There’s an interesting discussion going on at Chris Carfi’s blog provoked by his post, Lie la Lie. The reference to The Boxer by Simon and Garfunkel is made more relevant by the sprited fight that follows in the comments.

Chris challenges the underlying principles he sees in Seth Godin’s All Marketers are Liars (briefly citing my earlier post about the book). Seth comments back pithily as do a few others.

I see wisdom on both sides here. I also felt uncomfortable that Seth’s book may seem like a licence for manipulation and support mindless consumption. Equally, I think he raises good questions on what we think the truth is; he may not answer those questions but then I’m not sure anyone can. Seth is good at provoking debate, which I like. Christopher is good at demanding depth and conscience in marketing, which I also like.

Some of it is really good – including some nice reincorporation of Simon and Garfunkel lyrics by Ed Brenegar. Reading some of the other comments feels a bit like watching lawyers nitpicking, with forensic examination of quotations leading to a game of NIGYYSOB (from Transactional Analysis: Now I’ve Got You, You Son of a Bitch). Overall it’s much the best debate about the book I’ve seen.

Chris is arguing for authenticity and I like that. I’ve written a lot about it myself, though not so much lately – because it’s so hard to define and because it’s easy to end up sounding pious. Thank God for Doc Searls‘ endorsement of blogging as open-ended as I’m not feeling able to reach any rousing conclusion to this post.


3 thoughts on “Boxing

  1. Aleah

    Good post. I actually argued the trend (which I see on the horizon) to pull away from “reality” or authenticity in today’s post. I think people are tired of reality and are ready for some ignorant bliss…

  2. Rob


    What I took from the book is that Seth was saying that perception is reality, and I think modern neuroscience will back him up. For instance, in the example about the wine glasses that supposedly make wine taste better, my guess is that if you did a brainscan of people drinking from one, their brain areas that are active would probably indicate that they really believed it tasted better out of the special glass. If you flip that around and blindfold them and don’t tell them what the test is about, the brain will probably not be able to distinguish between the two. In a sense, that’s a lie, but the lie becomes the truth.


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