8.26.2007

invasion of the brain snatchers

I've been trying to write about this for days, for weeks, forever. But where to begin? How can I articulate something that permeates my brain so completely, that is always with me, that hounds me so constantly in my daily life?

It's not the US occupation of Iraq. It's not restrictive abortion laws. It's not even the Red Sox.

It's advertising.

It's corporate advertising's near-total takeover of our world.

Many people appear to be inured to it. Some people are adept at blocking it out. But I feel advertising closing in around me, crowding out the world. I am choked by it, suffocated by it. It's a constant, loud buzzing that drowns out even my own thoughts.

On the bus on the way to work this morning, when I looked up from my book, the view was a steady stream of corporate logos and taglines.

As I walked from the bus to work, the entire floor of the Union Station subway stop, and all adjacent walls, were covered in gigantic ads. That is, the main plaza of a public transit hub doubles as a horizontal billboard.

Once at my workplace, I look out the window, and the Toronto skyline is peppered with corporate logos on the tops of office buildings. Urban architecture is now incomplete without a corporate identifier.

As I drive around doing errands, I see the signs of fast-food chains - many of which where I've eaten - and involuntarily, the company's audio logo plays in my mind! I resent this deeply. These sounds have invaded my mind. These companies have snatched my brain and I want it back.

* * * *

On an average day in my home, the highlight of the day is often our nightly ritual: we stop whatever we're doing, we take care of the dogs and make our dinner, we have dinner together, timed to be finished and cleaned up by game time, and then we settle in for a baseball game. Baseball is the highlight of my day and one of the greatest pleasures of my life. And baseball is being ruined by advertising.

It's common in baseball media to complain about the length of games. Baseball does not run on a clock, it has an internal time system, and games have grown much longer over the decades. But are the usual suspects - batters stepping out to adjust their gloves, the time between pitches - to blame? Those times must be a fraction compared to the increased time spent on advertising. The time between innings has gotten longer, and continues to grow.

Well, I say, that's what my remote is for, to hit the mute button between innings. I don't like those ads, but I can avoid them. But what of the advertising during the game? Every pitching change, every stolen base, every home-team home run, every player highlight, every in-game interview - and on and on and on - is "brought to you" by some corporation. Some of the in-game ads are disguised as donations, as if major corporations could not make these paltry, tax-deductible donations without an exchange of air time.

It's not enough that I buy tickets. It's not enough that I turn on my TV every day there's a game. That's what fans do. But to the sponsors, I'm not a fan. I'm a market.

Because of a kind of advertising euphemistically called "naming rights," the names of baseball parks now change on a regular basis. San Francisco's new park has had three names since it opened in 2000. (Perhaps more, I might have missed a name.) Its predecessor, the famed, windswept Candlestick, was renamed twice before its demise. It does no good to point out that Chicago's Wrigley Field was named for the chewing-gum magnate. Wrigley was named for a person, and it has borne that person's name for more than 80 years.

My examples are from baseball, but all popular sports have been infected by corporate advertising. Venerable US college football tournaments are named for junk food, golf tournaments for cars, tennis for telecom companies, and on and on. European footballers wear their sponsorships on their jerseys, auto racers all over their vehicles. Those of us who don't like auto racing used to ridicule those silly cars plastered with dozens of logos. But if you counted up the number of corporate sponsorships during an average baseball game, I'd bet they'd be higher than the number of stickers on a NASCAR racer.

But my examples are from baseball because that's where I feel the encroachment of advertising most acutely. The sport is my refuge, my relaxation, the only time I can truly count on being taken out of my day, out of myself, out of the world around me, and brought into something wholly relaxing and absorbing. But the ever-increasing intrusion of advertising is ruining this singular experience. The ads are pushing out the sport.

* * * *

Of course it's not only sports. The arts couldn't survive without corporate sponsorship, but in the past those donors were content with a mention in the program. Those days are gone, as corporations seize the opportunity on already-broken ground. Broadway shows have above-the-title sponsorship, music and opera halls are named and renamed for their current sponsors, and the trend, we can be sure, will only increase.

If you don't watch sports and you don't attend the arts, perhaps you go to the movies. I almost never see mainstream, commercial movies, but when I do, I'm horrified by the commercials embedded in them. "Product placement" is a euphemism; it's an ad. And commercial movies are often just extended commercials for products anyway. Must every movie have a fast-food tie-in, a game, a mobile phone ad, an automobile "edition"?

