SATIRICAL NEWS SITE 'THE ONION' TO WRITE SATIRICAL ARTICLE

According to sources close to the matter, satirical news website "The Onion" has plans in the works to write a satirical news article. 

Reports indicate that the upcoming humor piece will be framed as a piece of actual news, though it will not in fact actually report news. "We'll use the cadence, syntax, vernacular and general writing style of a news article, but we'll actually just be saying normal, boring things that people do," one source was quoted as saying. This, according to experts, is called "satire."

A second source confirmed that "We will likely make up quotations to support our satirical argument, and then attribute them to unnamed contributors." He added "This, we've found, is funny." 

The juxtaposition of a mundane life event or typical human habit presented within a news-like environment creates the opportunity to not only lampoon the News Industry itself, but to also make fun of people for doing and/or enjoying things that many Americans may do or enjoy because they are not cool.

"Haha, yeah. I guess that part's a nice perk," said a senior Onion staffer. 

As of press time, a 19 year old graphic design intern was seen laying copy into a visual format which resembled the layout of typical web news content. 

I'm doing this new thing now.

I have decided to perform an experiment. 
I will, in every meeting I am in, and in reply to every company-wide email, reference the movie Speed with Keanu Reeves.

I have three co-conspirators that are aware of this experiment. The game ends when someone not involved mentions it to one of them. 

Today has already yielded an opportunity. 

---

Someone offered an extra iPhone charger to the first taker. 
Then let us know that it was gone.

Please stay tuned, mom and other person who sometimes accidentally reads my blog probably. 

 

Why are we all such f***ing d*cks?

If you're reading this, you probably work in advertising. 
And that's good, because I've got a question for you. And for myself. And for all our colleagues around the country: Why are we all such fucking dicks?

This is a creative profession. Not, as I've said before, creative in the sense that we are all artists creating art for Art's sake. But ultimately we are asked to produce creative content. And the first problem with creative content is that its value is wholly subjective. What's good to one might be hackery to another. It's an absolute truth, and we all know it. So with only that caveat in mind one might find it a bit surprising that we are so comfortable speaking so negatively in such absolute terms about one another's work. But we do. Oh man, do we.  

Perhaps not the greatest offenders but likely the most visible examples of fucking dickery live in the comments section of our industry's very prominent gossip blog AgencySpy. We tell each other: don't go there. Don't read the stories - especially about your own stuff. And, for the love of God, don't read the comments.

But we do. We can't help it. And what do we find?
Well, let me give you some context. Here's an ad featured just yesterday (December 16, 2014) on AgencySpy: 

I'm choosing this feature because currently it is the most recent one on the site. I didn't work on the ad, or touch it in any way. I don't work at BBH. And while I'll agree that it's not The Man Who Walked Around the World, it's not bad. It's visually interesting and pretty well executed. So what did our commenters on AgencySpy have to say?

Well the top comment literally derides it for not being as good as the 1986 music video for John Lennon's "Imagine". So... I guess, take that, BBH. 

Another commenter piled on with

"I agree. This is pathetic. BBH NY will never be BBH UK with this small minded thinking."

Extra Dick Points for the username, "Caputo is kaputt'o" in an actual personal swipe at actual Human Being with Feelings GCD Gerard Caputo. The comments were no kinder from there. Look for yourself if you like.

And while it's true that this is literally the comment section (the troll's breeding ground) of a gossip blog, it's also true that this is not only typical of the sentiment seen all too often in our industry, it's actually pretty light. I have personally been invited to kill myself based on ads I've done. And look, I'm not saying this ad necessarily needs to be praised or emulated; remember I just grabbed it because it's the most recent example. But Jesus, people. 

We all know how ads are made. We know that ideas aren't produced in a creative vacuum. First of all, we're hired advertisers. We're supposed to sell something, which means there's a filter on everything from the jump. We're not writing a short film. We're writing a short film that sells shoelaces.

But we soldier on. And that idea we have three beers deep and jot giddily into our notebooks before going home and sleeping the sleep of the Creatively Righteous has to run a fucking GAUNTLET before it appears on-screen. We have creative partners. Creative Directors. Planners and Strategists. Account supervisors. CLIENTS.

Remember clients? The guys that pay us to have ideas? THEY get to pick which ideas to produce. And even with the best pitches, with perfect strategy and impeccable research, and the best account team with great client relationships, and fully brilliant creative, they don't always choose our favorites. They don't always choose the most creatively compelling concepts in our eyes. They aren't always as excited as we are to risk a quarter of their marketing budget and their jobs along with it so that the edgy Bill Hicksian piece of social satire we created comes to life, when they feel that a simple price message will do. And maybe they are wrong. Or maybe we are. But ultimately it's their decision, and that can suck sometimes. 

