But this was twenty years ago and this particular company at the time made four different kinds of laptop computers. They denoted them as the T-series, A-series, X-series and I-series. Mnemonically, I remembered that nomenclature with the word TAXI.

After the spots were on the air, a young and very talented account person was sent down to my office.

Though I had never barked at her, she was scared. I'm tall and gruff and I suppose naturally intimidating.

"George, the client changed the names of their laptops. The I-series is now the R-series."

"We did an I-series spot and the actor says 'I-series' on camera."

I put a 3/4-inch in my VCR and we watched the spot. I ran it back and we watched it again.

"He's dead-on camera," I said. "We can over-dub, but the lip-movements will be off." People in advertising used to care about lip-synch. Now we can just blame it on AI or something, or fix it magically. Commercials cost a lot to shoot and produce but 99.7% look like crap.

The account person wasn't about to let me off the hook. 

"George, isn't there anything you can do?"

"MJ, he's on camera. Why did they change the names of the machines after we shot the spots? They had to know this was happening."

"George," she repeated, "isn't there anything you can do?"

I took the tape out of my Sony. I stuck it back in its plastic home. 

"MJ," I said, "You're really in a pickle."

"A pickle?"

I had never used that phrase before or been so dismissive of a person in need.

We all laughed. MJ laughed nervously. 

In a pickle.

And as she turned hang-dog to leave my office, I said, "MJ, let me run down to the editor. I'll see what we can do."


If you live in the modern world, whether that's the micro-advertising modern world, or the macro-modern-world, you often find yourself in a pickle.

A big, juicy sour one. A pickle that could squirt and sting your eye.

Something goes wrong, whether it's your fault or someone elses' and not only is there no way to fix it, there's no one you can call. The problem splashes pickle juice like a bus through a puddle.

I know I have about twenty or sixty little things I'd like to address, but I can't spend hours or days getting to the bottom of them and I know no help-desk or bot ever in the history of humankind has ever solved anyone's problems. 

Properly, why don't we call them helpless desks.

And call bots buts. 

I have a password I can't find. 
A subscription I'd like to cancel.
I'm over-paying for cable service I don't use.
My ice-machine doesn't work right.
The pockets on my expensive raincoat need repair.

Problems like these are the stuff of life. 
In advertising, there are millions of them.

Conference calls always start six minutes late.
No one's read the brief.
The creative work was due Tuesday and won't be ready for a week.
You never get the same team twice.

These things, too, are the stuff of life.

Somehow, in today's modern world, people paying for products and/or services are a bit like Gulliver in Lilliput. Stung by 100,000 arrows from all directions. Like microscopic summer-time gnats, not enough to kill you. But they're PFA. (Plenty fucking annoying.)

We're all supposed to suck it up and take it. 
Like crammed seating on United.
Or almost daily internet outages from Speculum.
Or too much taxation without any representation from every elected person.

To dumb things down, you can divide the world in two.

99% is a YOYO world. 
That includes ad agencies.
You're on Your Own.
In the words of my father, you can "go piss up a rope."

1% is a WITT world.
We're In This Together.

I went down to the editor.
Somehow he found a take we hadn't used with the talent bending down to get the appropriate laptop. He said his line
off-camera then popped up to face the lens. And somehow we also found a stray "r" sound and successfully spliced it in.

MJ was no longer in a pickle.

I was a mediocre fielder when I played baseball.

I've gotten better at not dropping the ball.

That too is life.

Thursday, October 26, 2023


Back in pre-historic times before all of advertising was owned by four or five holding companies that are, in fact, owned by four or five private equity firms, I worked for an important 300-person firm.

My friends and I had determined that the right-sized agency for a young creative person was about 300 people. 

That was big enough to handle national accounts, but not so big that there would be twelve teams on every assignment and you might never get to talk to the boss. The most creative agencies in the industry back 40 years ago, Ammirati & Puris, Levine, Huntley, Scali McCabe, Ally & Gargano and a few others were all about that size.

Back then, we also got paid by hand.

The office "Mom," would walk around the agency on payday and hand you your paystub enclosed in a sky-blue envelope. I liked that and thought it was a good policy. It was a semiotic connection between work and pay.

Now, you get paid, the money just shows up in your account. There's no moment of reflection and certainly not of celebration. The fact is, if I ever ran an agency, I'd pay people everyday. Today, the link between your work and your pay is invisible--it's hidden--I think we should bring it back.

I think there are a lot of things that take place today that are important that we've removed from the line of everyday site.

There's no draft in the US now. So many of us don't know anyone in the military. And though the US has troops in nearly every country in the world, I certainly don't know any of them. We've used, in a sense, modern methods to keep us from thinking about things. Like imperialism, militarism and death.

