“Go do something good”

“Go do something good”

There were three impetuses for this post. Three things, any one of which could have done it, but all of which, working together, made it both more likely and, I suspect, better.

First, I started listening to The Good Place: The Podcast (TGPTP) again. (A podcast about the brilliant Netflix sit-com The Good Place).

Second, Apple released an advert for their new iPad Pro. It was bad. Really, really bad.

Third, one of my old blog posts popped up in my Facebook memories.

Events one and three bookended event two, and put it into context.

At the end of each episode of TGPTP, the host, Marc Evan Jackson, asks his guests “What’s good?” They have been discussing this hit TV show in whose success they each played a part – he speaks to actors, episode directors, writers, producers, special effects team members, the creator of the show, and many more. The Good Place is a comedy series about what it means to be good and to live a good life. So at the end, Jackson wants to find out what each of his guests sees in the world that is good. They mention charities, toddlers, the man who saved the rabbit from the forest fire, favourite restaurants, people they admire…and much more. It’s a delightful way to end what was already a delightful and positive chat – thinking about things that are “honourable…, lovely…, commendable… and worthy of praise”, as Paul commands us in Philippians 4. Excellent.

The old blog post was about the pre-Raphaelites. In it I quoted the blurb for a documentary about them, which had stated that they were so outraged and disgusted by the social injustices they saw being caused or amplified by the industrial revolution that they responded by creating artworks of incredible beauty. “They didn’t burn down factories or picket brothels,” I wrote. “They didn’t send petitions to their MPs or urge everyone they met to boycott mass-produced goods. They looked at the culture around them, saw what was wrong with it, and set about creating something better.”

(There’s also a brilliant story about Betsie ten Boom in the post, if you want to be inspired by how to create something beautiful when you’re not a talented painter.)

And so to the iPad advert.

For those who haven’t seen it, it advertises the thinnest iPad yet, attempting to show that it still has all the creative tools it ever did, just squeezed into a thinner package. So far so good. However, it chooses to do this by arranging a collection of these physical tools – a computer arcade game, an artist’s mannequin, tins of paint, a camera, a piano – then slowly crushing them with a giant, grey hydraulic press.

I only saw the ad because a friend reposted it on [the social media platform formerly known as] Twitter, with an appropriately outraged comment.

Other responses were similarly scathing:

“I’m not sure ‘wanton destruction of all the good and beautiful things is this world’ was really the vibe you were trying for.” – @JuddBaroff

“This will be studied in marketing courses for decades to come as an example of a totally botched ad: how did the creative team and leadership get it so wrong?” – @CindyHoedel

“This video does not spark joy” – @thom_ivy_1

Even Hugh Grant weighed in, apparently.

But then yesterday, the person from whom I had first seen the video pointed me to another tweet.

Hey @Apple,” its author, @rezawrecktion said, “I fixed it for you (sound on)”:

Opening image of iPad Pro advert

Click the image to view. Opens in a new tab

It’s the same advert, but reversed.

The iPad is shown, in the press, which then expands to reveal all those artefacts reassembling themselves. It does the job of suggesting that all those things are hidden inside this small object, waiting to be explored and used, but without the “wanton destruction”.

Where this fitted with my other stimuli of the week, though, was this: rather than simply critiquing or criticising the advert, @rezawrecktion created something better. It probably didn’t take her more than a few minutes, but she put something positive into the world, something good.

There is plenty that is bad about the world. Sin’s effects are everywhere, but each of us has the power to respond by highlighting the good and creating beauty.

Amongst other things, today I will be creating a flower arrangement for church on Sunday, preparing meals for my husband, watching the birds on my bird feeder, and hopefully taking advantage of this glorious weather. How about you?

In the words of Marc Evan Jackson at the end of each podcast episode: “Go do something good”.

12 Comments On This Topic
  1. kangerew2
    on May 10th at 10:59 am

    Thank you for this. The notion of countering the “spirit of the age” with beauty is, well, beautiful.

    • Jennie Pollock
      on May 10th at 11:01 am

      Thank you! Hope you find something beautiful to do today.

  2. Mark Johnson
    on May 10th at 11:35 am

    Hi Jennie. Loving this. Brilliantly written as ever.
    Have fun among the flowers.

    • Jennie Pollock
      on May 10th at 5:47 pm

      Thank you so much, Mark!

  3. machonezeronine
    on May 10th at 11:37 am

    Wow! Thank you so much, Jennie.

    • Jennie Pollock
      on May 10th at 5:47 pm

      You’re welcome. Thank you!

  4. Dad
    on May 10th at 12:53 pm

    Ahhh, deep contented sigh. You’ve transported me back to the summer of 1964. Herman’s Hermits, “Something tells me I’m into something good”. Oh, they were the good old days.

    • Jennie Pollock
      on May 10th at 5:48 pm

      Heehee. Glad to be of service!

  5. John Gosling
    on May 10th at 12:55 pm

    Hi Jennie.
    Absolutely! Two things:
    1). An i-pad won’t improve your trumpet embouchure. It takes painful PRACTICE!
    2). Philippians 4: 8 contains some very good advice!!
    All the best,
    John G

    • Jennie Pollock
      on May 10th at 5:58 pm

      Thanks, John!

      1) Indeed it won’t. True art/music/craftsmanship always takes time, and usually involves pain!

      2) It does, doesn’t it? The whole book is one of my favourites.

  6. Kathy Self
    on May 14th at 6:47 pm

    So true! I practice the making of beauty as an artist and I see it as a form of compassion and grace. The canvases I paint I pray are an echo of the bandages the Good Samaritan wrapped around a wounded man. Also, Galatians 6:9 encourages us all to not grow weary of doing good, and the words in Greek are kalos poieo, which literally mean making beautiful stuff.

    • Jennie Pollock
      on May 14th at 7:15 pm

      Wonderful. I’ve just started learning Greek and kalos is one of my vocab words for this week (we already learned poieo). Great to see it in context. Thank you.


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