But let's not forget:

budget, production company, set design, location, wardrobe, actors, directors, editors, animation, CG, post work, music, mix.

Look at that list. Literally any one of those things, done wrong, can break a spot. Just wreck it.
Now put a celebrity in the mix somewhere. You think they won't affect the outcome? That means you haven't worked with one yet.

And don't forget that during that whole process, everything is going back through cycles of approval and adjustment through the same line of people that approved the original idea. Then maybe your client's CMO has to pass it to the President, or the CEO. Or the board. Maybe they have problems with that one shot that you love. Maybe it dies right there. Suddenly you're a hack. I spent an entire month living in Chicago away from my wife, friends and family producing five television spots that I hope no one ever finds. It wasn't that I didn't want them to be good. And they weren't bad because I (or my agency, or creative partners for that matter) was incapable of having better ideas than the ones that made it to the screen. But man, the spots were bad. It happens. It's a reality of our industry.

But even though we all know all that, and also know that even if this were a pure piece of creative made in a creative vacuum, subjectivity would reign, we tear it apart. We call work pathetic. We call people hacks. We belittle entire agencies that literally represent some people's life work. We are fucking dicks.

And here's a final thought: many of us have been taught that good creative requires empathy. Empathy with your audience. Get in their heads and understand what they feel and what they want, and you'll understand how to move them. So we try to understand the Inner-City Youth, the Suburban Housewife, the All Mighty "Millennial". Foodies, Gearheads, Music Lovers, Victims even. We are willing to try to understand where they are coming from so that we can speak to them on their own terms. But people in our own industry, in the same positions, facing the same realities that we do? We assume that their creative output and yes, what we perceive as their creative failures, can only be the result of their creative incompetence. And we say so. And though we hide behind the veil of Internet Anonymity, the people we rip apart are not anonymous. They are right there listed in the credits. And they are reading what we write. 

So my question to you all, and to myself, is again: Why?

 

Why I'm Not an Artist

Because artists create for creation's sake. 
And that's not my job. Not yet. 

What I'm doing now - sharing my thoughts, for the sake of sharing them - is not my job. This is a blog. It's mine. It's free-form. And easy. There's no pressure here. No way to fail. If this ends up awesome, I look awesome. And if it's not awesome, hey it's just a blog post. Get some perspective, guys.

This is writing for writing's sake. Bloo blah. Blippity dip foo-fa. Crapsneeze. Papertoes. See? I can say whatever I want. You can't stop me. This is mine.

My job is writing ads. So what I should be doing, instead of writing a blog about what I should be doing, is writing a script. A script for a television commercial. One that captures the attention of the audience while also, obviously, reinforcing my client's brand truths and benef- REINFORCING MY CLIENT'S BRAND TRUTHS AND PRODUCT BENEFITS? Ahh yisss. The writer's dream. Eat your heart out, Ernest. 

But see? I'm complaining. And I shouldn't be.
I should be working. Because this is my job. I write for a living.
No, I don't always get to write what I want. Or about what I want. 
Not for my job anyway. 
Maybe someday, my job will be to write only the words I want. About only the things I want. 
Don't get me wrong.
I do want that.
I want it more than nearly anything. I'll keep working toward it. And I believe I'll get there someday, sooner rather than later.
 
In the meantime, I'll do my job. Because somebody at some point along the way decided that I write well enough to say to me: "Yes David. I will pay you American dollars for writing words. I need good words to be said about certain things. You write your good words about those things and in return I will give you dollars. Many dollars. Dollars enough to buy food. And clothes. Enough to buy a house even! And enough to pay your bills and have cable TV and Internet access and a website, on which you can complain about the nature of my generosity. All this in exchange for your words. Can you do that, David? Can you do words for me? For dollars?"

Yes. Yes I can.
I will write you words, Man With Dollars. 
And I will do it now. 
Just as soon as I post this to my blog. 
 

WRITING ADVICE IN THE FORM OF BAD WRITING

I have interns. It's so dumb. The fact that I'm in a position to offer advice on career or craft to others should scare them at least as much as it does me. I don't think it does though. They're young. So I get to write stuff like this email I just sent them - rambling, semi-coherent and unedited - and pass it off as wisdom. I'll probably hate it in the morning. 

