By Joe Ribton
Adj. The frustration of not being able to remember a certain word or phrase.
The squiggly red line under this word is really triggering the very mild OCD that I’ve recently self-diagnosed. Shame that the OCD won’t stretch to include things like cleaning my room or organising all those co-op loan papers, or so my mum despairs.
I read a fair amount, and have always enjoyed the flowery and abundant over-usage of top-shelf vocab. In theory I should be good at remembering commonplace words, but a certain few keep tripping me up (the OCD also didn’t cover tackling the reading list in the right order, maybe I should give this memory book a go?). It is an odd feeling, knowing which words you will inevitably forget when you are in the moment. I can never remember the word ‘controversial’, which is ironic given my pacifist tendencies.
Should I be more controversial?
If mainstream media is anything to go by then we are led to believe that the more outspoken controversial opinions you possess, the more time we grant you in the spotlight. And isn’t there a solar plexus to controversy, from which some of the most successful advertising is born? I am careful in my word choice here, because we live in an age where success in advertising can be achieved with atrociously ignorant and underhandedly controversial work. Take Pepsi, for instance, with the ‘Kendall Jenner cures racism with soft drink’ campaign or whatever massive reach they were attempting to execute. We do, unfortunately, live in an age where fucking up on that scale gets you massive exposure. What you lose in public relations, you gain in inevitable sales and increased stock price – as PepsiCo did.
Despite being a nice boy, I like to argue – but only about unsolvable things – such as what happened to Leona Lewis? Will Brexit take away our trees? And who did let the dogs out? I’m not going to kill you with kindness, and I’m equally not about to help KFC do another advert with a chicken dancing to its grave to the tune of DMX’s ‘X gon’ give it to ya’, thriving in the middle ground is my aim.
I adore HHCL, and think their early work is a prime example of someone knocking the idea of controversy for six. They were weird, experimentational, and they didn’t care one iota – but, crucially, they weren’t ignorant of how the public would receive their work. Sure, they toed the line more than once, but that’s the game you play when you deal in cheekiness, taboo subjects and fat men painted orange.
We can all be those typical art students who float around doing the good names of veganism, neo-communism and egalitarian feminism a disservice, spouting opinions faster and looser than Kanye West on cocaine in front of the bathroom mirror or some other oil portrait/ gilded bust of himself. We have to try harder if we are to hit that sweet spot, like Kieran Trippier in the 4th minute of the semi-final.
If anything is to come of this SCAB let it be that I hereby promise that I will never settle for stupidity, but always go on search of that sweet spot.