Ban All Advertising | RSBM

Man ought to be free to make decisions without interference or unsanctioned council. Man ought to be free to choose how he thinks, how he feels and what he consumes. Yet we have in our society a consumer culture that the masses are complicit and content with, and a consumer culture that is especially poisonous to the soul, not just the personal soul but also the collective soul of the nation. I believe whole-heartedly that advertisements, in all forms, should be made illegal. When I have uttered sentiment like this to people in real life the knee jerk response is always “but how would we know when something new was released?” and in that question they admit that they themselves believe that their own utility in society is primarily the continuation of capitalism, for what would happen to the profits of corporations if we didn’t buy their new merchandise? It’s not as if banning advertising would stop the trains running on time (if they did run on time these days), or be some Great Leap Forward tier hatchet through the country that would cause unnecessary chaos. Tell a family member or work colleague that you think that all adverts should be banned and see for yourself how similarly their responses are to the one I’ve highlighted.

We’re all conditioned, some people more than others, and in ways a lot of us can’t even comprehend. If advertising was banned you would see a large burden lifted, a gasp of relief as the noise turned to silence. Of course the internet abyss would still exist through which gore, cultural sewage and pornography seeps out and corrupts those unfortunate enough to be exposed to it. Likewise, the largely parasitic but powerful press would continue to hold hypnotic power over many of us through the dark magic of the television. Regardless, advertising in my mind does more for mass-conditioning than any pundit or ‘porn star’ ever could. Adverts work in very subtle ways to carry and promote ideas behind the explicit goal of encouraging you to buy a product. The way that people are represented and carry themselves on adverts has a profound effect, especially when you consider that on the whole we live very isolated lives when compared to how our grandparents lived (and that’s not even taking into account the way in which lockdown has imposed on us an existence resembling that of a hermit in Plato’s Cave). “Is that normal? It must be, it’s on the television. Am I the one that’s not normal? Everyone else must think that’s normal otherwise it wouldn’t be on the adverts.” Is something that subconsciously rings through people’s minds. Such thoughts ring more strongly and less subconsciously around Christmas time when all the great marketing teams gather together to decide how to represent a season that revolves around the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ in the most dystopian and alien way possible.

It’s not just the ulterior social agendas that make my skin crawl when it comes to adverts though; it’s often the far subtler ways that adverts are designed to get inside your head to keep you thinking about particular products that get to me. The infantilising jingles, the blobby soft-edged cartoons and animations made to be harmless and inviting, the garish colour schemes intentionally made to be imprinted onto your cerebral cortex and stand out within the purring pistons of your mind. In allowing advertising at all we have invented an occupation that competes against itself to race our standards for messaging down to the bottom and play on our most primitive instincts. The issue is obviously exacerbated by modern technology.

I believe that there must be a role for the state to play in enforcing Christian morality and maintaining a cohesive national culture. But despite the current attitude of our political elite, I believe that British society can be reshaped without persistent siren screeches begging you to act a certain way, without the numerous and repetitive signs and slogans plastered over every public space telling you to refrain from consuming something. For example, smoking being banned in public spaces since 2007 has surely done more to discourage the act than all the stupid adverts showing decrepit boomers with cancer, children in the backs of cars being exposed to the menace of second-hand smoke or the condescending pictures of charcoal lungs on the back of cigarette packets. Ironically, the strange hypocrisy of the British state being perfectly content with you doing hard drugs yet aggressively discouraging you from smoking nicotine in any form has made me seriously consider taking up smoking purely out of defiance. To bring it back around to the topic at hand though, what I mean to stress is that we can rid ourselves of advertising whilst still having a strong authoritative state. Anarchy does not ensue if we ban adverts. Libertarians don’t have ecstatic discharges in this hypothetical scenario I’m proposing.

