People tell me I should get Netflix. They’re always Netflixing some cool movie I can’t find at Blockbuster or on my eight million cable channels. It’s so easy, they say. I was a charter member and wouldn’t go back for anything.
What about the pop-under problem? I ask. They stare blankly.
I can’t support a company that is trying to kill me with stealth advertising, I say. Several times a night when I’m working, my laptop fan shrieks with fury: Too much Flash! My processors can’t take this! I hit F9, which instantly tiles all open windows, and find six Netflix ads, which I then have to close down one by one. Click, click, click, I, hate, Netflix.
There has to be a better way to do internet advertising. Disposing of the slicks that come with the Sunday paper is a pain, but it doesn’t feel like an encroachment. Also, it doesn’t feel stupid. Part of what I suspect investors in internet companies like about the whole business model is how hands-free it is. Set up a blog entirely without human help. Set up your blog to do your blogging for you, even. With the right scripting you can buy a book, participate in an auction, do all sorts of things without any unnecessary face-to-face, or even voice-to-voice contact. In the business world, this is known as efficiency, cutting those imperfect human beings out of the production process. What good are they? Computers don’t ask for health insurance.
And so it was that I was checking the forecast the other day, and noticed this:
Note the line under the green bar: Stay warm on the links. Weather.com is a virtual cavalcade of linky goodness, its main page clickable nine ways from Sunday, but that one took me aback. For one thing, 22 degrees hardly qualifies as golf weather. For another, every golf course within 100 miles is covered with several inches of snow. For yet another, even the ones that aren’t covered with snow generally aren’t open in the winter. Turf can’t repair itself when it’s dormant, and it doesn’t pay to staff the pro shop for a handful of lunatics who want to play golf in extreme conditions. Dude, unless you have tickets to Florida, the season is over.
But I couldn’t resist. I clicked:
I was taken to a page of “content” so thin as to make a standard Gannett tip box look like a PhD curriculum. How to stay warm on the links? Dress in layers. Make sure you spend extra time warming up before you swing. And what tips page could be complete without this line: And since body heat escapes through your head—Grandma was right about that—wear a wool hat. It’ll help keep your whole body warm. Wow, thanks.
There has to be a better way to do commercial material on the web. There better be. This is worse than junk mail.
Sadly, No tracks the perambulations of the Mission Accomplished lie, but I’m more interested in the language issues. “We were trying to say something differently,” the president said. Did he mean “different,” and added the extra syllable to sound extra-smart? Or does he understand that “differently” is an adverb that modifies “to say”? Your call. And note his lackey’s usage: ““[That’s] why he endears so much loyalty from people like myself and others who had worked for him.” You don’t endear loyalty, do you? He meant “engender,” right?
Steve Jobs does not have a “hormone imbalance,” he has something “more complex,” requiring a five-month medical leave. Apple stock doesn’t fare well and I don’t blame the market, for once. Surely Apple is more than Jobs, but how’d you like to hold stock in Martha Stewart’s corporate entity and discover Martha’s not feeling so well? There’s a fine line, in the business world, between a strong public face and a cult of personality. The solution: Replace Jobs with “Steve Jobs,” a virtual figure created by Pixar. Orville Redenbacher and Colonel Sanders have already paved the way.
Another charming essay by Roger Ebert, this one on goodness on screen.
Minus-one at the moment. Kill me now.