We've done the same thing with taxes and social security payments. 

Though you can, if you're smart enough, find someplace on line where you can check your paystub, most people never get a glimpse of theirs until it's tax-time and they get the requisite form from their employer.

I think we'd be much more demanding of government and government officials if we paid our taxes every day.

"I just gave you $2700, what are you doing with that?" 

We don't see the money physically being taken from us. Along the way it stops being top-of-mind and we forget that we might have rights as tax-payers, the least of which should be some sort of accountability.

About once-a-month, I get a text message from xfinity. It tells me that there's an outage up in Connecticut where my seaside cottage sits and that they're working to restore service as soon as their bots can get to it.

My bill comes just the same.

And if xfinity is out one day a month, I get no reimbursement for the service I didn't get but had to pay for because that's just the way it goes. In a sense, I pay 100% for service 97% of the time. 

There are hundreds of instances like that. 

But because we've removed the "pain of paying," or the "recognition of paying," my guess is all of us little people are giving away trillions of dollars and getting zero in return.

Running GeorgeCo., LLC, a Delaware Company as I have over the past almost-four years, I have to write a lot of scopes. 

I try to make them a value proposition.

If you hire me for x days, you get x manifestos, x print ads, x extras and more.

The ol' if-then proposition.

Or WYSIWYG. What you see is what you get.

I think we need more of that.

And less hiding.

I steal a lot when I write my posts. I have a cyclone of references in my head--maybe two or three dozen. They're like a lazy Susan of things I remember, and when I need a summary point, I can usually find one in there.

Robert Frost has a couple entries in my cranium. And I'm thinking right now about wrapping this up with a couple of lines from his poem, "The Mending Wall."

Before I pay a bill or write a scope, I ask to know
What I was getting or doing for that money,
And to whom I was like to give offense.

No hiding.

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Achilles on Advertising.

I wonder if there's a Human Resources professional anywhere who's ever read "The Iliad" by Homer. 

I don't suppose there is. 

Partly because there aren't that many people in any profession who still read ancient works. Somehow most people say things like, "it's 5000 years old; how can it be relevant?" Rather than, "it's 5000 years old; it must be relevant."

That dichotomy is the essential tragedy of life. 

Just as every generation of teenagers thinks they invented sex, most people, institutions and eech-o-systems think humanity seminally changes with every new season when, in fact, we haven't changed all that much since bipedalism became all the rage.

The Iliad is really the story of the man-god Achilles. Homer might call him powerful Achilles, or swift Achilles, or strong Achilles. But, sorry Homer, the right modifier is immoderate Achilles.

Achilles is the original do not go gentler. He doesn't have an ounce of half-way in him. He's all or nothing. And he's pissed.

Achilles, the greatest of the Greeks, is disrespected by fat old nebbish Agamemnon. Agamemnon steals Achilles' war-prize, the beauty Breiseis and for that injustice and, yes, cruelty, Achilles goes on strike. While the battle against Troy is raging and scores and scores of Greeks are being slaughtered by the Trojan Hector and his men, Achilles, Patroclus and the gallant Myrmidons refuse to fight.

Achilles' anger isn't HR-approved.

His anger with Agamemnon is immoderate. It's not subject to humankind's normal behavioral constraints and practices. In her forward to her translation, Emily Wilson writes: 
The extraordinary wrath of Achilles entails an insistent, deadly refusal to accept any of the traditional forms of compensation for the various losses he experiences. 
In the first stage, Agamemnon insults Achilles by robbing him of a female captive, Briseis. Agamemnon later realizes his mistake and offers to give the woman back untouched, along with a lavish set of gifts as compensation for the affront. But Achilles adamantly rejects the offer, insisting that even an infinite number of gifts—as many as the sands of the sea—could never be adequate compensation for his original humiliation."

In Homer's words, Achilles says: 

I'll admit--and I'll take the compensatory damnation that comes from it--I am with Achilles. I am, like most good creative people are, entirely too immoderate.

I am too angry.
I am too funny.
I am too driven, passionate, competitive, ornery.
I don't stop.
I don't let go.
Fuck compromise.
Fuck conciliation.
Fuck two steps forward, one back.

The blanderization of advertising and the blanderization of our agencies and our work is because we've been told to collaborate, find compromise, cooperate, get along, build bridges.

Discontent--the ab ovo spark of creativity itself--is to be HR-banished from our "tool kit" of pablum-flavored placid responses.

We are supposed to burn not hot, but beige.

Four years ago,  I ran across the article above in “The New York Times.” 

