One of my now-and-then reveries is attending a year 4010 seminar in the far-far-future. A learned professor is lecturing with exhibits on what he calls “probably the most strange of all mass delusions of the Age of Oil.” He continues speaking: “In looking for other parallels in ancient history, we have serious difficulties finding any that measure up—unless it is the equally strange custom of the prehistoric Incas who sacrificed humans on top of admirably constructed (for their time) pyramids. In their case, however, and in other instances of human sacrifice, we at least detect a plausibly rational explanation, thus possibly overpopulation. But the amazingly vast expenditures in the Age of Oil on a practice they called Advertising, which was the continuous and most artfully executed display of objects and concepts of all kinds—for no detectable reason—given that these times, due to oil wealth, were already overwhelmed by both, objects and concepts—presents an almost impenetrable mystery to our modern minds.”
The image is courtesy of Macy’s 2010 advertising campaign here.