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To question or not to question, that is the question.

Earlier today I wrote here about Coke's new advertisement. Essentially I made an argument that its an irresponsible communication from a corporate giant who is not acting responsibly on ground and spreading message of hope through commercial communications. This two faced-ness is dangerous to our generation and a big bane for the health of our earth. However a dear friend made a valid point. That by creating ruckus with such campaigns, I am essentially robbing people of the optimism that these campaigns create.
and this made me think. Is it right for me (or for any individual for that matter) to critically question everything even at the cost of causing displeasure? Is it more important for a people to be happy than being truthfully aware of what they are being subjected to?
On a personal level too, I have faced this dilemma often and am now only beginning to learn to hold my views when the person i am talking to is not ready to listen to any contrarion thought or that the momentary happiness is of immense value to her/him. I laugh or smile at such instances and let it slide. I have no right to rob them of their happiness. so unless the person is close enough to me, or is intelligent enough to appreciate a critique, i stay quiet.

However,when the consequence of the lie being perpetuated is huge, there has to be a voice demanding the truth. Or at least holding the communication to relevance. (so essentially, if none of the 'good things' in the coke commercial had been caused by coke, is it right for them to create a feel good emotion for their brand through the things they don't sell?)

As a planner i can see the relevance of the communication. Its excellent planning. its delivering what people want to hear. and shoves the brand in the communication not too elegantly. do you think its responsible of Coca cola to create such messages when in reality its actions are not spreading happiness but disturbing harmony in communities, depleting natural reserves of water and making young kids drink pesticide laced drinks. (if you think that brown people's sorrow is not sorrow enough, check out this news. even in UK fanta was found to have ridiculously high amounts of pesticide.)

Now, check out the following videos too..

The effect of Vedanta and Vedanta's Corporate film.
Monsant's world and Monsanto's ad
Chevron toxico & chevron we agree campaign
Do really watch all this videos.

What one needs to keep in mind while watching these videos is the 'context' (chevron funding research for renewable energy in universities while being irresponsible in Ecuador. Why should a victim feel any better if the perpetrator is doing 'some notional good' some where else?) and 'priority' (so is greater growth of a company more important than lives of a hundred people or so. the vedanta film is hilarious for its 'small dick syndrome'. it keeps on using words like 'largest, biggest, fastest.. blah blah.) of what is being said.

now tell me, if its wrong for me to question communications that make people happy. should I let people remain optimistic or should i jab them with the unholy truth.
Remember that the recession and consequent shit we are in today was largely because we looked the other way when some people were telling us the truth and went along with people who painted rosy picture. and we continue to side with the people who are perpetuating the system that created the mess, instead of campaigning for overhauling the system. If this guys is to be believed, and there's a 'reason to believe' him, we are headed for bigger shit hole because we are being unduly optimistic and not taking corrective actions.

Time to wake up.

read this and thought it to be pertinent to reiterate here

"There is absolutely no inevitability as long as there is a willingness to contemplate what is happening."
— Marshall McLuhan (The Medium is the Massage)


Haunted Ghost said…
I would rather love to brace the thorny truth rather than sitting back enjoying with a false optimism. Things like this ad are helpful when they lighten your mood; but one should not stick to it all the time while avoiding the real truth. Watching some sitcom like Friends is much better than that. Atleast it provides you humour while still keeping you on the real grounds. :P
there is no one answer! there cant be. you just have to use your best judgement every time! personally I'd like the truth any day. (or so i like to believe/ claim!)
Having said that, I must say, the things you hold true, are they really true? I mean how can you be so sure that what you know is the truth of the matter and naively unawares are only doping on hope? you being not just you but a you in general.
Hope is a lie when you use it to convince yourself of a certain outcome disregarding arguments/ possibilities otherwise. Hope is a optimistic support our minds and hearts need to keep them from collapsing under the weight of the world when there's doubt and a probability of a positive outcome. doubt being underlined.
I didnt see the other videos(yet) but gauging from the coke video, these are not creating hope. or these were not created to create hope. People see it as an add for coke and to be truthful (IMHO) it was made to be an add for coke! its a deceitful diversion to distract our attention from the real corporate works. or at the least attract our attentions towards the brand. not that many of us (or any of us) care to look at the evils of profit-mongery. most of us want a cool refreshing drink to go with our plateful of gluttony.
Ajinkya Pawar said…
There are 2 things really to what i am saying. first.. the context - who is saying what? so my argument is, is coke right is preaching happiness when its actions is directly contributing to unhappiness in many communities. what this ad does is attributes the hope to Coke where Coke has done nothing in that regards. however it is reaping the benefit of what it has not created or helped create. I think it amounts to cheating.  (and i read a blog where a woman said now she will start drinking coke cuz she found the ad very heartwarming).
second, the need for openness to argument. truth is not absolute. but a shared version can be arrived at with arguing. a scenario where there is no argument but only blind acceptance of stupid prescription of hope is, i believe, symptom of deadening of intelligence.
and let me have a third point as well. people take themselves far too seriously these days. without a real threat to their life, or even way of life.. they create artificial tragedies. and hence constantly seek artificial hope. its like jumping from one momentary bubble of happiness to another. Its really pathetic that anyone really needs coke for hope.

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Things turn into cash
once they are stripped of their lives -
their breath,
their freedom,
their dignity
or their joy.

A fish on the table
and a cubicle dweller..
both are united in their solvency,
their ability to be stripped of their lives and turned into money.

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Hold up your hands against the sun and your favourite gods
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