Friend: I like that you’re majoring in marketing but excited that you’re not going to be doing advertising
Me: did you download my portfolio?
Friend: I have not yet, should I?
Friend: I probably should.
Me: i don’t have any ads in there either
Me: it’s a new thing im doing
Friend: dammit, Nien, I can’t call you a corporate whore if you keep being all nonconformist and shit
Me: that’s going on the blog
Friend: I like that any time we have a conversation on gtalk something that one of us says goes on your blog
Friend: it’s very meta
Friend: we talk about advertising
Friend: then you talk about how you’re going to be putting it on the blog
Friend: and then I reference other times in which you have posted gmail conversations on your blog
Friend: to be totally pretentious you’re kind of breaking the fourth wall
Friend: this all becoming so postmodern I don’t know what to do
My friend just translated and posted a Chinese poem that reminded me of the kind of feeling I get when I meet some of those big shot ad people.
On visiting the man who lives on the western mountain and not finding him
By Qiu Wei
Translated by Lovelesscynic
I climbed up 30 li to reach the grass cottage.
There were no servants at the front gate.
Inside, there was only a table and some tea things.
He hadn’t taken his carriage,
so he had probably gone fishing on the autumn river.
One coming and one going, we had missed each other.
I hesitated by the gate, for I greatly respected him.
The color of the young grass amid the rain,
the sound of late wind at the window
matched my lonely mood, and stirred my spirits.
Although we had not been able to meet as guest and host,
I had clearly realized the truth.
My pleasure thoroughly satisfied, I descended the mountain.
What need was there to wait for him?
I was horrified when I found this article about how a 28 year old woman from China drove her family into bankruptcy in order to meet Andy Lau. On her third attempt to meet him in Hong Kong, she actually got it. However, her father was pissed that Lau didn’t spend more private time with his daughter and committed suicide to make a point. The celebrity culture in Hong Kong is pretty intense, but for something like this to happen is still shocking.
Combine this and a week of fielding the question: “what brand do you admire and why?” has caused me think about fanaticism and how it manifests itself. I couldn’t find any solid explanations based on psychology. And if I did, I’m not properly trained to analyze it either. However, the wisdom in famous quotes is often overlooked:
• “Fanaticism is overcompensation for doubt.”
– Robertson Davies
• “In the long run I certainly hope information is the cure for fanaticism, but I am afraid information is more the cause than the cure.”
– Daniel Dennett
• “The closer a man approaches tragedy, the more intense is his concentration of emotion upon the fixed point of his commitment, which is to say the closer he approaches what in life we call fanaticism.”
– Arthur Miller
Without knowing the family intimately, I can’t really make a solid argument for any of the quotes. However, I think it’s safe to say that both the father and daughter had illusions of grandeur for this event. While one of the articles said that they tried to dissuade her, eventually, it turned into a family affair. I feel like they knew nothing great was going to come from it. But there might have been a sunk-cost mentality where their overcompensating was helping romance the possibilities.
Secondly, I’m not clear on the media situation in China/HK anymore. But as I mentioned earlier, it is pretty intense. And since media is readily available through internet and bootlegs and the wires, I feel like it was enough to feed the daughter’s obsession. But, Dennett has a point in that all these access points should’ve revealed possibly unflattering information about Lau that would’ve killed if the obsession. I think the problem is that there is more good information than bad information out there.
And again, I don’t know these people, but the situation explained in the article certainly mirrors the idea of the Miller quote. It’s as if the people involved had an inverse relationship in their mind about the well being of the family and the emotional (and maybe financial) payoff of the situation.
Needless to say that this is an extreme example of fanaticism, but it makes the milder cases more understandable and opens up insecurities for us to possibly turn those who are just fans into fanatics.
I know, I’m evil.
For the past two months or so, I’ve been working like a mad dog to prepare my portfolio for internships and faculty review. Some of you may have noticed that I’ve taken the hermit’s road, only to resurface now and again to put something on this blog. Hopefully the madness (Madness?! THIS IS ADCENTER!!) will go away soon.
The “My Resume” and “My Portfolio” pages have been updated. “My Resume” has a new picture showing where I’ve been. And “My Portfolio” actually has a link to my portfolio. Or you can get it here.
If you’re in the biz, please take a couple of minutes to check it out. I am open to feedback.
If you’re not in the biz, please take a couple of minutes to check it out anyways. When I told you that I was flying to the other side of the country for a master’s in advertising some of you said “you need a master’s to make that crap?” I hope I don’t disappoint you.