The world is fucked and it’s my fault.
Really, I am. It was all my fault. Well, not entirely MY fault but the fault of my generation and the people in my business.
I’m a Boomer type and I’ve spent my whole life in the ad biz.
I’ve loved it, don’t get me wrong. I still love the creative ad biz. It’s wonderful that people with wild-ass imaginations can make a decent living making shit up out of thin air every day. Those of us that are probably miserable at most other things can live in this weird astroplane of people who are better at making shit up than remembering things.
If it’s you, you get it.
You wake up in the middle of the night with a head full of ideas. You meet a new client and an hour later you’ve totally rethought their universe. You see things nobody else sees. You see dead people.
You’re the kind that moves big ideas and nobody knows how you did it and you wonder why everyone doesn’t think like you.
But you screwed the pooch here kiddos.
Especially if you’re getting old.
Allow me to explain.
Let’s say you were born somewhere in the 50’s. You had this idyllic childhood, at least by today’s standards. You grew up in a world with big possibilities. You could grow up to be President. Nobody knew where you were or what you did and there was no permanent record of anything. You could go to college cheap. You learned to drive in big ugly American cars that sucked gas but who cared. You believed that the world was there for you to conquer.
You were an American Baby Boomer and Gods Own Drunk and a Fearless Man.
You got into advertising because of course you got into advertising. You grew up watching Darren Stevens make stuff up on the fly and live well doing it.
Who wouldn’t ride that train?
You and your brethren gulped gas.
You and your brethren wrapped everything in plastic.
You and your brethren lived WAY above your means in big ugly houses and bought mountains of crap and ate mountains of crap and it was normal.
And you were in the ad biz, you helped sell all this crap. You did great, convincing campaigns to sell stuff to dumb people who bought it by the truckload. You told them to eat this, buy this. Throw this away and open another one and trade this in for the newest model.
You created a culture that’s going to flush the planet down the toilet.
Congrats Darren, you sold 24-7-Disposable-Double-Sugar-Pig-Bladder-Mega-Soda.
And now we’re screwed.
We don’t have to money to go to another planet and we won’t get off our car seats to save this one.
Is there any possibility that we could be uncomfortable enough to do something about it and save our planet?
Not a chance.
This is all my fault and I’m sorry. I helped sell a ton of stupid stuff that, now, years later, is apparently just a load of stupid stuff.
Big packaging for lousy products that end up in piles.
Cans full of sweet poison.
Silly wasteful junk that you simply must have. Kill someone for their shoes. Drink this because it’s got electrolytes. Eat this because it was designed to appeal to your psychographic tastebuds.
I did a great job. WE did a great job of convincing everyone to make terrible decisions.
But I’m over it.
“She turned me into a newt… But I got better.”
I’ve become a Man of A Certain Age whatever the flying frick that means.
How about it means that I can look at life now and realize what a big load of stupidity it was that drove me to take money from people with terrible ideas and then help them sell stupid things.
A Man of A Certain Age.
Fallow is The Field in Which My Fucks Are Grown.
This means I have the freedom to be brutally honest and face down the demons around me. I have zero fucks to give. I can spill the beans on the tragedy that our junk-possessed lives have become.
I still have great clients in the ad biz. I do lots of brand work. My cohorts at The Fallow Fields Agency still love this business but we’ve all grown a spine and can turn down projects that make things worse and not better. And if we aren’t afraid to tell clients they’re heading to disaster with a lousy campaign. It’s rather liberating to finally cross the threshold into fucklessness.
But back to all this mess being my fault.
I’m still sorry.
And here’s some advice for y’all in the ad biz getting opportunities to brand and market stupid, wasteful products. Those who get hired by oil companies to make them look kind and thoughtful. Or cigarette companies. Or terrible political hacks. Or crap sugar drinks. Or big, ugly cars that spit out poison.
You can say no. Really, you can. You can choose to use your powers for good instead of evil. Then some day when you’ve finally realized your field is also fallow, you don’t have to write (or, in fact, just copy/paste) this article.
We’re fucked, and it’s my fault.
But I’m hoping there’s hope.