Tuesday, April 26, 2005

The thrill of control

Lileks this morning on a familiar and disgusting iteration of Communist Chic: The Friends of the Minneapolis Public Library – a group presumably formed to combat the work of their tireless foes, the Enemies of the Minneapolis Public Library – has a new ad campaign out to hype next year’s opening of the new downtown library. One side of the poster has a big picture of Mao; beneath him, it says, well, MAO. On the other side, a picture of the new library, with the letters MPL, for Minneapolis Public Library. From the Skyway News article on the campaign: “What’s the connection? China sports the world’s third largest economy, while the library claims the nation’s third largest collection of books (per capita.) “It’s a stretch, and a little weird, but it made us look, and that’s the point.” Hmm. I’m curious: how many people do you have to kill, and how many books do you have to destroy, before you’re no longer a benign historical image to be used in a “clever” ad campaign? I'm similarly bothered - idiot student communists with Ché t-shirts, and the like, aside - by the number of people who seem to think it's clever to name a cat "Chairman Meow." Is the lame pun really worth the tacit acceptance and continued normalization of a dictator and murderer? Would you name a pet parrot Ceauşescu, or a goldfish Honecker? Some people are so attached to irony, they can't see the forest for the trees.


Anonymous Brian Tiemann said...

Well, of course, there's the possibility that it's like that story of the old Jewish lady who named her dog Hitler; when asked why she'd do such a thing, she said, "I just liked the idea of ordering Hitler around for a change."

4/26/2005 07:48:00 PM  
Blogger DirtCrashr said...

I think some people mistake irony for an elevated perspective, a sort of refined level of emotive consciousness - when it's really just a brief and rather sophomoric pathway between emotive psychological sets. If they detain themselves there in the IRONIC moment too long, savoring the *deliciousness* of it, they're inclined to get fat-headed, and lost wandering in the museum of their self-fascination.

4/26/2005 07:58:00 PM  

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