Thursday, September 15, 2005

"nikes, nokias and nintendos"

Kester Brewin has shared some thoughts and reflections on the role of advertising.

Having shared all too familiar stories of kids who can't afford to pay school trips, but will pay for "Nikes, Nokias and Nintendos", he concludes by stating
in an age where more and more of our field of vision is being chopped up and sold off to space for sale - hoardings, petrol pumps, escalator steps, TV shows, urinals - this constant message of aspiration and tantalisation is making us all poorer.
I agree with what he says, but would not just leave it at that. I would go as far as to say that the role of advertising in our society has reached the point where it is oppressive (it hinders us on our journey of becoming fully human).

Questions which then arise in my mind include....

How can we be liberated from this oppression?
How are we to act in the face of oppression? (Matthew 5 38-41)
How can I as a youth worker provide opportunities to reflect on the world around them, and the impact of advertising on their lives?
How can I facilitate some kind of conscientisation? (Paulo Freire - Pedagogy of the Oppressed)

By now you might have guessed that I've done a bit of thinking about this subject before today. I wrote an article for Perspectives, which was published at the beginning of the summer. As it is still the current issue of the journal I'm not sure whether I'm allowed to post the whole thing on t'internet, (you could always subscribe - it's very good) but if you want to carry on this discussion in the comments, or by email....

1 comment:

Roger Vere Youth Worker said...

Well clearly you've thought about this much more than I have but I'm going to be a traditional blogger and give the "un-thought-through" response, if I may...

Advertising is by nature a very shallow medium. People are easily caught up in responding to the start of a well known phrase from an advert but that doesn't mean that they have fully embraced the product and "all it stands for".

As Christians we need to go for the deep rooted response not get people to repeat our slogans. No matter how great it might feel to get a group of young people all coming forward or, all being able to respond to a great SHOUT or recite Bible passages or chapter and verse. Is that really "written on the heart"?

How do we deal with oppression?
Matthew's Gospel pretty much covers it. We stick to our message and live lives that reflect the Gospel. We become role models that don't change at every new fad.

What can the youth worker do? Well, aside from what I've just said, perhaps (following a new fad, in fact - oh dear!) you could run something along the lines of the Romance Academy but challenge young people to go without TV or without spending on anything but essentials (food, heat light, shelter). I think five months would be too much of a challenge but a month? a week? a DAY? Could be a Lent thing perhaps, if you're happy to follow such a long established tradition! ;oP