(Sub)vertising and Hopes

I am learning to be idle. It is hard going. One of the habits in my idling moments is that of gazing aimlessly at advertisements to draw me out of “thinking-mode”. Dangerous habit though. The “idling” seems to only last briefly as my “head” starts to feverishly work at Late Afternoon - France 2010subverting some of these well thought Ads geared at us gullible consumers. Here are just a few (in italics) of what I have collected minus the product being advertised or the picture/design that accompanied it.

  • We are from different sides of the track” reminds me of much of our polarised discourse in church and politics. If only we can understand that a train or locomotive needs both sides of the track lines to ensure some form of movement or that the view from either side will only be partial. None can claim to have a whole view of the train and its passengers!
  • Measured in depth, not in volume” may be a spot-on beer ad, yet it can serve as a sort of a parable to bear in mind when we indulge in conversations. What matters in these and other forms of conversations is not the volume of our “voice production” (though we tend to listen to those loudest) but the depth of our measured, considered and passionate arguments. We quickly sense honesty, integrity and commitment in arguments that are deep and open to movement of all parties.
  • What does celebrity culture teaches us? The only way is excess.” This may certainly be the case as popular media may wish us to think and believe. It is the creation of a “dream culture of life as a celebrity” that has got many of us hooked to strange ways of behaving, believing and belonging. It spins off in most relational aspects of our life, hence the many disappointments people have to cope with. If only the excess can become a habit of generosity so that others may simply live and delight in living!
  • Strong, Black & Talented”: I cannot recall every reading or hearing such affirmative combinations associated with the word “Black” in any of our media. I have lost count of the number of times I have spoken back to newsreaders and television programmes negative association with word “black” – not to mention the ways in which Black people are largely often represented. And do not get me going on the pejorative use of “Black and Darkness” in the liturgies and hymns of the Church. Mind you, the above positive use is related to an Ad on coffee and not the people who grow the beans!
  • I suspect that after the festive season of eating and drinking the Ad “Give us your Body for a Week: And we will give you back your mind” may be more than appealing. This body holiday may not be a bad idea, but I suspect that with all the bills to pay (including this one to get “your mind back”) look more like an illusion than a delightful experience. The Ad, however, underscores the importance rest for both body and mind. We are not machines or robots!

And if you are stuck for 2013 resolutions how about considering the following Ads as offering some pointers with your own subversive take:  “Get More Control by Controlling Less”, “follow your heart, not the crowd” and “Love does not make the world go around….it makes living worthwhile”. And be warned about any invitation to consider “thinking about a money makeover” in 2013, “buy two and get the third free” or “buy now and pay later”! Quick responding is necessary: “Just take a deep breath and count to five” and then “make a resolution,[to] make a difference.” And remember that Ad: Doctor, the patient will now see you”!

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