Is it any wonder I feel advertising closing in around me, when seemingly every inch of space is sponsored? I remember in New York City, turning over my electronic subway pass and being greeted by a tiny corporate ad. The subway platforms and the subway cars are plastered with ads, of course. Once off the subway, as I walk into Yankee Stadium, there's an ad on the turnstile bar. And in the Stadium itself, it's not enough to line the outfield and stands with ads. That's typical. But fans at Yankee Stadiums are forced to watch commercials between innings at the ballpark. Looking away does no good. The ads are broadcast at ear-splitting volume.

* * * *

About ten years ago, we spent time in Alaska. Roaming the tundra in Denali National Park, wearing our bear bells, I had a revelation. I realized that one of the main reasons I love to visit national parks - one of the reasons I love to be in the woods, even for a few hours - is the absence of advertising. For some people, it's the quiet - the sounds of nature instead of traffic and crowds. I love that, of course, but what I crave is the visual quiet. Without the billboards, the signs, the logos, the jingles, the sponsors - without all that noise - I can relax. I can just be.

That revelation came in 1996. It's gotten so much worse since then.

I know there has always been advertising. I understand the function it serves. I even appreciate that creating advertising is a skill and an art form. Like most people, I sometimes enjoy creative advertising.

I'm not much of an idealist. I'm not dreaming of a world without advertising. My problem is the amount of advertising, the extent to which it now so thoroughly pervades our lives.

* * * *

Often when I complain about something, a reader will tell me his or her personal solution, which boils down to: don't go there. For example, if you're having problems with your cable company, don't get cable TV. But we each like what we like. I almost never see mainstream movies because I have no interest in them. I don't read popular fiction for the same reason. I don't disdain it, I just don't care for it. Like you, I like what I like. Giving up baseball to lessen my exposure to advertising is not an option, any more than living in the woods to avoid billboards is.

And why should any of us give up something we love and enjoy because of corporate intrusion? We are not the problem.

42 comments:

redsock said...

This post brought to you by The Joy of Sox.

L-girl said...

AAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRR
RRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGG
HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
etc...

Seriously, though, this blog and JoS are not "brought to you" by anybody but me and Allan, respectively. I thank Jere for pointing me to the ad-free blog button.

redsock said...

Funny thing is people have been complaining that baseball games are long for 100 years.

They usually lasted 1:20-1:40 then -- and management was trying to figure out ways to speed them up. I never really figured out why.

There were ads on the outfield walls then too, but nothing between innings except the pitcher warming up -- and, of course, no TV.

redsock said...

My favoirte game was played on May 1, 1920.

A 26-inning, 1-1 tie. In 3:50.

The first game of Boston's Friday doubleheader was the usual 9 innings and went 3:47. (On August 18 last year, the Red Sox and Yankees set a record with a 9-inning game lasting 4:45.)

Idealistic Pragmatist said...

You're right. And you're also right that most of us don't even notice it most of the time--we live with it. I had no idea how bad it was until I lived for a while in a place with no advertising at all and then was struck by every example of it when I came back, in a kind of reverse culture shock. Then, a number of years later, I visited a different place with a lot more advertising than we are used to...which, of course, suggested just how bad it could get.

L-girl said...

I visited a different place with a lot more advertising than we are used to

Praytell, where was that...?

Idealistic Pragmatist said...

Praytell, where was that...?

Tokyo.

L-girl said...

Oh yes, of course.

Woti-woti said...

I think your articulation is excellent.
It's all about the branding and 'they' don't even bother at drawing lines anymore. Who would trot out a mentally-challenged kid to sing a national anthem live in front of 36,000 people and millions more on TV, all in the name of yet another charity? Pan the camera over a very embarassed crowd and team of players while the poor, bewildered kid looks like he wants to bolt. And there is no media outcry, because it's for charity, it's all feel-good stuff and it's all about the brand. Nobody dares mention a thin line between compassion and exploitation. That would show that you're not with the program and probably even want the terrorists to win. Somewhere down in that special corner of hell (if you believe in that particular brand) Joseph Goebbels is looking up and smiling wanly. Oh to have been born 60 years later. So many new ways to brainwash the same old idiots.

tim said...

Well said, Laura. I can't really add too much to that. Although I will add one of the most obscene examples of baseball advertising which has been bugging me since the beginning of this season.

The Red Sox Pregame Show.

