Monday, June 17, 2002

Rob Walker has a piece in Slate discussing the various future advertisements for presently companies and products that exist in Spielberg's Minority Report

Other creative voices, from filmmaker Paul Verhoeven to writer George Saunders, have wickedly satirized advertising and where its voracious ambitions might lead. But here, in a weird way, the familiar product names may in fact be intended to serve almost as reassuring guideposts: Minority Report is set in a version of the future that is disturbing in some ways and entrancing in others, but it seems that whatever wild twists the future may hold, the one thing we can all be sure of is that it will turn out to be a brand-friendly place.

I haven't seen the film yet - it doesn't open in the UK for a couple of weeks - but what is interesting about this is that this isn't new. Another film that was famously set in a future world that contained enormous numbers of advertisements for mainly current day products was Ridley Scott's Blade Runner , the other famous movie to be based on the works of Philip K Dick. It is certainly true that in that movie too the advertisements featured as anchors of familiarity in a fairly alien and hostile environment. Of course, soon after that movie was released, companies that were featured in it started going bankrupt, to such an extent that a Blade Runner curse. has been much discussed since. As to whether this will now happen to The Gap I suppose we will wait and see.

Sunday, June 16, 2002

Well, here in England everyone is ecstatic about the 3-0 win in the World Cup over Denmark. Personally, as an Australian, I don't have anyone to cheer for directly (Australia last qualified for the World Cup in 1974, and their once every four years humuliation in the qualifying tournament generally ends with them skulking out of a stadium containing 120000 wildly cheering Iranians, or similar). The great thing about the world cup in soccer, however, is that there are so many teams who are capable of being competitive. This year we have Senegal, an African team who have never qualified before, defeating defending champions and favourites France in their first game, and now making the last eight teams. They play either Turkey or Japan in the quarter finals. While both of these are good teams, neither are invincible, and so Senegal making the last four is a real possibility. This is great.

When Cameroon made the quarter finals (and took England to extra time in the quarter final) in 1990, quite a few people thought that African football had arrived. The Africans haven't really impressed since, until now, but maybe this is it. Certainly the final 16 teams have quite a bit of diversity this year. We have nine European teams, two South American teams, two North American teams, one African team and two Asian teams. It may be just home team advantage for Japan and South Korea, but the improvement in the South American teams is also impressive. The days of the World Cup just being Europe versus South America may be coming to an end.

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