Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Time well spent

This is the Whole Earth Catalog.

It came out in 1969.

Printed on newsprint, in hot type and black ink.

It is an instruction manual for the world we have just begun to live in.

The subtitle is “Access to tools.”

A line that would work today for Charles Schwab, Williams-Sonoma, Adobe.

The Whole Earth Catalog contained some of the earliest references to:


Solar heating

Dry wall screws


and a bunch of other stuff you can now get down at the mall.

It was embraced by people who viewed commerce with contempt, who mistrusted the Man. who were both deeply idealistic and reflexively cynical.

They pored over it, learned from it--and bought things from it. Lots and lots of things.

If you make ads, you could do worse than spending some time with the Whole Earth Catalog. You can find it, cheap in digital form, not so cheap in analog, on its direct descendant, the internet.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Totally authentic bullshit.

In this week's Adweek, someone named Kamau High wrote a nonsensical piece entitled "Six Trends You Should Know." Trend #1: Authenticity.

The idea of authenticity as a fashion is so richly ironic and so sad, because it suggests that the author (and most of his readers) have no fucking idea of what authenticity is.

Authenticity is not a trend. It is the result of not knowing or not caring about trends. It's a Carrhart barn jacket on a farmer, not on a hipster. It's barbecue in the Texas hill country, not at Hill Country. It's the Paris in France, not the one at Epcot.

The greatest thing ever written about authenticity--what it is, and why it matters--is Julian Barnes' novel England, England. Read it. You won't be sorry. Then continue on with Mr. High's article on 2008 trends.

Trend #2: Faux Traditionalism.