Working gives meaning to our lives, the feeling of being a contributor to a common project
In the centuries since the Industrial Revolution, we have increasingly come to see our work not just as a means of survival but as a source of personal pride, identity, and real-life meaning. Asked to introduce ourselves or others in a social setting, a job is often the first thing we mention. It fills our days and provides a sense of routine and a source of human connections. A regular paycheck has become a way not just of rewarding labor but also of signaling to people that one is a valued member of society, a contributor to a common project.
Over the years, the Spotify algorithms have correctly identiﬁed that I tend to like “chill” music of a certain BPM ...
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.