Monday, 2 January 2012

Stuck In The Middle With You

The previous post about Top 500 countdowns got me thinking about the predictability of mass culture, how we're all duped, but pretend we're not being duped  ...  about how we're trained to embrace the big ideas like they were actually new and exciting and cool even though at bottom it's just cynical manipulation.

Someone comes up with a radical idea to countdown the top 500 songs of all time, and it works.  So it's copied, becomes commonplace, and just enters the landscape.  Predictable, unnoticable, like so much background noise.

Someone creates a beer commercial with a bunch of fun loving goofs and lots of female eye candy, and now every beer commercial follows the formula.  Every  ...  single  ... one.

And so it goes.  If it works, it gets copied, blitzed, duplicated, replicated and mandated to the point where we're inundated, nauseated and sedated.

The worst, of course, is when we're told the really hip people, those who will not conform, only use such-and-such a product.  And amazingly, we often embrace the message, ignoring the fact that we're all actually conforming.

Funny people, we humans.  We like to conform, but also like to pretend we won't, under any circumstance, um, conform.

When this concept is taken to the marketing of, say, mayonnaise substitute, though, I just dunno.  Kinda makes you feel like maybe we're all being herded into a spot where individualism doesn't count?

By the way, Bohemian Rhapsody finished at number 9 this year.

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