Excellent Research, Indeed
Increasing numbers of young people, and in increasingly sophisticated and enveloping ways, and as a result of the education (read: indoctrination) they receive, the example set by their elders, and the structure of the adult society they will soon enter, are choosing the manipulation of others as their means of survival (as opposed to the manipulation of physical matter). Such a “career choice”, however, does not provide for authentic self-esteem and genuine happiness. No matter how much prestige or “fun” or material wealth they may have already achieved, they remain unhappy. No matter how much more they plan to acquire in their adult lives, they remain aware that they will never be happy.
This commercial is expected to have wide appeal precisely because it allows this sort of young person a respite from that secret unhappiness. It allows him to “get out in front of it” by comparing his actual self and his actual deeds to the person and deeds portrayed in the ad. Because the culture has not degraded quite so much that obvious, crude manipulation of this sort can work (and thus is not attempted), the receptive viewer of this ad is able to conclude: “that is what a manipulator looks like, and that is what a manipulator does.” This, of course, allows him a moment’s relief from his own uneasiness through the unspoken conclusion “I don’t do that, I must not be a manipulator.”
Such a young person may gain sway over his peers, access to opportunities and/or physical wealth precisely because he is skilled at making something as trivial as the direction of one’s shoe laces into a referendum on a person’s soul (and many today do just that) – and he may dream of one day being able to take that knack for exploiting the pretentions and insecurities of his authentically knowledgable and productive betters into the “big time” of politics or the arts or the media – but it’s ironic that the only type of person this ad – which was made by grown-up versions of that type of person – will work on is precisely the type of person who is supposed to see cynically through it.