Amid the insanity, a comment of Trump’s last week set little bells ringing…
‘…to take back our country’. Now what does that bring to mind?
While it’s doubtless overstating the case to describe a snappy slogan as ‘the’ reason for Brexit, the essential message is clear – and worth a ponder for anyone wanting to get messages across, thereby (and this is after all the point of the exercise) getting people to behave in ways they otherwise wouldn’t: KISS. Keep It Simple, Stupid.
Let’s face it, no previous president has ever had such command of the simple.
It’s always hard, when you see a new version of something you’re accustomed, to be sure how much of your response is rooted in mere unfamiliarity, and how much has timeless validity, but I have to say I recoiled at Google’s new Gmail logo:
…which struck me as clunky, charmless, and not a patch on the old traditional:
A little googling revealed that I’m not alone. Probably the most interesting comment I came across was this one, from https://www.creativebloq.com/news/gmail-logo-google-workspace:
An excellent criterion, I thought, for a good logo: that it be impossible to confuse with anything else.
On the cusp, I was struck by a photo of Trump wearing one of those MAGA baseball caps. Idly wondering whether this was a first – for a candidate to use the exact same slogan in consecutive elections – it suddenly occurred to me that I couldn’t recall the slogan from the opposition camp. Judging by these supposed candidates reported by Wiki, it’s hardly surprising:
The enduring appeal of MAGA does make you wonder whether such slogans ever really make a difference. I suspect the answer’s yes. Amidst chaos and contradiction, their simplicity and clarity helps coalesce half-grasped convictions into a powerful, unified “Yes! That’s right!” that fires people up and drives them to the polls. (See also ‘Get Brexit Done’.)
My daughter recently lent me a book I’d not come across, with the striking name Drunk Tank Pink – psychologist Adam Alter’s look at the ways ‘our environment shapes our thoughts and actions…without our permission or even our knowledge’. I’m not quite sure what the writer of that blurb meant, in talking about permission, but the second part is striking. For example…
Weird, huh? One thing it brought to mind for me was the way IBM famously used to have little signs up all around their offices which read, simply, THINK. I guess they worked…
Largely to compensate for my abysmal thumbsmanship, I frequently dictate messages into my phone, letting Google take care of turning them into actual text. Mostly it does an excellent job, including learning my quirks, so that after I’ve corrected its interpretations a couple of times, it gets it right the third and subsequent times.
One thing that really does throw it, though, is foreign expressions. Even what you might think of as common and pretty obvious ones. I was tickled the other day by its groping attempts to get a grip on my (increasingly carefully pronounced) plus ça change, which I was trying to get, complete with cidilla, ready for copy ‘n pasting.
First attempt: Cruise fashion. Second: Flu sachets. Then Blue sessions. After Plusa Shoreditch, I decided it might be time to try a different route.
She was right. One of the best bits of infographics I’ve ever come across.
A friend said ‘I knew about the Russian losses, but the scale of Chinese deaths was a revelation to me.’ It was to me too, but the thing that really struck me was the power of good infographics to make those Russian losses, which we all ‘know about’, come to life. You just sit there mouth agape watching the column grow, thinking ‘how much higher?’, and it just goes up, and up, and up…