“Dumb it down, Burn!”
I haven’t heard these words in a while, but I used to hear them regularly. Chances are you’ve heard them to, in all the various forms such defeatism takes.
In the foreword to George Parker’s new book, The Ubiquitous Persuaders, Jeff Goodby shares his thoughts on the practice.
Dumbing down is treating people like less intelligent sheep to be manipulated. It presumes they won’t notice ham-fisted logic, irritating repetition, or the vulgar appropriation of culture and symbols dear to them. It blithely assumes that they don’t know the difference between funny enough and truly funny, between beautiful enough and truly beautiful.
George relishes the public flaying of the dumbing down forces. He has taken up a pike herein and is climbing over the crowd to finish the job. He knows that advertising may be a business that now turns out only one per cent goodness, but that letting the world devolve into dreary mercantilism and mere information gathering would be a sad fate for all of us. Because when advertising is done right, it changes commerce into magic, humor, even delight.
Stay tuned…I’m working on another post about the book and its author.