October 18, 2011


There are so many maddening aspects of contemporary life that it's difficult to single out any one in particular. However, one that is exceptionally exasperating to me is the notion that entertainers have something important to tell us and are entitled to air time to promote their views.

Let's start with actors. Actors are good at pretending. That's their talent, pretending. They can pretend they are Jesus, or cowboys, or superheroes, or Winston Churchill. But here's the thing. They are not Jesus, or cowboys, or superheroes, or Winston Churchill. They are mostly just ninnies who think that a good way to spend a life is to devote it to pretending.

Then there are singers. The ability to sing nicely is a lovely and pleasing talent to have. However, this is a talent that has absolutely no correlation to virtue, intelligence, or spirituality. The ability to sing nicely makes the owner of this talent no more virtuous, intelligent, or spiritual than your average dry cleaner.

In a more astute and discerning age, entertainers were called fools.

Somehow, in our day and age, entertainers have become gods. Qualities totally unrelated to acting and singing have been attributed to these mostly unremarkable people. As our pandering media pay more and more attention to the torrent of idiotic shenanigans and pronouncements by these individuals, they continue to gain status in the injudicious eyes of our fellow citizens.

Enter Will.I.Am. Will.I.Am is a second rate entertainer who fronts the Black Eyed Peas. They are a band that is one level above a Las Vegas lounge act. Their 15 minutes were up a few years ago. If you're not a fan of pop music, you may remember them from the second worst half-time show in Super Bowl history (I doubt anything will ever top The Who for shear horribleness.) He also apparently was responsible for some Super Bowl spots for SalesForce.com which were even worse than his half-time show.

Having conquered the world of really awful pop, Will is now making a second career as a marketing expert.

In a lovely example of entertainers making fools of themselves by shooting their mouths off, Will has a blog piece in this week's Ad Age called What Does Communiting Mean?

It is so stupefyingly dumb that I don't even know how to begin to describe it. It is written in a kind of postliterate, faux-poetic style that might impress the dimmest of his 12-year-old fans. Might.

He seems to think that the search for the New World began in the 1600's.

The whole piece has the infantile tone of those pathetic YouTube videos from a couple of years ago about social media. The ones that breathlessly explained how there are more people on Facebook than there are in the entire world.

Then we are treated to a painful stream of juvenile philosophizing... 
"...today is all about accessing the physical representation of collective consciousness"
"...you need to create conversations with your customers...so I say, MAKE CONVERSATIONS NOT ADS..."
How's that for some radical thinking? Can you believe someone is still spouting this bullshit three years after its sell-by date, and Ad Age is still printing it?

But the real piece de resistance is a word he made up -- "communiting." It's the kind of cringe-inducing neologism a half-wit 8th-grader would invent.
"...COMMUNITING is about COMMUNICATION between people and companies that enables or sustains a COMMUNITY..."
Let's give Will the benefit of the doubt here and pretend for a moment that there is some alternate universe in which the above nonsense makes sense. Here's what I want to know. Where did this idea that buying and selling stuff was all about communities come from? When did marketing move from the economics department to the sociology department?

And, someone help me, where are these communities? I buy stuff every day of my life and I can assure you there is no one on my block, in my office, among my Facebook friends, in my therapy group, or on my parole board who gives a shit if I buy Jif or Skippy, Tide or Cheer, Wish-Bone or Hidden Valley Ranch.

The sickening thing is that there are apparently companies -- big ones -- who are paying this dullard for marketing advice. 

We've got to get these fools back into their silly hats and pointy shoes before they start doing real damage.

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