26 January, 2006

Unite The Clans!

Branding is popular these days. Once upon a time the only essential use for a brand was for cattlemen and loggers--to signify the rancher to whom the cattle belonged, or the lumberjack who felled the tree. Then came radio, with its soap operas. People began to identify their brand of soap in tandem with their favourite radio play and the rest was history.

We live in a culture whose parameters are identified by brands. Coke or Pepsi, Ford or Chevrolet. There are the brands at war, then there are the brands that give cache. Are you super cool if you have a bottle of red from the Coppola Vineyards? Do you have Jordache jeans? Okay, these are bad examples. I've never been supercool outside the geek world. Where I WAS supercool because of my Commodore 64, my Intellivision and as always, my various flavours of Macintosh.

Brands have become the shorthand by which we try to sniff the pheremones of our fellows and assess their true measure. Isn't it easier to say "conservative Christian" or "bleeding-heart liberal athiest" than to understand what drives a person? To understand that we are all driven by the same wants, needs and fears? Isn't it easier to stake a claim on our side of the street, to say "for me or against me" than to understand that we all cry when we are sad, feel lonely and miss our mothers from time to time?

I assume we all do it. I could be wrong. But I do hope that somewhere, at some point we all realise that our differences make us special, but our sameness makes us human.


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