Monday 2 June 2014

Free Will and Food Courts

You have to love how discerning the public is when it comes to advertising.  Agencies spend millions on campaigns and air time to get the perfect message on TV, on the radio and in print. The audience takes half a second to decide if they will pay attention or not. You have to love the power of the low common denominator, because there is nothing low about it at all. The common denominator is a monster!

Look at everyone's favourite painting - Edvard Munch's The Scream. For some reason this is the work of art the most number of people find infatuating. You can buy the art represented on drapes, lamps, towels, lighters, stained glass windows, hand puppets, mugs, T-shirts, keychains, and even glue-on fingernails. Then there are the imitations featuring famous cartoon characters, game characters or famous people. Have you ever noticed the poster for Home Alone shows Macaulay Culkin doing the exact same pose as Munch's painting?

The list is infinite, but what it says is truly remarkable. The infatuation illustrates an incredible unanimous consensus among much of humanity. No one was told to like the painting. No one was taught how to interpret it or what it means or how they should react to it. Everyone seems to understand exactly what it is and identifies with it without being prompted.

So that means the public does indeed have a voice. They decide when a piece of music will be popular or a film (like Avatar or The Avengers) or when an electronic device like the iPhone or the iPad will dominate the market. Everyone selects clothing and cars and types of food and turns those choices into iconic emblems of mutual agreement. Am I wrong, or isn't that what elections are for? Advertising, marketing and publicity can present the choices, but the popular vote cannot be compromised. That's what I love about free will and food courts.

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