Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Hemingway does powerpoint.

I got in early this morning to look at some decks that people I don't particularly care for have prepared.

One deck was 77 pages.

The other was 64.

The deck I prepared for the same meeting was one page.

For some months I have been trying to come up with a post titled "Hemingway Does Powerpoint." In it, I would show the simplicity of good, sharp, attentive writing. Contrasting with the jargon-laden crap we swill and sell.

Somehow we have learned to write as if our brains have been replaced by bullshit. Above our necks our heads are like a fresh aspirin bottle. Sealed shut and stuffed with cotton.

We write--and writing and thinking and speech are meant to go together--like a focus group put through a Cuisinart.

Obama may lose the Presidency because last week in the Presidential debate against Romney he played bland, dumb and insipid. He played not to lose. Rather than sticking with the emotional, empathetic, visceral language which had brought him such success as a candidate.

In the words of Bill Clinton, "He didn't put the corn where the pigs could get at it."

COVER:
Fishing in the Gulf of Mexico
Prepared by Ernest Hemingway

SLIDE ONE:
He was an old man who fished alone in a skiff in the Gulf Stream and he had gone eighty-four days without taking a fish.

SLIDE TWO:
In the first forty days a boy had been with him.

SLIDE THREE:
But after forty days without a fish the boy's parents had told him that the old man was now definitely and finally salao, which is the worst form of unlucky...

SLIDE FOUR:
and the boy had gone at their orders in another boat which caught three good fish the first week.

SLIDE FIVE:
It made the boy sad to see the old man come in each day with his skiff empty...

SLIDE SIX:
and he always went down to help him carry either the coiled lines or the gaff and harpoon and the sail that was furled around the mast.

SLIDE SEVEN:
The sail was patched with flour sacks and, furled;

SLIDE EIGHT:
it looked like the flag of permanent defeat.

SLIDE NINE:
Thank you!!!


2 comments:

jonlewis said...

Looks good! A few notes:

- We'll need a slide outlining meeting objectives and goals. Be sure to include the client "ask" and next steps
- Try to tie it all back to our work to date. Use Jack London's deck from last year.
- Slide 3 is kind of long. Can we lose some of that language? Also, not sure client will get the foreign language.
- Slide 5: "Sad" is kind of vague. Can we tie this back to Q3 objectives?
- Slides 7 - 8 come off as negative. Can we reword to make it more positive (something like "Sail in need of updating" -- just a suggestion, I'm sure you can make this better!)
- We need a summary slide at the end.

George Tannenbaum said...

Jon, great job!
I guess you've been around the block a bit.