As a professional ad-man who has been around the world and back, I would be the first to tell you the advertising is stacked top to bottom with awful, dreadful, spineless people who would do anything for attention in a society of information overload. We are desperate for page views, for metrics, for people spamming hashtags with empty drivel. Advertising is no longer the business of selling a product, it’s the business of onslaught on the senses. The recent Madden Season advertisement is a prime example of this, the commercial itself is a bizarre, terrifying attack of sight and sound trying to force you into getting “hype” about the next Madden NFL 15. Even E3 press conferences have forced hashtags in the corner for the sake of “joining the social” even though a general Twitter search for “Yoshi” would provide the exact same results without a forced hashtag - it’s an utterly bizarre and nonsensical approach to try and force an end result that again, at the end of the day, doesn’t really create an actual ROI.
Our industry is becoming a joke. And the people within it are failing to grow a fucking spine and take some responsibility. Instead, they’re getting paid to make car commercials that are literally nothing but hashtags.
Recently, a minor celebrity within the industry, Gavin McInnes, was put on leave of absence by his own company that he was Chief Creative Officer of, Rooster, for his recent transphobic dribble on Thought Catalog, a site proud to post absolute garbage from racists, sexists, transphobes, and other assorted excuses for human beings. Which is great, I am all for bigots being fired for publicly spreading hate that only inspires and incites more hate and violence against oppressed members of society. You should be to, because bigotry in our society really needs to be met with harsh, unsympathetic consequences. Activists have tried playing nice for decades, centuries even. It hasn’t done that much good. If we can’t live in a respectful society, we can at least deal with The Racist Tree.
However, there are those within this industry, and the rest of the world, who feel the need to defend bigotry, to make men like Gavin a martyr. To paint a false equivalence between free speech and spewing bigotry. And then they get paid to write these opinions, and then you have to realize the horror when someone you thought you knew better, someone you respected, is willing to give them a platform.
What the fuck, Åsk Wäppling. Why in the fuck are you running crap like this on your website. Why are you giving space to transphobic bigots like the pathetically anonymous coward Kidsleepy, who writes the most goddamn pathetically overdone defense of transphobic bigotry painted as martyrdom that I have ever seen? What exactly in your mind, thinks this is acceptable?
In other words, rather than discussing the article’s points, asking if there was any relevance to it, or even asking whether it was satirical comment on society in general, the pitchfork wielders and knuckle draggers put on their Fahrenheit 451 hats and screamed HATE SPEECH, before anyone had a chance to discuss it.
No, let’s get one fucking thing straight here. I’ve read the piece. Many of us have read the piece. Trans people aren’t required to sit back, light up a cigar and pour a stiff drink, and have a good long ponder at whether or not crude bigotry they’ve heard a million times before is actually all in good fun, much less “satire.” You don’t have that entitlement to the time of the oppressed when you are spewing hate. Don’t even bother to fucking start. Why is it that when it’s the bigots getting shut down, the comparisons to Orwell or Bradbury start coming out of the woodwork, but never when it’s those who aren’t lucky enough to be a white dude?
SPOILER ALERT: Dear pitchfork-wielders and knuckle draggers: This article has nothing to do with the content of Gavin McInnes’ essay. It has to do with your response to it.
We live in a free society where people are entitled to their responses and pretending like the content of is “essay,” if you’re really courageous enough to even call it that, has nothing to do with this piece, is a coward’s tactic to dodge accountability.
If you were living in Czechoslovakia in 1972, an expressed a dissenting opinion, or refused to comply, you were interrogated, intimidated and imprisoned. If you were a member of the intelligentsia they punished you by making you work in manual labor, where your job would not be to think, but to do. The totalitarian communists who ran that Soviet country did everything in their power to ensure you were silenced.
Today’s America is looking at lot like Soviet Czechoslovakia. We no longer espouse Voltaire’s philosophy of “I do not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Now, it’s “Shut the fuck up.”
Out of context this could be taken as a defense of people like Anita Sarkeesian speaking out, out of context this could mean anything. Instead it’s a defense of the bigotry of the status quo - which is frequently used to silence and police those our society chooses to oppress on the basis of indentity. This is where you get it twisted, Adland - it is you and Gavin who is the Gestapo of Ideals, not trans people - and instead of being dressed in Hugo Boss, you’re getting your outfits from the same place you buy car batteries.
Today’s America doesn’t see any value in contrarian thinkers like Christopher Hitchens or Ralph Nader or satirists like Jonathan Swift for that matter. We drown them out and make them go and hide as quickly as possible. Because we can’t deal with opinions and mistake them for something they are not. These days satire is followed by demands to Cancel Colbert as the twitter activist generation sincerely believes that satire should “punch up” not down, confusing satire with comedy and thereby missing the point.
