If you're involved in gliches, shoot yourself. June 13, 2011 5:20 AM   Subscribe

Can we please have a moratorium on linking to the Bill Hicks rant in any and every advertising thread?

Sure, we know some people don't like advertising. And we know that Bill Hicks had something to say about it. But it's becoming a horrible cliche, often used by people in place of actual debate and actual opinion, and it's a real sixth-former/junior high thing to do. It adds nothing other than reminding us that Bill Hicks said something clever once. It isn't a substitute for saying something clever yourself.

Here are some people who are involved, or have been, in making advertising:
- Ridley Scott
- Alan Parker
- Mike Leigh
- Ken Loach
- Shane Meadows
- Armando Iannucci
- John Peel
- musicians from Tindersticks and New Order to Los Campesinos and Architecture in Helsinki, The Clash and Johnny Rotten, as well as the usual major label suspects

If you want to strike them all from the artistic rollcall, you're either an idiot, haven't thought it through, or you actually are Bill Hicks posting under a ghost sockpuppet - in which case MeMail me as I'd like you to ask John Peel something about a session I once taped off the radio. Hate advertising as much as you like, but not because someone told you to when you were seventeen.

If you feel the urge to do this, tell us what you think. Don't resort to cliche. And if you still feel you must post a ranting comedian, Stewart Lee is a nice alternative. Just for a change.
posted by mippy to Etiquette/Policy at 5:20 AM (295 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

(Ah, just to be clear - Bill Hicks is a'ight. Mindless, cliched quoting - of him or anyone else - is not. I'm going to have a yoghurt now.)
posted by mippy at 5:23 AM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also I did me a typo. Should say 'cliches', that header.
posted by mippy at 5:23 AM on June 13, 2011


we know some people don't like advertising.

There are people who do like advertising? Advertisers do, but people?
posted by DU at 5:31 AM on June 13, 2011 [7 favorites]


There are people who do like advertising?

Yeah, you should have seen the outpouring of emotion when metafilter implemented that annoying advertising that you have to disable EVERYTIME you log on.

Also...I like this rant, but not the request.

Why not just save this rant and paste it into every discussion where you feel the same Hicks stuff gets brought up? That would change things...after a while.
posted by hal_c_on at 5:39 AM on June 13, 2011


A lot of people seem to be watching it on YouTube.

I make my wage from beanplating advertising - which is why I can be reticent on advertising threads because I can't really tell you how much I hate ad X or awful viral Y as much as dear god would I sometimes like to - but it is somewhat like going into a thread about a new car or an aspect of the car industry and posting a link to Stewart Lee's Richard Hammond rant. It adds little.
posted by mippy at 5:40 AM on June 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


Why not just save this rant and paste it into every discussion where you feel the same Hicks stuff gets brought up?

I already have trouble enough with overusing ctrl+v. You'd get a picture of Jocelyn Wildenstein or an article about philately in Lundy instead, as I've almost sent to people instead of important work-related advice. Though it might add to the discussion. A picture of Mad Cat Surgery Lady diffuses much tension.
posted by mippy at 5:43 AM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Let's add "If you're getting something for free you're not the customer. You're the product being sold". Its cheap, lazy pandering. Capitalism and advertising are EVIL. Unless it's a product, good, or servic we like. Than its okay.

At about the time I was told that Facebook was somehow brainwashing me into being an evil capitalist tool I gave up on it. And I'm sorry for inadvertandly giving publicity to a really egrigious example of the genre.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 5:43 AM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


(Ah, just to be clear - Bill Hicks is a'ight. Mindless, cliched quoting - of him or anyone else - is not. I'm going to have a yoghurt now.)

I don't spell yogurt like you spell yogurt. I'm pretty sure Hicks had something to say about thiat.
posted by Think_Long at 5:45 AM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


There are people who do like advertising?

Would I care to work in advertising? Heavens, no. Do I like the concept of advertising? More often than not, no. Are there ads that I like? Sure! Are there really people who hate every ad ever?

There's no way to enforce a moratorium on Hicks, nor should there be, but I agree with the appraisal. Hicks has always struck me as one of those guys to whom you want to say "Ok! Ok! OK! You're right already. Happy? Now go away."

Actually, learning that Hicks spent his final days re-reading The Fellowship of the Ring endears him to me a little more than he was.
posted by octobersurprise at 5:47 AM on June 13, 2011


You have to deal with a Bill Hick's youtube video every once in a while. We have to deal with advertising ruining everything that is good. Fucking deal with it.
posted by pwally at 5:47 AM on June 13, 2011 [27 favorites]


You know, Think Long, neither do Muller. But then, youse lot pronounce 'Danone' all wrong. You LOONS.
posted by mippy at 5:48 AM on June 13, 2011


DU: "we know some people don't like advertising.

There are people who do like advertising? Advertisers do, but people?
"

Mefites, even.
posted by Happy Dave at 5:51 AM on June 13, 2011 [2 favorites]



You have to deal with a Bill Hick's youtube video every once in a while. We have to deal with advertising ruining everything that is good.


How does advertising 'ruin everything that is good'? I like the old phrase that calls it 'the poetry of capitalism'. Some of it is good. Some of it is crap. Some of it is better than the thing being advertised. Some of it is worse. Some of it is cool little short films or neat graphic design. Most is the sort of clutter that you can just tune out, if you're so inclined.

I hate the smug, self-rightous types who pretend they're too goddamn good to participate in teh world while enjoying Whole Foods and Apple products. I know too many people like that, and I'd probably agree with them more if they didn't tell me how 'we can all get along, man, free from the tendrils of global capitalism'.

Screw that. I like my XBox. I like Facebook. I like Apple, and radio rock, and Rockstar games. I don't work in advertising but it sounds awesome.

If you want more analysis of advertising check out the Australian panel show The Gruen Transfer.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 5:52 AM on June 13, 2011 [15 favorites]


In my opinion people dislike advertising because it's so effective. Driving home on the freeway during February and March I would see a billboard advertising Suckerpunch. I know it's going to be a terrible movie. Ample evidence exists everywhere that it's a terrible movie. I have so far resisted seeing it. But because advertising works, I still want to see it. So advertising has put me at odds with myself, and I don't need to be at odds with myself.

Is that better? I don't feel better for having got that off my chest. I'd rather vent incoherently about how much I want to burn down every billboard everywhere in the world, or if I can't do that link to Bill Hicks instead. Please permit me this indulgence.
posted by Ritchie at 5:53 AM on June 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


But because advertising works, I still want to see it.

I have seen every single trailer broadcast in the UK for Suckerpunch, along with some other terrible-looking films that I won't name here because I like having a job (it lets me buy Western consumer goods and yog(h)urt). Believe me, it's not working on me then.
posted by mippy at 5:55 AM on June 13, 2011


I like Bill Hicks and hate most marketing but I hate "obligatory" comments more than anything, which is what any Hicks reference is at this point whether it's marked that way or not. Try harder, people (this includes me).
posted by octothorpe at 5:57 AM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


How does advertising 'ruin everything that is good'?

Look up "co-opting" in the dictionary. That's pretty much it. Advertisers disguise themselves are real humans, by adopting/co-opting actual things humans are interested in and wrapping a thin veneer of that around a request for money until the target audience is trained to now hate that thing because of the association. Then they move on to the next thing.

I will grant you that they haven't exactly ruined everything yet. Some things humans are hard-wired to love, which is why advertisers return to them again and again.

I hate the smug, self-rightous types who pretend they're too goddamn good to participate in teh world while enjoying Whole Foods and Apple products.

Your assumptions are showing.

In my opinion people dislike advertising because it's so effective. Driving home on the freeway during February and March I would see a billboard advertising Suckerpunch.

Why do I have to hate a billboard because it works? Can't I hate it because it clutters the landscape?
posted by DU at 6:02 AM on June 13, 2011 [11 favorites]


I don't work in advertising but it sounds awesome.

I'm thinking that it probably isn't all sharp clothes, cool toys, and the sweet smell of success. But, then, I grew up watching Miles Drentell crush Michael's and Elliot's dreams, so make of that what you will.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:03 AM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Believe me, it's not working on me then.

You're totally unfamiliar with the phenomenon of wanting something you know won't bring any satisfaction, something which you'd be unaware of if not for advertising? Lucky you.
posted by Ritchie at 6:04 AM on June 13, 2011


Look up "co-opting" in the dictionary. That's pretty much it. Advertisers disguise themselves are real humans, by adopting/co-opting actual things humans are interested in and wrapping a thin veneer of that around a request for money until the target audience is trained to now hate that thing because of the association. Then they move on to the next thing.

I'm pretty sure advertisers are 'real people' who also 'like things', which often includes Your Favorite Indie Band who is now getting a big fat paycheck.

Why do I have to hate a billboard because it works? Can't I hate it because it clutters the landscape?

This implies that there is such a thing as a 'landscape' that should be uncluttered. One of the most popular landmarks in Sydney is a massive neon Coke sign, though I do hate the 'want longer lasting sex?' ads.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 6:05 AM on June 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


In the dictionary next to the phrase 'overheated rhetoric' there's a picture of this thread. and an ad.
posted by jonmc at 6:05 AM on June 13, 2011 [17 favorites]


You're totally unfamiliar with the phenomenon of wanting something you know won't bring any satisfaction, something which you'd be unaware of if not for advertising?

Sex? Love?
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 6:06 AM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


> In the dictionary next to the phrase 'overheated rhetoric' there's a picture of this thread.

Heh, it's overheated and yet it's still half-baked. I think we need some PSAs.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 6:09 AM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why do I have to hate a billboard because it works? Can't I hate it because it clutters the landscape?

What LiB said. It's a freeway. You spend an hour staring at other cars and trucks. That's 95% of the landscape. But no, you don't have to hate billboards for the same reasons I do. I just expressed an opinion.

Sex? Love?

You didn't know of these things until you saw them advertised?
posted by Ritchie at 6:11 AM on June 13, 2011


I'm pretty sure advertisers are 'real people' who also 'like things', which often includes Your Favorite Indie Band who is now getting a big fat paycheck.

My last comment didn't mean that I liked seeing your assumptions and wanted to see more.

This implies that there is such a thing as a 'landscape' that should be uncluttered.

Look at old photos. I mean like from the 70s and earlier. The ones with far fewer (if any) ads on every surface.

That landscape.
posted by DU at 6:13 AM on June 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


This implies that there is such a thing as a 'landscape' that should be uncluttered.

*spews coffee*
posted by mediareport at 6:16 AM on June 13, 2011 [14 favorites]


The worst thing about billboards is they clutter up threads that aren't even about billboards.

A related zen parable.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 6:18 AM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


More like a 'lessatorium', am I right?

Yeah, I'm already sorry, and I haven't even hit Post yet.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:18 AM on June 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


You're totally unfamiliar with the phenomenon of wanting something you know won't bring any satisfaction, something which you'd be unaware of if not for advertising? Lucky you.
Given that my job is trying to prevent this experience for the consumer, I'm quite aware of it, thank you. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to buy that hairdye that Beyonce uses.
posted by mippy at 6:20 AM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Advertising is like many other things in life: fine, and useful and good in moderation; intolerable when it's pushed to the extreme in an attempt to an extreme in the effort to squeeze out every. last. possible. penny.

I'd just prefer a world, LIB, where I don't have to scrutinize every reference to a Coke sign by looking at the poster's name to make sure it's not a new Pepsi Blue bot account.
posted by tyllwin at 6:20 AM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


"What, in the end, makes advertisements so superior to criticism? Not what the moving red neon sign says — but the fiery pool reflecting in the asphalt." -- Walter Benjamin
posted by neroli at 6:23 AM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm off to buy that hairdye that Beyonce uses.

For the last time, dear, I'm not putting a ring on it.
posted by liquidindian at 6:23 AM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


This implies that there is such a thing as a 'landscape' that should be uncluttered.

Next on Metatalk. Taking sides: Adverts are the devil's work vs. Every advert is a holy little angel. Le sigh.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:25 AM on June 13, 2011


look, metafilter is like a ride...
posted by empath at 6:26 AM on June 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't care if you want to criticise advertising. I'm not a big fan of many things that people dedicate their working day to. I do care if people think you can simply drop an overused quote, sometimes tone-deaf to the conversation, into a thread in lieu of some actual comment. It's as close as we get here to posting irrelevant cat macros or George Costanza reaction faces, y'know?
posted by mippy at 6:31 AM on June 13, 2011 [8 favorites]


The older monk calmly replied, "I put that woman down miles ago, back at the river. But you are still carrying her." The younger monk realized the older monk was indeed correct and they continued on their journey.

I knew the link would go to this parable. Yes, now that advertising is behind us forever, we can just let it go.

The really sad thing about this thread is how constant advertising and capitalist-apologetics-media can program an entire populace to love to be programmed by constant advertising and capitalist-apologetics.
posted by DU at 6:33 AM on June 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Post no Bills.
posted by Elmore at 6:35 AM on June 13, 2011 [16 favorites]


I like advertising.

No, scratch that. I love advertising.

Why?

Because it means that I get access to awesome content and services for free.

Gmail? Best email solution on the planet, so far as I'm concerned. Been using it for seven years and it's never cost me a dime. When it came to light that Google was using the content of emails to deliver targeted advertising, the torches and pitchforks came out and it was decried as the greatest single act of evil since Superman 64. For the most part, Gmail users didn't care because the service is awesome.

Facebook? I love it, unashamedly. It works. It's free. It lets me keep in touch with people about whom I care with a minimum of fuss. Advertising makes this awesome service possible, and I'm grateful for it.

There's this set of absurdly self-contradictory attitudes that pervades the internet: No one should charge for content (e.g. "Paywalls suck!"), no one should use advertising to monetize content (e.g. AdBlock), but the content should still be produced, be of high quality, and delivered for nothing.

If charging for content isn't acceptable and advertising isn't acceptable, then how should content providers get paid for their efforts, exactly?
posted by DWRoelands at 6:35 AM on June 13, 2011 [29 favorites]


Oh boy, Bill Hicks vs. The Clash. A intellectual battle for the ages.
posted by caek at 6:37 AM on June 13, 2011


I knew the link would go to this parable. --- I think we've achieved the point where none of us have to write anything any more. We can all just sit and imagine how a thread will go, and we'll be right, so why waste the pixels and the bandwidth.

(I guess that doesn't explain why I am still typing...)
posted by crunchland at 6:37 AM on June 13, 2011


It's really less advertising that Bill was against than marketing; it was the idea of always having an ulterior, commercial motive in every communication that offended him. He was telling people to be authentic, that there is more to life than finding a way past our mental defenses just to sell us something. It's a message I support. But don't take my word for it, here's the man in his own words:
By the way if anyone here is in advertising or marketing... kill yourself.

No, no, no it's just a little thought. I'm just trying to plant seeds. Maybe one day, they'll take root - I don't know. You try, you do what you can. Kill yourself.

Seriously though, if you are, do.

Aaah, no really, there's no rationalisation for what you do and you are Satan's little helpers. Okay - kill yourself - seriously. You are the ruiner of all things good, seriously. No this is not a joke, you're going, "there's going to be a joke coming," there's no fucking joke coming. You are Satan's spawn filling the world with bile and garbage. You are fucked and you are fucking us. Kill yourself. It's the only way to save your fucking soul, kill yourself.

