Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Poem In The Ad

Two minutes ago I wrote the following. Now its already gone and writ. I used to wonder why writers write and painters paint and cooks cook. Ask a stupid question and you get a stupid answer. Look for the obvious and its right there; like the nose on your face.  But it takes the clock to see whether you've had the good karma of being blessed with a 20/20 vision. Or time even if your ears can hear the Dog Whistle. And some bad odor to realize you the proud owner of a pretty sensitive nose!

I open Facebook and it greets me with "Update Status?" as if prompting and prodding me to do something I should not do with an invisible question mark. So I gamely take the bait and dive right in! It went something like this: 

"If this is on a personal note of a status that needs to be updated than it becomes an impersonal take. But what is there to hide anyways? We all bleed red beneath the colored skins we wear. 
This borrowed skin shrinks in time, as all good things are want to; and should that be the case of the basket, we might as well take a good look at ourselves and then refocus the filtering button through which we view the world or wind it back or up. If all things are constantly changing and that change is just natural phenomena at work, why get all worked up over that trillionth useless invention? 
There is a good reason why man-made things tend to bother and cause suffering to man himself first, and then through bad networks, whosoever comes in his way and boy are we networked! We are already here; already born and already dying- if such be the truth of things, then every moment you are alive is a miracle. 
Its life itself living, breathing, expressing an updating its status. It does not require a reminder. 
Now what more is there to calculate? Life is suffering is the First Noble Truth. It is not a lie. And there is good reason behind the pain: for we are most alive when we are most vulnerable, weak and destitute. Just remember that and you'll grow strong. And then remember the irony of it all. Have a laugh at yourself; and then remember to let go and let go of the remembrances too, including the laughter. 
Now have a fvckin jolly good weekend!" This was then and in the moments that also went bust, I managed to break a tea saucer and smoked up a fag, drank some Red Bulled-Whisky and slept a couple of hours. I'm up and revisiting this outburst. There is a line, attributed to the Talmud, that gobsmacks me. It says "Wherever you look, there is something to be seen." It caused the flash floods! I remembered ads when I recalled that smacker. You see, every ad you've ever seen, and I'm talking man-makes-things here, is filled with the of the return of the prodigal soul; of coming back to where you were and coming back to life. The scriptures say everything is The Dharma. The ad emphasizes that point by declaring catch-phrases such as "Just Do It"- "Impossible Is Nothing" "It Gives You Wings" "Because You Are Worth It" "Bring It On" and Coke's latest hit- "Open Happiness."
Its a veritable list of unabashed consumerism I'm totally buying the crap. They tell you what you need and that you are somehow missing out on the fun and the party held in some secret tunnel where all the winners are living life to perfection. Well here's a trick- it also teaches you everything that is in excess and all of the things you Do Not Need; including some Funnel of Perfection. Rather, it tells you to make a comeback and be here and now and that you are really whole and then some more. There is an underlying tone of true grit that is constantly telling you of all the non-important factors that complicate your life. 
What you get is really up to how you interpret the message.
This is perhaps the one thing we are good at: preaching what we don't practice and not-practicing what we love to preach, same shit, really and that timeless vice that keeps adding as advice. As a kid, its a bitch, and as you have experiences that brings you down several notches or ranks down the ladder of bank balances and emotional bankruptcy, your pride takes a bribe and the ego goes for awhile. You then have a cuppa chai and revisit those ad-vices and realize the ad in it without the vice or the imaginary malice.
"Rigpa Dim" used to be a frequenter when I was growing up. I always thought my parents meant it to show they cared- and now it shows that they were caring indeed and that simple counsel now takes on a conjecture of universal proportions that makes sense to me!

