Sunday, May 26, 2019

Updated again.

But for all the empty pretension of the technocratic intellectual elite, most of life, one way or another, is craft.  

I remember once, long ago, I used to not do commercials and said I didn’t believe in them. And then they said, “Ken Loach has done quite a few of them.” So I phoned up Ken and he said, “If you don’t take money out of those capitalist pockets, then someone else will, and you’ve got mouths to feed. Do it!”

Mike Leigh, just like the biggest Hollywood directors, production designers and cinematographers, makes commercials. The money flows like water. You can have a lot of fun spending three million dollars for a 30 second spot.  But as with cathedral ceilings, it’s not the dogma that matters, but what you do with it. As I tried to explain to one of the leaders of the MIT symposia, an anthropologist with a PhD from the University of Chicago, the interesting thing about ads now is that they’ve become almost independent of their function: a good spot can by no more than a 30 second movie with a name at the end; the actual “ad” is 2 seconds, now associated with the 28 second comedy that preceded it. Or it’s tiny film with "product placement". The definition of art hasn’t changed, because people haven’t changed. And the men and women, the craftspeople, some with hand tools and paint who get their hands dirty, and some with electronics, who together make the ads that the intellectuals of Madison avenue dream up, laugh. And if the ads are remembered they’ll be remembered as cathedral ceilings are, by people who have no interest in Jesus Christ or Alka Seltzer. 

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