Saturday, March 5, 2011

Choice

Okay, so this will probably come across as more cynical than anything I’ve talked about in awhile, but, hey, it’s my blog.

[as an unrelated preamble, by the way, today officially ended my life of general manager-ship, and began my “new” life of renewed focus. Yay!]

I have an expositor’s Bible of which I’m very fond. A recurring theme in the Bible, which is pointed out frequently by the expositor, it’s God’s degree of respect for our free will. I mean, it’s pretty much the theme of faith and the Cross – choose to believe, or don’t. Either way, He won’t force you.

Actually, though, I’m not writing right now to really talk about religion in that sense, except to say that, other than life itself, and Jesus Christ, the gift of free will is perhaps our greatest gift from God. And, in my experience, it is one of the most wasted.

Think about it; the public’s inability to make informed decisions is a multi-trillion-bajillion dollar industry; it’s the basis for advertising. People just don’t have the time/money/brain-power to do the research for choosing what they want to buy, so they expect retailers to tell them. I run into this all of the time at the store – rather than be given the choice, for instance, of toppings on a pizza, many folks will simply say “just put something good on there.” Now wait a minute! Isn’t that subjective? What if my concept of “good” were spinach alfredo, anchovies, jalapeños, pineapple, & parmesan cheese? Or how about the ones who ask you to name every freaking topping, only to sigh (because they hate making decisions – choice!) and say, “pepperoni, I guess.” You mean I listed 20-plus topping from memory so you could order a pepperoni pizza? Wow. But you know what? Our most popular specials over the years have been the ones in which we tell the customers exactly what to order. How about a large with the Works for $xx.xx? Or the current promo, a large of our new (this makes them think it’s their idea) Hearty Italian Meats pizza for only $11? Hey, they’re good pizzas – that’s not my point; the point is that those strategies are successful because people prefer these to having to choose what they want!

Consider voting. Leaving the politics and names out, let’s just use some rational thought here. Does it truly make sense to elect someone whose name you only know through movies or television? Governors and a President have been elected this way. Does it make sense to elect someone with almost no experience in public office, nor military, to the highest ranking position in our country? The point is, people vote for who they’re told to vote for. Granted, the “advertisers” are at odds, so folks think they are choosing simply because there may be more than one party or candidate being advertised, but it’s all mindless drivel in the end.

Music? This one has frustrated me long before I cared about economics or politics (not that I really care for them much even now; they’re mostly just infuriating – I digress…). Look, and listen, to who is making the most money in the music business! Repeated samples, washed out chord progressions, etc. etc. etc.! Where’s the talent?

But if asked someone, “hey, would like to hear some ripped off electronic recycled noise for the next four minutes fronted by someone with no talent, who may or may not be attractive?” The answer would probably be an expletive-laden “no.” But any musician will tell you that the bulk of the money in the music industry is going to those very no-talent individuals. So if we value our choice not to listen to “fake music” so much, then who’s listening? Who’s buying?

But if you were to ask these same folks if they wanted their choice taken away, or tell them that the world makes their choices for them, they would argue, and tell you that they are the exceptions.

I could probably extend this rant to include other avenues of stupidity that pervade our “modern” society without stretching, but I went into this with a theme, so I’ll end on it. When you buy something, when you listen to music, support a cause, or spend time in a Flash game on the Web, ask yourself why you’re doing it. Because it’s there, in front of you, in a commercial, endorsed by rich/famous person, on the the nightly news, on the radio, one click away?

And then ask yourself if you’re ignoring God’s greatest gift, or choosing to ignore it.

2 comments:

  1. There is something profoundly spiritual about this, even though you weren't talking specifically about that. But that sort of depends on one's worldview--so in my case, you still were :).
    People don't realize that when Jesus taught that you were either for him or against him, he was factoring in the "indifferent" people, too. People choose to be indifferent. In that way, they have made a choice.
    And I won't divert the conversation any further into the spiritual war propaganda that leads people into these choices. But it has a lot to do with your discussion on marketing.

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