Sunday, December 17, 2006

Christmas and advertising

It used to be that talking about a star during Christmas time would make one think about the star that led the wise men to Bethlehem. That star ultimately referred to the Morning Star that is rising in the heart of those that adhere to Jesus' teachings. During the post Second World War Era, when in Europe Christianity was cut to pieces, denounced by the intellectual elite and consequently disregarded by the masses, those references to Christianity were tolerated during Christmas only.

Now, having arrived in the post-Christian era, things are different altogether. Idiomatic references to Christmas are not merely condoned but encouraged. The other day I walked in a department store and saw an advertising poster that read 'Shine Like A Star'. Of course the message doesn't have anything to do with Christianity. A beautifully dressed woman and child filled the poster vaguely referring to the madonna with child, I suppose. References to Christmas do no longer offend as they are so much detached from the actual meaning and source that they simply tend to generate a vague sense of childhood memory while leaving it up to the receptor of the message to fill the words with a personalized meaning.

Indeed advertising has been one of the main areas where post-modernism shows itself at its best. Look at the US where being politically correct has gone so extreme as to bar any religious expression or activity to be displayed in the public arena. The First Lady was heard wishing 'Happy Holidays'. Now Apple has come up with an advertising campaign to promote their lifestyle products. Suprisingly this is what we get. 'Joy to their world' it reads, and 'No more silent night' is promised to those buying an iPod. One can be politically correct and 'objective' in public while at the same time stating these things in advertising messages.

Christian language has come up for grabs. Give it your own meaning. Using these words in their original context is a vice, using them detached from their meaning for a commercial purpose it a virtue.

Happy Holidays Apple... let your light shine. But stay off my truth and the words that I use to express it. Advertising. I want out!

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