Planting seeds. I know all the marketing people are going, "he's doing a joke..." there's no joke here whatsoever. Suck a tail-pipe, fucking hang yourself, borrow a gun from a Yank friend - I don't care how you do it. Rid the world of your evil fucking makinations. Machi... Whatever, you know what I mean.

I know what all the marketing people are thinking right now too, "Oh, you know what Bill's doing, he's going for that anti-marketing dollar. That's a good market, he's very smart."

Oh man, I am not doing that. You fucking evil scumbags!

"Ooh, you know what Bill's doing now, he's going for the righteous indignation dollar. That's a big dollar. A lot of people are feeling that indignation. We've done research - huge market. He's doing a good thing."

Godammit, I'm not doing that, you scum-bags! Quit putting a godamm dollar sign on every fucking thing on this planet!

"Ooh, the anger dollar. Huge. Huge in times of recession. Giant market, Bill's very bright to do that."

God, I'm just caught in a fucking web.

"Ooh the trapped dollar, big dollar, huge dollar. Good market - look at our research. We see that many people feel trapped. If we play to that and then separate them into the trapped dollar..."

How do you live like that? And I bet you sleep like fucking babies at night, don't you?

"What didya do today honey?"

"Oh, we made ah, we made ah arsenic a childhood food now, goodnight." [snores] "Yeah we just said you know is your baby really too loud? You know?" [snores] "Yeah, you know the mums will love it." [snores]

Sleep like fucking children, don't ya, this is your world isn't it?
posted by scalefree at 6:39 AM on June 13, 2011 [6 favorites]


Is this thread still about the Hicks rant, or is it now about Turkey Hill Ice Cream? Ice cream like their delicious Stuff'd line, such as Strawberry Cheesecake or Moose Tracks? Or perhaps one of Turkey Hill Ice Cream's amazing Limited Edition Flavors like Southern Lemon Pie (delectable!) or Fried Ice Cream (cinnamon-a-licious!). I really need to know, because if you're in advertising or marketing do me a favor and kill yourself - but not until you've experienced a delicious bowl of Turkey Hill Ice Cream.
posted by mintcake! at 6:39 AM on June 13, 2011 [11 favorites]


> The really sad thing about this thread is how constant advertising and capitalist-apologetics-media can program an entire populace to love to be programmed by constant advertising and capitalist-apologetics.

No, the sad thing is your inane whining in lieu of actual progress.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 6:42 AM on June 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


If charging for content isn't acceptable and advertising isn't acceptable, then how should content providers get paid for their efforts, exactly?

I'm all for paying for content when I think it's appropriately priced. The problem is you can pay for a lot of content these days and still not get away from the ads. See: NY Times, cable TV, etc.
posted by immlass at 6:43 AM on June 13, 2011


Is this thread still about the Hicks rant, or is it now about Turkey Hill Ice Cream?

Is Turkey Hill Ice Cream available in Australia? Because if not, I hate you.
posted by Ritchie at 6:51 AM on June 13, 2011


is it now about Turkey Hill Ice Cream?

True story: A friend of mine's parents live next door to the CEO of Turkey Hill Ice Cream, and they invited him over for a family BBQ. His parents actually make home made ice cream themselves, and apparently the CEO was so impressed with how it tasted, that he told the boys back at the lab to copy it. Now they have Home Made Vanilla (and apparently are now 'going back to their roots' -- making home-made styled ice cream). My friend's parents apparently just got a free gallon of ice cream out of the deal, though.
posted by empath at 6:54 AM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


This thread is now about grandfather clocks.
posted by Meatbomb at 6:56 AM on June 13, 2011


This implies that there is such a thing as a 'landscape' that should be uncluttered.

*spews coffee*


I don't really believe in 'the beauty of nature'. Advertising is a process of the concious human mind. And have you seen what it looks like when it decays? I've got gorgeous photos of walls filled with stacks of fading flyers.

Look at old photos. I mean like from the 70s and earlier. The ones with far fewer (if any) ads on every surface.

That landscape.


I've been on country roads without any advertising. They creep me out.

I'd just prefer a world, LIB, where I don't have to scrutinize every reference to a Coke sign by looking at the poster's name to make sure it's not a new Pepsi Blue bot account.

I posted a thread about My Favorite Band the same day some ad-bot did the same and got his post deleted. I always thought that was a bit odd.

As for co-option, my other favorite band starred in a jeans ad in Britain. I can't even find the link now, and I didn't know about it until I got deep into the fandom. Can you really say they were 'co-opted'?
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 6:57 AM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Are there 'fandoms' for bands? I always associate the word 'fandom' with odd gifs of sci-fi characters. Unless you're talking about Shed Seven, I'm sure there's a plethora of Rick Witter fanfic out there.
posted by mippy at 6:59 AM on June 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


> I don't really believe in 'the beauty of nature'

You can just shut your piehole right there, then.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 6:59 AM on June 13, 2011 [26 favorites]


Is it just me, or was it really bad taste to quote Bill Hicks in the Bill Hicks Rant post? Somehow, I think this is a lost cause.
posted by londonmark at 7:01 AM on June 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


mippy: "f you feel the urge to do this, tell us what you think. Don't resort to cliche."

Metafilter is just like any other internet forum in that people are going to use cliches, memes and lazy thinking to make their points. Many of us have done that at one point or another. Thoughtful comments take time and effort. Parroting someone else's work is easier.
posted by zarq at 7:01 AM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Unless you're talking about Shed Seven, I'm sure there's a plethora of Rick Witter fanfic out there.

I was broadly on your side up until this point. Now I have the sour taste of vomit in my mouth, I'm not so sure.
posted by Infinite Jest at 7:04 AM on June 13, 2011


If you want to make similar points but a bit smarter, you could link to some Adam Curtis.

Are there 'fandoms' for bands? I always associate the word 'fandom' with odd gifs of sci-fi characters. Unless you're talking about Shed Seven, I'm sure there's a plethora of Rick Witter fanfic out there.

Apparently U2 slash fic exists. You're welcome.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 7:05 AM on June 13, 2011


DU : "Advertisers disguise themselves are real humans,"

DU : " My last comment didn't mean that I liked seeing your assumptions and wanted to see more."

Hi. It would be nice if you could be less rude to people around here who disagree with you. And it would be even nicer if you could be less abrasive and dickish to people who do jobs you disagree with. Thanks.
posted by zarq at 7:06 AM on June 13, 2011 [12 favorites]


I was broadly on your side up until this point. Now I have the sour taste of vomit in my mouth, I'm not so sure.


My erotic poetry about Shed Seven has been stymied by not being able to think of a rhyme for "Witter".

Would I care to work in advertising? Heavens, no. Do I like the concept of advertising? More often than not, no. Are there ads that I like? Sure! Are there really people who hate every ad ever?


Kind of thing.. I mean, advertising gives me you a bunch of things for free, or at least free at the point of use - like Gmail. It means I pay less for broadcast television. It means magazines I like to read can stay in business.

And some adverts are good - I don't want to buy the products, but then I'm not interested in becoming a Hindu and I like the Mahabharat. I might be a corporate tool, but I liked those Old Spice adverts. I quite like seeing adverts soundtracked by the New Pornographers, because I know that this is an alternative revenue stream for One of My Favorite Bands. There are talented people working in advertising. They might be happier, or I might be happier, if they were making no-budget short films, but then somebody else would just make the adverts.
posted by running order squabble fest at 7:07 AM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've been on country roads without any advertising. They creep me out.

You're going to want to stay out of Vermont, then.
posted by SpiffyRob at 7:07 AM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


My erotic poetry about Shed Seven has been stymied by not being able to think of a rhyme for "Witter".
I'm sorry to be the one to say this: 'up the shitter'?
posted by mippy at 7:09 AM on June 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think it would be fair to stop linking to the rant as soon as it is not searingly relevant, as the greater proportion of communications aimed at me every day are aimed at selling me something, often under false pretenses.
posted by adipocere at 7:09 AM on June 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm sorry to be the one to say this: 'up the shitter'?

Kinda... put a lampshade on that gag, there.

On the plus side, people lazily using Bill Hicks to complain about advertising is, I think, preferable to people lazily using George Carlin to justify telling other people on MetaFilter to suck a dick.
posted by running order squabble fest at 7:12 AM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


George Carlin should never be used to justify anything.
posted by josher71 at 7:16 AM on June 13, 2011


I kind of thought the Hicks rant was played out myself but after seeing how entertainingly whiny the resident ad-industry contingent becomes in response I might have to change my mind. Did it occur to you guys that if you want so desperately to be liked maybe this wasn't quite the line of work to pursue?
posted by enn at 7:16 AM on June 13, 2011 [9 favorites]


Carlin did have a point, there are words you can't say on telly.
posted by mippy at 7:17 AM on June 13, 2011


He was telling people to be authentic, that there is more to life than finding a way past our mental defenses just to sell us something.

Which is a fine sentiment and something most of us agree with, I imagine, but a sentiment delivered in the most sophomoric and bone-headed way possible. In the piece quoted above, let's take Hicks at his word and assume that he's not just being hyperbolic for the sake of being "edgy." If we do this, then how is "if anyone here is in advertising or marketing... kill yourself" much different from Tracy Morgan's "if I had a gay son I'd kill him." Is it because at least Hicks is giving his victims a chance to kill themselves? Or is it because advertisers actually deserve to die while gay kids don't?

I don't really believe in 'the beauty of nature' ... I've been on country roads without any advertising. They creep me out.

Take my advice: go Galt now while you're still young and foolish enough to enjoy it!
posted by octobersurprise at 7:17 AM on June 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


There are people who do like advertising?

I have met individuals who said they watch the Super Bowl for the commercials. Are they people? I'm not so sure sometimes.
posted by Dr-Baa at 7:18 AM on June 13, 2011


I kind of thought the Hicks rant was played out myself but after seeing how entertainingly whiny the resident ad-industry contingent becomes in response I might have to change my mind. Did it occur to you guys that if you want so desperately to be liked maybe this wasn't quite the line of work to pursue?

I'm not even in advertising. I don't have the drive.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 7:20 AM on June 13, 2011


I think it would be fair to stop linking to the rant as soon as it is not searingly relevant, as the greater proportion of communications aimed at me every day are aimed at selling me something, often under false pretenses.

Wish I had more than one favorite to give to this comment. It's especially the sneaky ad, the ad that exploits weaknesses in our defenses, that Bill was against. Advertising is a necessary part of a capitalist society. Exploiting every possible communication channel for the sake of putting a commercial message in front of us when we're not looking for one, that's not necessary, that's not healthy for individuals or society as a whole. When marketers stop finding new ways to invade my senses with ads, then I'll stop quoting Brother Bill.
posted by scalefree at 7:21 AM on June 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


That Bill Hicks rant reminds me of the U2 rant. Basically it's someone sneeringly pigeonholing and second guessing the motivations of people he doesn't actually know.
posted by Summer at 7:22 AM on June 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


I don't really believe in 'the beauty of nature'. Advertising is a process of the concious human mind. And have you seen what it looks like when it decays? I've got gorgeous photos of walls filled with stacks of fading flyers.

Listen, you seem like a nice enough guy outside of an irrational hatred of nature and hippies, but let me just say that you sometimes seem like Don DeLillo's experimental sock puppet fiction account.
posted by codacorolla at 7:23 AM on June 13, 2011 [14 favorites]


When marketers stop finding new ways to invade my senses with ads, then I'll stop quoting Brother Bill.

Advertisers going to advertise. Maybe you should have a word with the media owners.
posted by Summer at 7:23 AM on June 13, 2011


that's not necessary, that's not healthy for individuals or society as a whole

I would argue that it may indeed be necessary in a competitive sense. I'm not also not one hundred percent sold on the assertion that it's not healthy for individuals or society.
posted by josher71 at 7:24 AM on June 13, 2011


If it weren't for advertising, I'd have no idea that as a fan of Jack Daniels I really, really need to try Wild Turkey.

Sure, it was word-of-mouth advertising, in MetaTalk no less, but it still counts.
posted by bwg at 7:27 AM on June 13, 2011


Personally I think that rant should be played before every single ad break on every commercial station everywhere in the world, for the rest of eternity.

Basically it's someone sneeringly pigeonholing and second guessing the motivations of people he doesn't actually know.
posted by Summer at 3:22 PM on June 13


Except he's right. Hyperbolic, sure, but essentially correct.
posted by Decani at 7:27 AM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Those flowers might look pretty, guys, but they're just trying to trick us into pollinating them. Don't be lured by the bright colors and fragrant nectar. See that yellow stuff all over your chest? You've played right into their tendrils. We're beeing lied to.
posted by overeducated_alligator at 7:28 AM on June 13, 2011 [22 favorites]


That Bill Hicks rant reminds me of the U2 rant.

There must be a Bill Hicks rant about U2. Surely?
posted by running order squabble fest at 7:29 AM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Your Favorite Indie Band

No such thing.
posted by adamdschneider at 7:30 AM on June 13, 2011


Anyway, germane to the topic of Bill Hicks...

I mostly agree with Bill Hicks' opinions on advertising, although I'd probably say that advertisers aren't inhuman monsters (just the tools of an inhuman, and amoral system). However if you're just coming in to an advertising thread to say that you hate advertising, then what's the point? Granted, a lot of advertising gets posted here in a way that frames it negatively, but unless you have something directly related to that piece of advertising to talk about, then why post? If anything you're engaging more people to think about the advertising in question and making it more effective by engaging with it. Just assume that most posters have seen the Bill Hicks rant before and leave it at that. I don't love the ad industry either, but I also don't like having to skim over the same link that's been posted (ahem) ad nauseum in every thread about a topic ever. It's like when there's a post about futurism and some asshole barges in with a "WELL WERE'RE MAH FLYING CARS AT!?" Same thing, in my opinion.
posted by codacorolla at 7:30 AM on June 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm trying to remember how I found out about gmail. It was back when you needed an invite and a friend turned me on to it. I wish advertising was more like that: the cool insider that knows you and turns you on to stuff you can use, rather than the braying loudmouth randomly broadcasting into the void. The problem is that all the advertising that fits this mold isn't an in-the-know friend but a blind algorithm that emits not-so-great suggestions based on the harvesting of personal information.
posted by Ritchie at 7:31 AM on June 13, 2011


Lovecraft In Brooklyn writes "I've been on country roads without any advertising. They creep me out."

The roads or the lack of advertising?
posted by Mitheral at 7:33 AM on June 13, 2011


I mostly agree with Bill Hicks' opinions on advertising, although I'd probably say that advertisers aren't inhuman monsters (just the tools of an inhuman, and amoral system).

What do you people suggest as an alternative to consumer capitalism? Seriously?
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 7:34 AM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hi, DU, I'm an advertising student. My advertising studies have influenced the way that I talk, because I believe that when we communicate with one another, the goal ought to be understanding the other person's perspective, and speaking to them in terms that they're comfortable with. I don't have a loyalty to particular writing styles or structures, except for when I'm feeling playful, and even then I feel that too much playfulness in the wrong time and place can ruin a message. What matters to me is the thought behind my words, not my words themselves.

