What is art? Must it adhere to a set of rigorous standards, or is any creative endeavor art? Does commerce — the act of buying and selling art — pollute its integrity? And since all artists need money to live, is all art touched by the cursed hand of commerce? Does that make all art inherently cynical? Is art dead?
Never in my life did I think that I would have an existential crisis about the meaning of art because of a Subway ad. And yet, here we are.
This specific Subway ad, though, has made its way into the zeitgeist recently because its over-wrought, Oscar-worthy performances and cinematography put it up there with the most heart-wrenching short films of the past decade.
But like, it's for Subway. Subway.
Are we supposed to be moved by the Subway ad? Find meaning in the Subway ad? Make jokes about the Subway ad? Ultimately, we simply have no choice but to do all three...
Subway is, well, it's a lot of things.There are more Subways around than any other fast food chain, so it's incredibly convenient if you have to eat fast. Plus, it's cheap, as their most expensive subs are still less than 10 dollars.
It's even pretty tasty (as long as you're not a maniac).
"I got an order once...Meatball with tuna, honey mustard, and the new mesquite sauce."- Raul, Sandwich Artist… https://t.co/ZIgMEUocxf— Subway® (@Subway®)1560967254.0
But one thing that Subway is not is "fresh."I know Subway's made freshness a big part of their brand, but their vegetables always seem like they're at least a few days old. The lettuce is wilted; the tomato slices are dry and clumping together in a weird way, almost as though they're trying to re-form into a whole tomato again.
And yet, I want nothing more than a Subway sandwich right now.I literally want nothing more right now than to chow down on a foot-long CBR (that's a Chicken Bacon Ranch for all you Subway philistines) with extra wilted lettuce and balled-up tomatoes. Why am I so ravenous for a Subway sub, you ask?
Because I think that they're employing artists.
subway calls their employees sandwich artists. an artist huh? it's me, Leonardo Di Hamandcheese, I went to art scho… https://t.co/vAwvIxIAK7— ham nasty ☭ (@ham nasty ☭)1560917238.0
Let's take one step back — what is art?Art's played a role human life since the cavemen started scrawling wolves and rams on their cave walls, but that doesn't mean that we have a handle on it. At any given time, we're always embroiled in some sort of debate about what is and what is not art.
To start us all off on the same page: we can all agree that the Sistine Chapel ceiling is art.The stunning frescoes lining the ceilings of the Sistine Chapel are unquestionably works of art; the painter, Michelangelo, certainly a genius. (Small note though, the creation of Adam illustration is a liiiiittle on-the-nose.)
The Godfather is for sure art.A moving epic about power and corruption in America, The Godfather is the easiest film to point to when we think about whether or not film is art.
But is Spider-Man: Far From Home art?Yes, Marvel's blockbusters are purely commercial products, made not only out of the love in their creators' hearts, but also to make a ton of cash. But if we're defining art as any creation whose purpose is to elicit a certain emotional reaction from its audience, then yes. Spider-Man: Far From Home is art. (Also, I personally believe that any movie that features Jake Gyllenhaal is art because he is a very pretty man.)
We all want to support artists.
|￣￣￣￣￣￣￣￣￣￣￣| Support Other Artists |＿＿＿＿＿＿＿＿＿＿＿| … https://t.co/4g8fPgYZ5A— Owen Seward (@Owen Seward)1561735017.0
Here's why I'm thinking about art and CBRs: this stunning commercial for Subway might be art...
via: YouTubeA more than two-minute-long Subway commercial shot back in 2016 has been making the internet rounds. It depicts a boy's life, literally from birth, through his early childhood, to his messy adolescence, until his first day at work as an adult. The commercial is beautifully shot and evokes stronger emotions than even the best Jake Gyllenhaal performance. It really does feel like art.
It's at least a Superbowl-level commercial.As everyone knows, Superbowl commercials are the peak of commercials — all of these brands seem to think that football fans want to spend the time in between plays crying softly to themselves.
So how does this commercial about a young man's life relate to Subway?
via: YouTubeWe see this kid's struggles — his heartbreaks, his tantrums, his self-doubt. And then we're asked to buy a sandwich? How does that connect?
But, as it turns out, life has more in common with Subway than we thought.
via: YouTubeThe video ends with the tagline: "Every day, life asks you the same question: what are you going to try today?" The idea is, we should try kissing girls in lakes and shaving our heads, just like we should try something at Subway other than the CBR.
The ad went viral when it was posted by SB Nation's Ryan Simmons.
got another capitalism greatest hit. i will give you one hundred thousand dollars if you can guess the brand by the… https://t.co/uiB9LPPPbv— Ryan 'Follow @SecretBase' Simmons (@Ryan 'Follow @SecretBase' Simmons)1561653306.0
And, yes, this ad is real.It feels almost like an SNL sketch, doesn't it? But no, this ad is legit posted to Subway Brasil's real-life YouTube channel. Someone thought that hyper-serious dramatic filmmaking and pounding violin music was the best way to get us to try the new Smokey Honey Mustard Sauce™, only at Subway.
It's like watching that movie, Boyhood...... except the Subway ad has a point. Yeah, that's right! I'm takin' pot-shots at Richard Linklater's Boyhood! What, I'm supposed to be impressed that you shot scenes with an actual kid over the course of twenty-five years? Great job! If I went to movies to be impressed by determination, I'd buy a ticket to see Skateboarders Do One Trick Over and Over Again Until They Get it Right.
Simmons did say that he made one small edit to the video.
for the record, i trimmed out exactly 2 seconds of this: a full-frame ECU of the mother's nipple before the baby st… https://t.co/MdlUWcTnpf— Ryan 'Follow @SecretBase' Simmons (@Ryan 'Follow @SecretBase' Simmons)1561653389.0