I heard a rumor that my writing was bleak. I’m not sure if I believe it or not. The way I see it, not everything has to have nihilistic or apocalyptic undertones. Sometimes we can appreciate the happy things — the puppies and kittens and sunshine and rainbows.
Though of course, in an apocalypse, all the puppies and kittens will be dead and no one will be around to see the sun shine. And I’m not sure if we’ll have rainbows, either.
But anyway, I wanted to put aside the tough topics and the tough questions for one week, just to say, “Hey, Digital America, I can be happy and friendly, too.”
Kind of like Google.
Have you seen their new logo? It’s really aggressively friendly, and there’s something fundamentally wrong about that.
First of all, it goes without saying that this is the equivalent of Big Brother dressing in cardigans to look like Mr. Rogers. We know that you’re spying on us, Google. We know that we are the product you’re selling. And let me be honest with you: I really just wish you would tell us that.
Yeah, I know that’s unrealistic — not to mention the fact that it would be a horrible business strategy — but I like honesty.
(Speaking of which, I watched Liar Liar on Comedy Central the other day and I want my two hours back. I mean, my God, the trailer alone annoys the hell out of me. Maybe it’s that I hate kids in movies. I don’t hate kids, but put a kid in a movie and it’s unbearable. Doubt my theory? Think of any sequel that sucked, and think about the worst part. Ghostbusters II? Tried to introduce a kid. Star Wars: Episode I? Everyone hated that kid who played Anakin. So much so that I’m pretty sure it ruined his life. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull? Indiana Jones has a son. And okay, technically he’s a grown son, but no one would disagree if I counted Shia LaBeouf as a child. You get the point. Kids in movies are the worst. Keep them out. And don’t watch Liar Liar. It’s awful. Besides that scene where Jim Carrey beats the hell out of himself in the bathroom. I really appreciated that. I’d watch two hours of that for sheer enjoyment. Not amusement or hilarity; just enjoyment.)
Yeah, but anyway… Google. I don’t think Google’s fooling anyone with this strategy. If Kim Jong-Un started wearing One Direction t-shirts and formed a Facebook account on which he posted Buzzfeed quizzes and Game of Thrones memes, it wouldn’t make anyone forget that he’s still an authoritarian dictator. We’d just think he was crazy… Which we already do, and he is. I completely expect him to invite Zayn Malik to North Korea one of these days.
Google is crazy if they think changing a logo is changing anyone’s perception of the corporation or making anyone forget all the shady things they’ve been in trouble for over the past decade. And I hate the fact that they’re trying to make anyone forget. Just tell me that I can’t trust you with my personal information, and I’ll respect you a little more. Because let’s be honest: Who can we trust with our personal information online? The Internet has become one big elementary school playground, where Johnny’s secret has already leaked to Susie, who leaked it to Fred, who leaked it to Jake, who leaked it to the principal, who leaked it to his wife, who leaked it to her part-time lover. You know that you can’t trust anyone, because one way or another, that information is getting out.
So Google might as well cut the act and be honest. They can change their domain name to google.gov. Change the color scheme and maybe integrate some Soviet designs. Change the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button to “Feeling Lucky, Punk?” Google’s freaking slogan is “Don’t be evil.” Toss that out A$AP Rocky. Maybe change it to “Be evil.” Or perhaps move in a different direction: “Four legs good, two legs bad.” Okay, well that doesn’t make sense unless you’re a pig named Napoleon, but if you’re a talking pig named Napoleon, use that slogan. Definitely use it.
(For the record, I never liked Napoleon the pig, but I preferred him to Babe. Babe wasn’t interesting, just somewhat cute. And once Babe went into the big city in Babe 2: Pig in the City, we realized he just didn’t have what it takes to survive in the real world. I wonder if George Miller’s proud of that movie, by the way. You know what I want to see? A crossover between Babe and Mad Max. Let’s see how long Babe lasts in a world of fire and blood.
And by the way, I know I’m sidetracked enough, but I shouldn’t attack Babe too much. It was really much better than the other 90s movies about animals. MVP: Most Valuable Primate? The title is just as egregious as the plot. Air Bud? No, it doesn’t say anywhere in the rulebook that a dog can’t play basketball. And my mom never told me that I couldn’t experiment with drugs with Charlie Sheen, but I just accept it as a given and I move on.)
The bottom line is this: There’s too much phoniness in this beautiful disaster we call the digital marketplace. Google’s pretending to be your friendly neighborhood Spider-search-engine-Mapquest-replacement-Amazon-replacement-Hotmail-replacement-(okay who uses Hotmail?)-book-alternative-social-media-proto-artificial-intelligence-type-thing. McDonald’s is pretending to be a hipster establishment. Apple is trying to make you forget that the watch has been dead since… Oh, yeah, pretty much since a company called Apple invented and popularized a smartphone that told you the time anyway. KFC is doing… Well, whatever KFC is doing. There’s always been dishonesty, but I mean, give me a break. This is all just laughable.
Do us all a favor, Google. Just be evil. Or, I mean, don’t be. That works, too.