What this means practically is that ever since I joined MetaFilter, about a year and a half ago, I have been targeting my comments on MetaFilter to this demographic. Whereas I use smiley faces and politically incorrect words when I talk to my friends, on this web site I attempt to communicate in inoffensive ways that will appeal to the greatest-sized audience. I do this because I am selling myself. I believe that some of my ideas have value; this is why I try and convince you to read them.

What's neat about MetaFilter is that thanks to the favoriting system, when you favorite one of my comments you not-so-subtly promote it to other users as a comment of value. In effect, DU, you and your favorites have been a part of my viral marketing campaign, which has brought in over eight thousand favorites in a short period of time. My "long comment" brand is not yet sonascope- or Astro Zombie-worthy, and my "genius humorist" brand isn't on par with Greg Nog's or the quidnunc kid's — for good reason, because I am not as practiced as any of those gentlemen — but your feedback is helping me improve, and in the past 30 days I am proud to report that I have nearly doubled my output of posts and comments with over 100 favorites. I expect further optimization as both my brand awareness increases and as I grow more skilled in targeting my messages to you, my current consumer.

I could argue here that Bill Hicks's marketing rant targets a very particular kind of marketer, using a word so generic and unintelligent that lots of people hear it and develop prejudices against an entire category of work which includes lots of noble work along with the admittedly scum. I could make the point that Bill Hicks's own brand — that of "Brother Bill", the wise comedian who tells it as it is — is built partly on oversimplification and blind anger; not all of Hicks's routines are brilliant, and I think the marketer rant in particular is pretty crappy. And I could talk about the irony of how "memefication" is essentially folk advertising — taking a message and repeating it in place of saying anything original — and how people who quote Bill Hicks in every thread are letting themselves be unoriginal and uncreative and all the things that marketing is supposed to turn people into.

But frankly, DU, I don't think I have to, because my people have run the figures and it seems like in the next 2 to 3 years — and it could be much sooner than this — there will be a change in how MetaFilter discusses marketing, similarly to how the way we discuss religion is slowly, slooooowly shifting. It is inevitable. It is the free market.

You have doomed yourself, DU — your snark and hatred have alienated the moderates, and slowly our reasonable pleas for civil conversation will win over, until we will have no choice but to talk about things we dislike with our own words and thoughts, and we will open ourselves up to the possibility that we are wrong, and that we will change the way we think over time.

Then the real nightmares will begin, DU. And you are powerless to stop them from coming.
posted by Rory Marinich at 7:35 AM on June 13, 2011 [49 favorites]


What do you people suggest as an alternative to consumer capitalism? Seriously?

I'm not smart enough to propose a better situation than consumer capitalism on a global scale, but I think we'll all be seeing some alternatives once we consume our way out of cheap oil and farmable land within the next few decades. I don't particularly relish those alternatives.
posted by codacorolla at 7:38 AM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Rory Marinich: " Then the real nightmares will begin, DU. And you are powerless to stop them from coming."

*chokes with laughter*

Rory, you're hilarious. I have donated a favorite to your campaign. Spend it wisely. :)
posted by zarq at 7:39 AM on June 13, 2011


I just don't understand why so many presumably smart people here treat"advertising" as some monolithic entity.

When Beloved Band or Beloved Author release a new album or a new book, I am actually glad to see it advertised to me. In fact, I wish I could sign up for a service that sent me such notifications. Who objects to that? So, in theory, there's advertising I actually welcome. But as a practical matter, I end up hating most of it because they keep pushing, and pushing, and pushing. They can't force themselves to stick to what people actually want. You liked Band X? Let's spam you for band Y. You like author X? Oh, look here at this exact same book with a new cover - the 3rd anniversary edition!!

Similarly, I don't mind clever ads: I can cheerfully sing along with the JG Wentworth mini-operas. The Geico pig squealing all the way home makes me smile. Or did the first few times. But honest to god, I'd like to strangle the shrill cash for gold people. And if I find you're trying to trick me it'll likely leave me with a permanent distaste for you and your product.

There's no contradiction in welcoming some and despising some.
posted by tyllwin at 7:40 AM on June 13, 2011


My "long comment" brand is not yet sonascope- or Astro Zombie-worthy, and my "genius humorist" brand isn't on par with Greg Nog's or the quidnunc kid's — for good reason, because I am not as practiced as any of those gentlemen

You might be joking, but its obvious everyone here has a personal brand they're going for. Jonmc has the 'down home rockist', most of the people are aiming for 'wise person who sees through the bullshit', and various other people have their own little mini-brands. I do it. I think everyone does. Posting the Bill Hicks rant is you aligning yourself with his brand and his image.

Rory, I want some of your youthful energy, so I favorite almost all of your comments.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 7:41 AM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Lovecraft In Brooklyn: "That landscape.

I've been on country roads without any advertising. They creep me out.
"

Australia is a big place with a lot of open country in it. It's a goddamned pity if you think those places'd be improved by advertising. Please to stick to Sydney.
posted by barnacles at 7:58 AM on June 13, 2011 [7 favorites]


I'm a person who pretty much hates all advertising by default. I literally mute every TV commercial. Go through two remotes a day. New OS installations go without AdBlock for as long as it takes me to open a browser the first time and say, "Oh, right."

I hate advertising because I feel it is based on intrusion and manipulation. It desperately tries to use any tactic it can imagine, from loud sounds and flashing lights, interruption of continuity, appeals to emotion, fear-mongering, shaming, jealousy, and every viable manipulative tactic available in human psychology short of kidnapping to arrest my attention, then tries to transfer this attention to the product or idea it's trying to promote, assuming I'm dumb enough to think "Wow, that Rube Goldberg machine in the commercial is so awesome I think I'll buy a fucking Toyota."

Every commercial is like a jackass in a theatre seat behind me, plucking the back of my head every 8 minutes to ask if I've bought some fucking body wash yet, and telling me I wouldn't be watching this alone if I'd just use their product. IMO it's a fundamental manipulative dishonesty. If it were a live person, first name Marketing, last name Advertising, I'd tell you that Mark is a lying, manipulative, slimy son-of-a bitch and even if you're best buds with him, you better not bring him round to my house. Sure, he occasionally makes things that are aesthetically pleasing, but not honestly, and not without a cynical sneer for profit. If you make a beautiful song and then sell it to others to use to sell tacos on television, then, in my and dare I say Bill's opinion, you have sullied your beautiful song. It may still have a neat chord progression and jammin' solos, but now, for people like us, it will also always have the taint of manipulation. Bill takes it to the extreme, as comedy often requires, when he speakes of every word out of the mouth of a celebrity endorser being like a turd falling into his drink, but that's what I think he's saying. You were once a pure artist, doing art for art's sake, and now you are an unpure artist, and when I check out your work now I have to wonder what is being sold to me ("Pure Art" is a can of worms I know, but if you will, permit me the simplification here.).

I realize that advertising pays for a lot of media, that we wouldn't have all these great free services if it weren't for advertising. In this light, to a person like me, the best ads are the easiest to ignore: small and relatively unobtrusive, relatively unmanipulative ads like Goog's text ads. This puts me at direct odds with the actual goals of marketing and advertising, though, and I still don't particularly like the ads. Personally, I'd take the pre-advertising DIY internet & BBS era over Gmail and Facebook any day of the week.

All that said, I do mostly cringe when someone posts the Hicks rant into a ad thread (that I usually try to skip anyway) on MeFi and other Obligatory links. I'd add the Penny Arcade Internet Fuckwad comic and the XKCD Wrong On The Internet panel to the list of played-out links. What are some others?

[I was editing in an external program and posted the wrong version of my comment a moment ago and the mods were kind enough to delete it so I could post the comment I intended to post. Thank you!]
posted by BeerFilter at 8:04 AM on June 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


You might be joking, but its obvious everyone here has a personal brand they're going for. Jonmc has the 'down home rockist', most of the people are aiming for 'wise person who sees through the bullshit', and various other people have their own little mini-brands. I do it. I think everyone does. Posting the Bill Hicks rant is you aligning yourself with his brand and his image.

Instead of "branding" some of us call this "having a personality".
posted by codacorolla at 8:07 AM on June 13, 2011 [28 favorites]


various other people have their own little mini-brands.

I have a mini-bar.

If you make a beautiful song and then sell it to others to use to sell tacos on television, then, in mine and dare I say Bill's opinion, you have sullied your beautiful song. It will, for people like us, always have the taint of manipulation.

Is the taint in the selling of the song or in the selling of the song to sell tacos? Requiring of art that it be produced and enjoyed for nothing but it's own sake is a gorgeous ideal, but one rarely practiced (or even imagined). How do you feel about the art of the past, so much of it sullied by the taint of patronage, flattery, religion, or blood?
posted by octobersurprise at 8:08 AM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I now feel some kind of new existential uncertainty about not having a brand.
posted by adipocere at 8:12 AM on June 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Boy, I sure could go for a refreshing glass of Orange Drinktm, how about you?
posted by entropicamericana at 8:14 AM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Put that down, you're not in my target demographic.
posted by Summer at 8:16 AM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Bill Hicks is a very funny guy, and one of the better stand-ups of his time, but a lot of his stuff has aged really poorly (the whole George Michael is bad because he is gay routine is hard to listen to now). I do hold Hicks in enough esteem not to criticize this routine for being simplistic twaddle, because it is a comedy routine and it is funny. People who quote it as some kind of higher truth, however ...
posted by Bookhouse at 8:17 AM on June 13, 2011


Instead of "branding" some of us call this "having a personality".

A personality which we cultivate and sometimes self-interestedly wonder about. Is anybody really so naive that they don't know their own personality? (For a while I developed enormous crushes on girls my age with that seeming innocence, but so far it turns out that every single one of them has put an enormous effort into seeming unconscious. The cynicism!)

For a while my personality was entirely rooted in hatred and anger and using offensive words to test whether people could handle them. Then slowly I uprooted it and replaced it with the current version, which I'm always tweaking. I'm not sure if I'm branding myself or just growing up. I'm not sure if there is a difference.
posted by Rory Marinich at 8:20 AM on June 13, 2011 [7 favorites]


I wonder how people knew that Bill Hicks was going to be performing? Did he call each potential audience member personally?
posted by xingcat at 8:21 AM on June 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


Is the taint in the selling of the song or in the selling of the song to sell tacos?

I'm only answering what my own feelings are, but I think the taint comes from taking a thing that was an unbranded artistic creation and assigning a brand to it in exchange for money. Here's how it works in my mind. Take Van Halen's Right Now. I give them the benefit of the doubt (and perhaps this is an error on my part), where I think that they did not sit down and create that song in order to brand it with Crystal Pepsi. Right Now as an artistic creation begins as a pure, unbranded (well, aside from Van Halen branding, but I don't see a way for an artist not automatically be their own brand in such a case) creation. Somewhere along the way, someone took money in exchange for allowing Right Now to be branded Crystal Pepsi. Now the song has picked up an additional meaning that is commercial and not artistic. Right Now means "buy Crystal Pepsi". That's how the taint works in my mind.
posted by BeerFilter at 8:22 AM on June 13, 2011


What do you people suggest as an alternative to consumer capitalism? Seriously?

I tend to the DEVO answer to this question: we're fucked because there is no other option. That doesn't mean we as a group have to like advertising and marketing. I'll paraphrase something I said in the Diesel thread: I think advertising and marketing are a net negative to the universe, if only because they increase the amount of want/attachment in the universe, and it's a want or attachment that's aimed at things rather than people. (Ads do not make you love your cat more. They play on your love for your cat to make you buy things for it.) This makes me inherently suspicious of them, and in the case of nominally positive slogans like "dare to be stupid", unlikely to find their wisdom very useful.

For my own part, I try to limit the ads and marketing I encounter on a daily basis. No cable or broadcast TV (I'd rather pay for individual shows on iTunes or wait for Netflix), no magazines except on the internet where they're ad-blocked, movies at the Alamo where are no pre-show ads, limit "likes" on FB to bands and other producers I want things from (e.g., only "like" a movie if I want to see the trailers) and delete them regularly, avoid clothes with commercial logos, etc. Sometimes I dive into things with lots of ads (see: ACL & SXSW) but I try to limit that. I realize that no-logo is a logo/brand of its own, particularly to folks who are inclined to think of everything in a branding paradigm, but it's also who I am now and I'm OK with that.

While I'm sometimes disappointed at the decision of certain bands to sell their songs for ads, I'm frequently glad they sold out if it means they continue to have money to make records and tour. I don't like ads but I recognize that "unsullied pure art" is a historical anomaly; most artists have produced on commission in one way or another.

(And yeah, the Hicks rant and SOMEONE is WRONG on the INTERNET and some of the others are kind of played out like some of the sites discussed in another recent MeTa. I'm all for less of it but not for banning any of it.)
posted by immlass at 8:24 AM on June 13, 2011 [6 favorites]


Look at old photos. I mean like from the 70s and earlier. The ones with far fewer (if any) ads on every surface.

You might like Tuscany, there is no outdoor advertising there. But the entire ad-less landscape is itself copyrighted and trademarked, and cannot be reproduced commercially without licensing it. The fact that the landscape is uniquely ad-less makes the landscape itself into a big ad.
posted by StickyCarpet at 8:25 AM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Rory Marinich: Is anybody really so naive that they don't know their own personality?

I think in general few people consciously reflect on their own personality (traits), other than in passing.
posted by bjrn at 8:26 AM on June 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


.......oh.

I'm just going to sit in this corner quietly not thinking about myself.
posted by Rory Marinich at 8:27 AM on June 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


That doesn't mean we as a group have to like advertising and marketing.

Advertising's never going to go away but you can decide as a culture to limit its frequency and reach. This, however, is not something that's going to be achieved by ranting at advertisers.
posted by Summer at 8:27 AM on June 13, 2011


Rory Marinich writes "What's neat about MetaFilter is that thanks to the favoriting system, when you favorite one of my comments you not-so-subtly promote it to other users as a comment of value. In effect, DU, you and your favorites have been a part of my viral marketing campaign, which has brought in over eight thousand favorites in a short period of time. My 'long comment' brand is not yet sonascope- or Astro Zombie-worthy, and my 'genius humorist' brand isn't on par with Greg Nog's or the quidnunc kid's — for good reason, because I am not as practiced as any of those gentlemen — but your feedback is helping me improve, and in the past 30 days I am proud to report that I have nearly doubled my output of posts and comments with over 100 favorites. I expect further optimization as both my brand awareness increases and as I grow more skilled in targeting my messages to you, my current consumer."

Oh My $Diety. Can we please get rid of favourites now?
posted by Mitheral at 8:27 AM on June 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


If you make a beautiful song and then sell it to others to use to sell tacos on television, then, in my and dare I say Bill's opinion, you have sullied your beautiful song.

What if I make a beautiful song and then sell or give it to others to use it in television commercials to solicit donations to fight poverty, or to save the kitties, or legalize weed, or whatever social cause you personally happen to approve of very strongly? Have I sullied the song then? Is that kind of advertising and marketing bad? Should people who work in marketing for organizations devoted to social justice or other "good causes" kill themselves?

