Monday, January 17, 2011

The Man on the Bike Goes Into Advertising

From the moment that our common father Avraham / Ibrahim opened his four-sided tent to the world (so says an ancient Jewish source) and demonstrated the power of the One True G-d and practice of kindness, we have been taught to be extraordinarily careful about the welfare of others, both others of our own people (and hopefully its clear by now) those who are not "US." Knowing what others need and providing it is all about the details. Its not about sound bites, its about those who know a situation well, those who have a stake finding out what folks need and providing it. The recipe is simple in concept and extraordinarily difficult in execution.
I read the following article yesterday.

I thought to myself, "So this is what happens when the man on the bike meets Madison Ave." Organizations are competing for our support with slogans and images, some more benign than others, but all meant to convince us without teaching us, to persuade us rather than help us to really understand. Some of them are meant to make us afraid of one another, to make us keep our distance, to close our ears and close our hearts. Even worse, they expect the fate of millions of Palestinians and Israelis to depend on what we come to believe from their advertising. The battle cry for the Jihad of communication is "We can do better!"

My suggestion, close your eyes to the billboards (but keep your eye on the road) and open the flaps to your tent!

1 comment:

  1. Seriously Lee, I can't tell if you are some kind of religious fanatic or a hippie.
    A linguist named George Lakoff has written a lot about the role of metaphors in political discourse. Its worth noting that a lot of the pamphleteering and postering about Israel/Palestine (note that slash) is meant to get you to "choose sides" - "Be on our side." or "Stand with Us!" It very subtly paints a picture of a dualistic very black and white world. Its a world of two choices, with us and against us. When what is at stake is a football championship maybe this language makes sense. When the welfare of millions is ultimately at stake, these could be dangerous metaphors.