Monday, April 21, 2003
More Advert-Think: To put it in pop/psych terms, this kind of advertising appeals to the kernel of anomie in all of us -- the fear that we are truly alone -- and to the glimmer of hope that we can overcome that soul-eating loneliness by identifying ourselves as members of groups. These groups are signified to society by logos, team jackets, bumperstickers. It's an ugly thing, but that guy with the sticker on his truck, the cartoon picture of the kid whizzing on the Chevy logo -- that's a desperately frightened man, so frightened that he needs to have what Eric Hoffer would call an other, a sort of fascist concept of "not-us" to share. Grass only exists to give the concrete a name, as the sage said. Anytime I see an ad selling me that kind of group identity, the desperation of it reinforces how alone people are. How they're not buying a product, but buying a feeling, a respite.