Monday, July 22, 2019

Fake truth.

I know I am the wrong generation.

And I know I have a low threshhold for bullshit. You probably would too if you grew up during Vietnam and Richard Nixon’s presidency.

My training was always to question everything. Especially language.

Language is too important not to be scrutinized.

I’ve recommended this before, but to really see what I mean, watch Stan Neumann’s movie based on the diaries of Viktor Klemperer, “Language Does Not Lie.”

Sure, the movie is 100 minutes long. But that’s a lot less time than it would take to read Klemperer’s seminal LTI (Lingua Tertii Imperii) The Language of the Third Reich. 

And, if nothing else, it will force you to listen to the news, read the paper, agency memos and other oftentimes manipulative documents with more than a soupcon of cynicism.

About every 90 seconds or so I read something somewhere about a company, or a software, or an app, or a procedure, or a survey, or a complementary half-ounce of pretzels on a flight to an airport that was last remodelled when Eisenhower was president, seeking to “improve the customer experience.”

I don’t know about you, I haven’t had a good customer experience from any company with an aggregate of over 500 employees in pretty much my whole life.

Even Apple is more interested in altering the configuration of its cords and connectors than in improving their customer experience.

Do you have a Apple Watch charger with a USB-C connector?

No. You can buy an adaptor.

So I can’t charge my new phone with my new computer unless I use an adaptor.


I got a bill under my door last night.

We show you checking out today.

I made a reservation for three nights.

Sorry. Come down and get your keys reactivated.

My personal belief is that companies (or agencies) that seek to “improve the customer experience" aren’t necessarily lying—but they aren’t, either, telling the whole truth. I think what they should be saying is “we seek to improve the customer experience without cutting into our profits or spending more money serving customers.”

Or as the robber barons (past and current) might have put it, "we care about our workers. But not enough to pay them a living wage.

Lies and half truths seem to make up the large majority of corporate communications today.

As Budd Schulberg's Sammy Glick might have blurted, "Why tell the truth when you can lie?"

Or as Chico Marx once Dumonted, "Who you gonna believe, me or your own eyes?"
Then there are these. Just as Soviet. Just as Trumpian. Just as Corporatese. Just as American, in fact.

“This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.”

“This call may be recorded to ensure quality service.”

“We care about your privacy.”

“Would you like to buy a bridge in Brooklyn?

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