Editorial: Fear & Loathing

 

It used to be so simple. 


No matter what tangible object or service you were trying to sell the consuming public, what you were really selling was freedom.  Frozen lumps of processed potatoes?  Freedom from the tyranny of the oven.  Blue jeans? Freedom from all those squares that don’t want you expressing yourself.  Portable televisions and music players?  The freedom to engage in these formerly housebound leisure pursuits when and wherever you please. 
 
Somewhat ironically, the same sense of self-actualized liberation, the sense that there was something more out there, ready to be discovered, than what the status quo had to offer spurred on the explicitly anti-consumerist countercultures that were born and nurtured to mainstream prominence in America. 
 
Just to add another layer of intrigue, the counterculture image could be folded back into the marketing world.  If you made the right purchasing decisions, you too could be more like those renegades and rebels who dropped out of society to pursue their own maverick vision. 
 
It all goes back to the American founding myth, that there is always something else out there, some untamed wilderness, just ripe for the picking by the people with the guts and the pioneer spirit to just go after it.
 
In the post-everything, Internet age, geographical distance and cultural arcana have been rendered meaningless; there are precious few, if any, genies left in their respective bottles. 
 
So what is the contemporary, intrepid explorer to do?  Digitize, obviously.  Everything is still there for the taking in the information age, you just have to dig under the surface a little bit. All those things that are cultural references now, are also their own works of art, and each one is a rabbit hole to a new dimension.  Leave the road maps and the thermos at home.  Where you’re going, you don’t need roads.   
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