Our culture is marketing.

“Our culture is marketing.
This is what we do.
And what is marketing?
Trying to get people to do what you want them to.”
It has the ring of poetry or song lyrics.
It’s actually from a talk by the screenwriter Charlie Kaufman.
Kaufman is a very thoughtful human being.
He has written some wonderfully daring and inventive screenplays.
Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
Charlie oozes authenticity.
He also has a disdain for marketing.
He sees it as a plague of “mass distraction and manipulation.”
I feel what he feels.
The marketplace is brimming with frivolous, spiritless, and outright deceptive people and brands.
As a society of thoughtful human beings, we can certainly do much better.
But I don’t see that reality as a condemnation of marketing.
“Marketing” is simply a descriptor.
Just like the word “movie.”
It’s not inherently evil or manipulative.
The outcome is driven by the marketer’s intentions.
Sure, most marketing is bullshit and crap.
An offense to our sensibilities, a waste of 30 seconds.
But so are most movies.
And they rob us of 90 minutes.
So let’s stop condemning marketing.
And the media, movies, video games, books, businesses, schools, banks, and government.
If we’re mad as hell, let’s get off of our comfortable pulpits.
And do the hard work of making, and demanding, better ones.

Tom Asacker