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Douglas Rushkoff's new Frontline show tomorrow
November 8, 2004 3:18 PM   Subscribe

Set your TiVos (no really, try this), mooks and midriffs, Douglas Rushkoff has a new Frontline about the "persuasion industry" coming out tomorrow night on PBS. If you caught his Merchants of Cool a couple years ago, you'll probably agree it was a breakthrough program and I hold high hopes for this year's update on how advertisers rule our world.
posted by mathowie (37 comments total)

 
Excellent! Merchants of Cool is the only tape I've ever ordered from PBS. Thanks matt!
posted by Ufez Jones at 3:21 PM on November 8, 2004


Damn, I was excited about the Tivo feature! I'll get my Tivo set though.

I like that its not "if" advertisers rule our world, its "how".
posted by fenriq at 3:23 PM on November 8, 2004


I definitely want to see this. Thanks for the reminder.
posted by homunculus at 3:23 PM on November 8, 2004


Sounds like something I want/need to see. Thanks!
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:08 PM on November 8, 2004


Thanks, Matt. I went to Tivo it and found out that we have two PBS stations. How cool is that?
posted by sugarfish at 4:15 PM on November 8, 2004


Wow... I missed that whole merchants of cool show. Anybody know of a torrent?
posted by Keyser Soze at 4:15 PM on November 8, 2004


This tivo, is it something I need tv to... oh never mind. I love frontline/nova night. This makes me excited.
posted by BrodieShadeTree at 4:15 PM on November 8, 2004


"Merchants of Cool" has haunted me since I saw it a couple years ago. I'm sure "The Persuaders" will be just as powerful and eerie.

Keyser: "Merchants of Cool" is available to watch on pbs.org/frontline.
posted by smich at 4:16 PM on November 8, 2004


That is very useful and thanks for the link, but does anyone know where I can find a real quality version? I'll check the usual sources and post if i find them.
posted by Keyser Soze at 4:17 PM on November 8, 2004


Sadly the TiVo link would only work for people who have standalone TiVos with the Home Media Option enabled - us Series2 DirecTiVo owners are still out of luck. :(
posted by mrbill at 4:21 PM on November 8, 2004


Ooh, excellent! By coincidence, we showed "Merchants of Cool" in the class I teach this morning, and I suspect the students (mostly aspiring ad folks) will find this interesting.
posted by aaronetc at 4:22 PM on November 8, 2004


And now I will endeavour to explain to you more clearly what I mean: The soul and body being two, have two arts corresponding to them: there is the art of politics attending on the soul; and another art attending on the body, of which I know no single name, but which may be described as having two divisions, one of them gymnastic, and the other medicine. And in politics there is a legislative part, which answers to gymnastic, as justice does to medicine; and the two parts run into one another, justice having to do with the same subject as legislation, and medicine with the same subject as gymnastic, but with a difference. Now, seeing that there are these four arts, two attending on the body and two on the soul for their highest good; flattery knowing, or rather guessing their natures, has distributed herself into four shams or simulations of them; she puts on the likeness of some one or other of them, and pretends to be that which she simulates, and having no regard for men's highest interests, is ever making pleasure the bait of the unwary, and deceiving them into the belief that she is of the highest value to them. Cookery simulates the disguise of medicine, and pretends to know what food is the best for the body; and if the physician and the cook had to enter into a competition in which children were the judges, or men who had no more sense than children, as to which of them best understands the goodness or badness of food, the physician would be starved to death. A flattery I deem this to be and of an ignoble sort, Polus, for to you I am now addressing myself, because it aims at pleasure without any thought of the best. An art I do not call it, but only an experience, because it is unable to explain or to give a reason of the nature of its own applications. And I do not call any irrational thing an art; but if you dispute my words, I am prepared to argue in defence of them. Cookery, then, I maintain to be a flattery which takes the form of medicine; and tiring, in like manner, is a flattery which takes the form of gymnastic, and is knavish, false, ignoble, illiberal, working deceitfully by the help of lines, and colours, and enamels, and garments, and making men affect a spurious beauty to the neglect of the true beauty which is given by gymnastic.

As cookery [is to] medicine -- rhetoric [is to] justice. And this, I say, is the natural difference between the rhetorician and the sophist, but by reason of their near connection, they are apt to be jumbled up together; neither do they know what to make of themselves, nor do other men know what to make of them. For if the body presided over itself, and were not under the guidance of the soul, and the soul did not discern and discriminate between cookery and medicine, but the body was made the judge of them, and the rule of judgment was the bodily delight which was given by them, then the word of Anaxagoras, that word with which you, friend Polus, are so well acquainted, would prevail far and wide: "Chaos" would come again, and cookery, health, and medicine would mingle in an indiscriminate mass. And now I have told you my notion of rhetoric, which is, in relation to the soul, what cookery is to the body.


-from Gorgias, by Plato
posted by eustacescrubb at 4:25 PM on November 8, 2004


What would people think about a torrent tracker that was all-pbs? I've been wanting one and it seems like this is really lacking. Comments? Offers to seed?
posted by bug138 at 5:01 PM on November 8, 2004


Wow, that Tivo link works surprisingly well considering I don't have a Tivo that lets you schedule from the web. I can't record, of course, but I can see when it's on locally and with the right PBS station number and everyhting. Just by logging in. Viva la progress!
posted by smackfu at 5:20 PM on November 8, 2004


"Marketers and advertisers use research and public relations to deliver their messages."

