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August 2007
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December 2007

Ultimate in "Shocked. Shocked!"

I actually own the domain shockedshocked.com, and always thought it would be fun to assemble all the items that make me say that every day.

The line, of course, comes from Casblanca. (I watched that with a friend once who had never seen it, and he said he felt like he had because so many of the lines are part of popular culture.)

But I digress.

The ultimate in being shocked. Shocked! came today courtesy of TechCrunch, which reports that the founder of MySpace may not actually be the age he lists on his MySpace page.

How can this be?!?!?! Someone fudging the truth on the Internet?!?!?! Especially about his age!!! Who does he think is, a European Soccer Phenom????

Once again, Colbert has nailed people before he even knows it. The most important thing is not truth, but "truthiness."


What passes for humor in retail

A thousand years ago I used to enjoy shopping at Abercrombie and Fitch. I loved that they had books mixed in with the shirts, and I really liked that they had almost no selection at all. I only had to decided if I wanted a blue button down, or a white button down. It was a delightful shopping experience.

I don't know what happened, I abandoned them when they abandoned the books. I've read about the kind of stuff that they try to pass off as humorous pranks designed to get publicity, and they always do get publicity but at the cost of degrading the culture as much as possible. And of course they use what can only be described as soft-core gay pornography to somehow convince not-very-bright young women to spend 30 or 40 bucks for a shirt that looks as if it came from the thrift store.

Which is why the Improv Everywhere Shirtless Stunt is so genius. A&F somehow thinks that they have this knowing wink at popular culture, and -- like so many bad comics -- they equate being crass and offensive with being funny. By embracing the whole shirtless thing and extending it to it's logical conclusion, the Improv guys laid bare the hypocrisy. Bravo!


Food, but no feeds

The "Grand Bargain" after the democratic uprisings in China ending with the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, was that China would essentially let the Chinese have their freedom in the business world in exchange for not wanting to upend the government.

It won't last. Markets don't need much from the government, mostly just a fair playing field. Markets also need unfettered access to information, which the government shouldn't have anything to do with, but that doesn't seem to be the case in China.

With news that the "Great Firewall of China" is now blocking ALL feeds, not just ones with banned words, the government makes it even more clear that it only wants business to succeed as long as the business does not rely on the flow of information. No wonder so many entrepreneurs decide the only thing to do is manufacture stuff for the absolute cheapest price possible.


Who butters her toast?

Here's a weird one on several levels:

In a story about airline delays, there's some information about how private jets are causing some of the problem, and there's no system of prioritizing landings based on schedules, it's just first-come-first-served, as it has been since the dawn of air travel.

A few sensible folks are talking about changing that, and allowing a full 777 to land before some private jet with one or two passengers.

In this story, which I found from the IHT, a woman is quoted as saying that the rules should not be changed. And while there may be some logistical or other concerns that would make sense, this woman instead decides to insult every person not taking a corporate jet for business.

"On a business flight, you might have people going to Wall Street from companies who are creating jobs and generating billions of dollars in commerce," Brown said. "People on a commercial flight might be going on vacation or going to New York to go to the theater."

OK, that's just horrendously bad on so many levels.

But the paper made that worse because they identified Ms. Brown as working both for the FAA (in the 11th paragraph) and for an industry group for private jets (in the 16th paragraph).

It makes it hard for me to be outraged for the bad PR, or the shocking lack of sensitivity to the taxpayers from someone in the government.

I guess I'll be outraged at both, and at the generally dismal state of editing in the mainstream media.