Simple name, no? Tells you what the program is about. But no, that's not good enough.

The Boston Globe presents The Olympia Sports Pregame Show on NESN.

That's what the show is actually called. And we're forced to listen to Remy/Orsillo/TC/Eck spout out this jumblation of clutter at least a dozen times per night. I've gotta wonder till its called The Boston Globe Presents the Olympia Sports Pregame Show brought to you by your New England Toyota Dealers and Bob's Furniture on NESN, or something obscene like that.

Games are constantly breaking "longest game" records, but as you put it, is it really quality baseball that is breaking these records?

L-girl said...

Thanks for your comments, Woti and Tim.

Nobody dares mention a thin line between compassion and exploitation.

Is that ever true. I have a lot of issues with the "cancer kids" being trotted out for the Jimmy Fund. Yet, in the US, raising that private money for health care is crucial. It's life or death. Which is another can of worms, as we know.

The Boston Globe presents The Olympia Sports Pregame Show on NESN.

That says it all, doesn't it?

tim said...

Furthering the post, not that it needs mention, but one example of how ridiculous it is on the internet.

Here I am looking to read a simple article, which ends up taking up about the same size as one of the nine ads/corporate sponsors on the page the article is listed. I realize that there's web costs to pay for and all, as well as the globe running that site, but for the amount of hits that site gets, most of those ads have gotta be pure profit.

I'm not condemning advertisers, I'm just pretty pissed off at the corporations which are motivated by greed and aren't the least bit shy to listen to an advertising offer from a sponsor (like NESN). When the advertisers are willing to pay, and the networks/corporations are willing to put their shit on the air then it's a win-win for everyone except the target consumer. Did I say consumer, I meant "fan." I must have been thinking like one of these marketing execs.

tim said...

Just noticed that my screenshot there also mentioned that Firefox blocked 2 popups ;-)

L-girl said...

Great screen shot, thanks.

Those circles you drew? That's what we have to draw around our own lives, as much as we can. AD FREE SPACE right here. Try to de-logo ourselves as much as we can.

I'm so discouraged by how many otherwise good bloggers accept advertising. There are other ways to make money, and are you really earning enough to make a difference in your life? Or is it just a little greed?

impudent strumpet said...

I wonder why it's even worth the advertisers' while? If you think about the number of ads you see every day compared with the number that actually make you go out and buy something, the success rate is miniscule.

tim said...

I'm gonna get carpal tunnel writing about all these examples of how shitty it is.

I was watching Baseball Tonight (at least that's what I think the name is...I wouldn't be surprised if it had a couple corporations merged into the name somehow)...Anyway, some commercial comes on, a guy sitting in a restaurant talking about "I watched it with my dad" all sentimental (I think it was Aaron's HR but I left the room...when I came back to the room): "I miss my dad." (or something implying that his dad died)

Voiceover: "This personal baseball moment is brought to you by State Farm Auto Insurance"

Obviously it's not fuckin' personal you greedy swine! (sorry to use harsh language, but I'm upset!)

L-girl said...

If you think about the number of ads you see every day compared with the number that actually make you go out and buy something, the success rate is miniscule.

You know, that's an excellent point.

Yet because of the number of ads we see every day, the advertisers are all competing for our attention, and believe (I think) that they must innundate us in order to be successful.

I read a great magazine article once about how most of the demographic assumptions that marketing is based have been proven statistically false. It was Freakonomics-type stuff (although not actually Freakonomics).

The article's conclusion - backed up by hard numbers - was that the enormous amounts of money spent on ads, especially TV ads, are largely wasted. But the ad and marketing industry perpetuates falsehoods in order to keep it all going.

I have no idea if I can find this story online. I will look.

L-girl said...

I was watching Baseball Tonight

I'm jealous. Would you believe BBTN is the thing I miss most about the US? (There are very few things.)

We can't get ESPN and that's the only reason to watch it. Here's to bootleg satellite, eh.

Voiceover: "This personal baseball moment is brought to you by State Farm Auto Insurance"

I can hear the guy's voice as I read it. Another audio logo in my brain.

You are welcome to rant about ads here any time, in any language you choose. Please use good ergonomics.

tim said...


We can't get ESPN and that's the only reason to watch it. Here's to bootleg satellite, eh.


