The Prayers of Our Faith
March 28, 2022 2:27 PM   Subscribe

Our liturgy, that’s advertising. It’s produced some great and beautiful art. What I would argue to you is that all of it—the television commercials and the print advertisements, the marketing campaigns and the logo designs—constitutes the United States’ artistic patrimony; that our great literature is the jingle, the copy, the billboard, the TV spot. Ed Simon is Tripping the Late Capitalist Sublime [The Millions]
posted by chavenet (7 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Make great art along the way
remember the only one today
is the fact that you have

Burma Shave
posted by clavdivs at 3:21 PM on March 28, 2022 [2 favorites]

he’s right about one thing, he really doesn’t know much about class.
posted by marcpski at 9:01 PM on March 28, 2022 [1 favorite]

If Coke is a mystery
Michael Jackson, history
If beauty is truth
And surgery the fountain of youth

What am I to do?
Have I got the gifts to get me through
The gates of that mansion
If O.J. is more than a drink
And a Big Mac bigger than you think
And perfume is an obsession
And talk shows confession
What have we got to lose?
Another push and we'll be through
The gates of that mansion...

- Playboy Mansion, U2
posted by blue shadows at 9:57 PM on March 28, 2022 [2 favorites]

I've been to the food court at the Burlington Mall. It's a round area surrounded by food stalls with no windows except for a little area over by the escalators and the currency exchange kiosk where the seating area spills out into the second floor foyer. It doesn't overlook Middlesex Turnpike a road which is on the other side of the building but it does gaze out towards the industrial park which houses an ICE field office/detention facility as well as the place where I took the GRE. Beyond that park is the Trump Building, a part of Lahey Clinic named after 45's uncle which somehow makes it OK* for a hospital to have a Trump Building. And given that the mall is right next to Route 128, it probably also overlooks some environmental releases from the high tech companies that used to freely dump all sorts of crap into the storm drains.

If I'm going to use the Burlington Mall as a jumping off point for a long screed about late stage capitalism, there's an absolute goldmine surrounding it which this author overlooked in favor of repeating the same generic talking points that we've already heard a million times. I don't disagree with him, but my eyes kind of glazed over by the time he started talking about Coke commercials from the 1970s.

Also, it's OK to visit the Burlington Mall, walk around for a bit, and eat at the food court. Just don't eat at the Chic-fil-A.

* The building has been around since the 1980s and John Trump was indeed a pioneer in the use of X-Rays and worked at Lahey and deserves credit. But also 45 frequently cited his uncle when bragging that he had a "natural ability" to understand the pandemic.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 5:36 AM on March 29, 2022 [2 favorites]

"Zombie art. Garish. Cold. Non-art. Duchamp's Fountain overflowing into the world."--Chaim Potok, My Name is Asher Lev.
posted by No Robots at 2:47 PM on March 29, 2022 [1 favorite]

"You must banish from your mind the naive but commonplace notion that commercials are about products. They are about products in the same sense that the story of Jonah is about the anatomy of whales. Which is to say, they aren’t. They are about values and myths and fantasies. One might even say they form a body of religious literature, a montage of voluminous, visualized sacred texts that provide people with images and stories around which to organize their lives." -Neil Postman, The Conservative Outlook

"There is, unfortunately, only one product that can maintain its value as everything else is devalued under the banner of the noosphere. At the end of the rainbow of open culture lies an eternal spring of advertisements. Advertising is elevated by open culture from its previous role as an accelerant and placed at the center of the human universe." -Jaron Lanier, You Are Not a Gadget

"Ironically, advertising is now singled out as the only form of expression meriting genuine commercial protection in the new world to come. Any other form of expression is to be remashed, anonymized, and decontextualized to the point of meaninglessness. Ads, however, are to be made ever more contextual, and the content of the ad is absolutely sacrosanct. No one—and I mean no one—dares to mash up ads served in the margins of their website by Google." - Ibid
posted by executive_dysfuncti0n at 3:17 PM on March 29, 2022 [2 favorites]

From what I remember of the Burlington Mall, which was a long time ago,* it was actually less anonymous than other huge malls -- not because of anything inside it but because of its setting. Since it is Massachusetts, after all, it was built in a time before subdivisions and tract houses, with winding roads and little saltboxes and all.

Despite its recency, there's something very '80s about this piece. It's not a complaint, just an observation. Maybe it's the age of the commercials discussed, or the way he describes Coke as "sugar water," which is exactly what I heard it called by the parents of my friends who weren't allowed to have any on principle.

* Once I went over there to see Terry Pratchett at a book signing in the mall bookstore when I was a teen. I remember spotting him passing the food court with his big hat pulled deliberately far down his face and thinking: not too many people are going to recognize him around here, even though they should. Of course I left him alone.
posted by Countess Elena at 2:27 PM on March 30, 2022 [1 favorite]

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