France, close to the courthouse, you could a short while ago have seen,
on the wall of an old apartment building, a monumental portrait of
Montesquieu underlined with a quotation by this important person
about prejudices as wanton assumptions and roots of all error. By some
irony of chance, advertising, which is one of the major vehicles of
prejudice ever devised by man, has covered Montesquieu's portrait with
a huge advertising poster telling people they are in for "a very
special location at hand to live a new art of life."
dream apartment building to come may have its uses,
but if it is
of use, why advertise it? The question had led me to ponder
advertising, not only real estate advertising, but advertising for
everything everywhere, that substitutes the tempting for the useful,
because in this the problem lies, in the hyperbole. People free from
worries and shame find themselves laden with worries and shame, when
they are over-indebted for something that they out of prejudice, into
which hyperbolic advertising leads, had thought could have transfigured
I know that, if non-essentials and luxuries were suddenly taken off the
market, 50% to 75% of industry, and of employment therefore,
would be wiped out straightaway. That's the big snag of our current
type of economy, which only spiritual life will make up for through a
natural change of logic and natural transfer of values and desires.
Meanwhile, is it wrong to find faults with advertising?
goods which ads prompt people to buy are beyond their means.
ads would not be necessary. Disproportion between the global amount of
supply and the global amount of the means makes temptation break up,
get pulverized into millions of buying particles, which makes us forget
about disproportion but does not make it disappear. Ads only address
the poor, because the wealthy are way too scarce to account for
enormous advertising budgets, and the wealthy know whatever they want
simply because they can get it.
Not only are ads hyperbolic, but they
are numberless. As a
special offer ad had erased the portrait of Montesquieu, or
intelligence, I focused my attention on advertising as a whole for a
few days. Ad(vertising) is swarming, so it is bound to cloud myriad
think that you have long stopped descrying it, but it is there,
numberless spots and marks, each in its frame, its poster, its rolling
ads display, let alone its yellow page, its web page. It is there like
a jewel in its box, like a pretty model or a handsome athlete in his or
her tight-fitting underwear, telling you that it is you that he or she
has thought of night and day, it is you that he or she has been waiting
for. The great advances made in color printing and photography make
those temptations virtually touchable, so that the people that covet
them might be virtual rapists. The poor buyer takes leave of his
senses. Suddenly overcome with senseless self-confidence, he will get
into debt, or even steal…The consecutive instability and disappointment
make men suffer much more than you can imagine.
Pilgrims have a lot to do to make men conscious that real beauty
(Rev of Ares 12/3)
is not that which ad praises.