Media

McConnell, Frank

torical need: "The urgency of confuting heretics made it nec- MEDIA essary to find new words to express the ancient faith about God." Finally, he exhorted his readers to value these new...

...The Joe Isuzu commercials of a few years back ("He's Lying...
...since it is by no TRULY DISHONEST means profane, for it does not lead us astray from the sense of AND JOE SIX-PACK KNOWS IT Scripture...
...Name COMMONWEAL Now I'd never had frozen yogurt, but, being an adventurous kind of guy, I tried it-and it was great...
...George Bush cynically prevaricated, and Bill Clinton uncomfortably waffled (so now you know my secret ballot, so sue me), and a gaggle of network commentators gave us instant analyses pretending that the statements just uttered were actually significant-another label-for-the-product scamwhile we all trudge into the decline of the republic...
...Things are more Transcendent Third complicated: P.T...
...Now the problem is John S hea that once you seal a lot of clay caskets, you're apt to forget A Theologian at Prayer what's in any given one (ever put an important letter where you were sure it wouldn't get lost...
...Bingo...
...evidence is strong that writing itself developed as the most rudimentary sort of advertising...
...has been generally regarded as one of the more venal, ephemerNo language will ever adequately encompass the unquenchable al, and sleazebag professions...
...nu, the turkey, already, thinks it's pastrami...
...Jean Baudrillard is a French post-Marxist deconstructionist cultural critic, and moonily admired in American graduate schools...
...Shouldn't the goddess contact, say MacKenzie vine mystery be developed...
...and that a given culture's advertising is in fact its From The God Who Fell .~rom Heaven, © 193...
...it's an enlightening experience...
...because there's no damn yogurt in it...
...History Begins who cannot become at Sumer, Samuel Noah Kramer's great 1956 book, declares...
...larval poetry, the clearest indication of the way it manipulates Reprinted by permission of The Thomas More Press...
...Kenneth Woodward, religion editor, Newsweek NO LONGER EXILES The Religious New Right in American Politics Edited by Michael Cromartie The 1992 presidential election demonstrated once again the continuing and controversial influence of the religious right on American political life...
...I I- I prefer a full year's subscription at $36...
...When the Sumerians and their Mesopotamian pals began to depend on big intercity tradethat is, when they became recognizably like us-they took to shipping their goods in large clay caskets...
...Writing...
...Avery thoughtful introduction to theworld of evangelicals and politics...
...And that's okay...
...This is the reverse of surrealism, beRaymond Chandler, becomes our regnant sex goddess by bla- cause it says that language, by itself, is such an intricate, detantly impersonating the cliche, and letting us know all along lightful system that it can't help but produce such elegantly it is a cliche...
...As in: the TV ads for the Infiniti car (and why does It's far from silly...
...ended history of faith seeking understanding that is not yet fin- Say what...
...Exosomatic Memory...
...I checked the ingredients: ice milk, vanilla extract, chocolate, salt, artificial coloring, and a bunch of chemicals that, I don't want to know what they are...
...Then what do our ads, our labels, have to tell us about the particular forest of symbols we inhabit...
...If Roosevelt or Truman-if Nixon or Reagan-had said that, is it conceivable that it wouldn't have been a guarantee of national revulsion and inevitable evitable defeat...
...tend to feature a sparking between the grandiose, capitalized title (with the lot of shots of waves on the beach or trees in the wind and a heavyweight word, CATHEDRAL) and the bathos of the rest pseudo-Zen voiceover, but not many shots of the damn car...
...but who knows us, not, I think, in the memory of any living soul...
...Each case is, in Baudrillard's word, a simulacrum: self-reflecting in-jokes...
...at the fin of the last siecle...
...That's the -------------------'i only problem with intellectual decadence: you admire the flames while the house burns down...
...religious language and symbols that bear the ancient responsi- Well, maybe not...
...In this timely new volume, an impressive group of experts explain why and how the religious right has maintained its longevity and power...
...I believe that history is cyclical-Clio doesn't run a race, she dances in a round-and once a Platonic Year we need a good dose of decadence, just to remind us of what its opposite is really like...
...COMMONWEAL provides both...
...and "subliminal enticement" in ads...
...And one of Brother Baudrillard's brilliant observa- 5 i tions about postindustrial capitalism (read: us) is that it is above i PM - all the culture of the "simulacrum": the simulacrum being an "Haskins is a veteran of the cabbage patch doll wars, infinitely replicable object for which there is no original...
...So Bush, even before the beginning of the campaign, said 15 Dutch Street, New York, N.Y...
...In the arts, it's exactly what critics mean by Last May I was flying to Boston...
...10038 on network TV that he would do "whatever it takes" to get reTrial subscription offer: 11 issues for $12...
...The dessert of my meal "postmodernism": the free play of language or structure in the tray was a frozen cup with the label "I Can't Believe It's Yogurt...
...Aquinas's arguments provide a useful framework for evaluating new patterns of speaking about God in female symbols...
...The present ferment about imag- awards for the best radio and television commering, naming, and conceptualizing God in female symbols is a cials for that year: they're called the "Clio"Awards...
...That may have been true once...
...A cool, considered assessment of a phenomenon that will affectAmerican religion as much as American politics...
...And the and wise...
...Couldn't anybody do that...
...In light of the longevity and pervasiveness of sexism in culture Every spring, the nation's big advertising firms get and religion, it is imperative to find more adequate ways of ex- together and have a ceremony where they hand out pressing the ancient good news...
...I Can't Believe It's Yogurt...