The idea will seem simple… when you're done. 

In the meantime, keep looking. Work hard. Challenge one another. Kick each other's asses. Write and rewrite and don't forget to rerewrite. Watch your go-to Internet videos, and TV reruns and old movies and standup, and figure out why you watched them again. Steal from them: Not the idea, but the reason the idea was good. Don't be afraid to write the stupid stuff first. The bad stuff. Get it out of the way. Then maybe come back to it when you realize what the hidden gems were – that the pun wasn't the joke, the joke was that there was a pun. Put in long hours and late nights if you have to. (But don't if you don't have to.) Keep banging your heads against the walls and the desks and each others heads until something other than pink and gray goo comes out. Or just sift through the goo if goo is all you get. Look until you find something. Something you love. Clean it off, take its picture, and put it in your wallet so you can show all your friends. Then, sleep the sleep of the righteous. For the night at least. You'll probably hate everything in the morning. 

Goodnight!

10 Things My Wife Wishes I Would Stop Doing With Her Hair Dryer

  1. Using it to warm my feet while writing at my desk.
  2. Using it to warm my feet while watching TV.
  3. Using it to warm my feet any other time my feet are cold.
  4. Using it to remove unwanted cats from furniture.
  5. Using it to de-wrinkle shirts I'm already wearing.
  6. Using it as a space heater when I'm in the bathroom.
  7. Using it to pre-heat the sheets for re-entry on cold mornings after she goes to work.
  8. Using it to dry my socks after a wet bike ride.
  9. Using it to dry the dog after a wet walk.
  10. Using it to dry my hair. All my hair.

Judging the 17 People in the Coffee Shop Right Now, Based on Appearance, with Star Ratings

Three Baristas:
Four stars for style, tattoos, knowledge of bean-based drinks, and friendliness-despite-being-baristas. Minus one star for all looking exactly like baristas. Three stars each.

Old Man Across From Me Wearing Flannel and a Beanie:
First, points for being here. And points for the hat. Looks like James Cromwell as Dr. Zefram. Works quietly on laptop entire time. Vague air of legitimate intellectualism. Suspicions of professorship at Duke. Three stars. 

Lady using Lenovo Laptop Covered with Political stickers:
Two stars for bipolarizing subject matter.
"Kennedy '80" = plus three stars for nostalgic/idealistic value
"Hillary '08" = minus same three stars for choosing sides poorly
Two stars.

Four People Sitting at Table Together:
Conversation seems businessy. I don't like that. All are also very interested in and earnest about this bussinessy conversation, as though here by choice and not obligation. I don't like that either. Plus one guy is wearing pink shirt with spread collar, but no one points and laughs. One star each.

Lady in the Chair by the Window.
I'm not entirely sure hair was combed this morning, but I straight up lost my comb on Tuesday so I'm going to give some latitude. However, glasses are bright green. Even if spare pair because less-ugly glasses were lost Tuesday, cannot forgive. Finally, Apple sticker on back of Apple macbook. Two stars.

Enormous Black Man Crammed Into Small Chair Using an iPad Mini:
This is exactly how I always wanted to imagine Biggie Smalls, had he lived to be a hip-(hop)-ster in a coffee shop, rather than a hip-hopper in the ground. Just... well done. Five stars.

Two Coworkers Who Might Read This and I've Already Spoken to: 
Thanks for probably not reading. But just in case, Five stars each

Guy I Thought was a Girl, and Sort of Cute:
You get four stars for looking that good, and minus-two stars for making me question my sexuality, however briefly. To retain all four stars, could do one or all of the following: Cut hair, grow beard, wear sign. Two Stars.

Girl in Corner:
Well put together. Using laptop in-lap. Wait, just got up to get something - is wearing running tights to not run in. Also keeps scanning room with eyes. May be writing a competing entry on her own blog. I dislike that possibility. Two stars. 

Guy with Immaculate Beard and Air of Creativity who Somehow Pulls Off Manliness, Stylishness, and Ruggedness all at Once:
Me. Five stars.

 

How to Murder a Guy in Marietta

I travel a lot for work.
And, I’ve never murdered anyone.
But thanks to my newfound travel expertise, I feel like I could if I wanted to. 

You see, sometimes when you fly, there are layovers. Usually they aren’t long - not long enough to leave the airport and do anything. But still long enough to be really, really annoying. And when I’ve got one of these not-long-but-too-long layovers, I get bored. So I sit and think.
And I come up with plans.
This is one such plan.
Just in case.
Just in case one of you CROSSES ME.

