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Friday, July 25, 2003
  Mark [NOT Ingram (ahem edited)] at K-Punk has written this thing about 'celebrealism' which nails a lot of things really - a bit like that thing way down there about Big Brother, if it had made any sense. The only thing that troubles me about his version of events (ie, that 'celebrealism' = opposite of pop, because pop is about alien and Otherness and surprise specialness and new, and celebrealism = normalising, squeezing out difference, smoothing the edges, democratising) is the idea that, hold on a minute, doesn't pop move us in a similar direction? I mean, the false democratisation implicit in things like Big Brother and interactive tv, the illusion of personal agency, the useless feelings of universal connectivity = aren't these things that pop set out to do when the marketing people realised there was a generation of post-war kids with disposable income? Doesn't pop also contatin these possibilities of (personal, social, cultural) self-deception? I dunno, I may be confused, but I'm not sure that pop has always been free of these insidious traces that Ingram detects in the (fairly recent phenomenon) of celebrealism.

***A Tangent Quickly***
Man there are a lot of people in the blogosphere who go on about adverts, both in the wider 'advertising is evil innit' sense and also in the specific 'oh my god xxx advert is terrible, have you seen it, i mean how stupid do they think we are, it's so crass and stupid, oh i hate it.' And like, fair enough, but these are intelligent people, I mean, am I missing something, why are they all so convinced that this is anything interesting or surprising to anyone? Two things:

1 - do these people really make effort to disconnect from advertising? because it would take a conscious effort, to avoid it, or, more likely, to immunize yourself against it. it would be fucking hard. and thing is, what would the implications be? i kind of think a large part of your ability to interact with your surroundings goes missing if you're not paying attention to the adverts. i mean, you kind of have no choice, that's the point, but in that case where does the protest come into it? is it just a self-preservation tactic, you know, rocking back and forth on your knees in the corner of the room, murmuring, reminding yourself yes i am a person, yes i am a person, yes i have thoughts that haven't come from a billboard, yes i do, yes i do. maybe that's it. registering dissent has its own purpose, you know, just to reassert your existence underneath the monolith.

2 - BUT is the sneery little 'ooh that advert is rubbish and silly!' attitude (truly, the counter-cultural equivalent of disapproving dinner party quips about some gauche fashion error recently seen) actually any good? doesn't it just un-dignify the actual impact these adverts actually have on actual people? cf the idea that making fun of bush because he's an idiot plays right into his hands: as long as he's a buffoon he seems less dangerous. wrong: he's very dangerous, and it's not funny. not a joking matter. likewise if people actually have something they want to accomplish re: advertising etc, it needs to be taken very seriously, its place and importance and *never forget* its POPularity recognised, not disdained but engaged with. um. where was i? my train of thought has just ploughed through a family saloon stuck on the tracks at the level crossing, so i'll stop now.

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