Week 5 – The Destruction that Advertising Causes in Language: When Poems are Lost

We have been using some concepts and words less. We recall them less, and if we call their function and place in daily life “an honourable recession”, they go away rapidly, which should make us fear of losing our objectivity.

This is a linguistic problem from one aspect and consequently a problem related with life. What poets cannot realize is that our language is contracting and getting sick. This is why, poetry is impossible now.

This is an incurable disease. Because it is an illness that infects language, it naturally infects life and also customs, traditions, salutations or shopping culture, daily language and consequently literature.

Advertisements are not the real cause of this disease, but they are the cause of its emergence and  the carrier because advertisements are produced by consumption culture, which is the centre where the disease pullulates.

In none of the advertisements, we are advised to act in solidarity and share. It is advised that we cooperate with their bank, the company selling water or cars, or that they cooperate with us. The question whether cooperation and sharing isolated from only advertisements or also from life and language does not provide us with a valuable answer. The essential point here is that these values have vanished in all of them.

Advertisements are not abstract short films, graphic designs or texts. They are the manifestos that explain how the owners of the world want to shape the present and the future. Advertisements are significant works through which we are informed, announced, introduced to, make love and accept how the economic, political and cultural systems of the future will be like. This is why; they are read, pronounced and shown more frequently than the declarations of military coup governments. They have the most talented teams of the world to have these ads made. The ones who get ads made are also the ones who construct airports, have factories, rule countries, manage sports clubs, and determine the interest rates and currencies. The ones who determine our lives and ads are the same people. If they do not want us to cooperate and share, we cannot do it, and these deeds vanish in life.

What distinguishes man from other animals is that he could stand still on his feet and discovered fire. To me, speaking and playing games are even more distinguishing features of man. If fire had not been discovered, today there could remain less people who can play games, make jokes, and write poems. However, if he had been satisfied with the discovery of fire only, that man would be far different from the one that exists today; he would be the one that ads imagine for and try to construct in the next century.

Utterances are sacred. Speech does not fly away. Neither does script.

Speaking is sacred (except for the ones who speak in paparazzi shows, weather forecasts, matches and advertisements.)

Maybe this is the reason why all teachings, religions, far eastern and western philosophies advise speaking less, or using language economically.

By the help of ads, speaking has become a commodity sold and bought. After the invention of cell phones, the message given by the ads is totally contradictory to the everlasting teachings of the world: speak more and more, and more…

We remember the meanings of the words “cooperation” and “sharing”, but we have forgotten what they really constitute to in real life. In the past, we used to give our belongings that we did not need any more to the ones who could not afford to buy them. We have forgotten this, too after the emergence of the campaigns that tell consumers they could bring in the old ones and change them with new ones with more reasonable prices. Words have been spoiled. When we hear the word “freedom” we remember a cell phone and a ‘free’ girl; in the past we used to recall different things. Words have been spoiled and polluted, but televisions repetitively say being polluted is good: “getting dirty is good.”

We have also forgotten to speak; someone should tell us to speak. The ones who tell us what we should wear, eat, which car we should drive to which place for holiday should also tell us what we should speak about so that we could speak as much as we could. In fact, we should speak more and more, and even so much more that we could run out of credits. The words are empty and meaningless, and spoiled anyway.

After the ‘free’ girl, no poet will ever use the word ‘free’ once again.

The ads that turn women into a creature living with a phallic symbol in their mouths diminished the sacredness of utterances. Literary area has also become a constantly marketed commodity.

The big lie that says everybody is unique and important has made modern man so identical. According to research, youth between the ages of 11 and 19 has never been so alike in history; they eat the same hamburgers, wear the same jeans, and drink the same coke.

Anyway, the ads could have decided to use women as a pornographic figure or collect all old fridges. “Freedom” could have been equated with a telecommunication company and a girl wandering around places she has never been before, “ideal” could have been identified with a credit card, and poetry could have become impossible. Nevertheless, could life go on without poems?

Is it possible to do something human and related to human on earth without İlhan Berk? Please imagine, think about the definition of life. Think about the life where the ones, who carry knives and blades, seek justice with bombs and guns, rule our daily life that has already turned lynches into common daily events. Think about the sound and picture bombardment that constantly disturb us. This is our daily life, the picture of the postmodern life. This is the remains of life when İlhan Berk and poetry are subtracted from the total. This is all we have. In this process, the possibility that there could be the role of “pack shots” discussed in the air-conditioned halls of tall buildings should be considered. We have to find the one who killed poetry, cooperation and sharing. When you kill poetry, you have to redefine all areas of life; home and street, city and homeland.

Streets used to be the places where we embraced each other, chatted and played games; now they have transformed into the objects of fear, says Mücella Yapıcı; an area that we avoid looking at and an area from which we escape and run to our places without glancing at each other. This is not because we are adults now; our children have grown up without really being children in the real sense. The houses to which we run from streets, Dobermans, security lights will not protect us as they did not protect London, Madrid, New York. Dogs did not protect us when we were children playing in the streets until midnight. Now the ‘free’ girl’s cell phones we put in our children’s pockets with loud orders to speak more and more will not protect them, either. It was poetry that protected us; İlhan Berk, Nazım Hikmet and John Lennon were protecting us. The sacredness of utterances, cooperation and sharing were protecting us.

We have to search and find the reasons why we have turned into a group of Atherina fish with no memory. It is not only the poultry that are spoiled, or the wetland and forests are corroded. There are similar defects in the human and ethical areas. We have to search for the reasons during this process when the tools that help us think, make decisions and be humans are taken away from us. We have to recall cooperation and sharing because man cannot exist without poetry.

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