Having watched two full seasons of Mad Men on DVD this month, I've had old-school advertising on the brain pretty much nonstop lately.
Season two of the hit AMC drama about Madison Avenue frequently intersects the Catholic Church with the advertising industry, which got me thinking about the role of consumer culture in the perception of religion. What would public opinion of Christianity be like if churches had the new-media PR and advertising firepower to rival billion-dollar corporations? If deep-pocketed 21st-century PR machines can make a star out of Miley Cyrus, imagine what they could do with Jesus.
This reminded me of a 1925 nonfiction book by ad exec Bruce Barton that anoints Jesus as the father of modern business: The Man Nobody Knows. I bought the book a while ago but was underwhelmed by its production quality and never got around to reading it. Perhaps I will finally crack the cover this month.
Here's the Wikipedia synopsis:
"In this book Barton paints a picture of a strong Jesus, who worked with his hands, slept outdoors and travelled on foot. This is very different from what he saw as the 'Sunday School Jesus', a physically weak, moralistic man - the 'lamb of God.' Barton describes Jesus as 'the world's greatest business executive', and according to one of the chapter headings, 'The Founder of Modern Business', who created a world conquering organization with a group of twelve men hand picked from the bottom ranks of business."
For more info, visit themannobodyknows.com.