What bothers me the most about adverts is how intrusive they are, they are simply unavoidable. For me they’re psychological itches I cannot escape from. If I walk down a street I have bus stops ready to show me what to buy and how to act, either with static signs or rolling illuminated screens. If I get on a bus from said bus stop, I am needled by adverts all across the ceiling edge showing me as much as the corporate-state machine can cram into my eye line. If my destination is anywhere but a remote village safe from this malicious beast, then I am yet again lambasted with signs, slogans, symbols, audio and visual, inescapable messages ready to suppress whatever independent thoughts and feelings I may come to on what I may wish to buy or how I may wish to act. Imagine how at peace we would all feel if we could go about in public accosted only by sunlight, architecture birdsong. Unfortunately, since the beginning of the modern era when international capital was crowned victorious, we have been denied this. Worse still, we’re not only denied a public space free from mental and spiritual coercion, we’re also denied this even in the privacy of our own homes. Your home, the space which should entirely be your own, your domain to be free and yourself, is invaded by this subversive evil. People, especially older people, love leaving televisions on in the background, hilarious if it wasn’t so creepy they also sincerely enjoy watching adverts. Space is artificially created for adverts to be wedged between the piece of art or culture that they’re consuming (the quality of which is an entirely separate topic of discussion). They don’t seem to mind, in fact they relish in the jingles, the scenes, the slogans. Nothing bothers me more than all of this. I use ad blocks wherever possible, I mute adverts if I’m watching the telly, I even treat them like lesser gorgons and avert my gaze from them.

There is something undignified about the way people who have been conditioned by adverts behave. Like their being has been stripped away and secondarily used as a biological colony of the advert, walking and talking about the adverts they remember, referencing jokes and humming jingles in public spaces. They act like the poor ant that has been hexed by the O. Unilateralis, sprouting their own adverts in front of you with inviting relevance and an innocent ignorance to their own programming. You may think I’m overreacting, but ever since focusing my attention on trying to break away from the advertisement system I’ve noticed it more and more and my rejection of it all has only burned brighter. No one should live like that, no one should have a corporation’s interests artificially stitched into their psyches, it’s sickening and I wish for it all to end as soon as possible.

There was a triggering moment a month or so ago which I continue to think about that spurred me into writing this article. It was a normal Friday, late lunch I believe, I was thinking about the weekend just as anyone who works five days a week does on Friday. Someone from work came up to me and proclaimed “Thank Crunchie It’s Friday” with a grin. Outwardly, I smiled back and responded by sharing the sentiment. Inwardly, I was repulsed. Those fiends at Cadbury came up with an advert 30+ years ago so powerful that people continue to repeat it. Not only that, they’ve glued the appeal of one of their products to the appeal of finding yourself at the end of a working week. Every Friday millions of people will think of a specific confectionary good. Every single Friday. Pure evil, it cuts through to my core, it seems entirely satanic that basic and natural feelings of relief and joy could be so twisted and subverted by the will of capital, exploiting you and your very nature to get more money out of you.

We don’t need adverts. If new businesses open up or corporations come out with new products (whatever those products may be) I am sure word of them will get around. Perhaps people will have more reason to go outside and down the high street if they wish to see if something new is out there to buy. We certainly don’t need any more adverts selling you products that we’re all very aware still exist. No one needs Santa Claus every year to enlighten them of the existence of Coca-Cola®. I don’t really care for the potential consequences for websites being unable to stay afloat without dues given to them by companies wishing to distract you with sidebar nonsense either. We exist in this world to have children and serve God, our purpose here is not to be little nodes to be programmed and sold things. All forms of advertising should be banned and not a moment too soon.

Photo Credit.

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1 Response

  1. Don Briggs says:

    Enforce Christian morality on a nation which has been tolerant of all religions, and been better for it, since Cromwell’s day? Ban all advertising, your writer (a priest without a name?) prays for. Alternatives to the BBC would disappear within a week. Good or bad? Wholly bad, in my view.
    Cinemas (when they could reopen) would shut overnight. And what about the catastrophic damage that banning ads would have on that cement for the community: the local newspaper? Nationals once depended on circulation revenue rather than advertising to make a profit. Not today, they don’t. So, we end up with a nation robbed of independent local and national newspapers, without cinemas, and devoid of alternative TV channels offering all sorts of education and entertainment, as well as less appealing stuff. Living in an authoritarian (bordering on totalitarian) state. Is that really what this gentleman wants, when we can shut off the TV, mute it, or turn our eyes away from irritating adverts? Not a terribly well thought out suggestion. Why, we might even have to ban the church notice board too.

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