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Friday, October 20, 2006

Corporate graphics make me tired...Notes on my Weller observations and Sunday bombings...

I do plan on posting a few things that are actually relevant to Content Done Better and the online writing industry today. First, however, I feel the need to tackle two unrelated matters.

Generic corporate graphics.

See the picture accompanying this post? I hate it. I hate it and I hate the ten million other photos you see online every day of Mr. and Ms. Generic, Inc. doing office-y things in their office suits.

I hate the pictures like the one here that try to convey an emotion or attitude. I found this one under "frustration," for example. I really dislike the "team" ones where a well-scrubbed collection of people wearing black or gray business clothing pretend to be working on something together in front of a white background. I hate the generic customer service woman ones where the model is smiling and wearing a headset. Why is her head always cocked to one side? I really hate the ones that involve someone pointing at a graph.

Why must we continue to be assaulted by lousy generic business graphics every time we want to buy contact lenses, look at mortgage interest rates, or get a home business tip?

There are millions of awesome photographs by great photographers. There are interesting pictures out there.

Are you building a website? If so, please resist the urge to put the smiling generic businessman graphic in your header, okay?

Jerry Weller and Radiological NFL Games.

The NFL bombings remain nonsense. The Weller scandal isn't "breaking" yet.

I wrote a long rant yesterday about how horribly the media handled its gatekeeping role on the whole "NFL stadiums at risk of terror attack" bunk that turned out to be some kid's goofball idea of online fun.

Last night, I watched Keith Olbermann discuss his frustration with Homeland Security and their use of scare tactics. Although I usually like Countdown and have a tendency to agree with KO, he was off-base on this one. I don't care WHAT Homeland Security or anyone else says. The media is not under an obligation to report things that don't constitute news. You can be critical of government scare tactics, if that's what you think is goin' 'round, but the NFL bomb nonsense lands right in the lap of our traditional news media, who have given us another reason to doubt their skills at separating wheat from chaff.

But, is the new media any better? I ruminated on that yesterday with respect to the Jerry Weller story. The rumor is that Weller may have engaged in some hanky panky with a young page once upon a time and that the story will soon break. I've been tracking this one carefully, because the original rumors bandied about didn't seem to have a lot of immediately evident credibility, yet they spread like wildfire within a single day.

If you check right now, you will find literally hundreds of people typing about the Weller scandal as if it is fact and not just mere innuendo. Another day has passed, though, and nothing seems to be happening in terms of an actual evidenced argument that he did anything wrong (with respect to the page thing, anyway).

The old-line media let us down again and again. The "War on Football" is just an obvious recent example. It would be nice to believe that the citizen-journalists populating the blogosphere could do a better job. If one uses the Weller thing as a litmus test, however, there doesn't seem to be a great deal of hope. Two or three high-profile bloggers named Weller and the only evidence I can find from any of them specific to the Illinois rep. seems to come from someone who merely claims to know someone who knows it's true.

Even if it turns out to be true, you have to question the way this has been handled by the blogosphere. If it isn't true, this democratized version of information and news sharing is going to look just a little more like an editor-less version of The Weekly World News.

If that's the case, I might as well just let the ingrates at Fox News terrify me with b.s. reports of news that isn't.

UPDATE: It's beginning to look like the Jerry Weller scandal can get tossed into the same dumpster as the NFL bombings. File under "reports to get people all riled up that lack a substantive basis?" Maybe the alleged Weller/page thing will break, but it's looking less likely. The Chicagoist offers a reasoned perspective on the whole mess.