Daniel Drennan

Brand America: Of False Promises and Snake Oil

On the streets of Beirut, a vernacular of graffiti, political posters, cloth banners and stenciled portraits of leaders and martyrs — and the effacement thereof, whether intentionally or through natural causes — produces a lively debate. Various individuals and groups effectively claim existence, label their territories, as well as write and re-write their histories — Lebanon has no one history. I refer to this as a “debate” because of this back and forth, of placement and replacement, which lies in stark contrast to the monologue that rises above buildings and highways, the one-way beaming of high-priced messages as represented by billboards and advertising space.