Pretty much...but I thought that BB2N (Canadian Spelling ;-) ) was featured on TSN or Sportsnet though...ESPNews is a good channel for ticker updates too, but NESN is the real here's to bootleg satellite (or legit satellites with home addresses set up in the Red Sox non-blackout region. heh)

Another thought that just popped into my little brain regarding advertising and sports - the superbowl. I know you guys aren't football fans, but as a football fan myself, that's the absolute biggest farce I've ever seen. Being a fan, the conference championships two weeks before the big game are my big games and highlight of the season. I'm usually too trampled by advertising to even know a fucking thing about any sporting event occurring at the time.

redsock said...

A pet peeve of mine (and Jere's) is baseball bloggers who have ticket brokers ads plastered all over their blogs. Then every so often, they post a rant about how ticket prices at Fenway are so high and the average family can't go to a game without getting a loan because of scalpers.

And they are running commercials for the crooks right on their blogs!!!

There is one Red Sox blog that I will not name that has this sentence at the end of every post:

"This post made possible by TicketLiquidator, your broker for baseball tickets and other cheap tickets."

It is actually part of the blogger's post!! Unbelievable.

There's not a ghost of a chance that I'll go back to that guy's blog again.

teflonjedi said...

Here I am, over in China...the advertising is becoming more prevalent, and not everyone has clued in that companies could be exaggerating their claims. But for me, I can't understand a word of it! So, I'm left wondering, "What are they trying to sell?"

The name, "GM Place", for the arena in which the Canucks play, has always bothered me. I would much rather it were named "Cyclone Taylor". Maybe the Canucks won't win the Cup until the team properly honours the man who last brought the Cup to Vancouver?

tim said...

lmao, i caught that redsock ;-)

ill keep it hush-hush though.

L-girl said...

but I thought that BB2N (Canadian Spelling ;-) ) was featured on TSN or Sportsnet though...

Nope. Nowhere. I can't tell you how much I miss it. I need a baseball-only highlights show. I need to have a glass of wine, a couch and a baseball-only highlights show.

Boo hoo.

L-girl said...

I know you guys aren't football fans, but as a football fan myself, that's the absolute biggest farce I've ever seen. Being a fan, the conference championships two weeks before the big game are my big games and highlight of the season. I'm usually too trampled by advertising to even know a fucking thing about any sporting event occurring at the time.

I've heard this. It sounds horrible. It sounds worse than baseball, if that can be possible.

L-girl said...

There is one Red Sox blog that I will not name that has this sentence at the end of every post:

"This post made possible by TicketLiquidator, your broker for baseball tickets and other cheap tickets."


Wow. That's really out there.

Every right-thinking fan should boycott the blog - and tell the blogger why.

L-girl said...

the advertising is becoming more prevalent, and not everyone has clued in that companies could be exaggerating their claims.

That's interesting. It's like the 1950s - or maybe the 19th Century? - when it comes to ads there. My sister-in-law, who posts here as mkk, showed me ads from her trip to China, that's what it reminded me of.

It's funny how marketers decide who is and is not a sophisticated market. On the NYC subway, the Spanish-language ads are often very old-fashioned and unsophisticated. Like Spanish-speaking people are rubes?

redsock said...

lmao, i caught that redsock ;-)

Re that blog: I did include a clue. I think Tim figured it out.

L-girl said...

Re that blog: I did include a clue. I think Tim figured it out.

Ah-ha! I didn't get it at first, but I just did. Very good.

Tony Myles said...

I've noticed that Toronto does have some rather intriguing advertising. Don't know the name of the street, but there is a large building that has(had?) a mural of two cowboys side by side, staring at a horse together.

Um...

Jere said...

I liked your post, L. And like you, I also did what I'd been talking about doing for a long time, wrote about advertising. (Specifically, what Allan was talking about, with bloggers shilling for ticket agencies.)

I have to say, even though I think about it every day and basically had the thing written in my head, it was you and Allan talking about it that got me off my ass to actually get it out there. Thanks! And I cant wait to read whatever he writes about it at JoS....

What I don't get is how people will advertise for something that's the exact thing that they're against. Is that not the perfect example of how powerful a buck is?

I wonder how long society will go on like this, before some generation says, "you know, we're actually kinda sick of this shit."

Jere said...

Oh, and you're welcome for the ad-free blog thing! I'll never forget discovering that at some other blog and thinking, Hey, that's freakin'...awesome.

L-girl said...

Thanks Jere, I'll be over to read and leave a (time-delayed :) ) comment shortly.

