Strange world we live in…

I find myself thinking about this fairly often: Real true art in this world we live in today comes from very strange sources. Most of the really striking images of the last 20 or 30 years have come to us from people who were simply trying to get our attention long enough to make a sales pitch. This is certainly true of advertising, but it’s more than just that.

All of the TV programs on all eleventy-billion networks on cable and satellite are really just there as bookends for advertising, therefore everything we watch on TV is really only there because someone wants to keep us still and focused on the TV long enough to try to make a sales pitch at us. It’s happend to music too. Almost all of the most compelling pop music made in the last 30 years has been turned into an advertising jingle by now. If your favorite song hasn’t been used to sell something yet just give it time. At first I got really riled up whenever a fave song of mine was heard blaring at me through an ad for a car or a cruiseline. Now I’m used to it. Even weirder, I’ve actually sought out music by artists I first heard on TV commercials now. I’m sure I’m not the only one.

Somewhere, right now, some well-meaning (albeit thoroughly annoying) punk rock fan is ranting about the commodification of music and complaining about how some band or label has “sold out.” Yeah, well, kid you’re right. All the stuff that makes up our popular culture has sold out. It’s all been commodified and packaged and repackaged and sold to us in fifty different flavors.

But the thing is, even in the midst of all this crass commercialization really brilliant art does get made, and no matter what it’s being made for, it’s still beautiful. Case in point, this ad for a new LCD TV made by Sony. I could watch this thing for hours. It’s stunning. Have a look.

I’m sorry, but that’s art. Maybe we just need to find a new way to evaluate cultural value. The old benchmarks just don’t seem to work very well anymore. In fact, I think they’re getting in the way of most people noticing beauty when they find it where they find it.

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