When Marshall McLuhan penned his now immortal phrase: “The medium is the message,” he could have added the ultimate truism of a then little-known Ellery Sedgwick: “In America, getting on in the world means getting out of the world we’ve known before.” Apparently, the world we’ve known, the American-bred world of ‘bigger means better,’ is now in full flight toward the target of Teensy-Weensy land, where everything of value will now be able to fit on the postage-stamp screen of a gadget grasped between thumb and forefinger and able to store or send the sum of any known or conceptualized quantity to an automated receptor of as yet undetermined size and shape.
McLuhan was also right-on, when he presaged that the then miraculously masterminded universe of commercial TV would eventually vaporize into a vapid wasteland, devoid of any intellectual value, except the mini-minded repetitions of vehicular, mattress and other assorted venders, vying for micro-measured monetary mastery of month-to-month rate schedules, super-hyped by the onset of various political events.
One thing both Mcluhan and Sedgwick overlooked was the disastrous effect of ignorance inspired by greed, bereft of ordinary logic against loss. Today’s self-styled ‘Hot-Shots’ of humor, hyped by heavy hands and poor taste, have made the tragic mistake of insulting the customer, beforehand. Prospective purchasers are literally bombarded with insults. TV viewers are now forced to witness some would-be customers experience bodily harm, being literally hammered into acceptance of a certain credit; then harangued by a vendor, who testily tweaks them with the insulting query: “WHAT’S IN YOUR WALLET?”
Still other purchasers of products they once eyed with trust, as helpful adjuncts to renewed vitality from vitamins, now watch them cavort on screen as comically costumed cartoon characters in childish routines that end with an added wink and a grinning hint, to “Just add water!” For this infantile insult, the respected pharmaceutical institution known as Abbot Laboratories has enriched the annual earnings of some self-styled genius.
It’s a sad day for creativity, when the single-track science of ‘SHLOCK-TALK’ replaces the language of persuasion –by-logic but alas, it seems that’s the one that takes trade-talk more directly and quickly to where the money is… and that’s what it’s all about.
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