The beauty of the commonplace

Just received from China – a juicer to replace the glass one I put in the microwave to heat  juice for blending with butter. (Not recommended.) My wife tells me they’re all using these these days, so I got one off ebay – barely north of a couple of quid and look at the thing:

Beautiful. Functional too, no doubt. And all for less than the price of a half of dog-breath.

Just because

A friend (an ex-coder) was grumbling about Plex’s bugginess, and lamenting the lack of pride in their work manifested by their programmers, who clearly, he claimed, were far too inclined to proceed on a ‘that’ll do’ basis, rather than testing things properly to ensure their robustness.

Something came to mind from my student days, and rather to my surprise I managed to track it down, from Norman Malcolm’s memoir of Wittgenstein:

I like to think there’s at least something of that spirit in the way I approach my work. Sloppiness in others’ copywriting doesn’t just grate, it arouses ‘genuinely moral disapproval’. Quite a lot of it about, I have to say…

Vote ME!

This election’s zinger suggests Labour have learned nothing from their decades spent on the wrong end of smart electioneering:

Now, whether or not you agree that it’s time for real change (underline for emphasis), you have to say it’s not much of a flag for the troops to rally under.

The right has this right. From Take Back Control to Make America Great Again, their words people seem to have grasped the essence of a great political slogan: that it’s not about persuading of, it’s about tapping into. An exercise in articulation, not explanation.

If you’re trying to convince people of a proposition (such as that it’s time for real change), you’ve fundamentally misunderstood the aim of the exercise. Winning elections is not about talking to people; it’s about speaking for them.

Michael Gove may have been utterly disingenuous when he said – as a paid up zealot for applied intelligence – that Britain had had enough of experts. But when did being disingenuous stand in the way of political success?

A tip for sloganeers: when you come up with a proposal, ask yourself one thing – can you imagine people sitting round in the pub this evening saying exactly that to their companions? If the answer’s no, get back to the drawing board.

No one said this stuff was easy. Those who do it well just make it look that way.

Hats off to Wusthof

Just received a response to my tear-soaked email to Wusthof after a giant cauliflower did for my favourite kitchen knife:

“All Wusthof items carry a limited lifetime warranty….Please note we do not cover returns for knives that have opened cans, pruned hedges or those that have not been used for their general suited purpose.”

‘opened cans, pruned hedges’ is excellent! Good to see humanity beginning to sprout in communication between companies and their customers.

“Promise, large promise…”

Just finished reading The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison – astonishingly good – in which Soaphead Church has a printed card to advertise his services:

“If you are overcome with trouble and conditions that are not natural, I can remove them; Overcome Spells, Bad Luck, and Evil Influences. Remember, I am a true Spiritualist and Psychic Reader, born with power, and I will help you. Satisfaction in one visit. During many years of practice I have brought together many in marriage and reunited many who were separated. If you are unhappy, discouraged, or in distress, I can help you. Does bad luck seem to follow you? Has the one you love changed? I can tell you why. I will tell you who your enemies and friends are, and if the one you love is true or false. If you are sick, I can show you the way to health. I locate lost and stolen articles. Satisfaction guaranteed.”

That’s what I call copy!