The insidious effects of advertising’s fundamental practice of mendacity

Someone else wrote a blog post far better than 99% of the crap I sling up here.

Interesting how it chimes with the ‘unintended consequences’ angle of yesterday’s post.

Also, about six months ago I wrote a post that touched on some of those ‘pretending not to be an arsehole’ points. The Foster Wallace quote seems particularly apposite:

“An ad that pretends to be art is – at absolute best – like somebody who smiles warmly at you only because he wants something from you.

“This is dishonest,” he goes on, “but what’s sinister is the cumulative effect that such dishonesty has on us: since it offers a perfect facsimile or simulacrum of goodwill without goodwill’s real spirit, it messes with our heads and eventually starts upping our defences even in cases of genuine smiles and real art and true goodwill. It makes us feel confused and lonely and impotent and angry and scared. It causes despair.”

That is pretty depressing, but for me it’s the last paragraph that really twists the knife into our collective souls:

Perhaps capitalism that makes no attempt to conceal its intentions is the best we can hope for because at least in that climate the distinction between life and advertising can be felt. It’s not ideal, but when the alternative is a form of marketing masquerading as a piece of hand-painted earthenware on the bric-a-brac stall of a local fête, it’s got to be an improvement.

Well, I hate being lied to as I find it pushes my buttons in all the wrong places, so I’d prefer the lack of subterfuge, but if it’s the ‘best we can hope for’ I might just go and find a scalpel, a bottle of Hendricks and a warm bath (semi colon, hyphen, close parentheses).