...are a cultural artifact of the deepest significance: smart as he is, Ashbery doesn't play the game one bit better than Joe and Marge...
...As of the sentence, which also happens to be the whole poem...
...But so inured are we to the elegant emptiness of discourse, private or public, that it was received with hardCity, State, Zip ly more than a ripple of amusement...
...Finally, he exhorted his readers to value these new expressions: "Nor is such a kind of novelty to be shunned...
...The assumption behind most Origin and Destiny of this stuff, after all, is that the vast majority of the nonacaof every concrescing actuality demic public doesn't know it's getting its chain pulled: that Joe whose Primordial Nature Six-Pack and his wife Marge are too benighted to get it that cannot change Lexus and Coca-Cola and Adidas are all creating metaphors and whose Consequent Nature that identify the consumption of their product with sex, power, cannot sit still, and joy, metaphors that translate elemental human needs into Unknowable Mystery artificially targeted wants...
...I thought about Ashbery's poetry, Warhol's Campbell Soup paintings, the monotone operas of Philip Glass...
...an It...
...J. Dionne, Jr., author, Why Americans Hate Politics 162 pages $18.95 cloth ISBN 0-89633-172-5 Available at bookstores or through National Book Network, 1-800-462-6420 ETHICS AND PUBLIC POLICY CENTER 1015 Fifteenth Street NW Washington, DC 20005 Commonweal 29 January 1993: 15 a little clarification helps...
...But in: Madonna, who I think is some kind of genius but who, let's is that a poem...
...Now the self-stroking academic celebrants of the postmodern sensibility-and golly, don't I sound like Pat Buchanan?claim that it's all a weary but wise Byzantine game played out on the edge of the abyss: forgetting, most of them, how much they sound like Oscar Wilde, Beardsley, etc...
...Heroically overcoming all that, however, he is a very smart guy...
...Mason" for lawyers and Mr...
...The energy of the poem is just in the irony misspelling a word make it more glamerus...
...It is a pity, though, that just as the "postmodern sensibility"-the label-for-the-product complaisance-has been growing since the fifties, so has what can only be called massive public despair at the meaninglessness of public discourse...
...We've got myths like "Perry mystery toward which we make limited but necessary gestures...
...Big Dog...
...It's the lite beer wars, and the cola wars.' the kind of conceptual leap that makes everything fall into place...
...Let's assume that Clio-history-is the muse of advertisplease help me get tenure...
...The answer-and, face it, is as close to being Marilyn Monroe as I am to being again, the point-is Yes...
...contemporary manifestation of the fact that, as in every epoch Clio is the classical muse of history, or, more propbefore us, we as a faith community are involved in an open- erly, of historiography...
...They call it "I Can't Believe It's Yogurt...
...its symbols to articulate its sense of life...
...129/93 Sometimes, for all her sublimity, Clio weeps...
...So what the priests-who were 0 also quartermasters-did was devise some simple, universal(that is the vocative ly-agreed-upon signs they could punch into the top of a casket of a cosmic disclosure) before the clay hardened: "Wheat," "Grapes," "Ox-Jerky," and Thou like that...
...Advertising, at least since the Industrial Revolution, ished...
...Like Balboa staring at the Pacific, I felt, I was looking at a dazzlingly pure postmodern product...
...a kid can wear on the West Coast is from a company called Here's a poem, in its entirety, by the greatly gifted John "Big Dogs," and how you can tell the kid is hip is that every Ashbery: otherwise indistinguishable shirt from Big Dog says "Big "THE CATHEDRAL IS Dogs" on the front and also has a picture of a-well, hell, of a Slated for demolition...
...elected...
...It isn't even, now, that we suspect that all politicians lie: now we expect them to, and are even a little nonplussed when we think maybe they aren't...
...I don't think they understand how pandemic that sensibility really is: that Joe and Marge Six-Pack, that all of us, live in a forest of symbols where all the trees are papier-mache, and we all know it...
...The cogent observations of Carl F. H. Henry, Robert Booth Fowler, George Marsden, Robert Wuthnow, and others make this book important reading in a new political era...
...George Orwell observed that all art is propbility of conveying what is most holy, loving, merciful, just, aganda, though all propaganda is not necessarily art...
...in every duo...
...Not for nothing did Joyce make Leopold Bloom in Ulysses an advertising canvasser, 14: 29 January 1993 Commonweal and aha-there's your story of a noble adman...
...And then I had to stop mumbling, because the guy in the seat next to me was looking a little nervous...
...is "really" inside...
...Writing isn't just exosomatic memory the cuneiform on the clay casket comes to supplant whatever anymore: it's almost exosomatic consciousness...
...Being in whom So, just for the hell of it, let's forget for the nonce all the all beings participate, two-bit moralism sociologists and other popular culture-slumAbsolute Future ming academics who like to natter about the "hidden persuaders" who masters every present...
...Barnum is long to his final rest...
...Smith Goes to Washington for pol s; But the living God and the vitality of the faith community re- but has anybody ever told a story about a (giggle and snort) quire that a more inclusive way of speaking about and to di- noble adman...
...An astonishing moment...
...by John Shea...
...L J FRANK McCONNELL 16: 29 January 1993 Commonweal -6420 ETHICS AND PUBLIC PO...
...Actually, Clio is born as a label...
...God-She can breathe new life into & Brackman, and sue for damages...
...How about I Can't Believe It's Ethics...
...ing, or maybe even the divine daughter ("In the beginning was the label...
...And a few thunderbolts always keep you on your toes...
...You can also buy, in your grocery, something called "Real Turkey Pastrami...
...And I got it...
...As in: of the very hippest kind of baggy shirt and baggy shorts void of its "meaningfulness...
...Forget the Golden Mean-hold on to the Platinum Extremes...

Vol. 120 • January 1993 • No. 2


 
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