The violence of this world has a strangle hold on us
Look around you [...]. Violence has a strangle hold on us. Inside every nation and in the world at large, mistrust, resentment, greed, and the race for power are erecting a dark, desperate universe in which man is condemned to live within the limits of the present. The very notion of a “future” fills him with anguish, for he is captive to abstract powers, starved and confused by extravagant living, and estranged from the truth of nature, from well earned leisure and simple happiness.
When I design online ads for American Apparel, I almost always look for an angle that will provoke. Outrage, self-righteousness, and titillation all work equally well. Naturally, the sexy ones are probably those you remember most, but the formula worked for all types of images. Photos of kids dressed up like adults, dogs wearing clothes, ad copy that didn’t make any sense—all high-valence, viral images. If I could generate a reaction, I could propel the ad from being something I had to pay for people to see (by buying ad inventory) to something people would gladly post on the front page of their highly trafficked websites.
But entertainment has the merit not only of being better suited to helping sell goods; it is an effective vehicle for hidden ideological messages. Furthermore, in a system of high and growing inequality, entertainment is the contemporary equivalent of the Roman “games of the circus” that diverts the public from politics and generates a political apathy that is helpful to preservation of the status quo.