We like to think that only the ancient Greeks had gods and goddesses who lived and played on Mount Olympus, but we have then too. In our Pop Culture celebrity is out Mount Olympus, and celebrity has charisma, and charisma sells products. The celebrity of Kaepernick rises because he is now a Niki Rebel, the football player (angel) who dared to disobey public opinion, and the greater the row against him, the greater his celebrity. Corporations are the Zeus who can create our gods.
The fact that Kaepatrik has become the one who willing accepts public stoning for a principle or belief makes the case of total sacrifice, and Niki is making the metaphorical connection of radical belief to a product. The message is Believe in Niki. When you wear Nike you wear the shoes of a rebel who makes the heroic sacrifice of fame, money and career for a cause. Just Do It means Just Buy Niki.
In the Consumer Age, Products becomes sacraments, Products become the means to salvation and heroic individualism, which is our American god, the one who dares to stand alone free from the herd.
Just Do IT! Niki is the Zen of products. Just Do It transcends the worry loop of thought and fear of what people think. Just Do It is the American Way of action, fearless action and trust in your own nature. “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead” is the American Call to action.
Just Do It is a leap into the unknown. Just Do It is also the call to adventure. I was watching the documentary on Being Cool and advertising. The 50s was an age of product conformity. When VW came to town, it advertised itself as being non-conformist, and that launched the 60s where non-conformity became Cool. Just Do It…..is not the commandment of the Conservative. Just Do It is not the advice of the parent.
So we are looking here at several levels in this topic. In our Consumer Culture, forms, products have becomes desirable, thanks to the alchemy of advertising, the means to identity through self image. You don’t have to actually go through the trials and obstacles of the hero’s journey to become a true individual, a mature individual, all you have to do is buy the product that represents heroic action. You wear heroism. You can wear sacrifice and rebellion, and being cool, without having to pay the price.
American Culture is neurotic in that two imperative commandments must be obeyed but can’t because they a contradictory. You must be a unique individual; you must belong to some group, religion, party, gang, family, that gives you the feeling of belong somewhere. You can’t be separate (unique) and not separate at the same time, yet we must.
What to do? How do we obey both commandments simultaneously? You buy a product the is the symbol of being Unique. You join a Unique group. You belong to the Chosen People. In this way you get to keep your cake (being unique) and eat it too (belong to something). The Contradiction in the American psyche creates the tension that is satisfied by buying new products that we don’t really need physically; we need it psychologically. Just Do It!….Just buy the product. You will feel better. The product will give you peace…for awhile.