From time to time, in order to protect ourselves from those who would subjugate us with needless conference calls and kill our spirit with pointless blue sky thinking, we need to be aware of imminent and terrifying threats to Talknormalism. That’s why I’m raising the Talk Normal Crap Defence Readiness Condition to CrapCon 2 this week, its highest level yet. Well, the only level yet. It puts us on guard that there are people who would destroy everything we stand for to achieve their aims. That’s why there is a little amber light in the column on the right. Ha! Take that, world.
The reason, of course, is the imminent launch of Windows 7 and the marketing drivel that accompanies it. Most software launches contain their fair share of meaningless aspirational twaddle spoken by paunchy men in casual shirts, but Microsoft has always outperformed the market in this respect. Older Talknormalists will recall the launch of Windows 95, which included displaying the Microsoft logo on the Empire State Building and sailing a four-storey-high Windows 95 box into Sydney Harbour (a feat of self-regard copied later on the Thames by Michael Jackson. Draw your own conclusions).
This is an image from that era which will haunt me for a long time:
You make a grown man cry. Indeed.
Fast forward 12 years, and for the launch of a product like Windows Vista most sensible companies would have coughed gently and stared at their shoes. Microsoft parked a stage in the forecourt of the British Library and put on a concert by The Feeling to Crank UP the Wow! (their emphasis on “up”) as fearful academics cowered inside and waited for guys in branded polo shirts to sod off.
You’d have thought that the evidence from the Windows 95 video would have warned the PR company not to do anything to encourage Microsoft employees to dance. Maybe permitting them to jig about self-consciously is less embarrassing than letting them speak? We’ll soon have plenty more evidence to help us decide. Until then, I wish you luck in the dark days to come.