So, I finally saw this movie I've been meaning to see for a while, "Art & Copy". It's a sad, disgusting (read: excellent) documentary about the collection of whores and egomaniacs working in the advertising business, and, by extension, about everything that is wrong with our society.
"By the way, if anyone here is in marketing or advertising...kill yourselves..." --Bill Hicks
It was difficult to watch - painful, even; for a variety of reasons. Because my father's best friend (Jim Durfee) is in the film; because my father, my mother-in-law, and college friend all work(ed) in that horrible business. Because I knew from an early age that my father's profession had absolutely no nobility -- getting paid large sums of money to figure out how to make people buy shit they don't need. It's disgusting.
And yet, this film glorifies these people -- well, actually, the interviewees do a great job glorifying themselves, for ninety minutes, about all the Good Work they do -- and the sick, sad infrastructure that is in place to support this behemoth. There are snippets of factoids presented throughout the flick, about how much money is spent on advertising annually in this country (billions and billions), and how many communications satellite launches annually are for commercial communications (most), but the overriding message -- delivered by some of the biggest names/egos in the business -- is even worse than Gordon Gekko's "Greed is Good", it's "I can Manufacture Greed for you, for a Price (and an Expense Account)".
$750K for thirty seconds to try and sell your shit on "American Idol" is all you need to know about what is wrong with this picture. Waste-wise, this kind of money on selling shoes and deodorant is second only to the kind of money we spend on weapons of mass destruction.
"What if we used all this money we spend on guns that shoot things that can fly down a chimney, on guns that can shoot food into the mouths of starving people in Africa?" -- Bill Hicks (again)
Every American should see this film, but sadly I think the real takeaway will be lost on most. To me, "inspiring advertising", which apparently is the kind all these assholes were congratulating themselves for "creating" (one even used the term "midwife", swear to god) throughout the flick, is the most disgusting of all.