Because make no mistake, whatever large nonprofit organization or educational institution you can think of that you approve of, (and maybe donate to-- you do make charitable donations of some sort, right?) employs marketing professionals. That's what their development department does. That's what their communications people do. Marketing. Advertising. And marketing is marketing, and advertising is advertising, right? Even if you approve of the product, right? So should those people in development and communications at [Planned Parenthood / The NRA / Save the Children / the Red Cross / the University of Michigan / Bard College / whatever ] all kill themselves just like Bill Hicks so glibly, naively and simplistically suggests?

As others have noted, that's really the main problem with blindly repeating and / or linking the Hicks rant every time advertising and marketing comes up. It's a lazy, simplistic, even childish, way to look at so something as basic to the conversation as what constitutes marketing.
posted by dersins at 8:29 AM on June 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Rory Marinich: I'm just going to sit in this corner quietly not thinking about myself.

I didn't say it was a bad idea! Figuring out who you are isn't always simple. Just pointing out that you're way ahead of the curve (which obviously is an advantage when hunting for favourites).
posted by bjrn at 8:33 AM on June 13, 2011


Look at old photos. I mean like from the 70s and earlier. The ones with far fewer (if any) ads on every surface.

Actually not true. They were limited by materials & methods in what types of surfaces could be covered in ads but if you look at photos of cities from the turn of the century you'll see walls of buildings covered in posters. They were every bit as interested in putting ads everywhere. We've just got better technology to accomplish it than they did.
posted by scalefree at 8:33 AM on June 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


I like the part where mippy lists some people who are involved, or have been, in making advertising as if that should make things better. Kind of like how you can't like Beck if you know he's a scientologist.
posted by Sailormom at 8:33 AM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've been on country roads without any advertising. They creep me out.

*rolls eyes*

Rory, I want some of your youthful energy, so I favorite almost all of your comments.

*falls off chair laughing*
posted by rtha at 8:35 AM on June 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


How do you feel about the art of the past, so much of it sullied by the taint of patronage, flattery, religion, or blood?

Well, I have to admit mostly ignorance here, and admit that it's a pretty convenient naivety. I still feel like there's some sort of asterisk on the work. I guess you've got me to admit that one can appreciate the craft and artistry of an "tainted" work, but that taint shouldn't be ignored in subsequent discussions of the work. I don't know of an example of a specific work, but I think if a famous painting was commissioned by Vigo the Terrible, depicting him as a pretty decent guy you'd like to have a beer with, rendered by a master painter at the height of his skill, then it should be noted somewhere that the artist was paid to make the guy look guy. I'll admit the taint I'm talking about doesn't seem so egregious when viewed in such a way, so maybe what I'm talking about is more relevant to modern art and advertising and marketing than older works.
posted by BeerFilter at 8:36 AM on June 13, 2011


You might laugh, rtha, but there's a direct correlation between people who favorite my comments and people who run naked through wheat fields with their laughing, happy, naked friends. It's been proven by science.
posted by Rory Marinich at 8:41 AM on June 13, 2011 [9 favorites]


Is the naked friends a requirement? I really don't want to see my friends naked.
posted by DrGirlfriend at 8:41 AM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


There are no wheatfields in Queens, sir. Just parking lots.
posted by jonmc at 8:42 AM on June 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


My advertising manual tells me to tell you to get hotter friends.
posted by Rory Marinich at 8:42 AM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


All along the roadside grew flowers and billboards.
posted by Sailormom at 8:44 AM on June 13, 2011


What if I make a beautiful song and then sell or give it to others to use it in television commercials to solicit donations to fight poverty, or to save the kitties, or legalize weed, or whatever social cause you personally happen to approve of very strongly?

Well, to me I think it matters whether you did in fact sell it or give it away. If you sold it to the charity, then you're tainted. You're not being charitable, you're just doing business as usual and trying to trick me into thinking you're being charitable. In fact you're trying to get me to pay for your IMO false appearance of charity. You're being deceptive. If you really did selflessly give away the rights to a beautiful work for the perceived greater good then I don't feel justified in faulting you or calling the work tainted.
posted by BeerFilter at 8:45 AM on June 13, 2011


There are no wheatfields in Queens, sir.

I've got good news for you, jonmc. Even in Queens, you too can run naked through the fields.
posted by dersins at 8:46 AM on June 13, 2011


What if my friends are allergic to wheat fields? Do you want them all to break out in hives?

*cries*
posted by rtha at 8:47 AM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


rtha, you are OUT OF MY TARGET DEMOGRAPHIC

enjoy your lonely life of not being pandered to, you wheatless freak
posted by Rory Marinich at 8:47 AM on June 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


At least can we all agree that suicide is hilarious.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:48 AM on June 13, 2011 [6 favorites]


Oh yeah. I forgot about that place, and my friend Chuck lives nearby. He's 6' 6" or so and about 450lbs so I'm not about to ask if he wants to do any naked running.
posted by jonmc at 8:48 AM on June 13, 2011


Brands...branding irons. we must escape these labels, man.
posted by clavdivs at 8:49 AM on June 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


I've been in wheat fields. They creep me out.
posted by Drastic at 8:51 AM on June 13, 2011


Can we still reference the Simpsons anytime monorails are mentioned?
posted by kmz at 8:54 AM on June 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


I would like to be clear, as a musician and a practical person who lives in reality, that musicians in general would sell a hell of a lot more music to advertisers if the advertisers were buying, and that while it's possible to derive a genuinely hardcore anti-consumerist position on your work from first principles, it's in practice really easy to just adopt that stance and let it stand unchallenged because most musicians aren't ever going to be given the opportunity to compromise it.

Selling music to advertisers is, social stigma aside, a musician getting paid for making music, which is what just about every musician would like to accomplish one way or the other, and is something most don't in any practical "this is paying my bills" sense ever in fact accomplish. Being sniffy about "selling out" is cooler than being fine with the idea of your music being used in a commercial context, and until money is on the table there's no difference between the two poses.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:55 AM on June 13, 2011 [10 favorites]


What if the musician genuinely loves the product he advertises, like say Run DMC and adidas?
posted by jonmc at 8:57 AM on June 13, 2011


jonmc: "my friend Chuck lives nearby. He's 6' 6" or so and about 450lbs "

Successful advertising! I'll take two.
posted by theredpen at 9:02 AM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Selling music to advertisers is, social stigma aside, a musician getting paid for making music, which is what just about every musician would like to accomplish one way or the other, and is something most don't in any practical "this is paying my bills" sense ever in fact accomplish. Being sniffy about "selling out" is cooler than being fine with the idea of your music being used in a commercial context, and until money is on the table there's no difference between the two poses.

This is the article that turned me around on all this.
posted by Bookhouse at 9:05 AM on June 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


dersins: " I've got good news for you, jonmc. Even in Queens, you too can run naked through the fields."

I live near there. They frown on that sort of thing. Or so I've heard.

I take my kids there regularly. Free admission, hay rides and pumpkin patches in the fall. They also have some pretty awesome looking peacocks and goats.
posted by zarq at 9:17 AM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I started out in this thread saying, "I'm a person who pretty much hates all advertising by default." The discussion so far has changed my mind somewhat, and it would more accurate to say "I pretty much hate all deceptive, manipulative advertising." Unfortunately that still seems like what most of it is, but I'm willing to concede some ground, and like so many things, there is not a sharp line between ok and not ok, but a gradient.
posted by BeerFilter at 9:18 AM on June 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


I love advertising and marketing. It's just a mechanism for getting information out. Until I discovered the value of it, I was laboring under what I call the Star of Bethlehem approach to doing the arts: Make something and the wise will know it is there and come, bearing gifts. As it turns out, that doesn't work, or, if it does, only three guys show up, with gifts that are more symbolic than useful.

But, like any human thing, it can be abused. Advertising and promotions can be intrusive, it can be deceptive. At it's best, advertising is an invitation to a party, and you are always free to turn down an invitation. At it's worst, it's like a stranger calling you at 2am, inviting you to what he promises will be the most excellent party of all time, and, when you show up, it's just a lonely man in a party hat eating a fish taco at a bodega, and he expects you to pay his tab.

But were it not for PR, I wouldn't be making a percentage of my income making things. It's my own efforts at self-promotion that has gotten me any attention that has led to actual work, and I can't complain about that, even if I had to buy my own party hat and fish taco.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:23 AM on June 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


a lonely man in a party hat eating a fish taco at a bodega, and he expects you to pay his tab

Look, I apologized.

And thanks for the taco.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:30 AM on June 13, 2011


Astro Zombie: when you show up, it's just a lonely man in a party hat eating a fish taco at a bodega

That Cymbalta commercial tugged at my heartstrings too.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 9:31 AM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


You know that last episode of South Park, and how everything turns to shit when you get older?

Well, this thread just did that with Bill Hicks for me. Thanks, guys.

the advertising, on the other hand, turned to excrement years and years ago... so you could say I got a good run out of Bill
posted by DreamerFi at 9:33 AM on June 13, 2011


The problem is that most people are not Astro Zombie. (there, I said it)

For every worthwhile communication, how many missives do we receive that are not worthwhile? No, I have not forgotten you, Taco Bell. Yes, Coke, I realize you have to spend dollar for dollar what Pepsi spends. Michael Bay will blow that thing up for me and I didn't even know I needed that.

Advertising is not self-limiting. Limits just don't figure into it, for advertisers. If I went to Madison Avenue with a device that would invisibly beam speech and images directly into someone's head from a hidden box, ad execs would dislocate their joints trying to whip out checkbooks fast enough.

Just for funzies, log onto Yahoo! Chat sometime and enter a chat room. Let's put aside the flash ads pushed by Yahoo! itself. Instead, focus on the spam bots. You will quickly note that every channel for communication available will be used to push advertisements at you. Not just private messages but friend invites, conference requests, and so forth. There is no medium through which an advertiser will not communicate and the message is, increasingly, that no situation is inappropriate. I got advertised to at a funeral. If an act gets attention, then that is deemed "worth it."

And ad execs aren't looking for quality. They don't ask, "Is this person Astro Zombie?" They ask, "What's your budget for the campaign?" That's it.

You're responsible with a worthwhile product. And that's why you're not a good metric.
posted by adipocere at 9:35 AM on June 13, 2011 [10 favorites]


What do you people suggest as an alternative to consumer capitalism? Seriously?

That's like asking a fish "What do you ichthyes suggest as an alternative to living under water?"
posted by mediareport at 9:38 AM on June 13, 2011


MetaFilter: a lonely man in a party hat eating a fish taco at a bodega, and he expects you to pay his tab.
posted by scalefree at 9:39 AM on June 13, 2011


I've actually never had a fish taco. They sound good.
posted by jonmc at 9:53 AM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Listen, you seem like a nice enough guy outside of an irrational hatred of nature and hippies, but let me just say that you sometimes seem like Don DeLillo's experimental sock puppet fiction account.

Delillo worked in advertising. Maybe you knew that.
posted by jayder at 9:55 AM on June 13, 2011


I too love advertising. Let's start a blog where we talk about how much like advertising! Or not like certain ones but like other ones better! Let's call it Adfilter!

I want to discuss how much I like the new Best Buy girl.*


*I want to discuss how much I hate the new T-mobile girl.

posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:57 AM on June 13, 2011


Watching commercials makes me think a lot more about capitalism and art and the artist process than the shows but that is because my girlfriend usually makes me watch HGTV every day which has somehow an innumerable amount of different shows about buying or fixing a house all starring infinity different hosts.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:00 AM on June 13, 2011


My girlfriend also makes me watch HGTV so I'm right there with you, PA.
posted by josher71 at 10:01 AM on June 13, 2011


my local news/weather stations have started selling ad space on severe weather warnings. now those warnings happen more than 24 hour ahead of time. scrolling at the bottom of shows - "there will be a thunderstorm tomorrow - brought to you by jim norton toyota." it's the same URGENTURGENT warning with beeping and the map flashing up on screen - but it is being advertised a day early so they can make some extra bucks putting ad copy on it.

this is the sort of advertising people argue against. they've taken a legitimate warning service and sold it out for some bucks so now it becomes part of the clutter i don't pay attention to.

if you don't like people's reactions to advertising, get mad at your other advertisers.
posted by nadawi at 10:02 AM on June 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


I do care if people think you can simply drop an overused quote, sometimes tone-deaf to the conversation, into a thread in lieu of some actual comment.

Just because no one has mentioned it yet, if people are dropping this rant in an unrelated thread, or using it in lieu of actual commenting we will definitely sometimes delete it.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:02 AM on June 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


My personal brand involves posting three times in a row. I call it the Spambot Method and it is banned on 3 subsites but still gets results. Click here for more info / a bigger wang.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:02 AM on June 13, 2011


I've worked in advertising. I wanted to kill myself. So I stopped.
posted by loquacious at 10:04 AM on June 13, 2011


Can this thread be about fish tacos?

I've actually never had a fish taco. They sound good.

They are good. I've only been to California once, but I ate fish tacos at least twice a day. They might be my favorite variety of tacos (except perhaps carnitas). You really owe it to yourself to get some fish tacos.

/not viral advertising for a taquería
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 10:07 AM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've had to take marketing classes. Before I took the classes, I was sort of skeptical about marketing as a profession.

After those classes, I hate marketing like red-hot lava.

See, marketing is all about seeing people, not as human beings with individual personalities and stories, but as segments to be sold. That's all. I'm not a person. I'm a consumer. And as a consumer, I fit into a set of increasingly-broad categories which can be studied and precisely calibrated for the purposes of selling me things. At no point is there any consideration of the fact that I am an autonomous being. Rather, marketing is founded on the idea that people are just parts of larger groups of people, and the only difference between people is how to target them to extract money from them. Any choice that you make as a person is, to marketing, just a decision based on your status as a consumer as part of a large, faceless mass of people with similar attributes. And the only interest they hold in those attributes is how to sell you things that they will make you want. You don't even have the option to want, you see. The only choice in marketing is whether or not the marketing people think you are worth marketing to, based on your demographics.

I am sure that there are lots of people in marketing who don't see the rest of the world as soulless automatons who only exist for being fleeced, but it didn't seem like the textbooks addressed that aspect of it.
posted by winna at 10:08 AM on June 13, 2011 [6 favorites]


also, this: If we do this, then how is "if anyone here is in advertising or marketing... kill yourself" much different from Tracy Morgan's "if I had a gay son I'd kill him." Is it because at least Hicks is giving his victims a chance to kill themselves? Or is it because advertisers actually deserve to die while gay kids don't?

no, it's because gay kids are actually dying and being beaten and abused and kicked out of their homes and turning to drugs and prostitution or a life of hiding because the bigots and douchebags have been able to rule the narrative for too long. finally people are saying, "i will not stand for that."

i'm sorry some feel maligned as an advertiser, but it's a profession they chose that doesn't put them in constant danger and they are still afforded all the rights promised by the constitution (unless they're a gay advertiser, of course). if you must know, "lack of perspective" is one of my biggest pet peeves in shitty advertising.
posted by nadawi at 10:09 AM on June 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


my local news/weather stations have started selling ad space on severe weather warnings. now those warnings happen more than 24 hour ahead of time. scrolling at the bottom of shows - "there will be a thunderstorm tomorrow - brought to you by jim norton toyota." it's the same URGENTURGENT warning with beeping and the map flashing up on screen - but it is being advertised a day early so they can make some extra bucks putting ad copy on it.

