Sunday, April 07, 2002

We create the possibility of community simply by calling it thus.

It is an act of assertion, as much as the assertion of equal rights (of equality under God or the Law) is an act of assertion. To declare oneself a sovereign individual is an act of assertion.

Whenever we say "we" then we create the possibility of community.

Paradoxically, only an *I* can say "we" - but this I won't let that stop us. For in the agreement, in the answering "oui", the "we" is made real. And only two are required to form an agreement.

All of language is about agreement, the symbols must have common meaning to be honestly useful.

One can declare oneself responsible but only in agreement with others can one be made accountable. Only in agreement with others on fundamental symbols can the declaration of responsibility have any meaning beyond the individual, i.e. have communal meaning. This is a necessary antecedent.

Perhaps the most visceral objection to much of what passes for marketing is the abuse of established symbols to convey errant (and often enough deliberately so) meanings:

"Buy our minty fresh toothpaste and you'll get screwed!"

This is of course the formula for most advertising: "Buy product-X" and "You'll get screwed!" are conveyed as Cause and Effect.

This is why BMW sponsors James Bond movies.

The unintended honesty of the formula (the secondary meaning of "getting screwed") is simply one of lifes little ironies.

"Voice" as I see it used here is a synonym for honest communication, speech without hidden agenda or antagonistic interest in a particular outcome. It is communication that one trusts to use agreed symbols honestly, and thus it is speech that reveals our commonality, which is our humanity and all that this entails. It must do, since we are human and if we communicate honestly this will be revealed in our voices.

It is a glaring contrast to the attempts of artifical legal constructs through marketing to presume to human qualities which they not only do not and can not possess but to which they are often in direct opposition.

It stands in similar contrast against individuals who make pretense (deliberate deceit, again) of having inhuman qualities of inerrancy, of goodness, of infallibility, or perfection. Some of our current crop of politicians spring to mind. (Why should that be so? Could it be that marketing and politics are becoming the same cynical practice of deliberate deceit?)

Although Gonzo Marketing may be completely wrong about communities and their effects on marketing as an art and a science, it is equally possible that the practitioners of traditional marketing methods and measures may also be completely wrong about the longevity and significance of communities.

I could care less about their simplifying assumptions; I value the communities I've become part of on the 'net, and I know what I spend on them in terms of time, effort, intelligence, emotion, and yes, money, and whatever else you want to mention or measure.

President Gas is up for President - The Psychedelic Furs in prophetic mode, 80's style.
(I've been taking the advice of my memetic cleansing advisor.)

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