#GETOFFMYLAWN You Damn Dirty … Marketing Consultants

Location, location, location, they say. Well, some folks are currently located on my lawn and need to move.


Also, this week, I moved from the interior pages of Advertising Age, where I reviewed ad campaigns, to the primo real estate on the back page, where I can write about a broader range of topics. (I also got a cover line.) This is both exciting (for me) and frightening (for everyone else involved).

The back page! I’m a back-pager. When I do pick up print magazines these days (yes, I’m part of the problem), the back page is the first page I turn to. It tells me a lot of things about a magazine — and it’s often where they’ll put the funny or weird or interesting stuff. Outdoor Life, for example, had Pat McManus there for decades (maybe they still do). EW puts its bulls-eye there. Runners World has been putting “Why I run” interviews with celebrities and politicians and interesting professionals (but lately seems to have decided on random person that a staffer in New York thought was cool). The Atlantic had a funny word column for a long time, then a funny advice column. Now it’s got an unfunny and mostly ridiculous “One Question” (What was the most important book of all time?) answered by luminaries and academics.

Simon “The Media Guy” Dumenco was nailing down that Ad Age page for the last few years but he got promoted right out of the job and into meetings 24 hours a day. So I get it.

My first topic? Millennials. I didn’t plan on that. God knows the world doesn’t need one more word on the topic. But it was also our 40 Under 40 issue, so I figured I’d do something about the yewts. And I came up with a point of view that anyone who reads me regularly might find surprising.

Millennials are getting older. They’re getting married, having babies and moving out of mommy’s house. And it turns out they’re just people.

Read it! Don’t read it! See if I care!

Sick of the Super Bowl? Too Bad

Snickers_-_The_Brady_Bunch_15Three things.

1.How much did it take me to sell out and start pulling for the Hate-riots of Bill Bellicheat? $500, which I won in the office pool thanks to the final score.

2. Which Super Bowl ads did I think were best and worst? Find out here, my professional review of all the national ads that ran in the Super Bowl.

3. Here’s me flapping my gums about the advertising over on Yahoo Finance.

Dr. No: Four Tips to Having a Bad Attitude at Work

I'm so embarrassed. For you.

“This idea is so stupid, I can’t even look.”

The eye-roller. The stop sign. The “Pffft” person. The guy who refuses to say “Yes, but…” and instead says “Let me stop you right there.” Or just: “No.”

Every workplace has one. Every workplace needs one. In a world of yes men, kiss-asses, “we are family” types and the like, there has to be someone who stands athwart the bridge to doom, shouting, “YOU SHALL NOT PASS.”

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Mais! How You Say Dat Word?

Don't want to wait for the audio book? Buy the real thing!

Don’t want to wait for the audio book? Buy the real thing!

Louisiana words are hard, yall. Even if you grew up there, you still struggle with some of them. If you’re from Louisiana, remember how you felt after years of being tee-tiny and hearing people talk about Nack-uh-tish and then seeing the word for the first time: Nachitoches. CONFUSED! That’s how you felt. Like the world and the English language no longer had rules. Hooked on phonics LIED. (Of course, Nachitoches isn’t English, but you didn’t know that either.)

At any rate, it turns out that Open Road Media is turning Sweet as Cane, Salty as Tears into an audio book. Now you lazy bastards who are all like, “I don’t really read,” no longer have an excuse. You can LISTEN to the novel. Someone will read it TO you.
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In Which I Manage Not to Crack Up on National TV

Uhhhhh, as I was saying, uhhhhh. KNOCK IT OFF BACK THERE!

Uhhhhh, as I was saying, uhhhhh. KNOCK IT OFF BACK THERE!

I appeared on CBS This Morning yesterday for a segment about emotion-recognition software being used to test advertising and the like. Why me? Because I am awesomely brilliant, work for an ad magazine and was willing to wake up at 5:30 on a Saturday morning.

Here’s a link to the video. (Because WordPress won’t allow me to embed the stupid thing here.)

You’ll notice that when I first start talking, I’m kind of rambling, perhaps losing my train of thought. It’s not because I was nervous. I usually do get nervous for these things, but I was feeling pretty at ease at this point. No, what happened was that Rana’s hair was hitting her microphone. None of us on camera could hear that. And they couldn’t just stop the segment. So after she stopped talking, there were a couple of people immediately off camera and in my line of sight jumping up and down, pantomiming and basically playing a furious game of charades to get Rana to flip her hair off her mic. And I was just trying to remember what the hell I was talking about.