Way to sell it PBS, who would want to miss that?
posted by smackfu at 5:33 PM on November 8, 2004


It sounds like it's loosely based on his book, Coercion, which is worth checking out as well.
posted by euphorb at 5:36 PM on November 8, 2004


What would people think about a torrent tracker that was all-pbs? I've been wanting one and it seems like this is really lacking. Comments? Offers to seed?

I do this except with BBC documentaries off uknova. By the time I move to England I will know more local trivia than the residents!
posted by srboisvert at 5:41 PM on November 8, 2004


Wow... I missed that whole merchants of cool show. Anybody know of a torrent?

You can watch the whole thing on PBS' website (Windows Media or Real).
posted by bradlands at 8:20 PM on November 8, 2004


What would people think about a torrent tracker that was all-pbs? I've been wanting one and it seems like this is really lacking. Comments? Offers to seed?

+

You can watch the whole thing on PBS' website (Windows Media or Real).

Let's the make it like the BBC. Buy the stuff up front. "Slaves" workin' on govn't salaries getting their most creative efforts torn apart in minutes by the 'internets'.

Anybody know any congressfolk or lobbyists?
posted by wah at 8:29 PM on November 8, 2004


Wow... I missed that whole merchants of cool show. Anybody know of a torrent?

I'm ripping all the episodes from the site now and will combine them into one file (I'm using the WMV files, because Real is da debil). I'll post a torrent in a couple of minutes, but my upstream connection is sloooooow, so I'll be superseeding. I'd kindly request anyone downloading the torrent to leave their client open until the share ratio is 1:1 so everyone can have a chance to watch it.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:21 PM on November 8, 2004


Oh, and this is the hi-res 220k version. Just so you know.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:23 PM on November 8, 2004


Thank you. If I find it in native resolution i'll post.
posted by Keyser Soze at 12:02 AM on November 9, 2004


I'm converting it to MPEG-2 instead of keeping it in native WMV. There might be a slight hit to video quality, but not too much.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:20 AM on November 9, 2004


Link to torrent? I've seen Merchants of Cool 3 times now, but I love it every time.
posted by Mach3avelli at 12:26 AM on November 9, 2004


Hmm, I may be cynical, but after all, Metafilter is a source I trust, and from the mouth of Number One himself..... Hmmm ..... MUST BUY TIVO.

[new tab] [click] megawebelectricals.com/impulsebuy [click] [click] [click]

aaah, that's better. Still I doubt that this program will be of any relevance to me.


What would people think about a torrent tracker that was all-pbs? I've been wanting one and it seems like this is really lacking. Comments? Offers to seed?
posted by bug138 at 1:01 AM GMT on November 9


Have a look here, someone's trying just that, albeit from the British end.
posted by grahamwell at 8:07 AM on November 9, 2004


Stop Trying to Persuade Us
posted by homunculus at 9:30 AM on November 9, 2004


Bittorrent link to Merchants of Cool.

Just to repeat, my connection is slow as hell, so please be patient, and keep your client open afterwards so other people can get it as well.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:56 AM on November 9, 2004


"Cool? I'll be the judge of what's cool! ... with my new coolometer. Holy cow, TEN THOUSAND MegaFonzies!" -- Loose quote of Professor Farnsworth, Futurama.
posted by jmccorm at 12:06 PM on November 9, 2004


eh. My overall reaction is pretty much, "well, duh." Only got interesting in about the last 15 minutes.
posted by ChasFile at 7:25 PM on November 9, 2004


I liked how the SUV was so directly connected with the theme of dominance. How things have a basic message for the hind lizard brain. Things that are on-message sell. Things that are off-message sell poorly.
posted by jmccorm at 7:44 PM on November 9, 2004


MUST. FLY. SONG.

I'm still digesting it all, but yeah, it was "Motherfucking Duh" to me, but then again manipulating your sheep minds is what pays my bills. Excellent program overall.

Unfortunately, the reality of it all is that despite the fact that Advertisers have killed the golden goose per se with oversaturation and chatter, it'll always exist as long as commerce is fueled by it. Can we stop the destruction of our culture and find another way? I doubt it, but it's certainly worth trying.
posted by Stan Chin at 8:30 PM on November 9, 2004


And yes, I'm obviously freaked out at the prospect of a complete industry collapse and losing my job. Take it as you will.
posted by Stan Chin at 8:37 PM on November 9, 2004


Yeah, but next week's Frontline is on Wal-Mart.

Their advertising execs have so got me pegged. I know I'm going to be watching next week.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:04 PM on November 9, 2004


Song can't Song to Song Song. The airline of Marklar.
posted by trharlan at 10:08 PM on November 9, 2004


Clotaire Rapaille is my fucking hero.
posted by crazy finger at 10:42 PM on November 9, 2004


And what does your reptilian brain want?!
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:28 AM on November 10, 2004


"Ve must crack da code."

It was a good refresher for anyone who is already familiar with the vulgarities of the advertising industry. I found the comments about the change in job focus for brand managers foreshadowed much of the program.

I second that the final 15 was the best. Comparing Rapaille to Luntz was a great play. I see Rapaille really as the master here. Luntz seems like a tool. Interestingly no one described his work as just spin.
posted by xtian at 12:55 PM on November 10, 2004


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