Always outnumbered. Generally overdresssed.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


As part of the birthday celebrations GC undertook the epic journey by car, boat, train and catamaran from W12 to the O2 to watch the 'Walking with Dinosaurs Arena Spectacular'.

As you can see from the picture, from Section 42 Block 111 it was almost as much fun as watching someone else playing with several plastic dinosaurs in a sandpit.

This was an instance par excellence of what DFW called a Spect-Op; futuristic marketing speak for a 'spectatorship opportunity'. He wrote a beautiful story about this idea called 'Mr Squishy' - it's the best short story about modern marketing there is, I suggest you read it.

Some people can achieve a state of self-forgetting by being around large numbers of people all doing the same thing. I am immune to this sensation - it just makes me feel worthless.

It's basically an affront to my ego.

It's just one of the reasons I hate football.

Anyway, I think DFW had this image of the modern man being most himself when part of a large group watching something. We've got this real sense of entitlement when it comes to being entertained. Boredom and loneliness being the bain of modern gratified existence.

His last book, The Pale King, set in an IRS office, was an investigation of boredom. Let's just hope it's more fun to read than it was to write.

The creators of the Walking with Dinosaurs Arena Spectacular had plumped very firmly for an asteroid-based lizard holocaust scenario. Even so, the dinosaurs were top of the food chain for 160 million years, which frankly shits all over the 200,000 years homo sapiens have been shuffling about worrying about things. The world has been a cruel place for much longer than it's been anything like an Orange advert.

Commenter EmJ, whom I suspect of being a socialist, and also Welsh (ok, I know she's Welsh), links to this very interesting article in the New Scientist about the role of advertising in the horrors to come.

I've always been keen on the idea that since advertising has got us into this mess, it should be advertising that gets us out. After all, it's far more effective when it comes to influencing behaviour than governments have ever been.

I wonder what that would do for the industry's self-esteem, if communicating with people in such a way that they really would change their behaviour became essential for the survival of the human race.

'Save the world, become a copywriter.'

I'd buy that.


neil oliver said...

advertising will ensure the continued survival of the human race

- after all, what are magnificent tits and fat wallets, but advertising?

Anonymous said...

Governments are good at advertising.