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Q & A

Copy Shopping

As a professor of mine told me twenty years ago, “Advertising is the folklore of American childhood.” Indeed, print and TV ads are so much a part of us—their chirpy jingles and inane phrases having colonized our brains—that consciousness today can seem like one long commercial interruption.

Maybe it’s for this reason that we love to hate the messages from our sponsors. Print and TV ads can make an armchair cultural critic out of even the most indolent consumer. We asked a group of artists, writers, and critics to select an ad that had moved or provoked them in recent months and to tell us why.

BARBARA KRUGER (artist) A guy is being pushed into an emergency room. Lots of gorgeous long shots and excruciating close-ups. Lots of ER action, but prettier. The guy’s on the operating table. The ambient din is growing louder and louder. Nurses and doctors are everywhere. Everything has a cold,

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