i’m one of those assholes who doesn’t really watch tv* and might casually slip that knowledge into a conversation to try to divert the talk back to books or something else more gay. which means i was pretty late to the game in learning about wieden + kennedy’s “go forth” campaign for levi’s. and i don’t mind saying—it knocked my socks off.
but because i’m a narcissistic american, after i was finished being in awe of this thing, i immediately asked myself: what does it mean that i heart this commercial?
i nearly get chills hearing that dramatic reading—and pairing it with those striking visuals just ups the kickass factor for me. but that may be because (a) i’m an idiot prose writer who can’t understand contemporary poetry and thus romanticizes 19th century verse, (b) i’m an idiot consumer who can’t separate the near mythological origins of levi’s jeans from the fact that 501s are now a fetish property manufactured in mexico**, (c) i’m just an idiot, or (d) all of the above.
i do wonder what whitman would have made of all this if he were alive today. maybe he would feel artistically compromised by having his life’s work co-opted to shift units for a mega-corp. maybe he would think that shit’s small potatoes, and been in awe of globalization. maybe he’d be happy people are still reading his stuff after all the work he put into it (he was reworking leaves of grass almost until his death). or maybe he’d just say “fuck it—it’s a beautiful day outside” and go run & play like those kiddies on the teevee.
* except for old episodes of “the wire,” “west wing,” and other things white people like.
**full disclosure: i am wearing a pear of 527s as i write this. god bless america.