The Green Door #22
September 2000
Pseudo Intellectual Claptrap for the '90s and Maybe Beyond

Are We Motivated Yet
In my travels through the land of cubicles and windowless offices, I have always been highly annoyed by those framed supposedly motivational posters. They usually feature a black background, a picture, a word like risk or persistence, spelled R * I * S * K or P * E * R * S * I * S * T * E * N * C * E, and below the word a supposedly motivational phrase.

There are so many reasons for despising these things. How I hate thee, let me count the ways...

They are complete crap. The sort of crap people buy for people they have to buy gifts for but don't know well enough or care enough for to buy something that doesn't completely suck. I feel so blessed that no one has ever thought so little of me to give me anything from Successories. My suspicion is that the people who buy these things, buy them based on the picture, not the power(1) of the word being glorified or the meaningfulness of the supposedly motivational phrase.

Once this insipid crap gets hung up, especially in common areas, it remains on the wall forever. Never once motivating or inspiring, just a constant reminder of how much crap accumulates in today's world and how powerless anyone is to repel it, a daily reminder of one's inability to control the immediate environment around them. Not exactly motivational, but at least a daily reminder of something.

From experience, I can tell you there is very little glory to be won sitting in a cubical or middle management office. Opportunities there for heroism are rarer than a funny Yakov Smirnoff joke. Workers are headcounts, available to be laid off or outsourced for short-term gain. There may be honor and satisfaction from a job well done, but no glory. Insipid motivational posters make a mockery of any dignity one can salvage from these environments. (It's amazing they still let me work for a Fortune 500 corporation. Well I'm part time so I don't count as a headcount).

These things do however remind us of the lesson that nothing is all good or all bad. The good? It took me a while to recognize it but it's a good good. If someone has one of these things hanging in their office or cubical, it's a coded sign that the aware can read as "Warning: you are in the presence of a complete putz; proceed with caution; avoid contact whenever possible".

(1) "Armed with a powerful word we set off into the night". During a memorably pleasant evening and after a great meal, I learned to appreciate the power (for good or bad) that a word can have. But that may or may not be another story. Probably not.

Dumb Advertising (Twice)
Clorox has a TV ad in which two bottles labeled "bargain bleach" are watching a youngish man dressed in jeans and a dirty T-shirt enter a Laundromat with a bag of laundry. As the man pours a cup of bleach, the one bottle says to the other "He's gonna need a full cup of Clorox to get that shirt clean". Luckily a busybody hot young woman shows him the error of his ways and makes him pour a full cup. Later the man, with a now clean shirt, and the lady leave the laundromat together. There are two versions of this commercial, identical except that one features white folks and the other black folks. The bleach bottles in both versions have generic working-class white accents. Aren't there any African American sounding talking bleach bottles? And if there are, are they made of black plastic?

Why are the talking bottles labeled "bargain bleach" when there is no comparison made between bargain bleach and Clorox? Usually premium priced products justify their higher price by saying that they are more effective than the cheaper stuff and that a little goes a long way. Clorox not only doesn't justify their higher price but also urges you to use twice as much. It's an interesting marketing strategy.

If Clorox is so much better than bargain bleach, why don't their bottles talk too? When a talking bleach bottle is empty, do you recycle it or would that be wrong, like killing a dolphin?

Did the guy wash his clothes naked? One of the things many women enjoy about being in a relationship is that they consider their wardrobe to be doubled; like a woman is going to go with a guy without a change of clothes. What's he going to wear?

I'm done. - Scoats


The Green Door is a mostly monthly zine published by Scoats. E-mail: scoats at greylodge dot com. (c) Scoats 2000. All rights reserved. Most wrongs unintentional. Reproduction permitted as long as it accompanied by this entire paragraph. If you do reprint something, please let me know.

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Last updated on 08 January 2003.
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