I call my house "Shack by the Sea." It's a bungalow built around 1912, and though it has its charms, they are best described as "bohemian." Perhaps "rustic." Anyway, the walls are thin and the lots are small here, so sometimes I have more insight into my neighbor's activities than I would like to.
Currently my next door neighbor is a guy - maybe two - I haven't quite figured that out yet - youngish, in film/TV. A certain cable channel that I won't name, but let's just say, when I came home and there was a film production going on next door that featured a pretty girl in a French maid outfit, I wasn't entirely surprised (no, it's not the Playboy Channel - nothing that interesting).
This afternoon, they seemed to be having a business meeting of sorts out in their front yard. Two or three guys talking about marketing strategies. Viral marketing. Web 2.0. Social networking sites. Branding. I heard it all, any time I went into my bedroom to fold clothes and change the sheets.
Would that I had a flame-thrower.
You know, I just. Don't. Care. I don't care about this stuff. I don't care about business, spread sheets, the profit motive, guys in suits, advertising, marketing strategies, not any of it. I don't care. I recognize that you need to market your work, I get that. But what I don't get is how we've come to a place where the marketing and the brand have superseded the content and the idea.
Our last two Presidents were elected because of branding and clever marketing, and their performance in office demonstrates the almost total disconnect between the brands being marketed and the policies that were supposed to be associated with those brands.
There's so much that's terribly wrong with this, with a business and political culture where clever marketing is used as a subterfuge, to disguise the "product" we're being sold, where the image overrides the substance.
Meanwhile, my beloved California is about to experience the shock doctrine, the endgame of years of a dysfunctional state government kicking the can down the road instead of making the structural changes that desperately need to be made in order to have a rational budget that delivers needed goods and services and raises the funds necessary to do so. It's profoundly disturbing. Maybe it's going to take everything falling apart before we can put it back together, but in the meantime, poor and disabled people will literally die if the proposed budget cuts go through. I don't have the energy to complete the rest of this equation, the "meanwhile we give millions/billions of tax cuts to corporations/federal bailouts to wealthy bankers" - you know, it's a cliche, all the more depressing because it's true.
I don't know what the answers are, don't know how it is we can reorganize our economy to provide decent jobs for more people, what it means to be productive in an age where the last thing we need to do is to keep buying more cheap plastic crap just to keep everyone working, here and around the world. There have to be better ways to organize ourselves, better ways to live. I'm not talking about some utopian fantasy here, just a society where work has value, lives have meaning, and where people earn enough money to live decently.
Okay, /rant. I have work to do.