American Sociopath

20 Aug

Precious little Alex Bogusky. The most dominant adman of the early 21st, the logical Gen-X descendant of Don Draper, has a little crisis of faith going on. In a profile in Fast Company, Bogusky reveals that he wants to atone for the environmental damage he’s caused, directly, and indirectly in his career in advertising. He’s moved from Miami to Boulder, carries a reusable water bottle, and drives a hybrid. Most tellingly, the man who made his name with Burger King’s “Eat some meat, you faggot” decade has become a vegetarian. Fucking adorable, right? Except the article also brings in legions of former subordinates, and even a professional psychologist, who will attest that Bogusky is an honest-to-God sociopath, and Bogusky’s affectless response does little to demonstrate otherwise.

Burger King

Perhaps there wouldn’t be a story here if it weren’t for the fact that his success in advertising was virtually inseparable from his personality. Masculinity in the last decade has been defined by a power vacuum. Many macho icons from the past had already reached the point of parody and/or irrelevance, and the strawman threat of the metrosexual provided a convenient mirror for most male media portrayals of the decade to play against. Bogusky exploited this more skillfully than anyone, turning Burger King into a countercultural symbol of resistance against a vaguely defined threat to an equally vageuly defined sense of masculinity. Look through the defining checkpoints of douchebaggery in the last decade, and Crispin Bogusky + Porter was there. Did I even need to mention Axe Body Spray? Game, set, and match.

His newfound conscience makes no concessions to the fact that every aspect of his current lifestyle, which includes loudly trumpeting his dislike of capitalism, is financed by the tens of millions of dollars (yes, that much: homie was making NBA money) he made doing that which he finds ethically/aesthetically/karmically distasteful. Too many people without $15 million checks to throw around rationalize their participation in systems they find morally unpalatable on the grounds that they have no choice. The fact that Bogusky continued cashing his checks for years while doling out, in his words, “clever capitalist answers” only makes it that much harder for the person who feels financially coerced into doing something they hate to quit.

This is the world you made, Alex. Eat it up.

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