Ads as Soulcatchers

Jason Torchinsky is a guest blogger on Boing Boing. Jason has a book out now, Ad Nauseam: A Survivor's Guide to American Consumer Culture. He lives in Los Angeles, where he is a tinkerer and artist and writes for the Onion News Network. He lives with a common-law wife, five animals, too many old cars, and a shed full of crap.

So my wife Sally saw this ad on her Facebook page:

Now, this is confusing for many reasons. Most obviously, why does that gothed-out hotula want me to advertise my church so badly? I swear, she's looking right at me. When you click the ad, you end up here, which is a part of Truth Advertising, a direct-mail marketing company that specializes in churches.

I'm sure the churches that use this have noble intentions, but there's just something profoundly creepy about it all. The strange meshing of religion and corporate-type business never sits well-- and this works both ways, both when religion is infused with corporate culture or when corporate culture becomes quasi-religious, like some of those Steven Covey 7 Habits of Highly Effective People weirdos I've met.

Plus, and I can't put my finger on exactly what it is, but there's some overdone quality about almost everything that tries to mesh religion and mainstream commercial culture that makes things look just a bit off. Maybe it's too many Photoshop filters. I bet, given a lineup of these ads with their copy blocked out, you could pick out the ones for a church and the ones for a godless business.

Maybe I'll try praying at a Staples for a while and see how it goes.