Friday, January 27, 2012
Initialisms, among other things
I had a capacious thirst from having walked the streets of downtown Washington, D.C. for several hours. I bought a large, capacious bottle of Gatorade sports drink, which was in the process of trying to write itself out of existence by changing its name gradually but perceptibly to only 'G'. Why have for your product's name a recognizable, concrete thing when you could transition your "branding" to a meaningless abstraction? This was the question Gatorade had asked of itself and answered on its own, without assistance. It was in this way similar to the public radio distributor American Public Media, soon to become a trio of letters whose bond and claim to a corresponding meaning were irrevocably severed. This may not seem important, and yet it is. The fashion is for abstraction, high-mindedness without deeper meaning. Not that consumer products are an area from whence to derive a great deal of meaning, but it feels like we have started a car rolling down a hill without any plan on how to stop it. George Orwell said it best.