LOVE is a new Cirque du Soleil show, still being beta-tested to some extent by audience members who are asked to fill out surveys after the show. It was great to see the show while it was so new and fresh.
I highly recommend LOVE to all Kossacks. I mean, it's weird art, created by French-Canadians, set to counter-cultural sixties music -- what's a liberal not to love? ;-) It was also fun, beautiful, and quite moving, and (perhaps not all that) surprisingly relevant to the political events of today's world.
(If you're intrigued, please follow me over the flip....)
But I would like to share one experience that tangentially ties into this idea of the progressive perspective of business.
Before the show, some of the performers warm up the audience with silly things like stamping our foreheads with LOVE in 1960s-style-lettered red body paint. This means that after the show, we invariably ended up walking around the hotels and casinos, smiling from the good feelings of the show and displaying LOVE on our foreheads. Tourists looked at us with amusement and curiosity, and it was probably just a matter of time until they figured out that we'd just gotten out of the new Cirque du Soleil show.
Had we unwittingly become walking agents of corporate advertising, human billboards? Cirque du Soleil is, after all, a billion-dollar corporation. Or is displaying the word LOVE on our bodies simply an expression of a concept, an emotion, the most significant aspect of humanity, the very thing that can save the world?
Hmm. It's a bit of a Zen koan, is it not? The answer, I would argue, is that the LOVE stamp was both innovative corporate marketing and a personal expression of our own feelings. This is the reality of the world we currently find ourselves in. During the anti-RNC protests in NYC two years ago, I saw someone outside Tiffany & Co. with a sign that read "Justice, not jewels." Although I understood the sentiment, I found the expression irrational and a bit harsh. Why must we choose between life's necessities and its pleasures? Isn't it possible to have both justice and jewels? Bread and roses?
When Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield (of Ben & Jerry's ice cream) were on their book tour, one of them (I forgot which, but I'm guessing it was Ben) said that civilization was first controlled by the church, then by government, and now, for better or worse, by the corporation. The corporation can hire savvy marketing talent to figure out how to inspire its own consumers to advertise its products -- (gleefully, even!) -- but, with conscious leadership, it can also foster artistic expression, choose resources wisely, revitalize economies, and sponsor YearlyKos meals.
I look forward to discussing these ideas and questions -- as well as more pragmatic concerns -- with you at YK07.
(Cross-posted at Street Prophets.)