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shadows of echoes of memories of songs
Green shoots
Back to those blasted fragments. I have decided I am simply going to work through them in alphabetical order, and make a decision to either post them (with or without prior reworking), move them (in some cases they shouldn't really have been filed under potential blog posts, because they're just lists of things or drafts of work stuff -- moving them into a more sensibly descriptive location is a good start) or delete them. They're not like fine wines, they're not going to improve with age. I've deleted three or four this evening, mostly lists of things that I've forgotten what they were for, or things I've actually already posted anyway.

Several of the fragments consist of a URL (usually a link to news stories) followed by a bit of commentary/response. In some cases I think I was planning to write a longer response; in other cases I think I just wanted to feel I could reply, but didn't actually want to comment on the story itself (because the people who comment on news stories are always crazy, and by joining them you've already lost the argument, whatever argument you were having and with whom, even if you didn't think you were having an argument). The way the "right to reply" and "have your say" culture have changed the nature of debate and discourse is another story, an article I've half-started in my head ("I have often thought of writing a monograph on the subject..."), but now isn't the time for that.

So, without further ado or context, a recent-ish fragment (October 19th, apparently); I have very little memory of writing it, and am no longer quite sure where I was going with it. (Posting it and simultaneously half-disowning it: having my cake and eating it, I suppose. But I'm eating cake for two, so I think I can get away with that.) Unedited except to make the URL into a link.


The problem with using advertising to sell "things which are actually good" (let's assume for the moment that we've solved the problem of defining 'good') is that advertising is at best amoral (and at worst immoral, cf the tobacco advertising industry). If you're on a moral crusade, is it OK to use amoral/immoral tactics -- or do they cheapen your message? Does the end justify the means? The church seems to have already had this bout of conscience-wrestling and decided that it's fine to mimic commercials to get their message across, and in doing so it has stepped off a pedestal (admittedly one which it had already been more or less knocked off).

By putting yourself in the advertising marketplace, you're admitting that you are _no better_ than anything else that's out there -- if you're happy to let the market decide then you're abdicating your moral high ground. Brand value may go down as well as up -- one day people will buy your message, the next day they'll see a better advert and buy a coke instead.

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vinaigrettegirl From: vinaigrettegirl Date: November 16th, 2010 04:20 am (UTC) (Link)
I wish you could keep the Asian-fonters away from your comments!

To the point, though, I see what you mean. But there are those of us for whom ads aee always lies and those for whom they're information ( leading to the suspect "infomercial").

Is a Public Service Announcement an ad?
j4 From: j4 Date: November 16th, 2010 10:15 am (UTC) (Link)
I wish you could keep the Asian-fonters away from your comments!

Me too. :-( But LJ aren't interested in blocking spammers, even when they conveniently always spam from the same IP address, so the only way I could fix it is to block anonymous comments, which I'm slightly reluctant to do (not that anybody does ever comment anonymously except spammers these days, so maybe I'm just being silly).

Re ads -- I don't think adverts are lies, but they're never "just" information, either. (OTOH, is any information ever completely neutral?) Is a PSA an ad? -- Yes and no. In some ways I think everything human-made is an advert, it's always at least in part a signifier for something else... I'm not sure I could defend this theory very thoroughly though (six impossible arguments before breakfast!).
vinaigrettegirl From: vinaigrettegirl Date: November 16th, 2010 01:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
Next time, let's take a screen shot and send it to the cops. I reckon it's Teh Evil using your account to sell teh Evil Substances. Which appear to be available in half-sleeves, judging by the one in English....
j4 From: j4 Date: November 16th, 2010 03:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
Are they selling Evil Substances?? I have no idea -- the ones I've put through Google Translate haven't made any sense in English either! They mostly don't seem to be advertising anything, or referring to a site, or offering anything... it's baffling.

Mind you, even if they were all about drugs, the police wouldn't give a damn. They probably have no power over random Japanese spammers anyway, & even if they did, they're probably too busy arresting people for making jokes on twitter.
cartesiandaemon From: cartesiandaemon Date: November 16th, 2010 01:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
FWIW, I screened anonymous comments, and am happy that when I get a legitimate one, once in a blue moon, I can unscreen it. I slightly regret the increased barrier to commenting, but I don't think it makes much practical difference if you don't usually get anonymous comments.
jinty From: jinty Date: November 16th, 2010 06:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
I do this too. I get a certain satisfaction from feeling that at least the spammers don't get their aims fulfilled - whatever it is that their aims even are!
addedentry From: addedentry Date: November 16th, 2010 11:01 am (UTC) (Link)
I understand that the Central Office of Information spent more money on advertising than any UK company, until the spending review.
cartesiandaemon From: cartesiandaemon Date: November 16th, 2010 01:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, good plan with the triage&purge.

My response would be that advertising, as, telling people about it AT ALL is probably-integral part of most causes. But I agree that there's an awkward gulf between telling people, and using all the traditional tricks of the advertising industry to persuade people in the most effective rather than most true way, and that doing so may be effective in the short-term, but definitely has some drawbacks in the implicitly-trivialising department.

For that matter, the same may apply to traditional businesses: maybe branding yourself as "cool" gives the apparently best return on the advertising budget. But when you find you've consistently elided any reason whatsoever why your product is useful, you may eventually be bitten by it[1].

[1] This lives in the naive world where products are sometimes useful.
rysmiel From: rysmiel Date: November 17th, 2010 02:54 am (UTC) (Link)
Tell me have you seen any due South ? (I know, Copious Spare Time).

One of the things that show is very interestingly about, in a not-pushed-to-the-forefront sort of way, is what tactics are appropriate to fighting the good fight.
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