Ptarmigan

a grouse with completely feathered feet

3/01/2004

from the comments of this entry of John & Belle Have a Blog:

"The rich philistinism emanating from advertisements is due not to their exaggerating (or inventing) the glory of this or that serviceable article but to suggesting that the acme of human happiness is purchasable and that its purchase somehow ennobles the purchaser. Of course, the world they create is pretty harmless in itself because everybody knows that it is made up by the seller with the understanding that the buyer will join in the make-believe. The amusing part is not that it is a world where nothing spiritual remains except the ecstatic smiles of people serving or eating celestial cereals, or a world where the game of the senses is played according to bourgeois rules, but that it is a kid of satellite shadow world in the actual existence of which neither sellers nor buyers really believe in their heart of hearts - especially in this wise quiet country. (Nabokov, "Philistines and Philistinism", Lectures on Russian Literature)
Advertising as a giant shared world anthology, an everquest. And maybe that's what makes me want to critique the insularity of writing fictions of pure entertainment. It isn't TV or the movies that have taken over the role of entertainment (particularly the supplanting of the short story) in our culture--it's the 30-second spot. Madison Ave. has friendstered all of us, and there's no way to exist solely in that diversionary realm and do pure entertainment better than advertising. Better to drop out and break the nondisclosures.

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