Dada Ads: Nihilism and Nonsense
Each time the alarm bell petered out, Tzara stopped reading, rewound the alarm clock and began reading again from his roll of toilet paper. This went on for 40 minutes. At the end, the audience was outraged that they could not hear the manifesto.
"But that is Dada," was the explanation.
Tzara's actual manifesto was pure gibberish. A sampling from Robert Motherwell's 1967 translation:
If I cry out:
Ideal, ideal, ideal,
Knowledge, knowledge, knowledge,
Boomboom, boomboom, boomboom,
I have given a pretty faithful version of progress, law, morality and all other fine qualities that various highly intelligent men have discussed in so many books, only to conclude that after all everyone dances to his own personal boomboom, and that the writer is entitled to his boomboom: the satisfaction of pathological curiosity; a private bell for inexplicable needs; a bath; pecuniary difficulties; a stomach with repercussions in life; the authority of the mystic wand formulated as the bouquet of a phantom orchestra made up of silent fiddle bows greased with philtres made of chicken manure.
In other words, the whole thing was an elaborate put-on delivered deadpan.
But Dada survived and was the forerunner of Surrealism, Pop- and Op Art.
It has also the progenitor of Dada Advertising.
NOTE: See the mediaplayer at upper right for four works of Dada art by its premier practitioner, Marcel Duchamp.
The Absurdist World of Dada Advertising
I despise everything to do with sickness and death.
At the same time, I am morbidly transfixed by the yin and yang of what I call the Dada Advertising by the great pharmaceutical companies.
Dada advertising was legitimized in 1998 when Bob Dole—war hero, beloved senator and distinguished presidential candidate—starred in a TV commercial for Viagra, where he talked with jaw-dropping candor about his inability to get an erection.