Advertising creates a hunger, then seeks to feed it. Isn’t that how it works?
The yearning desire for more, which advertising cultivates, is one theme in Hunter author William Lane’s new novel, titled The Word. The book satirises the ways in which we use language to define our lives.
The main character is Kenric, an oddball copywriter who has a gift for language.
When he names a brand, it sells. He has a way with words, so to speak.
He’s an expert at the “smoke and mirrors” of advertising. And he knows that words have magic. He understands the power of words and their capacity to seduce, persuade, deceive, trick, manipulate, harm, help, uplift, empower, inform, enlighten and educate.
But he becomes disillusioned with corporate life and the abuse and misuse of language. He comes to realise that the purpose of words is to reveal and illuminate, not delude or obscure.
He decides to establish a small residential community called The Word in a warehouse in industrial Mount Druitt.
“I hope there’s a laugh on every page. At the same time I hope it long nags the reader,” William said, of the book.
Asked whether he thought words can shape reality, he said: “I think words can shape the self”.
“I’m sure we all remember words spoken to us as children, words that shaped us. Someone says something and you start to cry or laugh, you resolve never to say or do something again. You’ve been changed.”
He’s interested in the motivation behind the use of words.
“Some words and phrases I have recently grown to dislike – ‘clean coal’, ‘going forward’, ‘at a canter’ and so on,” he said.
“But I can’t help loving the potential of words. I’m hooked on the echoes in words, the trail of associations they trigger.”
William said articulate people were “powerful to the extent that they can persuade”.
“I’ve noticed the instant someone says something articulate, a kind of power transfers to them,” he said.
“There is an ethics of language, which begins when we tell children not to lie or exaggerate. But, of course, forces grow that are stronger than any instruction to speak honestly. And no doubt many things are too subtle or complex to say.”
As for his thoughts about the use of words and language in modern-day life and advertising, he said: “It’s all in the novel”.
“Advertising obviously can be used for good – if it spreads knowledge, for example. Yet it’s always presumptuous. It presumes we want things. All our lives, advertising bombards us.
“We let it rob us of stillness, silence, space, freedom from desire. I suppose it’s not advertising in itself that has done this, but ‘modern-day life’, by which I think you mean consumerism. Advertising is just one of consumerism’s handmaidens.”
We ask if he can imagine a life without advertising.
“I imagine it every time I go for a walk in the bush, for instance,” he said.
Thank god for nature, hey – the last refuge from the mad and alluring world of consumerism.
Oh, by the way, The Word is on sale now for the recommended retail price of $29.95. What great value. Buy now, while stocks last.
Does Lionel Richie eat meat? That’s the questions that came to mind when Nelson Bay butcher Steve Barnett turned to the great singer to help promote his love for meat and selling meat.
This followed Topics featuring Newcastle footy player Kelly Benson on Thursday as a finalist in the Hottest Vegan Competition, run by animal rights group PETA.
So what about Lionel? A lot of celebrity types are turning to vegan diets. No doubt, they feel a strong desire to stay healthy after years of living life in the fast lane.
We’re not sure about Lionel, but headline writers will have a field day if Meat Loaf ever turns vegan.
Did you hear about the restaurant on the moon? Great food, no atmosphere.
Why did the coffee file a police report? It got mugged.
What do you call a fake noodle? An impasta.
Want to hear a joke about paper? Nevermind, it’s tearable.