Thing: What’s in a Nickname? In Spirits World, an Implied Relationship by Ad Age. Coke. Jack (and Coke). VW Bug. Mickey D’s. Keys to the Beemer. The Big Apple, ATL, what happens in Vegas. A Louis bag and a pair of Chucks. Some brands have earned nicknames from their patrons the old-fashioned way, but the new marketing thing is to try and force nicknames on people, like this is first grade recess and Brand X is telling us we have to call it Musclebutt The Impossible because it climbed up the slide backwards woooooooo.
Corporations have successfully incorporated nicknames before, but only after the nicknames arose organically. Federal Express wouldn’t have changed its name to FedEx if everyone hadn’t already been calling it FedEx for years. Same story with the former Kentucky Fried Chicken. America Online. The obvious difference between these and Keystone Light trying to get you to call it Stones is FedEx and KFC and AOL didn’t force the change, as if they’re Brand Jœhanndreus X deciding to go by its middle name during its sophomore year because college girls seem to like weird names.
Who knows; maybe it’ll work. Seems more like they’re trying to fit in with Sam, the Captain, Heiny, Jager, Bud, Maker’s, PBR, Henny, and Natty. Also we’ve decided we want you guys to start calling us Eng.
Thing: As Australian comedy trio Axis of Awesome demonstrates, all you need to do to write a hit song is use the four-chord progression that’s used in every other hit song. Or just about. Medley us: [NSFW: Three cusses.]
Thing: Social, Super-Sized by social-creature. “The same technology that allows us to be more connected than ever before imaginable, on its flip side, perhaps even simply through contrast, has increased our capacity for loneliness. We have built up a new tolerance level, and all we do is want more more more. Hence, the compulsion to feel a part of something, something massive, surrounded by hundreds of thousands of other people, all experiencing the same trending topic stream together as it scrolls by.” We should feel both comfort and horror when we think of the ways technology is enhancing (taking advantage of?) our prehistoric/biological need for social connection. In other words, how would Genghis Khan have used Foursquare?
Thing: 10 Ways to Access Blocked Stuff on the Web by Lifehacker. Now, if a site wants you to pay money for content, and you choose to access that content without paying, you’re stealing — whether you like Rupert Murdoch or not doesn’t change that fact. However, there are plenty of times when we’re unable to get to something, and there’s a perfectly good reason to bypass whatever’s in the way. Whether that means getting around Gmail downage, avoiding an overeager office or university page-blocker so you can get work-related research done, dodging an oppressive government, or watching legally streamed TV from another country, the internet always wins.
Thing: Why Teenagers Are Growing Up Slowly Today from Newsweek and Kids Learn Math Easily When They Control Their Own Learning from Psychology Today. The construct that comes to mind when we use the word school has little in common with the ideal learning environment. And it’s not about tweakable elements like student-to-teacher ratio — it’s about the whole concept of school and what we’re really trying to accomplish. You know this. But it’s worth repeating from top to bottom until everyone knows this.
I swear I’ll do three sets each of Radioheads and Ghostfaces at max weight, max reps for saying this out loud, but CONFESSIONTIME: I like two Creed songs. So it’s with only 99% ironic passion that I’m able to join in the LOLETARIAT on mocking this song Scott Stapp recorded for the Florida Marlins.
But you’re telling me you’re serving up “One-strike-two-strikes, swing aweey-ahhh/ A Diving Catch-hh! A stohe-len beeaase-ahh/ A perrfec game-uh! A trih-pul play-ahh!/ Anoe-tha playhoff ra-ace, YES?/ WORLSEERIESCHEIMPSWE’LL [CRACK!] BEE!”, all over Friday Night Lights guitars run through the NASCAR-mosh filter? Oh, it’s summertime, friends:
Ambitious dunk contest participant somehow, someway winds up with half his leg submerged in the basket. You want to talk about mainlining social media — note the immediate cameraphones-to-ladders ratio once everyone realizes what’s happened.
The citizen journalism impulses of today’s youth? Flourishing.
Thing: How Not to Depict a War from the New York Times Lens blog.The Hurt Locker: a deserving Best Picture nom that’s well-directed, -written, and -performed. But true to life? Its reception has been a case of mistaking grittiness for authenticity; seriously, a bomb squad wanders onto some rifles and then downloads sniping mastery from the Matrix, or so it seems? It’s pretty much a literate Call of Duty, or Rambo in Apocalypse Now skins. And the idea that it’s an anti-war movie is MOOTED by the movie’s final scene. In the Times essay, American soliders in Iraq remotely detonate the movie’s bona fides. So to speak.
Heads up, friends: This post is part of ENGINE’s decade-closing blogsplosion. Click here to witness the rest of the damage. The aughties!
It’s time for the exhaustive list of the Worst _____ of the Decade lists.
We try to be positive. But come on. When Pew concludes it was the worst decade in 50 years, and Time drops the 10 Worst Things about the Worst Decade Ever, it’s hard to forget this decade kicked off with Y2K — not just a fail fail, but the biggest fail fail ever — and has only gotten more and more bailouty and wardrobe malfunctionous since.
Would love to list nice things; just filling a void here. Kottke’s already got the best lists list covered. It has some worsts too, but isn’t nearly as horrific as what you’re about to endure Also, Fimoculous has the 2009 list of lists up and running — perfect for those getting the shakes at staring down the barrel of all ten years at once.
Our next entry in our series will be as pleasant as can be. But it’s darkest before the dawn. Wade into the shock and awful.
Creed is good, and Radiohead sucks. Videogames make you smart, but being smart is bad. Imperialism is good, except when Delaware does it. As The Encyclopedia of Counterintuitive Thought demonstrates, the Aughties has been the decade of contrarianism, which you already knew. And since you already knew it, you’re surprisinglywrong!
We have no complaints; ENGINE stepped up to the challenge. For example, during our 2008 site project it took some extra steps to marry ENGINE’s code with our museum’s website. But with Ben’s assistance, this process was very smooth, and in turn, made the 2009 site project even better.
– Armistead Booker, Associate media designer
American Museum of Natural History