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  • Bob Hoffman

THE VIEW FROM NOWHERE

I am often criticized by those who don’t agree with my incautious opinions about the direction of our industry. That’s fine. After a while, I don’t agree with some of the things I write myself.

But there is one line of criticism that I find truly annoying. It is the idea that I am an old “traditional” ad guy and therefore I don’t “get it.” The essence of the argument is that my views are tainted by my age and history.

My views are certainly influenced by my history. Anyone who is not influenced by experience is an idiot. That is different, however, from being tainted.

What these critics don’t seem to understand is that there is no “view from nowhere.” Everyone’s opinions are shaped by their circumstances — digital zealots no less than old traditional ad people. Their criticism implies that the only valid opinions are those of people who are a blank slate. It assumes that there are people who appeared on earth immaculately (okay, maybe there was one) and whose opinions are free of history and experience. It is not the basis for serious debate. However, it is the only line of debate for people who can’t argue on merit.

Since there is no view from nowhere, perhaps the people whose opinions we should value most are those with a “view from everywhere” -- those who have seen it all, done it all, and are in a position to provide a comprehensive narrative.


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