Written by Matt Berenty and David Bokser, “Love in the Time of Advertising” is “An animated musical love story about a young man who lives inside a billboard and is charged with updating the advertisements. When he falls in love with a beautiful lady living across the highway, he has to use the only method he knows to get his message across – advertising.”
The path towards authenticity is known to imply a few bumps and bruises along the way. How often do we try to be anyone or anything to get what we want… anyone but ourselves. Strategies and cunning may work in the world of advertising. In fact, they seem to do so well that companies are willing to pay around 65 billion dollars a year on TV ads. But do they work when it comes to love?
You see, love and friendship require a different method, a different language. It isn’t something taught (not like in a textbook anyway), nor can it be “achieved” by mere effort alone. And it certainly will never happen when we remain hidden away in our comfort zones, dragging on as we always have.
What the video shows is very interesting in this point. The moment the young lad captures a glimpse of the beautiful young girl, his whole world changes. The encounter with beauty is one that captures the heart while wounding it at the same time, it invites us to step outside of our boring bubbles of self-indulgence and to reach for more.
His first swing is a complete whiff, along with the next 50 that came after. It took him years to figure out that he needs to break things down on the inside to truly be free on the outside. Why did it take so long? Who knows, but the language of advertising is clumsy and blind when it comes to the deeper desires of the human heart. Selling may requiring planning and insisting, but love requires risking and dying. It is the moment when the walls and masks fall and you (the real you), exposed and vulnerable, wave and say high to the other. It’s another logic, another language, it’s a third dimension that the world of glamour and shine will never perceive.
The same dynamic applies to when we do apostolate. Sometimes we too assume the customs of our day. We try to take our place above, looking down to “sell” Christ, sell His Church, sell His teachings. Perhaps some might even buy it. But, if that is all we do, than it is an illusion, a two-dimensional image that lacks depth and vitality. True apostolate requires a face-to-face encounter in which others are able to witness a manner of existence that is qualitatively distinct from that which the world so often portrays. Putting others before ourselves, submitting our day to day to activities to a logic that goes beyond the laws of empirical pragmatism, prostrating our lives so that He may increase and we may decrease… these are the “strategies” of an apostle. That which is most valuable is not to be sold, it is, rather, to be adored.
How does the dynamic of advertisement play out in your relationships? With your friends? With the one you love?
Do you “sell” yourself to others? If so, in what ways? Do you do the same in your apostolate? How can you improve?
Are you able to perceive the difference between that kind of relationship and an authentic one in which you are truly yourself? Can you recall moments in your life when you have taken the risk to truly love? What was it like?
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