Wednesday, 02 July 2008

In Passing

Mercy killing?

(Variety, via Instapundit [late add: and C.G. Hill]):

Gee, if I started watching again, maybe I could push it over the edge into total geezertude! Cue Lawrence Welk!

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Tuesday, 01 July 2008

In Passing

Is “marketoid” taught, or does it come naturally?

And if it’s natural, can we quick find a genetic test for it?  So we can strangle it in the cradle?

“The launch of XTP[1] is about entertaining the three and half million passengers using the Tube each day.” - Tim Bleakly, Managing Director Sales & Marketing, CBS Outdoor.
Um. No.  It's about pushing advertising in the faces of a captive audience... one that would probably prefer to escape from flashing images on a digital screen for half an hour or so each day.
“We believe that this technology will enhance passengers' journeys...  These hi-tech screens are a perfect complement to the major upgrade work carried out by London Underground in delivering a world-class Tube for a world-class city.”[2] - Richard Parry, Strategy and Service Director for London Underground.[3]
Diamond Geezer:
Like hell they are.

Naming names:
CBS Outdoor was kind enough to provide a list of “partners” here. Should that press release... umm.... disappear, the culprits are: Nestlé (Boosted Smoothies, Purina ONE, Perrier), Sky TV, Magners, Paramount Pictures, InBev (StellaArtois), and Dewynters (advertising agency, various London shows).

Via: Indignant, of Bow

[1] “...giant cinema-style screens... installed opposite platforms at Piccadilly Circus, Euston, Bank, Liverpool Street and Bond Street [Underground] stations to bombard you with cutting-edge advertising intended to ‘enhance’ your journey.” - Londonist

[2] “A world-class Tube for a world-class city.” Yuk! Now I’ve got smarm all over me!

[3] The TFL release says, “[London Underground] Staff representatives were consulted about the introduction of XTP on the London Underground network.” Appears they neglected to consult the passengers.

Posted by: Old Grouch in In Passing at 23:20:26 GMT | No Comments | Add Comment
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In Passing

Jay Nordlinger wonders: What’s cool?

...or, more specifically,

Why isn’t Ivan Castro a twentieth as admired as — not to single him out, but . . . — Jon Stewart?  How did the whole country become Lenny Bruce-ified?
I think of something Bob Dole said in that marvelous, Helprin-penned convention speech (1996): “the elite who never grew up, never did anything real, never sacrificed, never suffered, and never learned.”

It is the phrase “never did anything real” that particularly haunts me.
By putting his life on the line– against odds, asking no accommodation, making no excuses– Castro highlights the petty artificiality of most of what we are pleased to call “heroism.”  His very existence is an embarrassment to the poseurs who equate “courage” with throwing ball bearings at the cops in some demonstration, or “speaking truth to power” with shouting down some university dean.  And his absolute confidence in the rightness of what he is doing affronts all who prattle “nothing is real,” “it’s all relative,” or “there’s nothing worth dying over.”  It’s little wonder that our Chattering Class ignores him; his standard is too far above them.

But should we call Castro “cool?”  I don’t know.  David Bowie was cool. So was Frank Sinatra.  But George Washington wasn’t cool.  Abraham Lincoln? Anti-coolness personified.[1]  Winston Churchill?  Maybe in his later “jolly stout man with his cigar” persona, but certainly not the Churchill who declared, “Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this island or lose the war.”  The first astronauts?  “Right stuff” out the wazoo, but what a bunch of squares.

For coolness carries a burden of lack-of-seriousness- of-purpose.  You can’t be cool if you’re too committed; in fact the essence of coolness is ironically amused detachment.  Nothing matters anyway, why not laugh?

Except in the “real world,” reality... does matter.  A facade of irony won’t stop a knifepoint.  And though laughter can help get through times of trouble, laughter alone is insufficient.  Achievement requires more than attitude; it requires a seriousness, a dedication, a striving that transcend “cool.”

Which brings us back to Ivan Castro.  Out there, beyond “cool,” in the world of life-and-death reality, where we can but stand in astonished admiration.

Via: Power Line
[1] Although Old Abe might have been cooler than we know.  He was renowned for his wit.  A 19th-century Jay Leno?

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