It meant "Take Care" when I was young. Since then, its taken many other forms, constantly on the change. 
The first one has been "Be Mindful"; the second "Be Aware" and the third to remember the first two and to try and put things in perspective with the Right View. All in all, I guess it basically boiled down to try be the best that you can aspire to be in any given context. So when you see an ad featuring beautiful folks with screaming silent sirens knocking your eardrums endorsing product that ends with something like "Take Care"- its really Rigpa Dim! It also makes them the bearers and messengers of your own projections.
Or the bubble gum ads that go "Dimak Ka Batti Jalao"- literally brighten up your consciousness is what I read into it. There's the other classic that goes "Sirf Zaban Ko Lagam Lagata Hai, Hath Ko Nahin"- (keeps your mouth shut; not your hands). If everything is interconnect with a mysterious pipe made out of some spiritual fiber; then poetry flows in those commercial taglines and catchphrases... Its not what they wanna sell, although that's what they'd love, its up to you to say good buys but no thanks and take what is given for free, displayed everywhere as it stands. 
Just as Nature does.
Now do the following: Go through the Hidden and Subtle, and the Obvious alternative take on these seemingly-dollar-oriented ads teasing the shit outta you. And see what you can take, use or be inspired by, after all, like the lad and the lass said with the loveliest smile you'll never have; You Are Worth It! Now Take Care, Stay Aware & Be Fair!
Till the next musing, adios!

Poetry in Advertising
Pithy slogans and rhyming jingles are the centerpieces of advertising language, and they are made with the essential elements of poetry—compression and memorable patterns of repetition. Most poets would say, however, that advertising uses poetic language to serve the practical goals of commerce, while “real poetry” is made in search of a kind of truth that is nothing like a sale. Poetry and advertising have had a long and somewhat prickly relationship in this modern age—a fact I’ve been reminded of this week, by this recounting of the old story about Marianne Moore and the naming of the Edsel:
From The New York Times:
Poetry in Motion,” by Danny Heitman
“It seems that we’ve done just about everything to get the American auto industry out of the doldrums. We’ve forced bankruptcies. We’ve exchanged cash for clunkers. But have we tried poetry?... The question is brought to mind by the story of Marianne Moore, the famous American writer, who served for a brief season as the Ford Motor Company’s unofficial poet laureate.”
Quoting Heitman’s line that “These days, poetry and commerce are rarely on such good speaking terms,” The New Yorker offered a contemporary counterpoint in ad-woman/poet Ada Limon:
from The New Yorker:
The Book Bench, Driving Force,” by Jenna Krajeski
“I’m always surprised that there aren’t more poets working in advertising, marketing, or copywriting....”
And looking back a little further, there’s another point of view in Martin Espada’s response to the Nike Poetry Slam:
from LiP magazine: (1998)The Poetics of Commerce, Martin Espada on the Nike Poetry Slam,” by Martin Espada
“I confess that I am a poet of situations. I have written poems for weddings, birthdays, and holidays. I wrote a New Year’s poem for the radio. I wrote a poem for the 25th anniversary of a magazine, and so the number 25 had to be featured in the poem. I even wrote a poem called ‘Pitching the Potatoes’ for an anthology of poems about potatoes. Then I was asked to write a poem for a Nike commercial. This was the Nike Poetry Slam....”

Poems pop up in advertising, in public art pieces, on busses and trains—and now UK supermarket chain Morrisons has brought poems into the grocery store. To help you “rhyme your way to cooking confidence,” Morrisons has hired British poets John Mole, Ian MacMillan and Peter Sanson as Food Laureates and asked them to create mnemonic poems, rhyming recipes for their favorite dishes. There’s also a poetry competition offering a month’s free shopping worth £500 for the best rhyming recipe submitted by a reader—so get to work, poets! It’s not every day that you get the opportunity to turn your poetic skills into food on the table.
The great poets capture human experience in memorable lines, so it is only natural that people turn to the words of the poets in times of crisis and change, to illustrate the summing-up of a life that has ended, to encapsulate the memories of the person who has died in the hearts of those who remain behind.
The passing of Senator Ted Kennedy has been marked with poems by William Wordsworth and Robert Frost. President Barack Obama described Ted Kennedy as “the Happy Warrior,” quoting Wordsworth’s poem of the same name, in his public eulogy at the funeral services last weekend. And when the U.S. Senate paid tribute to Kennedy this week with somber speeches and a long moment of silence, his desk was occupied by a copy of Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken.”\ScrollDownForMoreAdsThatGoSkinDeep

PS: YourLustForLifeStartsRightNow!