30 May 2012

Stuffing ourselves with junk... mind and body

Juvenal (1st & 2nd Century A.D.) was an ancient Roman writer. He is said to have written some of the most biting satire of all time.

Ironically, he could be writing for our times as well...

Juvenal lamented that the progressive thinking society of the early Roman Republic had degenrated under the authoritarian Caesars to such an extent that the public cared for only two things - both freely available: Bread and circuses, or panem et circenses in Latin.

Today's parallels would be cheap fast food on every street and the ubiquitous electronic sheeple-herding device, corporate-run TV.

A man of much forsight - or perhaps only a fortuitous civilisational loop that brings us back to a similar juncture in time - Juvenal also asked that question we ask more often today: Who will watch the watchers? Or quis custodiet ipsos custodes in Latin.

29 May 2012

Fear fear.

Everyone in any "creative" line-of-work learn to live with constant fear because of the nature and unpredictablility of our work.

Our work is expected to have an impact, a net result that's preferrably positive. But since this impact is usually on an emotional or perceptional (subjective) level, nothing - absolutely nothing - is predictable.

The only way to avoid a negative result is to aim for the status quo: A "No risk, No loss" strategy.

That works till someone realises that the sum of all you do is 'zero'. Why wait till you're meat on a hook? Go on, venture out. Be brave. Take calculated risks. Enoy the f-ing ride. Remember the ol' Bon Jovi track, Blaze of Glory. (Heck, I loved the whole album!)

First, overcome these three fears. On second thoughts, don't just overcome them... Tear 'em up, mangle 'em and toss 'em on the same heap of dreary mundaneness and banality you struggled so hard against to get into Advertisng or the whatever other creative line-of-work you're in...

- The fear of breaking a rule that you don't understand or agree with.
- The fear of going against the grain to do something you believe is right.
- The fear of not knowing where you'll reach by following your instincts.

26 May 2012

The road paved with the illusion of good intention

The road we are travelling down currently only appears to be paved with good intentions... I had posted earlier on well-meaning government regulations almost always accomplishing the opposite of what was intended.

This is not just on Wall Street or in the larger economy but in literally every sphere of life. (For example, banning of gold imports to India in the 60s gave rise to smuggling and an powerful criminal underground in the 70s, and then an untouchable politician-criminal nexus in the 80s and 90s.)

Perhaps it's not all down to lack of foresight or ineptitude and its (supposedly) unintended consequences! In most cases - especially with a little knowledge of history - the approximate result of imposing incentives on certain actions and disincentives on others is very well understood.

You see, the role of "regulators" is to regulate. And regulate can mean both "to bring under the ambit of law", and also "to adjust inputs to achieve a desired result". The former is laudable; the latter sinister.

In the video, you'll notice that Bob English (the guest) mentions that "consolidation" is going on at an increasing pace even in traditionally free-wheeling industries like Information Technology. There are mega-duopolies everywhere you look offering nothing more than the illusion of competition. And it is very pronounced in the political sphere in every major nation. Just think of all the hyped-up platitudes about Left vs Right, Liberal vs Conservative, etc.

Perhaps Too Big To Fail (TBTF) is here by design - and they are being primed to get even bigger!

To me, it looks like there is a fork in the road ahead - and it looks like the "intentions" of TBTFs everywhere are about to converge...

21 May 2012

Fighting poverty by forcibly sterilising the poor

According to the website of UK's Department For International Development (DFID), their Top Priorities focus on the poorest people in India's low income states. "UK assistance is benefiting the poorest people in three poor states - Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Orissa".

Apparently, it's also for the larger good of Humanity. A DFID report form 2010 reaffirms "(T)he need to fight climate change as one of the key reasons for pressing ahead with such programmes" ...Arguing that "reducing population numbers would cut greenhouse gases".

The DFID's noble work is not ALL British taxpayer-funded...

And according to Bill Gates himself on the the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation website, they have "invested more than $1 billion in programs to fight disease and poverty in India."

"A lot of India's disease and poverty is concentrated in the poor states in the northern part of the country, including Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, where our foundation—and the UK government—focus a lot of our work."

And according to The Guardian website, "India's supreme court heard (in April 2012) how a surgeon operating (sterilising poor women) in a school building in the Araria district of Bihar in January carried out 53 operations in two hours, assisted by unqualified staff, with no access to running water or equipment to clean the operating equipment. A video shot by activists shows filthy conditions and women lying on the straw-covered ground."

"We will spend £280 million per year in India until 2015," says the DFID. No doubt, to incentivise Surgical Sterilisation Samaritans like the one above!

I'm sure something of this gravity will be covered by incisive investigative reportage - and it'll be all over Primetime TV News in India... But I'm not holding my breath.

15 May 2012

Please read the goddamned body copy

We released the following 'Wanted Ad' yesterday. The agency ended up with a tons of eager and enthusiastic reponses - and a surprisingly large pile of hilarious anecdotes!

On a more serious note, if you are reading this and you get a sudden and inexplicable urge to click, read and apply - or you know someone with a slight masochistic streak, do get in touch. I promise you, this is a great place to challenge yourself. And it's entirely up to your definition of 'challenge' whether you'll like it or not. We can talk about it, if you wish. (The first 'chilled one' is on me.)

(Either way, please read the bl**dy b*dy c*py before you leap.)

Good luck.