Is that not the perfect example of how powerful a buck is?

Yes indeedy...

I wonder how long society will go on like this, before some generation says, "you know, we're actually kinda sick of this shit."

I fear that people are so accustomed to it - and younger people have nothing to compare it to, don't know it doesn't have to be like this - that there will never be an outcry.

Did you read Woti's related comment on JoS the other day? He wached one of the 1967 games on DVD, and he said he almost cried from the beauty and simplicity of the ad-free game. The old game made him realize how bad the new game has become.

So many people have forgotten that, and so many more people don't know it ever existed. How will they know to rebel?

But that's just my fear. I know there's also a big movement towards simple living, logo-less space, anti-corporate intrusion. Maybe that will grow.

Thanks for your thoughts. I think I will move my ad-free badge to a more prominent place on the sidebar!

teflonjedi said...

That's interesting. It's like the 1950s - or maybe the 19th Century? - when it comes to ads there. My sister-in-law, who posts here as mkk, showed me ads from her trip to China, that's what it reminded me of.

It's funny how marketers decide who is and is not a sophisticated market. On the NYC subway, the Spanish-language ads are often very old-fashioned and unsophisticated. Like Spanish-speaking people are rubes?


Well, the advertisers themselves appear to be pretty sophisticated. Labour is cheap here, and computers are cheap, so we get to see some pretty impressive graphics selling beauty skin creams and shampoo and, uh, cosmetic surgery hospitals, alongside Jackie Chan selling his anti-dandruff shampoo, and the Hong Kong PSAs. I can't understand a word of it, but all women's shampoo ads are somehow the same, language or not. Go figure.

James said...

I'm so discouraged by how many otherwise good bloggers accept advertising. There are other ways to make money, and are you really earning enough to make a difference in your life? Or is it just a little greed?

I'm more familiar with the behind-the-scenes of webcomics than high-volume blogging, but I know that, there, the costs do go up pretty quickly, and the time demands of producing a (good) regular webcomic are pretty high. Most webcomics take at least some advertising dollars, plus t-shirt sales, plus (sometimes) donations.

The "holy grail" for webcomic artists is to be able to work full-time on the comic. Only a few manage to pull down enough income to do this, and what income it is isn't that huge. Most of them actually take a pay cut (plus a huge increase in financial risk) when they do this. But it frees up a lot of time, so they can have the comic strip + a life, rather than work + the comic strip.

So I don't think it's greed. :)

L-girl said...

I'm more familiar with the behind-the-scenes of webcomics than high-volume blogging

That may be a different dynamic. Blogging, however, is free.

We also have to look at how accepting advertising potentially changes what a blogger writes. That's another topic, explored in many places. But it does have an effect, whether or not the blogger admits it or is even aware of it.

Also, perhaps aspiring to make webcomics your full-time means of earning income is unrealistic. Many writers aspire to it, too. Accepting ads on blogs is not, in my not-at-all-humble opinion, the route to writing full-time. You've become a billboard, but are you really being paid to write?

Scott M. said...

Any luck with "This week in Baseball" on Sportsnet? Any good? (Just wondering)

L-girl said...

I received this link by email from MSEH of 2Moms2Canada. Of course you have to "skip this ad" to get to the story.

It never ends.

Thanks, MSEH!

L-girl said...

Any luck with "This week in Baseball" on Sportsnet?

TWIB is a revival of a long-running series from the days before we could all get daily updates of everything. In the past, TWIB was the gold standard of highlight shows.

But because it's a weekly show in the internet era, by definition it is always out of date. So it consists mainly of mini-feature puff pieces.

It's for kids, or for very casual fans, or for people too lazy to change the channel when it comes on.

L-girl said...

The "holy grail" for webcomic artists is to be able to work full-time on the comic. Only a few manage to pull down enough income to do this, and what income it is isn't that huge. Most of them actually take a pay cut (plus a huge increase in financial risk) when they do this. But it frees up a lot of time, so they can have the comic strip + a life, rather than work + the comic strip.

Re-reading this, the idea pisses me off even more.

This has been the story of my entire adult life. I could earn much more money if I didn't write. I could also earn much more money if I didn't write what I want, about things I care about.

Most creative people, at some point, realize that full-time writing or drawing or acting or photographing is not possible, or if it is, that it means a life of material sacrifice (which most people tire of as they age).

Every creative person has to make these choices - how much time will I spend on my art, how much on income-earning, and I can get the two to come together without sacrificing my creative integrity.