This is the funniest thing I've ever heard today. 'Last night's devastating Wal Mart tornado tore through town crushing small businesses in its wake!'

I can only pray you live in Ohio.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:12 AM on June 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


Tindersticks are my favorite band. I am just taking the time to say that.
posted by cjorgensen at 10:14 AM on June 13, 2011


winna: " I am sure that there are lots of people in marketing who don't see the rest of the world as soulless automatons who only exist for being fleeced, but it didn't seem like the textbooks addressed that aspect of it."

Perhaps actually working in the field might have given you a different perspective. Then again, perhaps not. Working in marketing is typically quite different than the classroom experience. The same holds true for many professions. Journalism is a good example.

Who you work for, what you are working with, and the sort of work you actually do makes a big difference in how a marketer experiences their job and what is required of them. How much emphasis is being placed on addressing an actual versus a perceived need? Are they working ethically? Are they being asked to raise awareness, or increase their customer base beyond what might be considered reasonable? How are they creating brand identity? Marketing, Publicity and Advertising are deceptively complex industries. Far more than is normally explained in a classroom. And while understanding targeted demographics is important, they are simply not the be-all and end-all of marketing campaigns.
posted by zarq at 10:22 AM on June 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


I can only pray you live in Ohio.

Some of his billboards have to be intentionally suggestive. Also, he hands out keychains. I lost mine years ago, but most of my friends still have a few.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 10:23 AM on June 13, 2011


The problem is that most people are not Astro Zombie.

I would welcome that problem.
posted by Astro Zombie 2 at 10:25 AM on June 13, 2011


See, marketing is all about seeing people, not as human beings with individual personalities and stories, but as segments to be sold.

I'll point out again that what Hicks was ranting about wasn't really advertising but marketing, and it's this attitude that he was so against. It dehumanizes people, eliminates our agency & turns us into a resource to be exploited in the most efficient way possible.

Within limits, with boundaries between the commercial & civic, public & private, advertising is fine & beneficial. I don't want to live in a command economy, where some central authority plans out what the people need & orders production levels to match it. There's a need in society for spaces where people are offered choices between a variety of options. But there's also a need for spaces that are protected from that, where I don't have to view all communications adversarially, where I can engage in a marketplace of ideas & not just competing products.
posted by scalefree at 10:28 AM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


i'm sorry some feel maligned as an advertiser, but it's a profession they chose

Those ad company recruiters can be pretty persuasive.
posted by StickyCarpet at 10:30 AM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Can we please have a moratorium on ADVERTISING in EVERY ASPECT OF SOCIETY?

Sure, we know some people don't like EVERY ASPECT OF SOCIETY. And we know that ADVERTISING had something to say about it. But it's becoming a horrible cliche, often used by people in place of actual debate and actual opinion, and it's a real sixth-former/junior high thing to do. It adds nothing other than reminding us that ADVERTISING said something clever once. It isn't a substitute for saying something clever yourself.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:33 AM on June 13, 2011


Bill Hicks was an excellent salesman. Every time I hear that ad, I want to kill myself. Seriously. Has sucking a tail-pipe, fucking hanging yourself, or borrowing a gun from a Yank friend ever sounded so good as it does right now? I think not. Thanks, Bill!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:33 AM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


winna: " I am sure that there are lots of people in marketing who don't see the rest of the world as soulless automatons who only exist for being fleeced, but it didn't seem like the textbooks addressed that aspect of it."

Something that I guess is worth mentioning in response to this: I work in publicity, which is related to marketing. PR is an unpopular industry here on MetaFilter. But I'm one of the few working publicists here, (I'm aware of one other,) and much of my job involves working directly with journalists, as well as advertising and marketing professionals. So perhaps that perspective might be of interest.

I didn't take classes in communications, public relations or journalism until I'd been a working publicist for over a decade. Once I did, I learned something rather important: my job and my particular specialty can't be properly taught through a textbook or in a classroom setting. Crisis communications in particular is extremely difficult to teach because every crisis is different, and it's impossible to predict how the personalities involved will react in any situation. Oh, understanding examples, ethics and possible outcomes will get you part of the way there. But prior experience and the ability to work with people who have weathered previous incidents is vital.

My job is generally about long-term relationships and spoken / unspoken trusts between colleagues and contacts. That can't be taught in a classroom.
posted by zarq at 10:33 AM on June 13, 2011


nadawi: " i'm sorry some feel maligned as an advertiser, but it's a profession they chose that doesn't put them in constant danger and they are still afforded all the rights promised by the constitution (unless they're a gay advertiser, of course). if you must know, "lack of perspective" is one of my biggest pet peeves in shitty advertising."

Completely agree with you that there should be (and is) no comparison between what gay children and teens go through every day in this country and someone who has created a career for themselves in advertising.

The "advertisers, please kill yourself" sentiment still sucks.
posted by zarq at 10:36 AM on June 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


I feel like the people who apply their hatred of chatroom spambots to their opinion of, say, 30-second television spots are probably similar to the people who apply their hatred of streetcorner evangelists to their hatred of Buddhists.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:37 AM on June 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


We live in a democracy with one person one vote, yet we are ruled by an elite which governs against the interests of a very great majority of the population.

How? Why? Advertising has been able to get people to vote against everything that would be best for them, and for what the elites want.

But if advertising disappeared tomorrow, I think there would shortly be some form of coup and we'd end up with a corporate-authoritarian government, and that would be much worse than what we've got.
posted by jamjam at 10:38 AM on June 13, 2011


If you don't like that rant, ignore it. You know, like everyone else is forced to ignore 5000 ads a day.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:38 AM on June 13, 2011 [13 favorites]


People seem to forget that, as entertaining and thought-provoking Bill Hicks was ... the man was a businessman. He got paid to entertain. Part of getting paid is marketing and advertising one's wares.

So, don't trot him out like some kind of wonder-saint-of-all-things. Just a guy with a very good, thought-provoking act.

It's just a ride. And he was one of the attractions.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:46 AM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


he was one of the attractions.

I remember he used to play keyboard before Steve Nieve.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:49 AM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I like the part where mippy lists some people who are involved, or have been, in making advertising as if that should make things better. Kind of like how you can't like Beck if you know he's a scientologist.

Ah, but you miss the point. The point, which was that it's really stupid to suggest that everyone aligned with an industry/profession are 'off the artistic rollcall for life' - which is what those who refer to a dead comedian as 'Brother Bill' are co-signing. You can feel disappointed in them if you really want to, but suggesting it renders all their output null and void? That's like putting lipstick on a dead pig and calling it a supermodel.
posted by mippy at 10:57 AM on June 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


My personality doesn't dispose me towards taking part in marketing, sales and advertising. But still I recognise that people who can do that fulfil a role in creating work for me in my line of work. That's probably true for a lot of people working for companies.
So I accept that advertising is necessary even if I personally have a very low tolerance for what I experience as manipulation and intrusion. I view the dynamics between the general public and advertising/marketing as one of a war of wits. One has to be savvy not to be fleeced by advertisers. It's one of the basic skills of living in modern society to recognise the fakeness and manipulation and avoid it.
So I view the Hicks rant as ignoring the nuance of life as I experience it and thus tiresome.
But that in itself is part of interacting with people in general and being on metafilter specifically.
In other words I think that a moratorium is not necessary and/or won't work.
The skill to ignore things you don't like is underrated.
posted by joost de vries at 10:59 AM on June 13, 2011


putting lipstick on a dead pig and calling it a supermodel

Actually, that's my favorite reality show. Celebrity Bacon Bits. You have to admit, Heidi Klum always looks delicious in maple-glaze lipstick!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:00 AM on June 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


which is what those who refer to a dead comedian as 'Brother Bill' are co-signing.

Is this a thing? 'Cause I haven't encountered it before now. If I encountered someone IRL referring to "Brother Bill" I'd surmise either that they were an evangelical or in AA.
posted by octobersurprise at 11:09 AM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's hard to get people to stop doing something, even when it's genuinely annoying, which this really isn't.

Sorry.
posted by Afroblanco at 11:14 AM on June 13, 2011


I would like to call for end to stupidity.

That's right: I'm calling for a morontoria. It would solve envrything.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:18 AM on June 13, 2011


Is this a thing? 'Cause I haven't encountered it before now. If I encountered someone IRL referring to "Brother Bill" I'd surmise either that they were an evangelical or in AA.

I called him that, up above. From a quick Google search it looks like I'm not alone in that. It's a common observation about him that he saw himself somewhat as a preacher in addition to a comedian.
posted by scalefree at 11:19 AM on June 13, 2011


I would like a moratorium on people calling for moratoria in MetaTalk.
posted by grouse at 11:21 AM on June 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


If you don't like that rant, ignore it. You know, like everyone else is forced to ignore 5000 ads a day.

I don't think "baffled" is the right word to describe my reaction to people who see something shitty and go, Oh, cool, this is my excuse to do something shitty too. Because I completely understand why they're doing it. But it's still shitty.
posted by Rory Marinich at 11:21 AM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


The problem is you can pay for a lot of content these days and still not get away from the ads. See: NY Times

It's true, the NY Times recently started running ads in addition to charging for the issue or subscription. This happened in 1851. This marks the continuation of an alarming trend towards placing advertisements in newspapers, a trend that started only recently, in 1729, under the baleful spectacles of the nefarious Benjamin Franklin.

And now a personal note to Astro Zombie: Sorry about the myrrh, the lady at the store said you would like it.
posted by Mister_A at 11:23 AM on June 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


Gliché is one of those glitches that you just see coming from a mile away...
posted by Mister_A at 11:28 AM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Can we please have a moratorium on linking to the Bill Hicks rant in any and every advertising thread?

Well I've seen the references but ignored them. Never seen it. Problem fucking solved really. I really don't see the need to have people who enjoy posting the reference to not post the reference. It's like insisting on spoilers.
posted by juiceCake at 11:29 AM on June 13, 2011


It's true, the NY Times recently started running ads in addition to charging for the issue or subscription. This happened in 1851.

I was not aware that the NY Times web site went behind a paywall in 1851. Based on recent discussions on Metafilter and emails from the NYT folks, I thought it happened earlier this year. Thanks for the update!
posted by immlass at 11:31 AM on June 13, 2011


I use sarcasm in order not to respond to your argument!
posted by shakespeherian at 11:34 AM on June 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


One day I'm going to make one of those walking dead ads using a Bill Hicks rant.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 11:37 AM on June 13, 2011


> I was not aware that the NY Times web site went behind a paywall in 1851.

I was not aware that the NY Times used to be a free newspaper, thanks for clearing that up.

Like Mister_A points out, paying for something and still getting the advertising is nothing new.
posted by bjrn at 11:41 AM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Just wanted to pop in and thank mippy for the inspiration to go back and fill in some blank spots on my Moratoria collection. From the looks of it now, if everyone who complained of too much something on MeFi had their way and there wasn't ever any more of it, there wouldn't be anything left.
posted by carsonb at 11:41 AM on June 13, 2011


juiceCake: "Well I've seen the references but ignored them. Never seen it. Problem fucking solved really. I really don't see the need to have people who enjoy posting the reference to not post the reference. It's like insisting on spoilers."

Or Killfiles.
posted by zarq at 11:45 AM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Mister_A writes "It's true, the NY Times recently started running ads in addition to charging for the issue or subscription. This happened in 1851. This marks the continuation of an alarming trend towards placing advertisements in newspapers, a trend that started only recently, in 1729, under the baleful spectacles of the nefarious Benjamin Franklin. "

Just because something has been happening for a long time doesn't make it a good or even neutral thing. And the fact remains that it is now difficult to get away from advertising even when paying for content and getting increasingly difficult. The one that drives me crazy is ads before movies and how most sporting arenas now have advertising built into the name. Really I'm amazed that light rail operators haven't sold naming rights to platforms.
posted by Mitheral at 11:46 AM on June 13, 2011


I don't think "baffled" is the right word to describe my reaction to people who see something shitty and go, Oh, cool, this is my excuse to do something shitty too. Because I completely understand why they're doing it. But it's still shitty.

A handful of comments in specifically-themed discussions on the internet < the advertising shotgun blast directed at everyone all the time.

I hate hypocrisy as much as the next guy, but this is hardly that.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:46 AM on June 13, 2011


I really don't see the need to have people who enjoy posting the reference to not post the reference. It's like insisting on spoilers.

No, it's asking for people whose only contribution to a thread is going to be thoughtless negativity to either think of something else to say or to refrain from saying anything at all. Not because people ought to be censored, but because the direction of a thread's conversation is influenced by all its contributors, and people being idiots and dicks almost invariably turn the thread more idiotic and dickish.

We've had this conversation about a lot of different topics. We had it over whether every political thread should be about whether Obama is a messiah or a war criminal. We've had it over whether every religion thread should be about are religious people idiots who believe in an invisible man in the sky? And it wouldn't matter except that MetaFilter is one of the smartest communities on the Internet, we have people who are knowledgable about just about everything, and it gets very, very tiring to participate in a thread where conversants are acting in bad faith, so all the most interesting members stop talking when the dicks start coming.

This community is a long way away from being able to consistently talk about any of these hot-button subjects. Even if we remove a whole lot of empty noise and garbage, we'll still have a diverse set of users with varying levels of knowledge about the various topics. It's frustrating seeing threads from four years ago where users were having the exact same conversations we're having today because people on either side of an argument aren't willing to reach useful conclusions. But I don't think we're ready even to talk about how to achieve that, because we've got this nasty meme-spitting that lots of users think is an acceptable substitute for actual conversation.

I make it a point not to wade into threads about Firefly, Star Trek, and Doctor Who and talk about how those shows baffle me. I know of an excellent blog post/rant about Joss Whedon (the fans of whom are especially vocal on geeky college campuses) which I've never dropped into a Firefly thread because I don't think I've got the right to drag down a thread about something which people like and make it into a thread about my dislike.

While I'm all for people who have passionate opinions about things, I think some people here believe that angrily shouting down people who disagree with them on MetaFilter is somehow going to make the world a better place, rather than merely irritating a bunch of people and convincing others to stop contributing. If you disagree, by all means resume the shouting and negativity, but I don't think it's too much to ask that you don't just quote a shitty comedy routine subtitled with a little snark about "goddamn it why does advertising even have to exist". Which happens in every single advertising thread. Always.
posted by Rory Marinich at 11:49 AM on June 13, 2011 [8 favorites]


No, it's asking for people whose only contribution to a thread is going to be thoughtless negativity to either think of something else to say or to refrain from saying anything at all. Not because people ought to be censored, but because the direction of a thread's conversation is influenced by all its contributors, and people being idiots and dicks almost invariably turn the thread more idiotic and dickish.

