Elizabeth Nolan Brown // Blog

media. music. feminism. food. city-dwelling. story-telling. and other things.

This Generational Angst Paid for by Nike

with 2 comments

Yesterday, I linked via twitter to this “manifesto”:

Dear Old People Who Run the World,

My generation would like to break up with you.

Everyday, I see a widening gap in how you and we understand the world — and what we want from it. I think we have irreconcilable differences.

You wanted big, fat, lazy “business.” We want small, responsive, micro-scale commerce.

You turned politics into a dirty word. We want authentic, deep democracy — everywhere.

Some others I know found it similarily irritating, began to retweet, and before long the author, Umair Hague, was calling us all cynics, who just couldn’t or wouldn’t see the, like, utter revolutionariness of his ideas.  So Julian Sanchez did a little digging, and …

Browse over to author Umair Haque’s Havas Media Lab and you’ll find quite a lot more of the same: Breathless announcements that the Past is Behind Us and we can Break the Tired Old Rules to create a future where Rising Tides Lift All Boats, if only we repeat the word “authentic” enough times. Pages upon pages of it, but utterly insubstantial—there’s no there there. It’s easy to make fun of, but why bother?  Well, Havas Media Lab is a spinoff of the global communications firm Havas, the world’s sixth largest (or, if you prefer, “big, fat, laziest”) ad agency. You’ll notice Havas clients like Nike and Wal-Mart occasionally name-checked on lists of good-guy innovators alongside more obviously community-centric businesses like Etsy. So if you notice that Haque’s “manifesto” sounds more like a marketing spiel than any sort of genuine reform program or statement of substantive principles—that’s because it is.


Written by Elizabeth

July 10, 2009 at 10:24 am

Posted in The Best Things

Tagged with , ,

2 Responses

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  1. Very good! You can’t trust anyone anymore, can you? 🙂

    In any event, there’s nothing new in that. I’ve been a fan of “small is beautiful” all my life. The bigger and more centralised corporations, governments, authorities and others become (to “rationalise” and improve efficiency) the less useful, rational and efficient they get. Sadly, the less relevant they are to ordinary people too!


    July 15, 2009 at 12:03 pm

  2. “In any event, there’s nothing new in that. I’ve been a fan of “small is beautiful” all my life.”

    Yeah, that’s what’s so funny about the whole thing. Dude acts like wariness of big government, big business, etc., is some sort of newfangled, revolutionary idea.


    July 16, 2009 at 8:40 am

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