Unlike lots of frowny-faced losers of the left and right, I do not decry the presence of advertising in our culture, though I would be happy to see fraudulent advertising more mercilessly punished (switching to a loser-pays legal system would make it easier to bring small suits in such cases with assurance of recouping court costs, creating a big incentive to keep ads honest). Free people freely announce their offers to trade, which are, after all, opportunities for mutually-beneficial exchanges.
Advertising is as much an expression of liberty as political rants — in many cases, a more consistent expression, since so many political rants are aimed at curtailing liberty and expanding the state in one way or another (if we could also punish false political promises and exhortations to reduce liberty, not to mention groundless religious claims, the whole planet would be in jail by now, but that wouldn’t really be helpful, I suppose).
So it is without shame I say that I loved those Six Flags ads with the guy screaming his evaluations of things based on their level of fun (“One flag!” and “Six Flags! More flags, more fun!”) from the get-go. I mean, could you ask for a better advertising syzygy than to combine the name of the product, the message of the ads, the purported quality of the customer experience, the comedic “plot” of the ad, and the ad slogan all into one emphatically-shouted phrase? Home run.
That boy getting killed at Six Flags in Georgia recently, though, gets one flag, needless to say.
Also receiving only one flag: NYC’s ludicrously authoritarian crowd control methods at this year’s South Street Seaport fireworks, complete with snaking barricades, constant exhortations from cops to wait, move, etc. — and most spookily, cops at one point shouting at people who grew weary of the whole process and wanted to get the hell out of there, “No more exits — everyone who’s in is in.” That’s right, at roughly 9pm on the Fourth of July, thousands of people celebrating Independence Day ironically became prisoners for a short time, all in the name of predictable crowd flow, which sure seemed more like a series of needless delays and bottlenecks than anything I recall seeing in the good old days when the crowd just milled around wherever it wanted down there.
It’s things like that that make one think, once more, that the true spirit of this now 232-year-old country, embodied more by those frustrated crowds than by the uniformed men herding them, is not right, left, or moderate but — whisper it with me — anaaarrrrchiissssst…
P.S. And that goes for the Sonic Youth member who led the hipster crowd at Battery Park in perfunctory pro-Obama applause on Friday, too. To the extent people like Obama out of a vague desire to escape politics as usual, though, I’ll grudgingly tolerate them just as I did Perot supporters back in the day, though at least Perot wanted budget cuts.