Pop Wisdom (or not)

A pet peeve of mine.

Usually it’s a car commercial, or an insurance commercial. You recognize it: An older sounding man’s very dignified voice comes on, while someone stares thoughtfully into the distance. Blah, blah, blah the voice intones, in quiet, dignified tones. Something like: “Life is complex, and its many problems, all its twists and turns, can cause us to lose track of something fundamental…

It continues on in that grave vein, as the camera slowly zooms in on the pensive face of the distance starer. Or on the car smartly taking a sharp mountain turn. Or on the young mom holding her toddler daughter…

After some more blah blah, the dignified voice delivers what’s supposed to be The Nugget of Wisdom that’s crafted in the hope that when you hear it, you’ll think to yourself, “Wow! That was so wise, I really should buy their product!

The Nugget I heard the other day, at the end of some tedious commercial or other, was: “The most important thing is to be true to yourself.”

** Sigh **

Seriously? What if you’re a jerk? Should you still “be true to yourself?” What if you’re an alcoholic loser? What if you really like recreational drugs, to the detriment of your employment possibilities as well as the safety and well-being of your young children? Should you stillbe true to yourself?” Wasn’t, say, Adolf Hitler really, really true to himself? Was that particularly wise?

How about Charlie Manson? Should he continue to “be true to himself?” Manson is an unrepentant psychotic killer rotting in jail for some really gruesome murders committed back in the 1960’s. Maybe he should, finally, before he dies, stop being true to himself, and try something else. Something like, say: “Be a better person.”

Isn’t “be a better person” better than “be true to yourself?” You know … like a lot better?

I wonder if that would sell any cars. Or insurance.

— xPraetorious


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