Monday, October 04, 2004

Liberate Your Minds, Your Jeep Will Follow

Of course commercials are rot (sez the man in marketing) that try to make you feel inferior and then sell you a societally-approved placebo for the deep pains that really wrack you, even if the ads convince you that you feel inferior because of dandruff as opposed to the flaking into dust that goes on inside your scalp.

Anyway, of late one particular ad drives me truly bonkers. It opens upon an art class, and the caftaned African-American soul mama gris gris mystico teacher enthuses, "Paint your soul...liberate your minds..." only to get truly jazzed when she sees one student's canvas, covered with a not particularly well-drawn image of a red Jeep Liberty. "Now that's what I'm talking about," excited--if clearly a charlatan--teacher exclaims.

Then again, the ad angers me so because it doesn't really lie. This is what art has come to, a way to play fancy dress up for a down and dirty sale. This is what teaching has come to, a quest not for knowledge and critical sensibility but for a degree that leads to a job that leads to bucks. This is what liberty has come to, when one of our few freedoms is the rush of the air in one's hair as one drives a Jeep. That is, if the driver can get up to speed on crowded city streets. That is, if the driver isn't afraid of the next car bomb barreling down the Baghdad streets as he or she fights Bush's mistake of a war.


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