A Monthly Meditation on Branding and Language
From Your Favorite Copy Shop, Editorial Emergency

#41 (June 25, 2010): Metaphors of Hauntedness Blues

Woke up this mornin' and wrote a newsletter to you/ Said we woke up this mornin', babe, and wrote a wordy but, one hopes, enjoyable newsletter to you-ooh/ Got us talkin' 'bout museums, Facebook and grave-robbin' too. (And just about a pint of Not Our Clients.)

Talkin' Museum-Talk Blues

Image"The exhibition will ... interpret the blues as a mode of expression and affect relevant to a broad spectrum of visual art practice. 'Blues' is guided by a revisionist impulse ... The exhibition will be organized around a set of topics ... : the ubiquity of repetition; the performance of abjection; ecstatic and cathartic expression; ... and metaphors of hauntedness."

How do you take an exciting art exhibit about the blues and turn it into this? If, in fact, Robert Johnson is in his grave, he's rolling over.

I've been hearing forever how the audience for public arts is aging its way to oblivion and must be replenished with a younger, more diverse cohort. Why, then, do museums continue to speak the impenetrable, eggheaded argot of the academy? If they just want to attract art-history majors, great — but what about the diverse crowds they purport to crave? I DID study art history and can barely make it through the "blah blah blah" above.

Read the rest here.

Befriendship: Birth of a Meme?

ImageWe love Facebook. Maybe too much. Want to know one thing we don't like about it? The codification of "friend" as a verb (as in, "Friend me on Facebook"). This social-networking version of bonding manages to simultaneously cheapen the English language and friendship. Our proposal: Replace it with the infinitely more jovial "BEfriend" (as in, "Befriend me on Facebook").

To this end, we've started a new Facebook group, Friends of Befriending. We ask you to visit the page, click the "like" button, take the pledge to "befriend" rather than "friend," and share it with those you've, ahem, befriended. It's a bit of an experiment — how many sticklers, word nerds and language-loving gadflies can we get onto our bandwagon? If this works out well, we'll turn our attention to "Facebook" as a verb, as in, "He Facebooked me." Which sounds like what a kid did to me in the third grade with his copy of "A Child's Garden of Verses." Man, did that hurt.

Round and Shiny: A Horror Spoof You Just Might Dig

ImageMy abiding love of horror movies is no secret. This month, I direct my fellow devotees of darkness to the indie picture I Sell the Dead, which does justice to its straightforward title (no one seeking Kate Hudson rom-coms, I'd wager, will rent it by mistake).

It is indeed a tale of grave-robbers seeking a big score. But this inventive, atmospheric little period piece unearths considerable humor as well as corpses, adopting a tongue-in-cheek tone that owes much to Sam Raimi's Evil Dead franchise, Roger Corman's psychedelic '60s spookfests and the more playful output of U.K. shudder factories Hammer Films and Amicus Productions.

Read the rest here.

Not Our Clients: World Cup Runneth Over Edition

We get it: You're excited about the match. But next time, take the extra minute.

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No, first make the sign, THEN drink the Guinness.

For another month's worth of stout-hearted spills, visit Not Our Clients. Ready to serve a yellow card over some hooligan-ish harm done to the language? This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it If it plays our vuvuzela, you'll score an iTunes gift card, redeemable for such numbers as "I Get a Kick out of You," "Ain't That a Kick in the Head" and just about anything by Saigon Kick.


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