I read the article and liked it. Agency “career discussions” were going on at that moment and I thought the article was valuable enough to share with some people who had the letter “C” in their title.

How fucking naïve of me.

I particularly liked this passage, and underscored it in the note I sent out.
In moments, I got back a note from one of the “Cs.”

“Thanks for this. It's a compelling read. While we currently don't look for misfits as we bring people on board, we do look for people who are highly collaborative agitators…”

Highly collaborative agitators.

Not immoderate Achilles.

people who prize getting along more than getting noticed.
People who like sameness more than difference.
And agreement over controversy.

We look for compliance not contrariness.

“Can't we all just get along” might be great for a family vacation. Its not great for a creative endeavor.

Can't we all just get along and mediocreize our way to an unemployed future.

This is, isn't it, what Ginsburg was Howling against when he wrote, "I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked..."

Minds are destroyed by compromise and concessions. Junk emotions.

And we're forced into complacent smiling acceptance of crap, notarized by plastic trophies that we pay to receive, as a sop of recognition for the crap we make.

The agency business has lost its way in so many ways in the holding company error-era.

Ignoring the lessons of Achilles may be the worst.

It might be better if we cared a bit more.

And gave up a little less easily.

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Think Gall.

Last week, or better, last weak, when Wire Paper and Prophylactic merged $2 billion worth of agency billings into one $500 million agency, I thought it might make sense for GeorgeCo., LLC, a Delaware Company to write an ad on the topic.

I get a lot of business from the little 5"x4" ads I run on LinkedIn and why shouldn't I try to get more? Further, if I can get it at the expense of Whyus Paprika and Psoriasis, all the better. Clients are no longer beholden to the old golf-club agencies--and more and more of them seem willing to venture out to a one-person shop like mine when they are frustrated by their traditional agency partners from Wretched Putzy and Phlebotic.

So, I took pen to paper and I quickly decided I would rewrite Julian Koenig and Helmut Krone's famous ad "Think Small." Since Mark Cant Read was extolling the virtues of an agency with 30,000 people in 64 countries, or 64 people in 30,000 countries, small seemed like a good counterpoint. My copy, instead of talking about the virtues of a small car, would talk about the virtues of working with a small agency.

Had I decided to write the ad, my copy might have read something like this:

Along the way as I started to try to make an ad, I realized my art-direction skills were not up to the task. I couldn't even figure out how to download VW's actual font.

So I abandoned the project. 

However, as I was trying to find a hi-res image of "Think small," I stumbled upon a story that back in 1966, DDB had gotten a bunch of artists and writers to put together a small book for VW dealers to give to their customers. It was called "think small." I found it online for less than a cuppa Starbucks and it arrived at my apartment twenty minutes ago, giving me material enough for yet another blogpost.

I'm nearing my 7,000th post, by the way.

And this is how I do it.


Monday, October 23, 2023

News from 3500 Years Ago.

As people who know me know, I am most often submerged like Alvin, the deep-sea exploration craft in the Marianas Trench of a trenchant book. It hardly matters what I'm reading--and I read about a wide-range of topics across an equally wide stretch of time periods--regardless of what, reading allows me two things I think very few other people get. Or maybe three.

1. It allows me an escape from a world surely gone mad.
2. It gives me a historical perspective on the world today.
3. It allows me to remove myself from the patent lunacy of the 24-hour news-cycle--a cycle that makes your pulse race and allows misinformation, rumors and outright lies to flourish.

I fear for anyone trapped in the dopamine cyclone of CNN and its lookalikes. It's probably even worse during an election cycle or a war, but truth be told, we are always within an election cycle of a war.

Actually, I think anyone who watches or listens to the news for more than 15 minutes a day is taking a pharmaceutical of sorts. A sort of anti-valium. They will in short order drive themselves crazy.

Right now, I am halfway through Emily Wilson's rich, colloquial and wonderful new translation of Homer's Iliad. It's good, I think, to read about an ancient war while in the middle-east an even more ancient war is being carnaged. There are many elements of the Iliad we would be wise to remember today. In fact, I think we'd know more about Israel fighting Hamas if we read the Iliad than if we watched contemporary, ratings-driven news shows.

(BTW, you can't truly trust anything that is ratings or awards-driven. They are so bent on acclaim, they will do anything, sensational, dishonest and fabricated to achieve their ratings.)

First. Fog.

You don't really know who did what to whom or why. Everyone is guilty in the Iliad, and everyone is also innocent. The gods started the ball rolling and there really was, for no one, an escape from its pathways, caroms and bad hops. One moment the Trojans have the upper hand, the next the Greeks. The circumstances change virtually every second. In other words, there is no single reality, there are a billion competing realities each of which is true and each of which is false depending on if you're throwing a bronze-tipped spear of being impaled by one.

