This was noted Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson’s pithy verdict on Marxism.
And it popped into my mind recently when musing on the continuing rude health of hyperbole and exaggeration in marketing communications.
The internet age, with its transparency and open access to the real state of things was supposed to bring an end to this Phineas T. Barnum style, ushering in in its stead a more grounded form of honest engagement.
But it hasn’t really happened, and perhaps Wilson’s point is the reason why – it’s just not who or how we are.
A balanced presentation of one’s strengths and weaknesses isn’t the proven track to reproductive success.
It’s all just a game of bluff – and one that, despite our occasional protestations, we know deep down we were born to play.
Which might help explain the poster below I saw last week in a club window in Barnsley:
Now looking at it, you might conclude that the guy on the left appears closer to the rhythmic instincts of Gordon Brown than James Brown; and that a fair name for these boys might be something like ‘The Yorkshire Journeymen‘ or ‘The Mediocres‘.
But oh no.
They’re ‘The Fantastics‘.
My instinct was to worry that the moniker is only setting up for inevitable disappointment.
But through the E.O.Wilson lens it makes some sense.
You’re being asked to splash out ten or twenty quid.
So they have to pretend they’re something special.
And you have to pretend you think they might be.
It’s not all that realistic.
But it is probably how we are.
PS. Agency christmas party budgets could be under pressure again this year, so make a note of the number at the bottom, just in case…