11 June 2024

Congratulations, Graduates

… and welcome to a cold, hard world that will do its best to squash whatever dreams, humanity, integrity, and common sense you have left. For you college graduates, don't forget those student loan payments, which will just accelerate the decline of Western civilization — and your self-respect.

  • In a bit of trademark news that brings a (rather vicious) smile to my face — the sort of smile that precedes "My, what big teeth you have" — McDonald's lost another European trademark battle, even more seriously than another instance of IP bullying that appears in every casebook on US copyright law. One's eyebrows should have been raised anyway, but "Big Mac" as a chicken sandwich or restaurant name is an almost textbook example of trademark overreach. Schade.
  • In This Style, 11/6 (note the date today…) did, after all, originate with a haberdasher probably driven insane by the toxic chemicals used in Victorian-era hat manufacture. What that says about this company is for another time… and probably a couple Big Macs.
  • That's less objectionable, though, than the "I inherited it so of course I deserve an above-market-value sale price that will accrue to me and not the shareholders" issues surrounding Paramount. Hint: This is about the arts. Even if you're solely focused on the business side, you don't "deserve" more just because you inherited it and are living decades in the past (besides which, you'll never notice a few hundred million in funny money here and there given what you'd realize from even a substantially below-market-value sale of something to which you provided exactly $0 in capital contributions). We're just not going to get into… damn, confidentiality and nondisparagement agreements. So I can't say what I really think, or more than just "think." I do, however, have to acknowledge that at least Paramount/Viacom/National Amusements isn't a bank (which is searching pretty damned hard for something less disreputable about the whole thing).
  • Paramount's marketing has, for the last couple of decades (if not longer), and throughout the entire group of "related companies," been just about as effective and cost-efficient as, say, the average indie author. Especially when those efforts are not focused on marketing that the author can actually control.
  • My marketing efforts would probably be blank spaces — I dissent from the intellectual dishonesty of accepted marketing memes. (And I dissent from damned near everyone involving the context of the underlying dispute.) But hats off to the museum for using the dissent as a means of dialog, which — regardless of the content of that dialog — is a good thing in the arts.
  • <SARCASM> But I've never seen, experienced, or struggled against suppression of dissent. It's post-Vietnam now: We don't do that any more. Or at least don't get caught doing that any more. </SARCASM>