Calling people thoughtless, idiotic, and dickish will solve that problem, surely.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:55 AM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


It sounds like he's talking about thoughtless etc. behavior, not people. I think that's a substantive difference.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:57 AM on June 13, 2011


Rory Marinich: " This community is a long way away from being able to consistently talk about any of these hot-button subjects. Even if we remove a whole lot of empty noise and garbage, we'll still have a diverse set of users with varying levels of knowledge about the various topics. It's frustrating seeing threads from four years ago where users were having the exact same conversations we're having today because people on either side of an argument aren't willing to reach useful conclusions. But I don't think we're ready even to talk about how to achieve that, because we've got this nasty meme-spitting that lots of users think is an acceptable substitute for actual conversation."

I've complained about this as much as anyone, but it's worth pointing out that there have been recent threads on religion, I/P, circumcision and even Mormonism that turned out decently. Sometimes if our community hammers at something repeatedly, a good, interesting discussion can arise.

But yes, not consistently.
posted by zarq at 11:58 AM on June 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't think anybody on MetaFilter is an idiot. I think a lot of people on MetaFilter post without thinking, or else they post without asking themselves if what they're saying will hurt other people on the site. And I think that's shitty behavior, and I think that trying to justify that behavior because there are other thoughtless, dickish cultures is kind of a crappy thing to do.
posted by Rory Marinich at 11:59 AM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't think anybody on MetaFilter is an idiot.

You underestimate me, sir.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:06 PM on June 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


While we're at it, can we kill the Heinlein "specialization is for insects" quote? I've seen way too many people quote it as gospel (or at least highly thought of), but a moment's reflection shows how idiotic it is.

I might agree that there are a very very small number of things that every human should know how to do, but most of what Heinlein lists are not among those. Worst of all: "conn a ship." Really?? We wouldn't have ships to conn if not for specialization. We wouldn't have made it past the hunter-gatherer stage without specialization. No, scratch that. We wouldn't even have made it to the hunter-gatherer stage, since even that level of society involves some degree of specialization.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 12:07 PM on June 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


When I was growing up my dad worked for a local TV station. When I got older I worked there too for a while. Ultimately every penny I made and every penny that sustained my family (and about 50 others) for all those years came from advertising. It's the only revenue the television industry has. But that's a minority case. What about everyone else? What has advertising given us?
Well, free entertainment and information, for one. Before we all paid for cable, watching TV used to be free. Stick up an antenna and off you go. All it cost you is the burden of watching (or waiting out) a commercial break here and there. And radio...God, when I was a kid me and my radio were inseparable. I couldn't get enough of that free music (and it was good music back then, too). All brought to me through ads from the local car dealership. But now we have the internet and the supply of entertainment and information has increased a million-fold. I'm pretty sure the blinking banners and side-panels on my favourite web sites must be contributing somehow?
I like Bill Hicks clips as much as anyone, but you do realize it's a comedy bit, right? He didn't really mean what he said literally. It's for a laugh. How would we feel if Chris Rock's "Niggers vs Black People" got posted in every racially themed thread?
posted by rocket88 at 12:14 PM on June 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


"This thread is now about grandfather clocks."

L is sometimes the most important letter in a sentence.
posted by Eideteker at 12:24 PM on June 13, 2011 [9 favorites]


"Just because no one has mentioned it yet, if people are dropping this rant in an unrelated thread, or using it in lieu of actual commenting we will definitely sometimes delete it."

I will certainly usually keep that in mind!
posted by Eideteker at 12:35 PM on June 13, 2011


Also, this post is missing the Reboot tag.
posted by Eideteker at 12:36 PM on June 13, 2011


Short of hurtful, harmful or just unintelligible (and I'm sure there are artistic exceptions for that), I think people should post whatever they feel like. That said, I think there are certain posting habits which, rather than contributing to the conversation, make a statement about the poster. In that sense, I'd say linking to assorted and sundry YouTube rants is a good thing- it quickly gets past all those pesky questions as to whether the poster is thinking or just knee-jerking.
posted by Mooski at 12:37 PM on June 13, 2011


I am sure that there are lots of people in marketing who don't see the rest of the world as soulless automatons who only exist for being fleeced, but it didn't seem like the textbooks addressed that aspect of it.

I'd like to see the textbook that says 'in order to work in marketing you must become a heartless sociopath'. Maybe you could link to it.

From my experience marketing's full of ordinary human beings living ordinary lives who are fully able to separate their work from their personal world view.

Over and above the ridiculous slur, this is actually a very old-fashioned approach to marketing. When you're trying to communicate with a set of people, data about their behaviour will only get you so far - actually, it'll get you as far as producing annoying, patronising communications aimed at some imaginary 'person x'. Understanding people as changeable, unpredictable, uncategorisable individuals who generally don't give a stuff about you or your brand, but do have problems that you can help solve, is a more successful starting point, in my experience.
posted by Summer at 12:41 PM on June 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


While we're at it, can we kill the Heinlein "specialization is for insects" quote? I've seen way too many people quote it as gospel (or at least highly thought of), but a moment's reflection shows how idiotic it is.

cstross has a nice take on this in Saturn's Children:

"Please excuse my lack of depth; I'm a generalist, not a specialist. Why bother learning all that biochemistry stuff — or how to design a building, or conn a boat, or balance accounts, or solve equations, or comfort the dying — when you can get other people to do all that for you in exchange for a blow job?"
posted by Infinite Jest at 12:54 PM on June 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm amazed that light rail operators haven't sold naming rights to platforms.

The south terminus of the Broad Street line in Philly, the stop for the stadia (Citizens Bank Park, Lincoln Financial Field, and the Corestates FU Wachovia Wells Fargo Center), is now known as the AT&T Station. Fer real. It's not really a super descriptive or helpful name, TBH.
posted by Mister_A at 1:21 PM on June 13, 2011


It will ALWAYS be the FU Center, in practice if not in name.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:25 PM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Amen, brother.
posted by Mister_A at 1:26 PM on June 13, 2011


I can accept a certain amount of advertising when it subsidizes something. Gmail.. eh alright, facebook... take it or leave it, free news content, sure.

I absolutely hate advertising otherwise. I will seam rip out logos of clothes, I intentionally buy clothes without logos on them, I will mute the television and turn down the radio during commercial breaks. I fully understand why musicians sell their sons to advertisers. But, if it is a song already in circulation and not something expressly made for the ad it literally ruins the song for me forever after. If I thought I stood a chance in hell I would burn, chop down and blow up all billboards from coat to coast. Even if that means it might unsettle a few random persons.

Why do I dislike it so much? Because a large chunk of it is deceptive, misleading and outright false. The products do not provide a unique experience, do not make me a better person. Advertising crashes my browser, it is too often a sledgehammer when a whisper is all that is needed, it is big and loud and inspires headaches and deception. Who the fuck cares if Sprite claims to quench your thirst? Because with all that salt it doesn't. Lee jeans do not make you a cowboy, nor do Marlborough cigarettes.
C'mon, c'mon, c'mon, c'mon
'Cause it's effective, it's defective, it creates household odors
It disinfects, it sanitizes for your protection
It gives you an erection, it wins the election
Why put up with painful corns any longer?
It's a redeemable coupon, no obligation, no salesman will visit your home
We got a jackpot, jackpot, jackpot, prizes, prizes, prizes, all work guaranteed
How do we do it, how do we do it, how do we do it, how do we do it
We need your business, we're going out of business (T. Waits)
Some of us are not afraid of the dark, some of us are tired of being begged, cajoled, shouted at, threatened and misinformed to sell one more piece of the electric plastic rainbow. It won't make you happier, it won't cure loneliness, nor make you a better person.
O brave new world.
posted by edgeways at 2:21 PM on June 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


How come no ad agency has thought of co-opting the Bill Hicks rant? Anything even remotely edgy or counter-cultural is instantly co-opted and turned into a lifestyle brand, right? This would be the perfect anti-ad ad.

FOOTAGE OF HICKS: No this is not a joke, you're going, "there's going to be a joke coming," there's no f*cking joke coming. You are Satan's spawn filling the world with bile and garbage. You are f*cked and you are f*cking us. Kill yourself. It's the only way to save your f*cking soul, kill yourself.

DEEP-VOICED NARRATOR: Bill Hicks. A true American hero. Giving voice to what all of us know, deep down inside. Speaking truth to power.

[Images of rolling wheat fields and youthful people running through them, arms outstretched, feeling the sun on their faces]

DEEP-VOICED NARRATOR: We imagine a world free of manipulation, of coercion. A world in which you aren't just another target market. WE imagine the real you - the complex, multi-faceted person you are - being catered to. And that's exactly what we're doing with our customized web products, mobile experiences and news resources catered to YOUR world, YOUR needs...

[a logo fades in slowly, superimposed over the sunny pastoral fields, camera pans right as an American flag waves gently in the breeze]

DEEP-VOICED NARRATOR: MicroPfizerMonsantoChase. We get Bill Hicks. We're not like the others.
posted by naju at 2:26 PM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Seems like there 's advertising and then there's Advertising. There's "hey, we made a thing, and we think it is a good and useful thing, so now we'd like to take a moment to tell you about this thing." And then there's 'IF YOU DON'T BUY OUR THING YOU'RE GOING TO DIE ALONE AND UNMOURNED AFTER A LIFE OF UNMITIGATED SUFFERING. OH, AND YOU'LL SMELL BAD. AND BE GENERALLY UNATTRACTIVE. AND CHILDREN WILL LAUGH AT YOU. AS YOU DIE. FROM LACK OF OUR THING."

Most of the time, I like living in a world where information comes to me. Sometimes that information is unmediated, but most of the time it's been filtered and massaged and shaped and groomed and tarted up.

And I resent that.

But short of running to the woods and ditching technology and all of its benefits, there's not a whole lot I can do about it.

Though if we're making a list of human parasites who should be lining up to drop their quarters into the suicide booth, I can think of a whole raft of professions I'd line up in front of marketing execs.

Many of whom are probably perfectly decent people who just happen to be in the business of Making Things Worse, so I guess I should feel guilty about that.

But I don't.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 2:27 PM on June 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


Like Mister_A points out, paying for something and still getting the advertising is nothing new.

"You can't even stop being the product when you pay for it" can be our next discouraged overplayed meme in advertising-related threads.
posted by immlass at 2:41 PM on June 13, 2011


If you're getting something for free you're not the customer. You're the CEO.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:43 PM on June 13, 2011


'If you're not paying for it, you're not the customer: you're the product being sold,' she said to the nursing infant.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:45 PM on June 13, 2011


"You can't even stop being the product when you pay for it" can be our next discouraged overplayed meme in advertising-related threads.
posted by immlass


Advertisers may insist they make you pay for it because that demonstrates 'commitment' to the medium in question, and commitment raises the probability you'll believe the advertising and buy, thereby making you more valuable.
posted by jamjam at 3:13 PM on June 13, 2011


I fully understand why musicians sell their sons to advertisers.

Lennon, Dylan, check.
posted by scalefree at 3:15 PM on June 13, 2011


If you are getting something for free, you are not the customer, you are a thief.
posted by Elmore at 3:57 PM on June 13, 2011


I'm surprised that David Lynch hasn't been brought up. He's fameous called product placement in movies "bullshit", but has created advertisements as well. It's all about context, while advertising in general is fascinating to me, I really wish it wasn't as pervasive as it often is.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 3:58 PM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


How come no ad agency has thought of co-opting the Bill Hicks rant?

Because his family would sue them out of existence if they tried.
posted by scalefree at 3:59 PM on June 13, 2011


would like to be clear, as a musician and a practical person who lives in reality, that musicians in general would sell a hell of a lot more music to advertisers if the advertisers were buying, and that while it's possible to derive a genuinely hardcore anti-consumerist position on your work from first principles, it's in practice really easy to just adopt that stance and let it stand unchallenged because most musicians aren't ever going to be given the opportunity to compromise it.

'The only thing worse than selling out is trying to sell out when nobody's buying.' -Norman Spinrad

Young bands need money. If selling Chips Ahoy! to sell Chips Ahoy! means guys I like can put out another album than more power to them.

I do wish advertisers wouldn't buy old songs like Good Vibrations and change the words. And Nick Cave had some quote about not selling his songs because people got married to The Ship Song, and he didn't want their wedding song to become an ad.

But he can afford to take the moral high ground

And fish tacos are a real thing? I always assumed that was a euphemism.

Naju, that sounds like an Apple ad.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 4:04 PM on June 13, 2011


Fish tacos are real and delicious. If you are ever in Vancouver I will buy you three (3) delicious fish tacos.
posted by neuromodulator at 4:12 PM on June 13, 2011


People like ads, yes. Go look at the videos of some of the highly discussed ads, like the Old Spice commericals. Tons of views, likes, etc. People _go out of their way_ to watch them, because they were funny (for a while, anyway).

People don't like all ads, of course, just like they don't like all music, movies, whatever. But ads are just another Thing that you can like or dislike. Some people hate all ads, just like some people hate all TV. Also fine.

However, the annoying thing is that threads constantly turn into the ad-equivalent of Area Man Constantly Mentioning He Doesn't Own a TV.
posted by wildcrdj at 4:30 PM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


LiB: Oh yes, fish tacos are real. IDK if I'd trust fish tacos in Australia though.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 4:47 PM on June 13, 2011


You're totally unfamiliar with the phenomenon of wanting something you know won't bring any satisfaction, something which you'd be unaware of if not for advertising?.

Up until now, I had never considered the smell of movie-butter-popcorn to be "advertising".
posted by mstokes650 at 5:03 PM on June 13, 2011


Fish tacos are an abomination unto the tacolord and profane the sacred name of taco.
posted by elizardbits at 5:03 PM on June 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


I don't work in advertising but it sounds awesome.

I would work in advertising in a flash.
posted by tumid dahlia at 5:09 PM on June 13, 2011


Fuck that. I would only work in advertising in html5.
posted by dersins at 5:11 PM on June 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


Actually, I wouldn't. I used, but I quit, because it made me want to... wait for it... kill myself.
posted by dersins at 5:12 PM on June 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


I would work in advertising in a flash.

I would work in advertising in a fish.
posted by Elmore at 5:36 PM on June 13, 2011


I would work in advertising in a fish.

I would work in advertising on a dish.
posted by likeso at 5:41 PM on June 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


Actually, I wouldn't. I used to, but I took the hook out and quit to... wait for it... bait all of you bastards, with your big fish mouths gawping at me.
posted by Elmore at 5:41 PM on June 13, 2011


Damn you likeso...
posted by Elmore at 5:42 PM on June 13, 2011


Advertising is like sex: you can do it for someone you love, or 'self promote', but you shouldn't pay or be paid for it.

Alternatively, advertising is like war: if you take up arms for a country you love, that makes you a patriot. If you'll take up arms for anyone with enough cash, that makes you a mercenary.
posted by Pyry at 5:43 PM on June 13, 2011


Advertising is like advertising: of course you know this already because you are so sexually attractive.
posted by Elmore at 5:46 PM on June 13, 2011


neuromodulator writes "Fish tacos are real and delicious. If you are ever in Vancouver I will buy you three (3) delicious fish tacos."

