Having been a copywriter for 8 or so years now, I have accumulated over 30 small, black concepting journals. My system is simple: I concept starting at the front and go to the back. But if I find things or think of things that kind of interest me from a human perspective, I'll either write them, sketch them, or paste them in the back. Going through one of my sketchbooks from 5 years ago, I found part of an interview with the actor John Malkovich that I'd cut out and pasted in.
In it, the questioner had asked why other cultures find profoundly philosophical things much easier to grasp than Americans do. Here is John's reply:
- MALKOVICH: Well, because we're incredibly inarticulate, as a culture. We don't really like language; I think we have a fundamental distrust of it. It probably has something to do with the fact that, to a great extent, ours is a culture of image and we find language pretentious, difficult, time-consuming, and wholly unpleasant. Of course, I'm not describing everyone, but generally, speaking to be articulate, to articulate your ideas clearly, evocatively and fully intelligently, is not thought to be a wise skill to cultivate.
- It's somehow gone over to pretentsion. We don't like pretension. And that's fine. We also speak in shorthand. We use all these sentences that aren't sentences. The only thing I see from the common culture that's articulate is rap. Rappers are articlutate. They have a language, they use the language, they invent the language. And it has color and it has scope and it has vision and it has poetry. I don't know why we like, say, "Still rock my khakis with a cuff and a crease, still not loving police." But we don't like other forms of being articulate. I don't know why. So many people can't even put a recognizable sentence together.