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As the tears roll down their cheeks. Retailer John Lewis compilation of popular cover songs used in its advertising, which are about as syrupy and schlocky as it gets. Downright Kitsch. But so kitsch, it serves as a satire on kitsch. If romanticism is a corrupted classicism, and pop art is a corrupted romanticism, we are in real post-post meta world. Weepy, maudlin, misty eyed, the album, called Reworked has features a pair of saccharine Elton J’s and the hot flavor of the month, The Smith’s “Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want” sung by the inimitable Slow Moving Millie.

---It's the kind of shamelessly sentimental marketing device that only John Lewis could get away with. Had the store's latest ages-of-woman television ad been dreamt up by McDonald's, say, or RBS or Sky, it would have been dismissed as dated, a little sexist and trailing a powerful whiff of fondue. But John Lewis is far too beloved an institution to insult its customers by knowingly overselling family values in the pursuit of profit. John Lewis doesn't need to resort to crass emotional manipulation. John Lewis is mutualised. And yet, more than 100,000 have watched and rewatched on YouTube the retailer's new commercial in the single week it's been available. In the 91-second ad, nine different actors play an unnamed everywoman, from infancy to old age. Sharing her significant life events – marriage, motherhood, the delivery of a new sofa – viewers have confessed to being moved to tears. It would be trending on Twitter right now were we not too busy sobbing into our scatter cushions to invent an appropriate hashtag.--- Read More:

Romantic hyperbole. The fine line between control and lunacy. The romantically mad with a touch of bad has always, since the days Byron, Keats and Shelley held a mass appeal. The appeal that related the romantic to the mad. Of course, there is an attraction of liberating oneself from self-control and social restraint. To lose the grip on sanity, at least partially, and have a well lit trail home to the front door. The complete trusting of emotional life bound together by a faith in intimacy. To lose reason and self-control to live in the impulsive present, bouncing from spontaneity to spontaneity; unconsciously, this lightness of being is where most of us would like to spend at least some measure of time.

---The General Post Office, One Minute to Six by George Hicks. 1860. Oil on canvas. Reproduced by kind permission of the Museum of London, which retains copyright. ---- Read More:

It is the antagonist of reason, which is devoid of charisma. Reason is Saturnine, romanticism is Jupiterian. John Lewis is an unabashed pitch to the emotions. Whatever else our current crises are about, the unjust rich profiters, income inequality, they are about being on the cusp of emotional change. Lewis is tapping into this appeal; an appeal against a way of thinking that makes many uneasy. An appeal for humanity as a whole.

---All over Britain, women are kneeling in front of their tellies, heads low, shoulders shaking, tears and mucus dripping from their reddened faces like rain from a suburban gutter. They've just watched the new £6m John Lewis advert. Let me talk you through it. A woman picks up a baby, but when she puts it down it's become a toddler. The toddler crawls through a tunnel, and emerges as a child, looking up at her teacher. Then she's blowing out the candles on her sixth birthday cake, but no! It's her 18th birthday cake! She's married, as seen below, she's pregnant, she's stealing the cherry from her granddaughter's cupcake and now she's retired, walking languidly through a field. She ages 70 years over a minute and a half, and offscreen, presumably, as this advert ends and segues into the one where Paul Daniels urges you to send away your old mobile in a handy plastic envelope, she dies, a fast but painless death, and is lowered into the ground in a well-priced John Lewis coffin.--- Read More:

It has to be acknowledged, that the floodgates, the barrier of post-modern lunatic creativity were opened long ago and we live in an age of artistic chaos that is not going away. It’s democracy. It’s diversity. Its a very vague hierarchy of value only faintly related to the classic past, and it carries the traditional values of equality and goodwill towards all into an imaginary, more or lest socialist order, as yet to be defined. And more importantly, into our sensationalist mass culture. A culture where everyone feels entitled to the same right to be entertained, amused and perhaps informed.


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