27 July 2006


Dear Unlucky Reader, I have fucked up my knee and am once again sofabound. There will be too much writing, but hopefully not for too long.

Bored on couch, I came across RenGen, which is "an open forum on the rising clout of culture and creativity." I am an optimistic gal. And I want so much to believe the RenGen assertion that "The longstanding belief that we live in a society in decline is a paradigm ready for retirement," and that David Sedaris' ability to fill a room is evidence of our literary future...

...but there doesn't seem to be any content on this website, so I haven't been able to be convinced. While there is the promise of an open forum, there doesn't seem to be one. I see no articles, no names of thinkers, just a hardworking and anonymous "small team of researchers" assembled by an unnamed Overseer Figure who refers to itself in the first person "to investigate the larger implications of the rapid expansion of a creative culture."

What the fuck does that mean? I think it's about marketing.

Can someone go click on the links for me and make sure I didn't miss the portal into the (promised) open forum? The definition of the phrase "cultural consumer" and an explanation of how passive consumers of i-pod books on tape stand as evidence of our pending "rebirth"?

Please? Because if this is a set of marketing tools for shaping that "I think I am smart but I am actually a box of rocks" demographic the way SUV's define the "I think I am rugged and outdoorsy but I am actually a fat, frightened asshole" demographic, then I am going to pull myself off the couch, hobble over to the oven, and stick my head in it.


Blogger chrisjag said...

Start warming up your oven. If their front page isn't vague enough, the "free newsletter" full of ads should be enough to convince you of the scam. Enjoy!

27 July, 2006 22:47  
Blogger Steven LaRose said...

Do you have one of those double ovens? I clicked 9 times into something. It was like wading into an ocean that was only ankle deep, waiting for the drop off, stepping, actually praying, for the drop off. Instead I now know that these are six truths to somebody:

* Creating meaningful customer dialogue
* Building reciprocity that drives sales
* Educating versus selling
* Making the brand experience memorable
* Reaching elite or media-numb audiences
* Connecting the sales force to alliances that convert leads into customers

I'm scared.

28 July, 2006 03:26  
Blogger fisher6000 said...

Maybe Kat will come along and help us understand the marketing...

28 July, 2006 08:08  
Blogger gypsy_kat said...

Y'all are scaring yourselves for no reason.

First, the thing wasn't meant for you.
Second, it isn't fully launched yet.
Third, what they're saying does make sense in the context they're saying it in.

Broadly, in the late 20th century it became a cultural norm to consume, and means for creating were either expensive or esoteric. You couldn't make a movie on your allowance. You certainly couldn't distribute it. You might be able to write, but the chances of anyone but your bestest friend ever would read your badly typed double spaced novel on crap paper was pretty much nil. You could talk with your friends all day about the philosophy of art, if they'd put up with you, but you might never reach the other people in the country who were equally interested but had wholely different takes.
Now that everyone* has access to both the means to produce really amazing stuff, and distribute it to the world, a lot of people are taking an active interest in creating. the kid in notown, anystate with a talent for industrial design can not only educate herself, she can get in contact directly with the industrial design stars of today. she can research and order her materials on the internet. she can take pictures of her work and upload it to her blog. others who are just as passionate will find her blog. those others might be in Holland. Or Japan.
This in turn drives people to be interested in culture because they want to participate rather than consume.

This is very exciting.

The people at RenGen are just marketing people who are trying to sell their take on all this to other marketing people. They've been drinking the branding kool-aid, so they're spouting a lot of catch phrases.

Steven Larose: this is for you!
bullet 1 - pure bs to fill that bullet point. i've seen this one in every marketing pitch i've had to throw together. means nothing!
bullet 2 - see bullet 1.
bullet 3 - actually not a bad thing. some products are genuinely better than others. volvos are safer. couture is better from cut to construction. erbitux will save your life. for these products it's better to educate than sell.
bullet 4 - branding koolaid. ignore
bullet 5 - the elite and media-numb generally have more money, so if you're selling you want to reach them. if you can't get them through media what are you going to do?
bullet 6 - networking.

the scariest thing about the bullet points is that Powerpoint obviously ate the writer's brain.


*everyone being people with reliable and fast internet access. i know some people in africa who can't get regular electricity at home who are doing amazing stuff over the internet. and don't talk to me about how you need money for the means to produce. all you need is the hookup. ;)

29 July, 2006 12:26  
Blogger Lisa Hunter said...

Consumer culture has a way of backfiring. The other day I saw a guy getting into a gas-guzzling Hummer (ugh), and a disgusted passerby called out loudly, "I'm so sorry about your small penis."

29 July, 2006 13:36  
Blogger Steven LaRose said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

30 July, 2006 04:26  
Blogger Steven LaRose said...

Thanks gypsy kat. But, if it wasn't meant for us, how were we to know? How can anyone choose their audience on the internet? And second, why launch something half-ass? Third and finally, the Art of consumption manipulation still scares me.

Lisa, last week I watched a Hummer driver back up to one of the 5 cent bottle return machines that we have in Oregon. They must have recycled over 3 dollars worth of glass. I couldn't get over the hypocrisy, let alone confront the driver.

30 July, 2006 04:28  

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