Wanting to write or draw full-time is not a reason to accept advertising. But I suppose it makes a convenient excuse.

tim said...

Re that blog: I did include a clue. I think Tim figured it out.

I was actually saying that I "caught" the original post before the ghost reference. Took me a minute to actually figure out the inside reference tho.

Thanks for your thoughts. I think I will move my ad-free badge to a more prominent place on the sidebar!

With skills like that, you could go into advertising!

James said...

That may be a different dynamic. Blogging, however, is free.

So's making a webcomic -- except for the time it consumes.

Also, perhaps aspiring to make webcomics your full-time means of earning income is unrealistic. Many writers aspire to it, too. Accepting ads on blogs is not, in my not-at-all-humble opinion, the route to writing full-time. You've become a billboard, but are you really being paid to write?

Most periodicals are billboards too, for that matter.

In the webcomics case, you may not be getting paid to creating webcomics, but you are getting paid so that you can afford to spend the time creating webcomics rather than working.

Wanting to write or draw full-time is not a reason to accept advertising. But I suppose it makes a convenient excuse.

It's not as if hosting ads is something people secretly want to do, so they cast about for an excuse. If it were a matter of greed, there are less risky ways of accumulating wealth than writing webcomics (a field with thousands of creators, and maybe a dozen who can afford to do it full time).

Unfortunately, donations don't cut it, charging for access just means no-one'll show up, and selling t-shirts means you have to at least advertise your t-shirts, or know one'll know you're selling them.

PvP Online, Something Positive, and Schlock Mercenary are all webcomics I read with creators working on them full-time and who take advertising, but they're all worth the minimal effort it takes to ignore the ads -- which, fortunately, are nowhere near as bad as the ads you see on websites belonging to large corporations with lots of money (like Tim's example).

(I like how Something Positive labels it's banner ad with "Currently Selling Our Soul To:")

I'm just glad that model airplane geeks haven't gotten the idea of subsidizing their hobby with ads; the city'd be full of miniature airplanes flying along the streets pulling signs. Bad enough that we constantly have full-sized helicopters, airplanes, and blimps doing that here.

L-girl said...

Most periodicals are billboards too, for that matter.

Billboards have no other content or purpose other than advertising. Magazines do.

So it's not fair of me to call a blog with an ad a billboard.

But blogs with ads have an issue that magazines don't. There's supposed to be a firm line between ad sales and editorial content. Obviously it's not perfect. Sponsors exert influence over content, which is why no magazine that sells ad can ever be truly independent.

But it's a goal, an ethic - something that's supposed to happen - the separation between ads and content. But... when the creator/editor is also the ad salesman, you're at greater risk for conflict of interest.

Wanting to write or draw full-time is not a reason to accept advertising. But I suppose it makes a convenient excuse.

It's not as if hosting ads is something people secretly want to do, so they cast about for an excuse.


I meant an excuse to have ads on your site. "I have to sell ads on my site because I'm trying to draw full-time and this is a way to afford it."

To me - someone who has always held non-writing jobs in order to write - that rings hollow. Can your really sell enough ads to quit your day job? I doubt it. It's probably just some extra income, you'll have to work anyway.

Unfortunately, donations don't cut it, charging for access just means no-one'll show up, and selling t-shirts means you have to at least advertise your t-shirts, or know one'll know you're selling them.

Absolutely. That's why you need a day-job, because you're in a field that doesn't pay.

You can create graphic novels and other art forms that people will pay for, and you can work for a living. But you can't making a living as webcomic the way the web is currently constituted. So, in my opinion: live with it. Work for a living like most people do, and don't use your art as an excuse to turn your space into commercial territory.

Hey, this is just my opinion. I don't boycott blogs that have ads, that would be ridiculous. I just think it demeans the nature of blogging, and it brings commerce into something that can and should be (again, IMO) ad-free space.

(I like how Something Positive labels it's banner ad with "Currently Selling Our Soul To:")

There's obviously some discomfort with it, then.

I'm just glad that model airplane geeks haven't gotten the idea of subsidizing their hobby with ads; the city'd be full of miniature airplanes flying along the streets pulling signs. Bad enough that we constantly have full-sized helicopters, airplanes, and blimps doing that here.

I know! It's awful to look up into the sky and see the advertising amongst the clouds.

In fact, I meant to include blimps and planes in my post! I forgot. :)