Wednesday, 19 February 2014

His Holiness the Pope - My Part in his Downfall*

So, as we've recently learnt, Vincent Nichols learned he was to become a cardinal via the Pope App on his iPad.

But that's nothing - I learnt of the previous Pope's abdication from a bus-stop.

No, seriously.  Outside Euston Station, a video screen on a bus-stop showing the headlines.  And that's how I learnt of Pope Benedict's retirement.

Which leads me to speculate on where else I may get somebody else's message rammed down my throat.   I've thought for years that blacktop would make an excellent advertising medium - particularly a road as dull as, say, the M4.  Just not those bits where you have to jockey for position for the M40 or Heathrow.  But out west you could plaster the road surface with admonitions to drink beer and smoke tabs to your heart's content without causing a problem.

In fact, next time you're out and about check the number of surfaces that an image or text can be played out on.  And I didn't say flat surface.  And that's all before we speculate on media being played straight into your eyeballs.  And, hey, whilst we're on this trip, why not just sit yourself in a bucket of protein fluids and let the ones and zeros stimulate your nerve endings directly.  One day we'll be able to... 

Of course, there's nothing new about advertising - check out any picture of, say, horse drawn traffic fighting their way around Piccadilly Circus c.1900 and you'll see a plethora of tin signs and posters.  The difference now is that we get more than just headlines and soundbites, we get the whole story boiled down.  And our attention span seems to have been adjusted to suit, with any subtlety and subtext driven out until headline and soundbite become the whole story, and the whole story can be fitted on a bus shelter-sized billboard.

I think it proves that advancement isn't necessarily progress.

I've probably taken up too much space already...  

* obviously utterly untrue and unjustified, just a wannabe sub-editor's desire to headline grab...  Count yourself lucky: I did consider 'The Pope Must Buy' as an alternative... 

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