Here's how it goes.

I live in North Carolina. My hired Murder Assistant (my plan requires a virtual stranger I've hired as a murder assistant) lives in… let’s say for the sake of argument and not because I believe all Italians are criminals… New Jersey. And let’s call this hypothetical character Dan, and definitely not Giuseppe, because if that was his name this sentence would be racist.

So Dan and I both have one-way flights either to or through Atlanta-Hartsfield, because pretty much every flight ever goes either to or through there. He’s got plans to go… some place near the airport, probably. I don’t care. Doesn't matter.

I’m heading through Atlanta and on to... the other place that doesn't matter for the purpose of this plan where I theoretically murder someone. Boise. Let’s say Boise. 

So I leave Raleigh. What you don’t know is that I’m going to kill the crap out of this one dude in Marietta, Georgia. NOT BOISE. 

How? Well keep reading, cop trying to Solve the Marietta Beard Murders. 
Here’s how I do it.

I use my ID to check into my flight at Raleigh-Durham headed to Atlanta-Hartsfield on my way to Boise. Records show that I passed through security, bought a skinny soy-chai latte from the airport Starbucks, and boarded the plane. Seat 86-C. Aisle seat by the bathroom because screw you David Sloan you sit back here and you like it. I pretend that I do like it there, like it’s my choice to sit there. That way I don’t feel so powerless that I want to murder someone in Marietta GA just to prove that I still have some control of my life. 

Where was I? Oh right. Marietta Murder.

So I’m on my way to Atlanta. Meanwhile, Dan McNotanItalianMobster boards a flight from Newark to Atlanta Hartsfield. No connecting flights. Just heading to Atlanta, only dressed a lot like me. 

But Dan and I have arranged an exchange at the airport. In a very brief and spy-movie type scenario. Probably involving chalk marks and a trashcan. I don’t know. Something badass like that. 

We exchange boarding passes and credit cards. I give him mine, and HE boards the plane to Boise. Because they don’t check IDs when you’re boarding your connecting flight. 

After all the other security in the airport, at that point they do nothing but scan a piece of paper and let you on a plane. So records indicate that David Sloan, not Dan, is in the air on his way to Boise. Maybe he’s buying something with David Sloan’s credit card in-flight. Maybe some Go-Go Wireless so he can email things to his friends, coworkers and family. Innocuous but very timestamped things. 

But really, I’m already on my way to Marietta. In a cab. A cab I'll pay with cash.

And boom: somebody... is ‘bout ta git murrdurrd. 

 

 

But not really. Relax.

All this is just a thing I've written for comedy’s sake.
So just chill. I’ll never use this plan. 

Not unless Dan talks.   

Ways I am/am not like a Great White Shark

Ways I am Like a Great White Shark:
I'm like a Great White Shark in that, in my work life, I like to stay busy. It's keep swimming or die in the advertising world, ha ha ha!

Ways I am Unlike a Great White Shark:
I don't live in water, eat seals, or have rows and rows of large, pointed teeth. I am unlikely to grow to be over 20ft in length. I cannot accelerate to speeds that exceed 35mph. I cannot be found in the coastal surface waters of all major oceans. I cannot fly or shoot lasers from my eyes. I don't speak Spanish. 

 

A super important development for us normal people

Just saw this Wired article last week:

Spike Aerospace is in the midst of building the first supersonic private jet. And when the $80 million S-512 takes off in December 2018, it won’t have something you’d find on every other passenger aircraft: windows.

The Boston-based aerospace firm is taking advantage of recent advances in video recording, live-streaming, and display technology with an interior that replaces the windows with massive, high-def screens.
— wired.com
Pictured: Finally.

Pictured: Finally.

All I've got to say is About F*****g Time. 

I hope America appreciates this milestone. I can't tell you how much it annoys me when I take my private jet somewhere and not only are we flying slower than the speed of sound (I'm not MADE of time, guys) but I'm sitting around looking out of tiny windows like some kind of caveman.

Windows? Holes in the side of a thing? That technology is like, a billion years old or something.

Look, I work hard for the simple things. Things that let an honest working stiff like me get where I want to get, when I want to get there.  Things like supersonic private jets.

And I certainly don't want to be looking through some stupid hole to see how fast I'm getting there (the answer is Mach 1.8, by the way). 

Finally I can soar through the air like a bird. Like an eagle. A bald eagle. Like an eighty million dollar supersonic bald eagle.

Just the way God, Jesus, and Abraham Washington intended.

