I read this and am reminded of the soulless quality that shined through the TV series Mad Men so brilliantly. And I am reminded of the billionaire-funded attack ads in the presidential election just past that did not work! We are waking up together, moving beneath the scrim of advertising and propaganda and brainwashing into our hearts.
Now that I think about, I’d say that this is the way Mercury Retrograde is working during these three weeks. A much more evolved way of working than I, who had predicted chaos and confusion, expected. Usually, the way a planet works in the collective is that it drifts to the lowest common denominator. But this time, it seems as if that low has risen to a new height, and we are all the beneficiaries of our increasing collective capacity to detect bullshit and injustice when we see it.
It will not make happy reading for the many people who knew Redding, know of his work, or anyone who works in the creative department of an ad agency.
In sum, Redding, wrote, life as a creative isn’t worth it. “It turns out I didn’t actually like my old life nearly as much as I thought I did,” he wrote, after he was diagnosed.
- UPDATE: Read about the moment Redding was told he would die.
The screed addresses the existential problem at the center of anyone’s career in advertising: Can you marry art and commerce and be fulfilled as a human being?
Redding concludes the answer is no. His story could apply to anyone’s job, in any industry. It’s sobering stuff. Here’s an excerpt of the most brutal bits (you can read the full essay here.) And here’s the thing.
It turns out I didn’t actually like my old life nearly as much as I thought I did. I know this now because I occasionally catch up with my old colleagues and work-mates. They fall over each other to enthusiastically show me the latest project they’re working on. Ask my opinion. Proudly show off their technical prowess (which is not inconsiderable.) I find myself glazing over but politely listen as they brag about who’s had the least sleep and the most takeaway food. “I haven’t seen my wife since January, I can’t feel my legs any more and I think I have scurvy but another three weeks and we’ll be done. It’s got to be done by then The client’s going on holiday. What do I think?”
What do I think?
I think you’re all fucking mad. Deranged. So disengaged from reality it’s not even funny. It’s a fucking TV commercial. Nobody gives a shit.
This has come as quite a shock I can tell you. I think, I’ve come to the conclusion that the whole thing was a bit of a con. A scam. An elaborate hoax.
Countless late nights and weekends, holidays, birthdays, school recitals and anniversary dinners were willingly sacrificed at the altar of some intangible but infinitely worthy higher cause. It would all be worth it in the long run…
This was the con. Convincing myself that there was nowhere I’d rather be was just a coping mechanism. I can see that now. It wasn’t really important. Or of any consequence at all really. How could it be. We were just shifting product. Our product, and the clients. Just meeting the quota. Feeding the beast as I called it on my more cynical days.
So was it worth it?
Well of course not. It turns out it was just advertising. There was no higher calling.