Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Wednesday, October 01, 2021

gummy
That “Make Face Time” advertising campaign for Dentyne, which has been accompanying me on the subway, has moved full-bore to the Web.

Begging the question: How does a call to action that rejects the online experience, play online? The answer: With a time limit.

[The campaign website] opens with a warning announcing that it will shut down after three minutes. “When people are surfing the Web, they’re missing the best part of life — being together,” it reads.

The site includes a Face Time Finder, powered by Google Maps, to locate places to meet offline. The Smiley Chamber of Doom takes aim at the “annoying” emoticons that people use to express humor or sadness in e-mail or instant messages, showing them being killed by fires and sumo wrestlers. An essay contest asks users to write about how social networking has led them to be “disconnected to the people that matter most.”

The campaign’s online presence was a particular challenge, said Craig Markus, executive vice president and executive creative director at McCann Erickson, part of the McCann Worldgroup unit of the Interpublic Group of Companies.

“There was a real paradox in that we want to have an online presence, but wait a second, we’re telling people not to be online,” Mr. Markus said. “That’s where we came up with the idea of the three-minute Web site.”

Yes, it’s a bit gimmicky. And considering they’re targeting the fresh young things who need to chew more gum, it might be a self-defeating message:

“This is a false dichotomy,” [sociologist Zeynep Tufekci] said. People use online tools as a way to be more social, she said, updating their acquaintances on what they are doing and making plans to meet in person. Her research has shown that people who use these tools have just as many offline friends and spend just as much time with them as people who do not socialize online.

Point taken, but I don’t think it’ll go as far as a backlash, i.e. “Screw Dentyne, I love my Facebook so I’m not going to chew that dorky gum!” Ultimately, this positions Dentyne almost as a comfort food, and so associates it with specific mood enhancements. That, and the unique look and tone of the ads, come together to make it all stand out and resonate, mostly positively.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 10/01/2021 09:14:13 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Food, Internet
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I usually take pains to not steal headlines when blogging, preferring to roll my own. But in the case of the BBC misquote of U.S. General David Petraeus on the insurgent “existentialist” (actual “existential”) threats to Pakistan, the title topping this reaction from Foreign Policy blogger Blake Hounshell is just too perfect for me to not re-use here.

As for the fanciful speculation that this rare confluence of philosophy and politics has produced:

But I wonder, what would an existentialist threat to Pakistan consist of? Suddenly, madrasa students are reading Sartre and Camus instead of memorizing the Quran and the Sunnah? Nihilism replaces Islamism as the reining ideology of tribal militancy? That, to me, sounds like positive change.

Actually, I think the Taliban carries enough xenophobia to relate to Sartre’s “hell is other people” quip — although with a wholly different interpretation than that found in the standard existentialist worldview.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 10/01/2021 05:56:51 PM
Category: Comedy, Political, Wordsmithing
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durn it
I’ve known about the National Hockey League rule that prevents goaltenders from being designated as on-ice team captains. But before the Vancouver Canucks had named Roberto Luongo their off-ice captain yesterday, I didn’t know just what had prompted that rule:

Only six goaltenders have served as team captains in NHL history. The Montreal Canadiens’ Bill Durnan was the last goaltender to serve as captain in the 1947-’48 season.

Prior to 1948-’49, the NHL passed a rule prohibiting goalies to act as captain or assistants in what could be called the “Durnan Rule.” The Canadiens keeper left his crease so much to argue calls that opponents protested, saying that Durnan’s actions gave the Canadiens unscheduled timeouts during strategic points in games.

Basically, the goalie is too busy being “in the zone” to hassle with the refs, which is what the player wearing the “C” does (or the “A” for assistant captain, which is what the Canucks will employ this season when it comes to arguing calls, with defenseman Willie Mitchell doing those honors). So Luongo’s captaincy is largely ceremonial, probably more for locker-room pep talks more than anything else.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 10/01/2021 04:32:21 PM
Category: Hockey
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just whine, baby
At 79, it’s a cinch that Al Davis and his famed “Raiders mystique” probably won’t be around this mortal coil for much longer. If the end is nigh, he’ll certainly be going out at the top of his maverick game with his news conference lambasting the sins of just-fired head coach Lane Kiffin:

At one point, Davis read a letter that he sent to his former coach that detailed mistakes made on and off the field by Kiffin. Davis finally concluded that he fired the coach for cause because he “disgraced” the organization, citing everything from conflicts over personnel moves to outright lies to the media.

