Friday, March 20, 2009

Totally Random

I haven't had time to keep up with this blog lately, which creates a serious lack of balance in my life. So as much as I like to make up a theme and actually put real thought into a post, right now I just need to write something besides marketing copy. Bear with me as I strike up the Randomizer.

- Tom Friedman is famous for using the term "the world is flat" in referring to globalization. What he really means is that there's a level playing field. So it's not really an original term at all. Also not original: my analysis of Tom Friedman's term.

- But speaking of that level flatness, here's what's actually flat right now: information. And it's disorienting. Go to cnn.com right now and look at Latest News. We go from Ben Bernanke to Natasha Richardson to Obama to poor people to college students getting robbed on spring break to March Madness. This is supposed to be a snapshot of what's most important right now. Is a starving Bangladeshi really on the same playing field as a pick-pocketed college kid? Is a fatal head injury to one celebrity as important as global economic contraction? It's crazy. In a world where these things are treated equally, it's impossible to take anything seriously. And in a world where it's impossible to take anything seriously, it's impossible to change the world.

- On another level, I go up to my Firefox live bookmarks half a dozen times and day and click on the RSS headlines. I go from CNN to Facebook to my friend Pat Donnelly's blog. Only rarely does it occur to me how mentally out of whack this really is. I'm saying that I care equally about world events, what my friends are doing and what just ONE of my friends is thinking (don't get me wrong, Pat, I love your blog, and I hope you're reading mine, so I guess I'm part of the problem...). In a way, that's just reality. But there's something contradictory about a web browser: By leveling the information hierarchy, it actually distorts it.

Global warming is going to devastate the food and water supply in my son's lifetime, but dude, your status update was hilarious!

- I've never been one of those people who carries around a notebook and jots down novel, screenplay and song ideas. As a result, I probably lose 95 percent of my PCO (Potential Creative Output). So recently, I decided that I would use the Recorder app on my iPhone to do the equivalent thing. The damn device is practically subcutaneous at this point anyway; why not use it as a handy Dictaphone whenever an idea strikes? After two weeks, I've only remembered to do this twice. My ideas so far:

1) After seeing a billboard that implored me to "Take a YOU turn" on Hwy. 280, I recorded all those "you-ey" phrases that work in marketing because they enable navel-gazing. "Isn't it time YOU did something for YOU?" "Don't YOU need more time for YOU?" "Isn't it time people appreciated YOU for who YOU are?" These phrases make me sick, like the word "pamper." I wanted to create a fake commercial that overdid the YOU thing and made the audience share my nausea. But YOUism will never go away. (It's YOU-niversal.)

2) Two words: Bully Convention.

- There's a reason I forget about the vast majority of ideas that come into my head.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

YOU-niversal and YOU-biquitous ...

Vegas Gopher said...

I need to get me one of them there RSS headline updaters because I just now got around to reading this post! Maybe I need a Google alert on my name. In the spirit of your essay, I will set up alerts for "Patrick Donnelly" and "Barack Obama" -- thus leveling the playing field between me and the POTUS.