November 9th, 2005
shedding light on the grey
I received an email that really helped me to formulate my thinking on the subject of blog advertising, here is an excerpt,
“Believing that corporations need to have their presence in public life limited is perfectly compatible with working for those corporations.
You are drawing a line around a space you deemed inappropriate for corporations to inhabit. And you are not willing to move your line for money. You are also happy to work for them within what you consider appropriate boundaries. I don’t see a contradiction here. I see an issue of appropriateness and restraint, two concepts that are glaringly absent from American public discourse–or should I say from the discourse of capitalism? What is the proper role for commercialism in a culture? What are the restraints on the powerful necessary for a just society to function? I see your questioning of blog ads within this frame of thought.”
It is very important for me right now to know that I can draw a line regarding corporate advertising on blogs and still be immersed in the culture at large. Yesterday, when I was feeling discouraged a part of me thought, “if I am to take this argument to the full limit and stick to my guns, then I will not be able to make a living as an illustrator, and may have to retreat from the world completely.” Which is ridiculous, if you follow to it’s extreme you will not be able to walk down the sidewalk (given that the company who makes the sidewalk might be unethical).
What I found most important were the words “appropriateness and restraint”. I think that has been the missing thread for me in this argument (what I’ve had difficulty articulating) and is at the heart of my *grey area*. I am not about to single handedly wage a war against the world of advertising and corporate culture. As mentioned some of my favourite designers did huge advertising campaigns, (which I thought were brilliant), and I make my living working for many corporations. And in fact I actually really enjoy several tv shows (if I visit you and you have a t.v. I would enjoy watching it), and am not wholly opposed to it as a concept.
Simply put, what is really at the heart of the matter here is I am opposed to advertising imposing itself into every aspect of our lives (not advertising itself), and a society who puts the dollar ahead of human needs, and I don’t wish to sit quitely by the sidelines while a medium that I value becomes affected. (there is a famous quote somewhere about the opposite of life not being death, but indifference.)
I am going to put this down today for a few hours and go out insearch of some new samples to add to my growing seed pod collection. There is no shortage of strange seed pods in this part of the world.
Risk everything, but don’t forget to take time to stop and notice the ground beneath your feet.