Fired Old Man Angry at World, Ranting About Something or Other

Leon Wieseltier, recently run out of The New Republic as a gang of Silicon Valley nitwits took over and tried to fix it, has a piece in The New York Times Sunday Book Review that starts thusly:

Amid the bacchanal of disruption, let us pause to honor the disrupted. The streets of American cities are haunted by the ghosts of bookstores and record stores, which have been destroyed by the greatest thugs in the history of the culture industry. Writers hover between a decent poverty and an indecent one; they are expected to render the fruits of their labors for little and even for nothing, and all the miracles of electronic dissemination somehow do not suffice for compensation, either of the fiscal or the spiritual kind. Everybody talks frantically about media, a second-order subject if ever there was one, as content disappears into “content.” What does the understanding of media contribute to the understanding of life? Journalistic institutions slowly transform themselves into silent sweatshops in which words cannot wait for thoughts, and first responses are promoted into best responses, and patience is a professional liability. As the frequency of expression grows, the force of expression diminishes: Digital expectations of alacrity and terseness confer the highest prestige upon the twittering cacophony of one-liners and promotional announcements. It was always the case that all things must pass, but this is ridiculous.

I’m sure after reading that bit of succinct and too-the-point prose, you’re just dying to read the rest of it. Good luck with that. You see, Leon is what I’d call a writer’s writer — or, as he’s also known, the “last of the New York intellectuals” — someone much more interested in showing off — his skill, his education or his connections — than getting to the point already. There is, of course, a way to do both without looking like you’re trying to hard to do either. But Leon, who IS a smart guy whose writing I’ve enjoyed in the past, isn’t getting it done here. He also seems to be suffering from selective historical amnesia.
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On Charlie Hebdo and the Media

In the midst of an interesting New York Observer interview, legendary cartoonist Robert Crumb says this about American journalism:

You don’t have journalists over there anymore, what they have is public relations people. That’s what they have over in America now. Two-hundred and fifty thousand people in public relations. And a dwindling number of actual reporters and journalists.

Which is somewhat true! An over-exaggeration maybe, but true. (CONTENT! CONTENT! CONTENT!)

Immediately after that, the writer says:

We don’t have a context for this tradition here, merciless, political satire.

And then:

These guys were not trying not to offend, and that’s what an American media-conditioned mind cannot understand. The idea that yes, you offend those who abuse power.

A few points.
1. I’d accuse the writer of living in a bubble of time and space. It sounds like the sort of thing said because she hasn’t seen any cartoons of that ilk in the things she reads and assumed they’re not out there. And because she lives in the time she lives in, she seems completely unaware of what’s happened before she graced the earth with her presence. America doesn’t have a tradition of this sort of thing? Do tell! I run into this during election cycles when people in general whine about the negative attack ads and how far we’ve fallen. There is NOTHING in politics today that was as vicious as what the Founding Fathers did to one another during the first elections. BUT… she’s supposedly an anti-PC person and has written, for among other publications, The New York Press, which along with The Village Voice, used to run these sorts of things as recently as the 90s. (In other words, she SHOULD know better.)

2. The American self-loathing built into her questions. Not the most outrageous case, but obviously there. (And, you know, because the French government is such a champion of free speech. And because Charlie Hebdo, in a regular week, was such a wildly successful enterprise and not something that’s been propped up by subsidies, some of which came from American corporate giant, Google.)

3. The jaw-dropping projection here. It’s not the American media-conditioned mind that’s the issue here. It’s the mind of the American media. Considering her supposed anti-PC history, maybe her heart is in the right place but don’t put this on the American people. It’s on you and your people. They (and the socio-economic class from which the modern journalist crawls) are the ones who assume that all those greasy, unwashed Americans in the rest of the country can’t handle this sort of humor (or the reaction to it) without turning into some sort of violent mob. They’re the ones — in business journalism, celebrity journalism, political journalism — who pull punches in order to maintain access or protect “their guy.” And they’re the ones who never would have published cartoons such as these in the first place — and refuse to show them now — because they’re PC and chicken-shit business people. (They’re also the ones who wanted to really, really believe that Charlie Hebdo was a right-wing, racist publication. They beat the Pope to saying stupid things like “The murders were wrong, but…” by a solid week.)

Or maybe they’re just straight realists who know damn well there’s a difference between running a cartoon of Muhammad and running a 500-word review of Piss Christ (with photo) or showing Jesus fighting Santa Claus in a cartoon or staging an extremely successful, long-running (and hilarious) Broadway play called The Book of Mormon (spoiler alert: There’s a song called “Fuck you, God”). Some of those things will get you letter campaigns and boycotts and protests. The other will get you killed.