Advertising forms the basis for much of what is deemed mainstream and acceptable culture in Western society. Advertising is everywhere, all the time. Drive down the road and you’ll see billboards. Listen to the radio and you’ll hear ads. Watch TV and you’ll see ads. Mostly what the ads push is a new model of male behavior and identity. Which is, gay or asexual to the point of androgynous idiocy. The message being that traditional masculine behavior is threatening.
simply don’t apply to today’s, hipster-only, masculine models. No one ever accused Mick Jagger of possessing Jessie “the Body” Ventura levels of testosterone, but the song accompanying the video pretty much is the message. Start up Windows 95 and you’re full of energy. The song and the singer are about something. Which is, doing something (the video is full of images of people doing things, message, Windows 95 makes you productive).
Advertising is filled with the kind of hipsters (and very, multicultural, diverse people, mostly women and non-Whites) that cannot connect with middle America anymore, and certainly find traditional masculine energy both threatening and slightly obscene. This is why traditional masculine behavior is so absent in commercials, and the mass culture has been defined towards some passive, folky-rock with acoustic guitar, meaningless nothing.
Each individual commercial is of course nothing, but the media culture that is inescapable, from billboards to radio to TV to print to the web, makes the cumulative effect like a series of raindrops forming a river. Eating away at the traditional notions of what culture and cultural roles are, in an attempt to “start from Zero.”
Traditional masculinity of course, is threatening. It is independent, resistant to “taming” and won’t allow others to dominate it (though it will submit to authority if persuaded its wise). The same holds true of course, for traditional feminine identity, which is not “submissive” or “barefoot and pregnant” and is matchingly independent, but does not seek to dominate either, the other sex, out of fear. From women-inspired “skinny jeans” to figures like Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz maintaining he is “half gay”, it is striking at how lacking in masculine assertiveness most of popular culture really is.
And this contains within it, a possibly fatal weakness for the West. When in time of great crisis, it is absolutely essential for a culture’s or nation’s survival for men and women to act. Independently, and aggressively if required. Not the breathy, passiveness of “look see the sights” but with the energy of “Start Me Up.” If a hurricane comes, and people are stranded in a city, they need rescuing. A government, be it local, state, or federal, will be hamstrung by procedures and rules and so on, and it takes a Dunkirk-like evacuation to rescue people. The same holds true for war, which has not been abolished, any more than human nature. Or low-level conflict involving crime, ethnic cleansing, or any other ills that beset a now globally connected, constantly changing society. Change bringing stress and conflict along with increased riches.
The lack of being or standing for much of anything other than the message of “I’m Cool and You’re Not” is why so many commercials are inexplicable, incomprehensible, and do such a lousy job of selling whatever it is they are selling. ATT promises … a burqua for every building? Traveler’s Insurance promises a fantasy land where animals don’t eat each other? At least Miller Lite had a message: drink this and you’re one of the guys, like the funny male celebrities. It is striking how much power corporations have handed over to advertising agencies run by disconnected hipsters. The only rational explanation is that corporate executives are too, disconnected and stand for nothing. As children of the 1960′s and 1970′s, who had their formative years in the mid to late 1980′s to early 1990′s wave of political correctness, have the masculine or feminine identities knocked out of them. Being “half gay” or the like.
This is why it is essential to change the advertising environment. There is just so much of it, and the messages about what is approved and what is not (in: gay hipsterism, out: traditional masculinity) so powerful by simple repetition, that deep cultural change can only come about by changing how ads are made and distributed.