From Mad Men To Insane Men

“Facebook is where we go to socialize by ourselves.” – Mr. Digital

The mad men of yesteryear set realistic client expectations and knew precisely when to put a pistol to the client’s head and read him the riot act.  Today, however, things are completely inverted.  Today, the client puts the gun to the agency’s head, and asks only two questions: “Can you handle my volume? How much faster can you drop your pants the next time we talk?”

There are no mad men today.  Only insane men. 

A full generation along in the digital era and –- despite all evidence to the contrary –- the insane men (and women) of the 21st-century agency world still believe in the relevancy of a work product that no one wants and everyone is equipped to avoid.  Lewis Carroll would feel right at home.  Or walk out in dismay.

Of course, the Insane Man complex extends far beyond the advertising industry.  The exact same talking-head blowhards who failed to see or warn anyone about the pending market crash of 2008 are still hard at work 24/7 in a cable news world whose only real reason for existing is to create a perpetually polarized market for perpetual campaign ad dollars to fill.



Meantime, the scoundrels on Wall Street, the scoundrels in Congress and the scoundrels on K Street are all the same scoundrels at different stages of their careers.  Every one of them has been bought and sold a thousand times over. Every one of them is far too compromised to do anything except perpetuate and promote the status quo.

Clearly, the inmates are running the asylum (and everything else) in a scene straight out of the “King of Hearts." We sleep in Procrustean beds of our own design and stretch or truncate the truth to fit the warped realities of a digital world.  Then we wake up exhausted and wonder why we’re all chronically sleep-deprived. 

Apparently, a good night’s sleep isn’t compatible with our digital lifestyles -- at least not without the benefit of some powerful pharmaceuticals, licit or illicit.

I’m reminded of the final words uttered by Sir Alec Guinness as he overlooks the ruins of the bridge he helped build on the shaky timbers of his own false pride in “Bridge Over the River Kwai." “Madness,” he says. “Madness,” he repeats.

He might as well be commenting on the recent Sun Valley Media Summit  -- the annual AllenCo confab where the media moguls of the world collude and conspire in broad daylight. It's where the media and entertainment trades pay yearly homage and tribute to their own fearless leaders.

From mad men to insane men in a digital minute.

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