Amen.

"Good is the Enemy of Great"

Bullsh*t.

Good is your job.

Good gets you paid. 

Good is the thing that you hope people think you are, because you work hard enough and long enough and leave enough of your forehead blood on enough walls to make them believe it.  

Good isn't easy. Great's easy. Great happens to everyone every now and again. But if you want someone to think you're good, you actually have to BE good. At your job. At the thing you do, for money, every day.

The enemy of great?
No. 

Good isn't the enemy of anything but good enough. 

To quote Penn Jillette paraphrasing Steve Martin, "It's easy to be great. It's hard to be good."

Do we want great? Hell yes. Of course we do. We all do. We're not stupid, unambitious or lazy.

And we all know greatness can be achieved. But the thing I believe nearly anyone who's created something great, something truly remarkable will tell you is this: It was a fluke. An alignment of divine circumstance and cosmic predilection. A bolt of inspiration that struck and suddenly blasted them into greatness during the course of their daily pursuit of good. Because good, my friends, is where you're standing when great happens.

So be good. Or shut up about being great. 

 

 

A List of Lists I'd Like to Write Someday

  1. 126 no-fail steps to unaided human flight
  2. My secret piles of money and their secret locations
  3. Times I made Bill Murray laugh-fart
  4. Flying uppercuts, attempted/landed
  5. The less than 10 people who do not like me
  6. Of the mansions I own, my six favorite, and why
  7. Cool nicknames I did not give myself
  8. Lists I finished
  9.  

Self-Evaluation Via Time Travel

I woke up on the morning of Feb 4th, 2014 to find my 10-year-old self standing at the foot of my bed, pen and clipboard in hand. He was more stern than I remember being, simply motioning with his head that we should be on our way.

We spent the day together, him silently jotting notes down on his clipboard as I showed him what my life was like 22 years into his future. Barring a few bright spots, overall he seemed pretty underwhelmed. I don't remember being such a judgmental, eye-rolling little prick when I was 10. Anyway he asked me for $20 in ones for a "time travel experiment" and disappeared when I handed it to him. 

The next day I received a tattered, worn, envelope in the mail. It was addressed to me, with the note "not to be delivered until Feb 5th, 2014." Very Back to the Future Part II. 

Inside, I found the following neatly-typed document. 

Screen Shot 2014-02-25 at 9.17.03 AM.png

Thoughts on Taking That Friend who Said a Smart Thing Down a Peg or Two.

Most people are dumb. Most, besides me and you. (Imagine I just said that last sentence with my hand beside my mouth, tilted conspiratorially towards you, so no one else could hear me tell you that. It's an aside.)

But even though most people are dumb - present company excluded of course (hand again) - sometimes, despite themselves, people say smart things. 

So how should you respond?

Obviously, you should acknowledge the smartness of that thing that was said, thus confirming your own smartness, at least insofar as your ability to recognize the smartness of smart things that are said in your presence. Otherwise people will be all, "Did you notice that Bill didn't even realize how obviously smart that smart thing I said earlier was?" and "Bill must have his head up his ass."  But you did notice, didn't you? Of course you did. You're smart.

However you don't want people who say smart things to get too full of themselves and start to think of themselves as better than or even equal to you which, obviously, no one is.

So here's what I suggest:
Recognize the smartness. Go for it. All in. Just go on and on about it. "How insightful!" "Very impressive!" "Never heard it explained that way!" "Really opening my eyes right now," etc. 

Then - and this is key - indicate your (pleasant! be pleasant!) surprise to find them speaking so intelligently. Continue your barrage of compliments with "...which is just so wonderful, you know, considering." Then nod and wink knowingly at them.

Now look at your watch. Gaze at the clouds. Wait for it. 

"Considering what?" they'll say.

"Considering... you know, what you..." Trail off here. Pretend to think. Hesitate as you feign the realization that you shouldn't finish your sentence. But then, meekly, you do. "...considering...what you look like."  

They will likely be offended, incredulous even. Now's your chance to clarify: "Your face I mean. Just your face. You know." They won't know.  "You just don't look... smart."

Struggle to explain. Use your hands. Pause. Appear to gather your thoughts. "Okay, wait. I'm not saying you're ugly. I'm not saying that. What I mean is that, because of how your face looks, and the stuff you usually say, you're... you know. Usually you say dumb things, with your stupid face. Right? Dumb-ish. Ohhh, you know what I mean. That's a nice tie Bob. I gotta go."

Aaaaand walk away.