So what's a good place to buy fish tacos in Vancouver?
posted by Mitheral at 5:52 PM on June 13, 2011


if it is a song already in circulation and not something expressly made for the ad it literally ruins the song for me forever after.

I return to this, because this attitude expressed so strongly seems peculiar. In spite of "art for art's sake" being a relatively new idea in the arts, I can see the appeal of trying to produce something that has no qualities but aesthetic. I can also understand why someone might be disappointed to see a favorite song associated with some product in a cheap or gross way. What isn't obvious to me is why the mere taint of commerce "ruins" a popular song. Because more than much of what we choose to call art today, contemporary popular music is made to be sold, to be a product. Contemporary popular music is the most "ad-like" music there is, barely different in many cases from a commercial jingle. Take the example above, Van Halen's "Right Now." Eddie and Co. may have produced that song out of their love of music and their love of playing, but also there was never a time when they didn't intend that song (or some song in its place) to be sold, from the time they signed with their label, to the time they contracted to produce For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge, to, presumably, whenever they licensed the song (or permitted it to be licensed) to Pepsi. There's an argument to be made that "serious" or "pure" music isn't made for commerce, but I have trouble fathoming the argument that makes commerce the enemy of music that's made to be sold in the first place.

None of this should be taken to suggest that I would want live in a world that's nothing but advertisements or that I want billboards everywhere or that I think it's unreasonable to discuss the frequently adverse effect ads have on people and society or that I even like the ads I see. I just think it's silly to pretend that ADS = EVIL. Advertising is rhetoric. And like any kind of rhetoric its morality is a function of its manner of use, not its form.

Also, fish tacos are awesome. I can't believe jonmc's never had one.
posted by octobersurprise at 5:58 PM on June 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


If I thought I stood a chance in hell I would burn, chop down and blow up all billboards from coat to coast.

I recently went to the UK, and spent a week driving around, by then end I had been to London, Bath, North Wales, Birmingham, Edinburgh, and back to London again. 1300 some miles of driving, and though all that, I saw maybe 10 highway billboards. It was fantastic. Back in Chicago, every morning I pass at least three or four times that much just going to work. After years and years of driving that highway, I can't remember even one of the ads I saw. It's noise that I filter out. I'm surprised that they actually work on people sometimes.


Alternatively, advertising is like war

Ads are like the 'asshole friend'; sure, he or she may be funny sometimes, but in the end it's never worth the hassle of putting up with their crap.


You're totally unfamiliar with the phenomenon of wanting something you know won't bring any satisfaction, something which you'd be unaware of if not for advertising?

To know where "the beef" is? Oh wait. It's in my belly. And the fridge. And walking around in the back field, waiting for the day it will take a short trip down the road, and come back in nicely wrapped packages in my freezer. Guess it's not that.

Hmmm. Do PSAs count? How about Mr. Yuck stickers? They were a let-down. Fun stickers put on all the things I wasn't allowed to touch as a little kid.

So this phenomenon you're speaking of is like somebody saying "Yeaaaauch! I think this milk is bad. Smell this," and you actually smell it?


What isn't obvious to me is why the mere taint of commerce "ruins" a popular song.

It doesn't ruin the song for everyone, just that person. The listener has associated memories, experiences, and feelings with a particular song. That experience they have with that song, independent of the artists who made it, has it's own life with a listener in a way.

Then it shows up on some dumb ad, and it's like an irritating guest that shows up unannounced and won't leave, or like your girlfriend sprouts a second head that is some irritating car salesman. It's a hard thing to get back to where you were before the ad and enjoy the song like you used to.

Yes, it's a bit silly, but I can understand it. It's happened to me. It irritated me, but not to an extreme degree that some have stated.
posted by chambers at 6:25 PM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


But, I've not only worked in advertising but taught it to hundreds of would-be art directors, planners and copywriters. Without the Bill Hicks quote, how would I remember my desire to kill myself?
posted by Gucky at 6:41 PM on June 13, 2011


Yeah, during Die Zauberflote, Paper Mache pyramids and volcanoes in the foyer. It’ll never change.
posted by clavdivs at 6:43 PM on June 13, 2011


elizardbits: "Fish tacos are an abomination unto the tacolord and profane the sacred name of taco."

Soft fish taco or hard?
posted by zarq at 7:04 PM on June 13, 2011


So what's a good place to buy fish tacos in Vancouver?

It's a bit out of the way unless you're otherwise in the neighbourhood but Burrito Bros at 2209 West 1st (at Yew). I prefer the soft but either way is totally OMNOM.
posted by neuromodulator at 7:11 PM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Soft fish taco or hard?

Depends. What are you wearing?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 7:23 PM on June 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


Also, fish tacos are awesome. I can't believe jonmc's never had one.

This is New York, we're just starting to get decent Mexican food here. I did have some badass Korean BBQ on the way home though.
posted by jonmc at 7:51 PM on June 13, 2011


I consider myself an artist. I make stories and games and in general try to express something meaningful or relevant or at least fun about the human condition. Sometimes I don't get paid for the work I do. Sometimes I get paid, but the work is used as a vehicle for advertising a message or a product.

Sometimes the work I do is in and of itself marketing.

I don't feel like any one of these things is any more or less intrinsically evil than any other. It's all part and parcel of being a working artist. Advertising is, after all, one of the few methods in modern society where it is even feasible to make art for money at a living wage. And the care and craft I put into what I do is the same, no matter who's footing the bill. I summarily reject the idea that all past and future art I make is worthless because $Media_Company once handed me enough money to keep paying my mortgage for another few months.

And yeah, a lot of advertising is horrible and manipulative. So, too, is a lot of journalism. A lot of political rhetoric. Some flavors of religion. That's just communication for you. We swim in a world where we are all using each other and being used, every hour of the day, for good or ill. And the good and ill are inseparable.

So an ad might manipulate you into buying a particular beer with a throbbing beat and a few well-oiled bikini-clad girls. At the same time, a baby manipulates a parent into feeding it by being adorable. A lung cancer PSA might manipulate you into feeling so guilty about smoking around your grandchild that you stop smoking entirely. So is all manipulation bad? What's that line between manipulation and mere persuasion, if not in the eye of the beholder?
posted by Andrhia at 8:09 PM on June 13, 2011


The minute my ability to feed and/or shelter myself becomes even slightly dependent on my creative practices, those practices have been compromised and now include explicit investment in people liking the product of those practices.

You may argue that that investment is always there, and you may be right, but even if you are, resisting commodification is the easiest way to minimize it.

Not all people's creative practices are opposed or resistant to that influence, and that's okay, but I find it useful to be wary.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 8:54 PM on June 13, 2011


>Fish tacos are an abomination unto the tacolord and profane the sacred name of taco.

I see you're from NYC. So it's not totally your fault. But fish tacos are as good a reason for living as any.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 9:05 PM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


So is all manipulation bad? What's that line between manipulation and mere persuasion, if not in the eye of the beholder?

I think that some of the reason for the vitriol you see about advertising is not about its essential part of almost all economic systems, but its a reaction to the sheer volume and myriad ways the ad content can, and does, involve itself into almost every part of people's lives from morning to night. Some don't have a problem with it. Others feel it's just too much, akin to drinking from a fire hose, and will do whatever they can to avoid it.

To get all Master Po for a moment, "A drop of water does not know that it is part of a pond that a man is drowning in."

The problem is not you, or your work, or some ad executive, or a media mogul. Its the inability of the population to say 'stop, too much' effectively. Until more consumers define the lines of 'too much' and 'going too far into our lives', and set boundaries of what is and is not acceptable, by law or economic actions, the process of advertising will continue to expand to where its presence, however small, will be in every possible experience of a human's conscious, and unconscious, life. I don't believe this is an overreaction. Ad companies have been using psychology for ages, and even more recently, FMRIs to hone the power of images and messages in print and TV ads. Already, one can target audio to a specific person in a crowd. What will be next? For example, if the technology exists one day of putting an image into the mind of a person, eventually, I assure you there will be a coke machine that projects a brief image of a delicious frosty beverage when you walk past a coke machine. Do I have any right to refuse to be advertised to, when avoiding ads could be seen as theft by some? But I digress.

I have no problem with the general function and purpose of ads. I do take issue with the methods, medium, and degree of advertising in use these days. My saturation point was reached years ago, so now almost all of it is just distracting noise to be filtered out. Sometimes I get sick of all the filtering I have to do, and it just makes me irritable.
posted by chambers at 9:26 PM on June 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


I assure you there will be a coke machine that projects a brief image of a delicious frosty beverage when you walk past a coke machine.

Great. Now I really want a frozen margarita.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:26 PM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've actually never had a fish taco. They sound good.

I wonder if Tacos Les Bons is still there in the old city in Cancun. Man, I loved that place.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:28 PM on June 13, 2011


I love advertising and marketing. It's just a mechanism for getting information out.

That word, information.. I do not think it means what you think it means.
posted by Chuckles at 11:42 PM on June 13, 2011


I hope when you compose your FPPs you don't bother trying to make them as interesting as possible, knowing what you do about the preferences of the community. Because that's all that marketers do.
posted by Summer at 12:52 AM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I worked at an advertising agency as a High School internship. It was Norman, Craig & Kummel. The producer who I worked with was named Bob Lopez. It was a blast. I was actually in on meetings for a remake of the Easy-Off commercial that included "And tamale pie for Pancho!" "Muy bueno."

The majority of the meetings were to redo the Pancho character to make him less of a Mexican stereotype. Considering that it was ~1975-76, it was groundbreaking work at the time.

I loved the time that I worked there. The caffeteria food was above and beyond anything I had ever eaten outside of my house. The people were laid back. The 70s hippy vibe was rocking the place.

Bob and I would go to Central Park and smoke a joint or two. Then go to work and eat in the cafeteria with the executives who were all wasted as well.

Our boss was a football freak, his office was all football memorabilia. He loved my work. I used to get free rolls of film for my Canon FTBn. And they'd do all my developing through Berkey Film Labs for free.

I was on a fast track to getting a job there right out of fucking High School.

Then I made the mistake of photographing a bunch of picture right out of Club Magazine. I shot the pictures in such a way that it looked like I had actually taken pictures of nude models. Hey I was good.

The day that I got fired was the day that I came into work an hour late. Normally that wouldn't have been a problem. Except that on this day, the prints returned from Berkey came with a cop. It seems that my pics were so good that Berkey reported to the ppolice that they thought a porno ringwas being run out of N,C&K. No bullshit.

By the time I got there the cop was gone but I was ushered into big boss's office and shown the pictures. I told him exactly what had happened. That the pics were from a newsstand magazine and in no way pornographic or obscene. In return i got a speech full of football cliches that essentially meant get lost.

I was fucking destroyed. My big break ruined because I had to show how good I was at taking pictures of pictures and making them look real.

Bob was apologetic but get out we have work to do here.

So you tell me. Am I lucky because I'm an unemployed IT guy now? Or what?

Having it to do all over again I'd jump at the opportunity to whore myself to an ad agency.
posted by Splunge at 1:42 AM on June 14, 2011


No, Summer, that's not all that marketers do. Marketers aggressively do that every where I look, progressively colonizing an ever-increasing share of the world around me and sensations available.

When MeFites put their FPPs on billboards outside my window, in ads before a movie I've paid to watch, in blinking boxes in the corners of websites, and on the backs of the seats on the bus I take to work, I'll give you this one. Until then, consider the notion of proportionality. And I'm not even mentioning motive or mercenarism.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 1:43 AM on June 14, 2011


Consider the notion of proportionality in not holding every marketer to account for every piece of advertising you see around you. Also recognise the complicity of the people who sell billboards outside your window as well as the people who would populate them.
posted by Summer at 2:03 AM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


We are all complicit, Summer. All of us.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 2:10 AM on June 14, 2011


(And I haven't held any marketer to account for any piece of advertising. Just breaking your bad analogy for you. It had to be done.)
posted by Joseph Gurl at 2:11 AM on June 14, 2011


You have to understand, Joseph, I'm mainly concerned with the poster above who seemed to suggest that marketers see the world in terms of soulless automatons. Just trying to counter this view with a bit of perspective.
posted by Summer at 2:30 AM on June 14, 2011


Then I'll ask you to do a better job.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 2:34 AM on June 14, 2011


I'll do what I can within my limited abilities.
posted by Summer at 2:52 AM on June 14, 2011


No, Summer, that's not all that marketers do. Marketers aggressively do that every where I look, progressively colonizing an ever-increasing share of the world around me and sensations available.

What would you prefer it be colonized with? Edifying murals? Nothing?
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 3:25 AM on June 14, 2011


It depends.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 3:44 AM on June 14, 2011


What's so wrong with a bit of nothing here and there?
posted by greenish at 4:49 AM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


That's not nothing - it's the invisible hand of the marketing.

PUT THE GLASSES ON! PUT 'EM ON!
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:04 AM on June 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


What's so wrong with a bit of nothing here and there?

Everything.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 5:12 AM on June 14, 2011


*drags Lovecraft in Brooklyn out in the middle of a 20 mile wide dry lake bed deep in the stark, empty beauty of the Mojave desert and leaves him there with nothing but a bag of peyote buttons and a jug of water*

LiB? With sincerity - your limited worldview and apparent fear of nature or inability to see the beauty of it scares the ever-loving fuck out of me and makes me deeply worry about the future.
posted by loquacious at 6:01 AM on June 14, 2011 [8 favorites]


If I'm remembering right, LiB, you live on a continent that has a gigantic amount of Emptiness. Vast, uninhabited spaces. Nothing to see for miles but the occasional bush or tree or big rock, and if you look up at night, stars.

What a blessing! An opportunity to be utterly alone, to breathe and sleep and sing with no one to see you - except you. That seems beautiful to me; it has been beautiful to me, when I have had to opportunity to be in a place like that. I don't pity you for not having that experience, but I hope one day that you can appreciate it.
posted by rtha at 6:35 AM on June 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


What's so wrong with a bit of nothing here and there?

Everything.



Culturally interesting, but you didn't actually answer the question, which was rhetorical by the way, so don't sweat it :)
posted by greenish at 6:37 AM on June 14, 2011


rtha: "If I'm remembering right, LiB, you live on a continent that has a gigantic amount of Emptiness. Vast, uninhabited spaces. Nothing to see for miles but the occasional bush or tree or big rock, and if you look up at night, stars.

What a blessing! An opportunity to be utterly alone, to breathe and sleep and sing with no one to see you - except you. That seems beautiful to me; it has been beautiful to me, when I have had to opportunity to be in a place like that. I don't pity you for not having that experience, but I hope one day that you can appreciate it
"

And if I remember right he is – like me – an immigrant to this wonderful and beautiful and vast continent, and to me that makes it even worse that he fails to appreciate what he's landed in.

I know a great number of Americans who have talked with me about what it takes to move to Australia, and I have to admit that things just fell into place and I'm a resident. During that time, the work I've done has taken me (really!) literally all around the country; from the middle of most major cities to some of the remotest bush you can get to, and it's all pretty great and the bush is astounding.

