Thursday, 13 December 2007

The Future of Politics & Advertisements Little annoys me more than the poor decision-making skills of authors when it comes to branding the future. The names and ethnicities of politicians strive to shock but elicit nothing but groans. There will never be a President Osama bin Reebok, III. Nor will "Hail to the Chief" ever accompany Madame President Wendy Shorty-Muhammad into the corridors of power. I understand why science fiction writers want their future to reflect the marginal values of the present, but there will never be a President who sells half his name to a shoe company or spent her formative years in porn. (There might be a Muslim President one day, but years of poorly thought out speculative fiction make the name difficult to consider soberly.) Similarly, pharmacies of the future will not stock medication with names like "Happitol" or "Blissbutrin." People will not ask their pharmacist whether "Breathix" is right for them, or what the recommended dosage of "Muscledrine" is. Medications will not be "cleverly" christened. Actual people don't need the Head-On Apply-Directly-to-the-Forehead approach to naming medications. Except apparently they do. Seems I'm wrong about the future. The present too, for that matter: On page 40 of the latest issue of Rolling Stone appears a phrase straight out of bad science fiction: "President Barack Hussein Obama." A year ago that phrase would've clunked like so much speculative overkill. ("A President whose name almost rhymes with 'Osama'? Not likely. We'll see Little Oral Annie in the Rose Garden first.") Page 41 of the latest issue of Rolling Stone consists entirely of an ad for Abilify, the latest and most ghastly named entrant into the already crowded field of antidepressants. (Possible side effects include "an inner sense of restlessness or need to move," but be careful, because Abilify "can affect your judgment and motor skills," so if you need to move avoid cars and heavy machinery. Don't ask anyone for a ride either, because Abilify may cause permanent abnormal and incontrollable facial movements that send people the wrong signal.) All of which is only to say that while the future may be now, it lacks imagination. It could've been so much better, if only we'd applied some Thought-On Directly Where It Reels ...

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