Posts Tagged ‘The Gruen Nation’

Brief thoughts

datePosted on 09:03, August 16th, 2010 by Lew

No time for anything substantive, but here are a few thoughts, in no particular order:

  • This ad for the Aussie Greens, made by Republic of Everyone for the ABC’s election campaign showThe Gruen Nation, is political-symbolic advertising done right. George Darroch tipped me off to it and describes it as “a political-emotional cluster bomb”, which is about right. It frames up some current issues in an explicitly normative, socially aspirational fashion by posing a set of questions which essentially answer themselves. It presents these issues — particularly gay marriage and boat people — in a way which permits cross-ideological consensus, opening the door to support from Coalition-supporting classical liberals. It’s so good the party itself wants to run the ad on TV, and I would too.

  • If the Climate Science Coalition wants science decided by the courts, rather than by scientists, then they’re welcome to open that door. It speaks volumes about their relationship to science; as a chap on Morning Report said this morning, neither judges nor lawyers can make this determination; if they have scientific experts who can legitimately challenge the record, let’s see them do so. But I have one proviso: They must be bound by the court’s findings. If the court rules, as I expect them to do, that there’s nothing wrong with the NIWA record, then I expect the CSC to take their lumps with good grace. But I expect instead to hear shrill shrieks about activist judges and political-ideological conspiracies. By the same token, of course, if the courts rule against NIWA then I expect the same, and will want to hear some answers from them. Science welcomes scrutiny.
  • KiwiRail continues to fail horribly, this time citing ‘unexpected complications’. The only thing ‘unexpected’, as far as I can tell, is that they’re advising commuiters of the problems in advance now, rather than days after the fact. Just another reason I’m thrilled to be working from home at the moment.

L

Incidentally: The Gruen Nation

datePosted on 15:34, July 5th, 2010 by Lew

While I’m on the topic of Australian politics, the news that the team behind ABC’s The Gruen Transfer will be producing a series of episodes on the upcoming federal election campaign, during the campaign.

For those who’re not familiar with it, the show is named for Victor Gruen, the architect who designed the now-ubiquitous shopping mall to disorient patrons and sap them of their agency — at which moment the “Gruen transfer” is said to have taken place. It’s a frank weekly look at the nuts and bolts, tricks and traps of advertising, fronted by comedians, tricksters and advertisers themselves and you can watch it on the ABC website.

Of course, the techniques employed to sell soap or soft drink or summer holidays can be and often are equally applied to politics — the howls of those who would rather pretend it were otherwise, that politics is somehow different notwithstanding. So during the campaign is the very best time to air such a look at how the same techniques apply to political marketing. Well done ABC. I’d love to see such a thing here. This is the machinery at the sharp end of democratic consent-manufacture.

(And for interest, here’s a long article about Gruen and mall design from The New Yorker.)

L