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What is advertising to me?


There are few things I despise more than advertising. You may be thinking: with all the stupid crap going on in our world, you’ve got it out for the adman? I know that advertising is a good thing in theory, but in practice, the way it works right now, the cons are tipping the scale over.

For all of the convenience of getting to learn about new products and services that could improve my life, I don’t need any of them. I could get behind a sanctioned “ad space” on the interwebs or in private spaces, but being bombarded with messages is not helpful.

There are all kinds of studies and statistics about the number of ads the average person encounters in a day. We encounter so much writing and communication that most of it literally falls into the part of brain processing that gets ignored on purpose. It’s like seeing clouds, trees, or grass. Think of any and all signage. You’re at the airport, you could read the checkpoint security poster advisements, but you don’t. At a store, you could read about every sale and sticker item, but you don’t (unless you were about to buy the thing anyway). You probably leave internet commercials on mute until the ad gives way to the content you clicked on. A coworker complained to me once that we (customer service people generally) have to do so much handholding because people don’t read anything anymore. Of course they don’t. Something like 90% of information they encounter is designed to take their money. Blinders to this aren’t stupidity, they’re a defense mechanism.

This creates (at least) two problems: we become desensitized to information, and our values are likely to shift, even if subconsciously.

Every ad person knows that they need to be both creative and simplistic. It’s a tightrope. The message must be engaging but also has to punch through a three-second attention span. It has to disarm the defense mechanism. Altering spelling, using slang, and asserting fashion/trends typically drive this. As a graduate with English Rulz taped to the back of my gown, I have a sense of humor about this. John McWhorter’s Words on the Move is a great read. I get it. But there’s something entirely insincere about language change being driven by sales. The industry would race itself off a cliff if that’s where it sees the receipt tape. The cultural ramifications fall on us, as do the divisions and miscommunications caused by those changes.


I think that we, as a culture, speak loudly about our values to our children through advertising. We are prompted to buy junk food and marginally helpful technology dozens of times a day. We rarely encounter messages meant for our wellbeing unless they also take our money. We are seldom told that we are loved and necessary. Or if we do hear it, it’s by the same family member who says it so often that, like an ad, our brain stops hearing it. Helplessness and despair creep up on me regularly when I hear about all the stupid world stuff that’s worse than advertising. Then I look around, and I see the money game at every turn. I also see how happy everyone is in all the ads, which is, of course, designed to nudge me into purchasing that feeling, and that makes the creep even worse.


I have a strong family, kind and caring friends. I still feel overwhelmed sometimes. I’m afraid for the people who aren’t as lucky as me. If we’re good people, and we care about others, we have to put our money where our mouth is. Ads just put our money where our money is.


With that sentiment, I will never have ads on this site. Having to pay a monthly fee for something that generates zero revenue was the primary barrier to entry for making this website. I’m not the kind of person who’s comfortable asking for most things, especially money—I purposely sabotaged this ask by hiding it behind the word advertising. I’m assuming that pretty much no one will click on it. Defense mechanism. Except maybe the creepers who also clicked on the follow me icons in the footer (Stop it!). If you should read something that inspires you on this site, or that you find yourself thinking about a day or two later, consider dropping a donation to yours truly. You can’t write it off your taxes or anything, but that’s what makes it a particularly nice gesture on your part. Cheers.

This is NOT advertising


These are links to things I like. I receive nothing from having them here. You're welcome. words are pretty cool; where are they from? an amazing tool for people who want to build their own website. with a special thanks to Mariia_fr for the fancy border pieces. the creative writing site of an old UMN buddy. the artistic brilliance of Jessica & Dan. Illustration, design, and screen printing. there aren't enough kind words for what The Loft does for writers. if you're into RPGs and you need the campaign world organized, use this. if you don't love old maps, then you must be the other kind of nerd. a big thanks for allowing this site to be more than words. all original Minneapolis theater that's ensemble created and always something new. All of Kevin Crawford's wonderful RPGs, including Stars Without Number. learn to write those RPGs. please let Derek take your hand and guide you to the nerd you want to be. my other favorite theatre group, enjoy.

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