Ge­of­frey Chaucer

Campaign UK - - PROMOTION -

My favourite scene in Pulp Fic­tion isn’t the car-clean­ing episode with Har­vey Kei­tel as Win­ston Wolf (bril­liantly re­pur­posed by Saatchi & Saatchi for Di­rect Line), but the grue­some re­venge se­quence when Marsel­lus Wal­lace prom­ises his at­tacker he is “gonna git me­dieval on your ass”.

(The rea­son for his re­venge isn’t some­thing that can de­cently be shared in a mag­a­zine like Cam­paign.)

Marsel­lus’ promise to “git me­dieval” is some­thing I iden­tify with. In fact, “git(ting) me­dieval” is some­thing we all might ben­e­fit from do­ing more of­ten.

You see, me­dieval­ism – or, more specif­i­cally, the works of Ge­of­frey Chaucer – is my se­cret work weapon.

It’s not just that Chaucer’s Can­ter­bury Tales is a dis­sec­tion of hu­man foibles and pre­ten­sions as rel­e­vant to­day as it ever was, nor that it’s packed full of con­sumer in­sight, nor that he has a great turn of phrase wor­thy of a 48sheet poster. It’s not even that there are lots of dirty bits and laugh-out-loud gags. Hon­estly, there are.

It’s more that me­dieval Chaucer gen­er­ally comes up with good an­swers to mod­ern ques­tions.

Take our cur­rent con­cerns about “fake news”. Well, Chaucer was all over that – more than 600 years ago. In The House of Fame, in which Chaucer is flown around in the claws of a talk­ing golden ea­gle (don’t ask), he comes across a “House of Ru­mour”, which is 60 miles wide, made of twigs, con­tin­u­ally spin­ning out of con­trol and dis­gorg­ing an end­less stream of ru­mour, gos­sip and news. More Twig­ger than Twit­ter, but weirdly pre­scient of it.

His an­swer? Well, the plug is pulled on the ca­coph­ony by a “man of great author­ity” – some­one we might call a trusted ed­i­tor fig­ure. This re­minds us, I’d ar­gue, of what we’ve lost by al­low­ing so much stuff to swill around the in­ter­net un­medi­ated, with­out some­one fact-check­ing, ar­bi­trat­ing, edit­ing. And we think it was Chaucer who lived in the Dark Ages.

MAL­COLM WHITE Chief strat­egy of­fi­cer and founder, Krow

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.