politics, cash & art: from sublime to ridiculous

Is it the commodification of everything? Sometimes its hard to tell the difference between the programming and the commercials, with sometimes the latter being more authentic and less predictable since it sometimes captures fragments of the cultural dialogue that the self-absorption of the show can’t handle. The relation then between art and money seems intrinsic to the general thrust of an entertainment complex, the spectacle and measures of celebrity necessary to hold interest.

---Chrysler reveals the brand’s new tagline, “Imported from Detroit” in “Born of Fire”, a Super Bowl television commercial featuring Eminem and the 2011 Chrysler 200. A narrator (Kevin Yon) addresses the connection between Detroit and the concept of luxury as Eminem drives through the city. He steps out at Fox Theatre and walks inside while members of Selected of God, a choir affiliated with Praise Tabernacle in Grosse Pointe, performs.--- Read More:http://theinspirationroom.com/daily/2011/chrysler-born-of-fire-with-eminem/

The classic theory was first enumerated by the Frankfurt School, a neo-Marxist though ultimately Western view of capitalism to absorb, banalize and trivialize all forms of dissent; the classic defense of a Naomi Klein. The alternative view, the Thomas Frank position is that dissent reinforces capitalism,the logic being that capitalism does not need the conformity that dissent ostensibly acts to subvert. Heath and Potter have built on this theory by incorporating the Veblen notion of status and distinction as drivers of this motive for individuality and non-conformity. The conclusion being that dissent is the system. Whether the line would hold with radical subversity, say widespread G20 style violence is unclear, but nominal dissent such as the business model of Adbusters advocates fits as well as the footwear they hawk at Nike style pricing.Obviously jamming the system, ever since Packard’s Hidden Persuaders and Carson’s Silent Spring, has been an industry in itself.

The other current, acknowledges Klein, Adorno et al. but the absorption process is used to promote a better world, a cleaner and safer environment etc. in which the mass market transformation of the old criticisms is achieved, albeit in sometimes diluted form. Fair trade, social responsibility, recycling, were pie in the sky a generation ago.But dissent is so mainstream we fail to see the results, opting for the hell in a hand basket approach. There is too much inertia and too many people advancing within the system to bring it down, and even self-described demolishers like Chomsky and Klein and other cranks and snake oil peddlers like Moore probably don’t subscribe to their own rantings, though income disparity and the issue of technological unemployment/deflation is a critical issue.

There is a certain irony of artists and pundits taking money from people giving them money, but that is the system, the squeaky wheel getting the grease. Ultimately, there is a question of selling out, divesting credibility to a politics of the ridiculous. In any event the battle between Marx and Milton Friedman is long over, we live in a consumerist society and it is here to stay…. Some of the best ads of 2011 mingle art, politics and money and incorporate some of this mainstreaming process; compared to twenty years ago, the brand and product is becoming increasingly abstract and intangible…

What if gas powered everything? From alarms to cell phones, this Nissan Leaf spot reminds us how noxious gas guzzling can be and how streamlined and simple electric cars can make our lives.
NISSAN LEAF • Gas Powered Everything
Agency: TBWA\Chiat\Day, Los Angeles
Director: Dante Ariola, MJZ
Editing: Mackenzie Cutler
Effects: The Mill

Winner of the 2011 Emmy Awards, this Chrysler commercial takes you through the streets of Detroit, a city forged by fire, emerging from a dim past. About two-thirds, in we see Eminem walking into the Fox Theatre. Backed by a choir, the Oscar-winning “Lose Yourself” theme thumps the tagline: “Imported from Detroit.” A pleasure to watch. Inspiration times two.

CHRYSLER • Born of Fire
Agency: Wieden + Kennedy, Portland, Ore.
Director: Samuel Bayer
Editing: Tommy Harden
Music+Sound Company: Que Chevere Music/Sync2Picture/Shady Records

One of the most environmentally relative commercials of the year, Chipotle uses stop action animation to communicate the epiphany a once-industrialzied river-polluting farmer has about delivering organic, locally grown ingredients to fast food chains. This year Chipotle also launched a foundation to support sustainable farming. The visuals are clever and engaging. The music is Willie Nelson’s cover of Coldplay’s “The Scientist.” And true to itself, all proceeds from the sale of Nelson’s song on iTunes will go to the Chipotle Cultivate Foundation. This commercial is mighty meat. Well done….. Read More:http://www.theinsider.com/lol/47397_10_Best_Commercials_of_2011_Gas_Powered/index.html

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