Tuesday, February 6

things that matter

I've been thinking about the rhetoric of money.
Rhetoric: influencing people via symbolic means.

Money: a circulating medium of exchange.

gold. green. silver. dough. lucre. a symbol if ever there was one. and of many things.

Creative Review's sale of one month's issue to a fancy London advertising agency has been a most intriguing link in a chain of ideas about cash flow, how it works, how it changes things. Given the fact that this is a magazine i have never held in my hands and only heard about for the first time in recent months, the incident ought not be so important to me, perhaps. but i've been reading about it, on all the little design blogs i frequent, and the approach has piqued my interest.

Said fancy London agency asks us, "Does the presence of money diminish our creativity?" From what i've seen of the issue's pages, it looks quite artistic. No doubt as shiny and attractive as any other design-focused periodical you'll find in a rack.

Money's just a tool. We pass it around, stick it in our pockets, throw it into little dishes to pile up penny upon penny. As with all tools, it comes with power. And this is where the rhetoric comes in. The right amount of money can make things happen.

How depressing to those without it. Inevitably i think of the little classroom where i teach webdesign to a dozen or so children once a week. If i could donate a hundred few dollars to buy them new software, would i do it? is it that important to me?

The reality of it is, i could. Is whatever i'm saving my money in the bank for more important than the opportunities of these children? Of course i would say so. It is my money, after all. We all have our own agendas.

My dad once borrowed a quarter from me when i was fourteen or so. I remember insisting that he repay me someday, because i had great plans for that quarter. He said to me, "If i took every quarter you have in your pocket you'd still be infinitely ahead," and what with hearing him say the same to various siblings, i will never forget it. Youth, he seems to imply, affords you vastly more opportunities than money ever could. Money is not the only tool. It isn't the best tool.

Does that erase my concerns for the state of education in this silly country of ours? Not entirely... but it explains the basis i hold for my insufferable, apathetic optimism. Things do tend to work out, don't they? Or have I been reading too much happily resolved fiction?

Magazines sell pages and pages to advertisers for money, telemarketers always call during dinner wanting money, the rainforests are being cut down for money, people are making fools of themselves on TV for money, and millions of people go hungry for lack of money, but life does go on, doesn't it?

1 comment:

Chris said...

Yes it does. But for some, crawlingly.