Monday, August 27, 2012


Sitting in an open workspace exposes you to a lot. Not only can I hear just about every conversation within 50 yards of my table, I get to hear the sort of language that fairly makes my skin crawl. If we think about language and the semiotics behind language, the words I hear almost every day are upsetting. If language reflects thought, we are as an industry moribund.

I hear people talking about "decks." Not about a presentation--something living. But about a deck. Something large, ponderous, heavy and inanimate. No one ever said, I'm looking forward to reading that deck. But decks are what we produce. Boring.

I hear account people say, "we'll get the assets from the creatives." Not the ad, or the banner, or the commercial. Again, we as an industry, use a dead, material word. A word that commoditizes that which we get paid to produce.

And we are no longer people, it's no longer "I'll get the work from Tom and George." That sentence is human. It's "I'll get the assets from the creatives."

Even our departments are tainted. Human resources. I am a resource, like a geyser, a fir tree or a vein of coal. Thank you for admitting I am a human.

I remember once when I was in charge of a large Boston agency and we were moving buildings, the General Manager came to me with a "stacking plan." We are not people. We are cord-wood.

We no longer take a day off. That is too casual and not officious sounding. We're on PTO. Some relative, I suppose of PCBs. As if our employer is doing us a favor by paying us for our leisure day. PTO could, after all, be ETO--earned time off. But we willingly give the linguistic power to the holding company.

Language is power and we have given it away.

That's all for now. I have some assets to ideate and have inserted into a deck before a conference call.


Elias said...

Wittgenstein would agree with you.

geo said...

Yes, Elias. Still, he couldn't write a TV commercial.