And then LiB talks as he does, and doesn't seem to appreciate it, and it bothers me. It bothers me on behalf of my friends in the US who would love to get a job here but can't make it, and it bothers me for people whose night-time views are ruined by light pollution around the world, and it bothers me for people who are more used to GAP ads than the outdoors, and it bothers me because as an American ex-pat in Australia I get to deal with folks who view me through lenses formed by dealing with American ex-pats like him.

Appreciate this place, man: it's fucking amazing.
posted by barnacles at 7:10 AM on June 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is New York, we're just starting to get decent Mexican food here.

Just starting? You have clearly not been dining at the right trucks.


I see you're from NYC. So it's not totally your fault.

No matter where on earth I live, I still fear and despise the eldritch horrors of the deep.
posted by elizardbits at 7:29 AM on June 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need.
-Fight Club

New anti-advertising quote for those who want to mix it up and not be all goat-boy all the time.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 7:43 AM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Just starting? You have clearly not been dining at the right trucks.

Need help, then. I lived in NYC from 2002 - 2009 and was never able to find reliably good Mexican food.
posted by josher71 at 7:52 AM on June 14, 2011


FWIW I like that Fight Club quote a lot. It summarizes the key crappy (ad-related) thing about our culture without making generalizations about the trade as a whole.
posted by Rory Marinich at 8:38 AM on June 14, 2011


And I think it pertains perfectly to that Diesel jeans thread which spawned this MeTa. Does anybody really need $200 jeans? Are they getting any quality for that extra money that justifies the purchase?
posted by Rory Marinich at 8:45 AM on June 14, 2011


Ahhh!! Riveting thread. Thought I would just sneak past it on my way out the door....

Rory! That comment! Wow! If I had more favorites to give, you would have them gladly, sir. Er, the original 45+ comment -- not the thirty or so you've made since then, you stallion.

I think mippys request is valid and I think we could just leave the Hicks comment out of it and say -- "think for yourself. Engage the conversation. Don't just quote some former statement over and over as a statement of your hip abdication of your interest/participation in the thread. Make an effort or don't get in there in the first place." Valid participation. Etc...

But that's always the way wit these sorts of requests, eh? "Perhaps less of foo?". "Don't wanna !". Still a rousing discussion, nonetheless.
posted by cavalier at 8:53 AM on June 14, 2011


Lovecraft In Brooklyn writes "What would you prefer it be colonized with? Edifying murals? Nothing?"

Nothing would be good. Hell I'd use a real life version of Ad Block Plus even if one had a snap themselves with an elastic every 20 minutes to make it work.

Rory Marinich writes "Does anybody really need $200 jeans? Are they getting any quality for that extra money that justifies the purchase?"

Seems unlikely considering you can get tailor made jeans for about half that.
posted by Mitheral at 9:03 AM on June 14, 2011


Rory Marinich: "And I think it pertains perfectly to that Diesel jeans thread which spawned this MeTa. Does anybody really need $200 jeans? Are they getting any quality for that extra money that justifies the purchase?"

Sometimes it does, yes. We've been down this road in MeTa before. Sometimes, the difference in clothing quality, cut and fit is worth an inflated price. Sometimes it isn't -- in the case of Diesel jeans, it probably isn't.

But the answer to your question will always be needs-dependent for each person.

To give you a quick example from my own wardrobe: I wear a size 15 shoe (US). My sneakers and dress shoes cost more than the same brands in much smaller sizes, and I've often had to order them directly from the manufacturer. If I wear the wrong size shoe (too narrow, not long enough) they tend to literally split at the seams between the sole and the upper over time. So while I can and do buy $60 shoes off the rack at say, Casual Male or Men's Wearhouse, I really preferred to go to a shoe store on Long Island (...it was Goldman Bros., until they closed in November,) that carries my size and can work with me to make sure that any shoes I buy are going to be comfortable and last as long as possible.

I'd rather pay anywhere from $125 to $250 for a pair of shoes that will last 3x as long and be 10x as comfortable. Someone else might consider that wasteful. But I know I'm going to get more out of them.
posted by zarq at 9:07 AM on June 14, 2011


MetaFilter: You have clearly not been dining at the right trucks.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:23 AM on June 14, 2011


If you can't find good Mexican food, you're clearly not going far enough uptown.

Not revealing my source, but they deliver to my apartment. No, you can't have them! MINE!
posted by Eideteker at 9:54 AM on June 14, 2011


We've been down this road in MeTa before.

Oh man, I totally forgot about that thread! As such, clearly I am not man enough to STAND TO MEASURE.
posted by SpiffyRob at 9:59 AM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need. -Fight Club

What I always find fascinating about this quote, and this vibe, is its essential hypocrisy. Tyler Durden is preaching that the Space Monkeys are re-establishing their agency over life. Rejecting the advertising.

And yet. They always had that agency. It was their choice to work jobs they hate in order to buy shit they don't need. It wasn't advertising that did it to you. It was you allowing advertising to do it to you. Don Draper doesn't come to your house in the middle of the night and pour his thoughts into you while you sleep (although, perhaps he would if he could).

In fact ... doesn't Tyler Durden make and sell soap? Is he not advertising and marketing his wares?

Tyler Durden has the wrong villain. The real enemy is himself.

And Ferris Bueller.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:47 AM on June 14, 2011


Yeah Fight Club is much more about the spectrum between complacency and rebellion and the pitfalls of every stop along the way than it is about advocating a single particular approach to contemporary living, which is why I'm always a little concerned when people are like 'Yeah Fight Club had it right about capitalism!' because I'm like 'You remember they turned into fascists, right?'
posted by shakespeherian at 10:59 AM on June 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm always a little concerned when people are like 'Yeah Fight Club had it right about capitalism!' because I'm like 'You remember they turned into fascists, right?'

This is why I didn't watch Fight Club until last year, and I was very anxious about watching it because the only reason I knew about it was from all the people quoting Tyler Durden deliriously. I have a friend who claims his freshman year in college he joined an actual fight club and he said it was the most liberating thing to ever happen to him.

Then I saw the movie and it turns out Tyler Durden is an imaginary person who spends his time trying to blow up buildings and hold guns to people's heads and cut off penises, and on the whole the movie is a lot smarter and more ambiguous than people who love it and quote it a lot give it credit for. The moral if any is that you should never live anybody else's idea of what your life ought to be, you should figure out what you want for yourself and then unashamedly go after it.

That said, I don't think it's fair to just say "well people who are suckered in by advertising ought to know better" because advertising is very very good at convincing people that the world it depicts is actually reality, and because it targets us from a very young age it's difficult to separate perception from reality. I think that it's not too uncommon for people to grow up still believing what they see on billboards and television. It's a legitimate problem. I think the cure for this is going to by necessity come from other advertisers, because there are very few things as omnipresent as advertising that could stand up to it, but just because I think advertising might help answer the problem doesn't mean advertising isn't responsible for the problem in the first place.
posted by Rory Marinich at 11:31 AM on June 14, 2011


Tyler Durden is an imaginary person who spends his time trying to blow up buildings and hold guns to people's heads and cut off penises

Slander! He's an imaginary person who directs other people to threaten to cut off people's testicles.

It's a very fun movie with some really great one-liners and as nuggets of pop philosophy go Durden's fun to at least think about, but, yeah, it's kind of hard to worry to much about the cohesion of the political philosophy of the violent manifestation of another character's psychosis.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:41 AM on June 14, 2011


We rail against politicians when they lie, we feel betrayed by our family and partners when they tell a falsehood, we teach our kids to be truthful, but we embrace and make excuses for advertising when they distort the truth. It isn't persuasion, it's often falsehood by omission, implication or downright fabrication. And they expect you to pay for it as well. It is not neutral information it is propaganda. Frankly the Overton window has moved so far on this I am not surprised by sentiments like LiB's. He would fit very well into Asimov's Caves of Steel..
posted by edgeways at 11:58 AM on June 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


And if I remember right he is – like me – an immigrant to this wonderful and beautiful and vast continent, and to me that makes it even worse that he fails to appreciate what he's landed in.

The first time I saw the ocean I was 18 and experienced a moment of profound, Lovecraftian terror. And I grew up in Lovecraft Country. I don't like empty spaces, open spaces, or nature. I grew up an hour from New York City. I'm sorry if I don't appreciate sheep paddocks and a sunburnt country.

Back on topic, I do like The Gruen Transfer. That's a good Aussie show.
Whatever else advertising may be it's HUMAN. It's the process of conscious minds trying to figure out my desires.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 3:58 PM on June 14, 2011


Get some therapy, k?
posted by Horselover Phattie at 4:13 PM on June 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's the process of conscious minds trying to figure out inform my desires.

FTFY
posted by likeso at 4:23 PM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's the process of conscious minds trying to create desires, and (these days) computer algorithms trying to systematize ways to exploit them.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:54 PM on June 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


I grew up in cities (Honolulu, Paris, Boston) and have always lived in them. I'll probably always live in a city. We have a "if we win the lottery" fantasy that involves buying a chunk of land up on the Sonoma or Mendocino coast and having goats or something. And then I think: I'd have to drive at least an hour for Thai food (for instance), and my choice of restaurants would likely be one. And it starts to sound like a less awesome idea.

What I don't understand, at gut-level, is your association of nature with emptiness. True wilderness - even the more remote parts of the GGNRA - is anything but empty. That patch of ocean you were looking at had more living beings in it than ten New York cities.
posted by rtha at 5:49 PM on June 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


The first time I saw the ocean I was 18 and experienced a moment of profound, Lovecraftian terror.

There is no such thing as "Lovecraftian terror." Know why? 'Cause Lovecraft made it up; that's why.

Jesus, haven't you people ever heard of the golden mean? A world where's there are places to experience the sublimity of the mostly-unspoiled-by-humans natural world and a place for advertising regulated by some concern for truth and civility isn't impossible to imagine, you know. (Though maybe it is impossible to ever have, people being people and wanting to take everything to the goddamn extremes.)
posted by octobersurprise at 5:56 PM on June 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


> And I grew up in Lovecraft Country. I don't like empty spaces, open spaces, or nature. I grew up an hour from New York City.

I hate to break it to you, but Providence is more than an hour from New York City, Central Mass even further.

Oh wait, you were projecting.
posted by mrzarquon at 8:45 PM on June 14, 2011


it's kind of hard to worry to much about the cohesion of the political philosophy of the violent manifestation of another character's psychosis

That's what she said. No, really. I heard her, just now. I think.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:10 PM on June 14, 2011


grew up near New York, spent two years in Western Mass... oversimplifying. branding. but yeah
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:10 PM on June 14, 2011


Christ, did a cow shit in here?

oh, also....Metafilter: patronage, flattery, religion, or blood?
posted by jquinby at 9:22 PM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]



And I think it pertains perfectly to that Diesel jeans thread which spawned this MeTa. Does anybody really need $200 jeans? Are they getting any quality for that extra money that justifies the purchase?
No, what spawned this thread was avoiding a phone call to tell an advertiser that we won't let them claim what we want them to claim. Sorta. I just remembered out of nowhere that it irritated me, and it was a good excuse to watch some Stewart Lee.

If someone could make a pair of jeans for a 10" hip to waist ratio, chunky thighs and long legs and rise, I would be very tempted to hand over $200. If the only difference between, say, two white T-shirts is the logo stamped on the front, then the price differential makes less sense.
posted by mippy at 6:31 AM on June 15, 2011


I dunno about The Gruen Transfer. It seems like a lot of smug back-patting from the ad industry. It's like Wil Anderson wanted to have one of those clip-shows where they air a series of the funniest/sexiest/weirdest ads from around the world, but was worried it'd seem un-intellectual. So he gets in an ad guy who refuses to admit there's anything wrong with any ad they show, and a right-on guy who shares my politics but thinks that advertising can save the world. Add a couple of guests from whatever show on the ABC needs to be promoted, and you're off.

The challenges are pretty good though - they do a section where two working marketers compete to come up with an ad that makes something awful seem like a great idea. The invade New Zealand one was my favourite.
posted by harriet vane at 4:28 AM on June 16, 2011


Bugger, I actually had a real comment to make, not just an opinion about the Gruen show.

Advertising is on a spectrum: on one end you've got a new local restaurant leaving a flyer in my mailbox to let me know they're open, what they serve and what it costs, which is both useful and creates a sense of community; on the other you've got spammers trying to cram their bullshit into your email inbox, onto eBay, Craigslist, MeFi, Twitter, and even trying to friend you on Facebook. They ruin everything fun and useful about one of the most amazing communication mediums to ever exist. And they don't give a fuck at all if we drown in it.

For commodities, fungible products or the just plain useless shit, there's no actual reason for you to buy their version, or any of it at all. So the suppliers get into an arms race of attention-grabbing arseholery to trick you into thinking it actually matters, one-upping each other to the point where I hate them all. They're not entitled to my money, or my attention.
posted by harriet vane at 4:37 AM on June 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Add a couple of guests from whatever show on the ABC needs to be promoted, and you're off.

Not to mention that ad-industry insider who could only have been there to fill some kind of imaginary quota for being (a) gen Y (b) vaguely exotic* and (c) female.

Whenever that idiot opened her mouth, you could feel the rest of the panel thinking, "ok, you can shut up already; you're only meant to be part of the scenery"

* for values of 'exotic' that equal Maori, which isn't very exotic at all.


posted by UbuRoivas at 5:27 AM on June 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh yeah, whatserface. And whaddya mean, Maori isn't exotic? She's a chick, and she's not Anglo-Saxon. To Aussie ad execs, she might as well be the Queen of Sheba.
posted by harriet vane at 1:58 AM on June 17, 2011


Oh, god. Now Q&A have two vaguely exotic gen Y females on the panel.

One seems to be a funky-arty muslim chick, who looks like she's just popped out of a Paddington art gallery with a brief detour via Tunisia. The other is a Filipina, as far as I can tell, pretending to be Grace Jones, only minus the cool.

The guys are just regular whiteys. Is there some particular reason why that ethno-fusion-statement look seems to be sought after in women, but discouraged in men on these panel shows?
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:00 AM on June 20, 2011


UbuRoivas: "The guys are just regular whiteys. Is there some particular reason why that ethno-fusion-statement look seems to be sought after in women, but discouraged in men on these panel shows?"

Yes. That's a standard formula when the viewer demographics being sought out by the show are men. The theory is that men find foreign-looking, exotic males threatening, and think foreign-looking "exotic" women are hot. Or at least, nicer to look at.

It's not just panel shows. Once you're aware of the phenomenon, consider how many shows create the same dynamic with their hosts: a white guy with non-white female partner. In the US, that usually means a Latin or an Asian.
posted by zarq at 6:42 AM on June 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


There are often other subtle, almost subliminal dynamics.

The male is often considered the lead, especially if they're a little older than their co-host(s). If a news show, does the man report on the hard news stories while the woman handles the fluffier health and lifestyle pieces? Etc.
posted by zarq at 12:29 PM on June 20, 2011


Not in the case of this particular show. They assemble a panel, who answer questions from the audience or else tweeted or emailed in, so the panellists are basically equal. You might be able to see a badly photoshopped picture of the panellists here, and/or videos from the show.

(Seems I was off track with the supposed Filipina: "born in London to Chinese and Ghanaian parents"; OK, that's fairly typical)
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:46 PM on June 20, 2011


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