When historians look back at the first quarter of the 21st century, these two words will best surmise Western democracy’s societal thinking. The 1960’s were a long time ago now, both literally and the changes which swept over these same western democracies.
A big question is will they still be democracies? A recent Gallup Poll in the US found 52 or 53% of 18 to 30-year olds did not believe democracy was the best form of government. The report did not explore what type of government would take its place, but judging by attitudes of many Millennials, it will be Orwellian in nature (read 1984 if you don’t understand that comment).
We will all be expected to conform to pre-determined set of rules for both actions and thoughts.
In the 1960’s, there was a crusade against censorship. Censorship is the enemy of free thought and you cannot expect people to conform to a dictated set of thoughts and principals without censorship.
Even in the “You’re Banned” era, violence is quite acceptable. Esports is one of the fastest growing sector, well I couldn’t call it a sport, it is watching computer games. Crowds in the tens of thousands are watching nerds play computer games, the top 5 of which are violence based – about some bullshit super heroes or futuristic wars. A big part of the appeal is the graphics – so real that watching people stabbed, shot or blown apart is a realistic as if it is really happening. But that is OK.
I was listening to 2WS FM the other day when the two announcers brought up the topic of the 2-part series, the first of which was to be played that night, about Michael Jackson and his sick perversion of child abuse. It has been known for years that Whacko Jacko was a kiddie fiddler. But now these “kids” are in their 30s and 40s, they can give graphic accounts, for the ever-increasing voyeuristic audiences, about what went on.
I have only read one article that was critical of the parents of these kids. To believe not one parent had an inkling that something was not right, is about as believable as Santa Claus and The Easter Bunny. But hey, their kids got them an introduction to the world of Michael Jackson, the rich and famous.
But the kicker for me was when the male DJ said: “Well this may well be the last time you hear Michael Jackson on this radio station,” and then he played Thriller.
I have never been a great fan of Jacko’s music, but I can appreciate the genius of the man. A very flawed genius, but a genius just the same. So now, in the “You’re Banned” era, we are going to be highly judgemental and not play the music, publish the writing, show the art or whatever work a genius has come up with, because of moralistic flaws of character?
Seriously? From now on do we live in this straight jacket in moralistic judgement, with only those whose morals stand up to scrutiny of, well of who (or should that be whom)? Who decides and what constitutes a greater enough sin to deserve banishment? I am not condoning Jackson in the slightest. His actions were unforgivable in the eyes of many. But that does not impact on the genius of his work. If we start with Jacko, where does it end? Do we scour history and look for salacious gossip of Mozart, Beethoven, Monet, Rembrandt, Wordsworth, Shelley, Keats – shit the list goes on and on.
I recently wrote an article critical of the Gillette ad about Toxic Masculinity which was published in B&T. The response was either outrage or agreement. One lady wrote an article in response, anonymous of course (but she mis-spelt my name many times).
She said: “If Strohfeldt means “maleness” is not the problem, but a particular definition of masculinity is, then I wholeheartedly agree with him – because some interpretations of masculinity are toxic.”
That is exactly what I meant, but she went on to say: “In publishing Strohfeldt’s opinion piece with the caveat of “these are not necessarily the views of the publisher”, B&T and its editorial team became a silent bystander, allowing Strohfeldt to co-opt a platform that is meant to be about advertising, media and marketing and turn it into a self-serving tirade about why society shouldn’t redefine masculinity to empower men, protect women and improve the lives of all of us.
Ironically, my article was about the folly of “Brand Purpose”, whilst she laid down a rant about, well, hard to tell as it was all over the place.
She took offence at my criticism of the Gender-Neutral concept, which has as much scientific validity of the Flat Earth Theory and stating the #metoo movement is morphing from a very worthwhile organisation into a lynch mob. Once we lose the presumption of innocence, we end up with Kangaroo Courts and mob violence.
Ultimately, although not sure of what I meant, the old “You’re Banned”, was the response. (In this instance it was “You Should be Banned”).
It has obviously had some impact as recent articles have been rejected, which were mild in comparison to articles I had published 12 months ago – in one I noted the advertising community was becoming dominated by PC thinking. (I doubt this article will make it through the new and ever-increasing trend to censorship sweeping through the industry).
Censorship is the single greatest inhibitor of creativity. The advertising industry is now dominated by data and media, with the message (creative) scarcely receiving mention.
Instead of a diverse range of strong, individual personalities, we have a bunch of sycophants, too scared to say anything outside of the left wing, gesture-signalling rubbish that passes as opinion.
People have no less creative talent, but the world in which they live have squeezed it out of them. I recently wrote an article on Mastercard’s new “Sonic Branding”. The piece took 2 years of “unlimited time and effort” to create. A vanilla elevator music piece, using a synthesiser. I compared it to the original version of “Layla” by Eric Clapton and Duane Allman. This double album was recorded in a weekend and the piano instrumental in the album’s namesake song, Layla, took an hour. The difference – a masterpiece versus a piece of crap.
At least it won’t be banned. How can you ban vanilla?
But don’t be discouraged. The next time you submit creative work and someone (always delivered by a person of no creative talent, but plenty of envy) says “you’re banned”, take heart because the odds are you have just come up with something brilliant.