Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Advenheit 451

I just finished Michael Wolff's Fire and Fury. This, despite the efforts of Precedent Shitgibbon and his limp cease and desist order.

I liked the book, but I wanted to like it more.

It was after all a tell-all account of the sordid, mortifying White House adventures we've all been watching for the past year. And given my visceral hatred of this junk food gobbling, clay brained hugger mugger who now pretends to govern the free world, you'd think I would have ripped through the book in one sitting.

But alas, it wasn't the page turner I thought it would be.

I'm not sure that Michael Wolff is to blame however. The chronological recap is just that, a chronological recap. And due to my voracious appetite on anything Shitgibbon-related, I was fairly familiar with all the grime before Mr. Wolff so eloquently restated it.

What was fascinating and where once again my naivete is so glaringly obvious was the internal fighting that went on behind the scenes. The  fiefdoms. The backstabbing. The alliances, both real and manufactured. This is the stuff of gold.

It was eye-opening to read how Bannon, Jarvanka, Priebus and even the Mooch, all stepped on each other to seize more power. Not by being better at what they did or by moving the ball closer to the goal line. By but leaking to the press, arranging back door meetings, and triangulating the forces at their disposal to make the opposition look weak or stupid or both.

This was revealing on more than one level. Because it not only gave context to the shenanigans at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., it explained my position in life and why my career stalled at the many Big Holding Company ad agencies where I had toiled for so many years. And why today, I am working on brand activation events for Dr. Flowgood's Instant Pipe Cleanser.

Look, I'm the first to admit that I was never management material. But that never stopped lesser creatives from ascending the org chart. My issue, and this has become clear in retrospect, was my unwillingness to play the political game. Moreover, it was my inability to see that within the walls of an ad agency, a political game was being played.

I was so squarely focused on the brief and coming up with the next big idea, I never spent a second thinking about my next career move. I always thought (stupidly, I might add) that promotions and more money came as a result of hitting more singles, doubles and occasional home runs.

Never in a million years, or at least the last 44, did it ever occur to me that what went on in the White House goes on every day in ad agencies. And in law firms, and Fortune 500 companies throughout the land.

Merit is officially in Chapter 11.

And this is why we can't have nice things.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Read "48 Laws of Power". It'll explain a lot of the bullshit you find in agencies.