Hitchens was a prominent racist against Arab people, who face enough violence in our society. Nader has been on the record saying Obama “talks white.” Hitchens still maintained a presence in the public spotlight until his untimely death, and Nader still holds some influence in Washington. As far as Cancel Colbert, and the “twitter activist generation,” do we really need to get fucking started about how you oh so conveniently left out the onslaught of racism, rape, and death threats that were thrown towards Suey Park’s way? If there is any “thought police” running about, it is not the oppressed who are simply asserting their rights to exist without harm.
So again, go fuck yourself.
We have lost the ability to discuss, and debate respectfully, too. Whether it’s the topic of man-made global warming, fracking, space travel, or the Middle East crisis, we no longer want to debate. Now, we want to end the debate. How many times have you recently heard the phrase “The debate has been settled?” At the first sign that someone disagrees with our perfectly constructed bubble, we do everything in our power to dismiss, discredit, have the fired, or boycott their company. So by implication, we ask the business to maintain thought control, or else.
Debate is a term that seems to be reserved solely for angry white men, as the onslaught of media teaches us. Trying to compare minorities asserting their rights to man-made global warming? Pathetic. “Debate” would be how best to resolve global warming. “Debate” would be a discussion of how anti-racist/sexist/transphobic movements should move forward in defeating structural bigotry. Debate is not for arguing whether or not water is wet and whether or not spewing transphobic drivel is an “opinion.” This crybaby act is again the thought police here, the attempts to control a conversation that has been trying for oh so long to move past such a pathetically low baseline.
Before the 1970’s in America, Gays and Lesbians were told to shut the fuck up, keep quiet, stay in the closest, hide who they are, what they think, and what they believe. Exactly the same thing that is happening to Gavin McInnes. Ironic, no?
Weird, because the LGBTQ community is still, to this fucking day, told to shut the fuck up, keep quiet, stay in the closet, hide who they are, what they think, and what they believe. When they do, assholes jump on prominent platforms like adland.tv and Thought Catalog and try to tell them to shut the fuck up. At best. That’s when they’re not being beaten or killed for who they are.
Gavin is not in fear for his life. That is the key difference here.
Here in good old America, we just put you “on leave of absence” for having an opinion.
Do you even know what the hell an opinion is? An opinion is “make the logo bigger.” Bigotry is trying to make Gavin out to be some sort of martyr locked up by an imaginary thought police.
I don’t know whether McInnes’ article was meant to be sincere, satirical or both. I don’t care, either. What I know is, Gavin McInnes is a master at getting lots of eyeballs on his content. From his days co-founding Vice to this Converse ad from 2005, to his latest project at Rooster for Meowington Headphones, the guy’s one of the few people in advertising who are still good at it. Rooster sure benefitted from them, and I’m sure they’ll take all the publicity they can get, too. But the idea that Rooster (and by extension all of advertising) is kowtowing to those who don’t believe in having a contrarian opinion rather than saying “It’s his opinion and one that isn’t connected with us” is unsettling.
You see, this is how pathetic the ad industry has become. That it apparently doesn’t matter whether or not Gavin’s a bigot, as long as he gets “eyeballs on his content,” regardless of why they might be there. “He’s one of the few people in advertising who are still good at it,” obviously fucking not, if he has managed to inadvertently advertise himself and his own company as a safe space for bigots - which has forced Rooster to put him on a leave of absence. Kicking out transphobes is not “kotowing,” it is the bare minimum what a decent organization of people who possess a slight bit of empathy are supposed to do.
I just find it interesting that Ogilvy’s quote reflected a different kind of America. Back then, despite our intolerances, we were also tolerant.
Why the fuck is it white men always waxing nostalgia about some fantasy America that never really existed while structural violence was and still is inflicted on anyone who doesn’t share that same identity? Isn’t that a little weird? Isn’t it just a bit odd how the author seems to only bring up the names of white men over the entire course of his “adrant?” As if we’re somehow some poor, oppressed group of people who don’t make up the vast majority of Creative Directors in the industry?
What’s really disgusting and spineless is watching the tweets from Adland.tv’s Åsk Wäppling and “Kidsleepy” as this pathetic drivel “goes viral,” and really shows how pathetic our standards and practices in this industry have become.
Awh, all kissy kissy because hey, no matter if we helped embolden the status quo that keeps its bootheel on the neck of trans people, we got eyeballs!
Hey Åsk, you’re the one who runs the place. And the Twitter account for Adland. You signed off on this, and now you’re upset you’re getting anger about it?
Also, just what the in hell do you think entitles you, much like kidsleepy, to try and control the conversation by directing it to the comments section of your own website? Are you so afraid of “Twitter Activists” dragging your good name through the mud as if you should be able to support transphobes without consequence, much less vitirol directed your way? But hey, it’s going viral! Yep yep hooray for you! Eyeballs! Goo-goo, shiny things!
Åsk, I’m ashamed to have called you a friend and to have thought you might be better than this. But instead you let your platform be used to police the response to transphobic drivel, and further support a violently oppressive status quo whose bodycount continues to grow across the world. How you try to make this about respectability politics and to police the anger of people denied dignity, careers, and even their lives absolutely disgusts me.
Go to hell.