The price of freedom is eternal vigilance

amber lightFrom 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.

2 Responses to “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance”

  1. 1 Richard October 19, 2009 at 9:37 am

    At least Microsoft’s cunning plan is now clear: they made Vista suck deliberately so that people couldn’t help but upgrade to 7. I lost count of the number of people who said when it launched, “Meh – XP seems fine, why would I upgrade?” Clearly Bill Gates swore never to make that mistake again.

    In related news, you’ve heard about the Windows 7-themed Family Guy special? Clearly this spells the end for the intermittently funny Simpsons descendant. Matt Groening at least mocks his corporate paymasters on his show. Seth MacFarlane’s Dyson-esque latch on the corporate teat is almost incomprehensible. He’s already rich – just how much money did they have to offer for him to produce an animated version of the preposterous Windows 7 launch party idea?

  2. 2 Tim Phillips October 19, 2009 at 10:46 am

    At times like this you need to know you can trust those your allies and Family Guy concerns me:

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