Only a very soft-headed, sentimental, and rather servile generation of men could possibly be affected by advertisements at all.
– G.K. Chesterton
The results were disturbing to say the least. Open both at the same time and compare the two and you’ll clearly see how strikingly similar they are.
This morning, I watched a documentary on North Korea called National Geographic: Inside North Korea. It was a heart wrenching experience. The people of North Korea have been essentially brain washed by its leaders Kim Il-Sung, then Kim Jong-il, and now Kim Jong-un. The people worship and have worshiped them like gods for genrations. Everywhere you go, according to the documentary, you see the propaganda that supports this. They rule out of fear and marketing.
What’s the most depressing of all, is that I see many similarities to the United States of America. You know, the greatest nation in the world and all.
Only our nation isn’t led by a fearful dictator. It is led by large corporations with money and marketing, when it comes to influencing how people think. Obviously the North Korea situation is far more extreme and far more frightening, but I’m really beginning to believe that, aside from being more extreme, there are few differences between them and us.
“Drink this, and you can be rich and famous,” they tell us, when actually, if they were telling the truth, they would be saying, “Drink this, and you can make us even richer and yourself poorer.”
I’m not saying that all famous people, all name brand products are inherently evil. But they are if you allow them to be. If you only listen to popular music, if you only watch popular movies, if you only watch popular television. If you idolize these celebrities and these “beautiful people” in advertisements. If you start drooling over a picture of Katy Perry and her perfume, or Lebron James selling Nike. If do all of this without thinking about what these things are telling you below the surface. Because if you look below the surface, it can be terrifying.
Side tangent: I once was in the campus habitat hot tub and the other group that was there was having a conversation about Adam Levine, the lead singer of the band Maroon Five, who was playing from one of the phones outside the pool (of course). “Well, he’s married to a super model,” one of the girls said after one of other people were criticizing him for some reason I don’t remember. “So props to him.” I don’t think I need to say anymore about where our values are as a nation. It is undeniably affecting the way we think.
If you look at all the products you buy at face value, as a finished product, you can live in your own personal heaven on earth. But if you explore what goes into making those products, you might be forced to think twice.
What’s scary is that it effects us unconsciously, because we’re not aware the messages are even there, outside what is on the surface. I just read an article by Marshal McLuhan called The Medium is The Message for a class I’m taking and he uses an interesting metaphor for this idea. It’s like the electric light. Everyone knows that it’s there, but no one considers that it carries any meaning in itself, as a medium.
So, for the next few posts I write, I am going to analyze things like popular music videos, hopefully to reveal that possible unspoken meaning behind them. Because if we continue down this path of blindly taking in what we are given, I’m sorry to say it, but the similarities to the North Korean situation will grow.