That “lies” part was the overriding theme:

So, Mr. Davis, tell us what you really think about Lane Kiffin.

“Just a flat out liar.”

Could you expand on that?

“He lies. He’s a professional liar.”…

To hear Davis tell it, the coach he thought was a boy wonder when he hired him turned out to be a back-stabbing ingrate who was looking for a new job before he even finished one season and whose first question upon learning he was going to be fired was “Are you going to pay me?”

The short answer is no, and did I mention he was a liar?

And finally, because it goes into such exquisite detail on personnel and staff tensions, here’s that aforementioned letter that Davis allegedly sent to Kiffin:

September 12, 2021

By Hand Delivery and Federal Express

Dear Lane:

Over the past months, you have made a number of public statements that were highly critical of, and designed to embarrass and discredit, this organization, its players and its coaches. I left you alone during training camp in hopes that you would cease your immature and destructive campaign.

However, you continue to make public statements that are critical of the organization, its players as whole as well as individual players. Such statements constitute conduct detrimental to the Raiders and I will no longer stand silently by while you continue to hurt this organization.

Further, your contract is quite clear that you work “subject to the direction and supervision of the General Partner” and that the General Partner has “the exclusive right to do all things, which in its sole discretion are necessary to maintain and improve the Club, the football organization and their activities.”

I realized when I hired you that you were young and inexperienced and that there would be a learning process for you. Your mistakes on player personnel and coaches were overlooked based on our patience with you. But I never dreamt that you would be untruthful in statements to the press as well as on so many other issues. Your actions are those of a coach looking to makes (sic) excuses for not winning, rather than a coach focused on winning.

For example, with the exception of Gibril Wilson, you were involved in recruiting all free agents and determining salaries for them and you were explicit about your desire to sign Javon Walker and DeAngelo Hall amongst others. All were a must to sign in your eyes, Hall, in particular, because he played for Greg Knapp in Atlanta and Knapp gave him high grades. Do not run from that now.

I do realize that you did not want us to draft JaMarcus Russell. He is a great player. Get over it and coach this team on the field, that is what you were hired to do. We can win with this team!

In regards to your recent fabrications about the defense, during the final cuts you made every cut on offense and every cut on defense except for (Fred) Wakefield on defense and (Seth) Wand on offense. Furthermore, during the game Monday night (defensive coordinator) Rob (Ryan) played your Cover-2 defense and we got killed on an approximately 50-yard touchdown pass and an approximately 70-yard gain that led to a field goal.

You meet every week with the defensive coaches to go over both the past game and to get a general feel for what will happen during the week in practice. You have the ability and authority to provide your input during those meetings and the preparation of the game plan. I do not have weekly meetings with Rob — you do.

During the week no one has ever told you what to do on either offense or defense. In addition, no one has ever told you during a game what to do on either offense or defense and you call every play on offense. During a game if you want to blitz more, all you have to do is let Rob know what blitz you want and he will do it.

Although you continue to use the media to express your dissatisfaction with others, no one has publicly pointed out to you that in four preseason games and one regular-season game played this year, your offense has scored one first-half touchdown. That put tremendous pressure on the defense.

I know that you wanted to bring your father in to run the defense and that Monte told me that he wanted to come here even though he as (sic) under contract to Tampa. However I did not want to tamper with another team. In any event that was over seven months ago. Do not now also run from the defense and your responsibilities.

This letter constitutes notice that if you further violate any term of your contract, in any manner whatsoever, you will be terminated for cause. I trust that this will not occur.

A.D. Football, Inc.

Like I said, if this is Davis’ final act, it’s quite a corker. If it hadn’t already, I’d say that the Raiders mystique officially has departed Oakland. As has winning, probably, until Davis is out of there.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 10/01/2021 11:47:50 AM
Category: Football
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