Second. God. Or gods.

You never know whose side they're on, or why, or why they switch sides so capriciously and so often. They often seem to act on the basis of causing the maximum number of human deaths (gods can't die) and mayhem. After all, Zeus started the whole thing, with the golden apple, poor Paris forced to choose between Hera, Athena and Aphrodite, to cull the human herd. He felt too many people were tromping on his sister Gaia (mother earth) and everyone would be better off with fewer people. 

Zeus might have been right in that. But that is beside the point.

To my reading--surely influenced by current events--I see a world where you never really know what's happening or what role the gods are playing in it. If that ain't relevant to today, I don't know what is.

Third, Rolling Dice.

The winds of war, like the fog of war, are as variable as the actions or inactions of the gods. They change direction, intensity and effect as often as a CMO's spouse. You never know who's where or who's doing what or why. The answer, as Dylan wrote 61 years ago, is blowin' in the wind and as unknowin' as the wind, to boot.

BTW, and for whatever reason, there's a classics revival happening in the world of literature today. Emily Wilson has translated by the Iliad and the Odyssey (where she amped up the role of Odysseus' wife, Penelope.) And the unsurpassed and prolific Mary Beard has yet another book out, this one called  Emperor of Rome: Ruling the Ancient World. It's nice that two of today's leading classics scholars are women and bring a woman's perspective to what had formerly been almost exclusively a man's domain.

My two drachmas are simple. 

If you want a perspective on the world--if you think it's spun off its axis, you're right. And that's same as it ever was.

Which reminds, me of a one-liner I wrote some years ago in my Latinate best.

Why was the Latin scholar a virgin?

When he was asked to conjugate, he declined.

Thursday, October 19, 2023

Shut up.

When I was young in the business, maybe it was my first choice agency job back at Marschalk in 1984, I had a moment of premature wisdom.

Going into a holiday weekend, there were some shitty trade ads to do. Or right before a big pitch, there were some small loose ends to tie up. Or proofs needed to be signed off on, or a block of copy was badly ragged and the people who were supposed to be in charge of getting that shit done were nowhere to be found.

I said something aloud long before I had the ostensible experience to have noticed. "Agencies are responsibility vacuums. There's never anyone around to carry the heavy load. When someone's needed to do something, they usually show up missing."

And, I said again, "Agencies are responsibility vacuums. All the work will rush toward those people willing to do it."

Along with that, I created my own personal agency yoga position. Hand up. Head down.

Ask for work--hand up.
Do it--head down.

Always be willing to do. Always work to get it done.

Don't be a patsy. But don't be so aloof and hard to find that getting you involved is more trouble than you're worth.

Or as Woody Allen is reputed to have said, "Showing up is 80% of life."

The slaughter of thousands of Israelis, the rapes, the torture, the, yes, beheadings have not impelled the leadership of the giant holding companies to issue statements in public. 

They've shown up, once again, missing.

Or missing the plot.

Or so solipsistically obsessed over their latest idee fixe that they've lost site of the actual world. 

Holding company leadership seems to be speaking and speaking and speaking about everything but what's really important.

Why take responsibility? Why be kind? Why show sensitivity? It's so much easier to go out and play golf. And then read from that great, canned HR-approved teleprompter in the sky.

For instance, amid the horrors in the Middle East:

Just as the same leadership does not speak out against platforms and networks and channels spewing lies, hate, racism, climate denial and more.

Often, people rebuke me for my hardheadedness. But then I ask them something simple.

If you were south of the Mason-Dixon in 1970, would you shop at a store that didn't allow Black people to try on clothing? Would you eat in a restaurant that didn't serve Black people? Would you stay in a hotel that was white only?

Someone once said somewhere, ?Whatever you did to one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did to me.”*

*Void where prohibited. Some restrictions apply.

Would you go gentle into that racist realm?

Likewise today, do you equivocate when babies have their heads chopped off? Do you stay silent when thousands are murdered? Do you hear about grandmothers being raped and say "there are two sides"?

Worse, do you ignore the world altogether because it's fraught not to and besides you have considerable "self" to promote and specious awards to accept and podcasts to propagate.

Of course, we have work to do and businesses to run and ads to write. Of course, the world is too much with us. Of course, this is particular situation has gone on for dozens, or hundreds, or thousands of years, depending on how you count.

No matter what your reason, there's no reason strong enough that permits you to say nothing.

Unless, as above, you believe the agency world, like agencies themselves, are responsibility vacuums. And why speak out now? About this.

We have awards to boast about.

When you're up to your neck in shit, in other words, don't make waves.