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Last week at work, while making the corrections to a case study layout, one of the markups was to change a section headline about fingerprint scanners which are used for security at a school, from "Making a whorl of difference" to "Making a world of difference". Now, I had thought that headline was quite clever when I was first copying in the content, and it made me smile. But the request to change it set me off. What?! I fired off an email to the colleague in the US office who is responsible for the case studies to ask if he really meant for it to be changed since it was directly punning on the use of the fingerprint scanner and the requested change wouldn't make any sense at all in context.

"Oh," he replied, "I didn't get it." And neither did the other people who proofread and reviewed it in layout. He told me to keep it, but today I got the final changes back and his comment was that after further review and discussion, in which 50% of the people involved THOUGHT IT WAS A TYPO for "world" and didn't get the reference/pun at all, he was requesting to change it completely to "A one-touch approach".


I have a visceral reaction to dumbing down for the lowest common denominator. I get that things should be easy to understand, and that you want people to actually READ your content, and not just skim it, but gah. I don't know if I'm more offended that people thought it was a typo...meaning that they didn't realize it was a WORD or annoyed that they didn't get the joke. Wouldn't you hope that if someone saw that, and didn't know that word, they would look it up? Seems like too often that's too much work for most people. And frankly, much of the time, the people it is too much work for are much younger than me. Kids these days. Get off my lawn, etc.

Although, not MY kids*...since they've been drilled since childhood to look things up or ask someone if they don't know what a word means and often beat me to Google. *pats self on back and whispers "Good job, mom"*

I know that in order, as Jim Jeffries says in his viral Gun Control comedy sketch, to keep society moving, we have to play to the slowest 1%. But that seems so BACKWARDS. Why shouldn't they keep up? Why should progress slow or regress because some people can't get up to speed? Especially when it comes to vocabulary...definitions are a click away. It's just not that hard.

And another thing. Strangely, or maybe not so strangely, it's also something that peeved me from my American colleagues. In our monthly partner newsletters, we provide links to all of our latest case studies from around the world that were published during the previous month. Some of our countries/regions, but most reliably the US, request to have all the case studies removed that aren't "valid", by which they mean, aren't from their own country/region.

To me, this means that people who get that newsletter, from that particular region, live in a bubble. They miss out on great success stories and relevant, interesting projects around the world, if they only see the 1 or 2 that happened to be from end customers in their own country. All of our case studies are published in English, plus the native language of the country they are from, so there's not even the excuse that they aren't valid because they're in a foreign language. And it's not just case studies. It's everywhere. Everything is tailored to YOU. You only see the things that are already related to something about you. Talk about helping to promote insularity. Who cares what happens or what's going on elsewhere in the world...we only want to see content that is from OUR PEOPLE. *rolls eyes*

And this is from the perspective of someone who doesn't daily swim in the flood of political bullshit, infighting, fake news and alternate facts that seems to make up most of America's broadcasting. It upsets me and makes me sad, when I see this kind of insidious small stuff that caters to the trend of ignorance and isolationism that has led to so much of what I think is wrong with this world.

GAH. Wow, this post went south quickly.

In other extremely boring to anyone except me news, I finally ordered replacement door shelves and a vegetable drawer for the ones in our refrigerator that have been broken for years. So, that's one thing off my long-term to-do list, yay me!

Reading recommendation (thanks to John Swinburn and Chuck Sigars)...if you haven't already read it, pick up or download a copy of The World Without Us by Alan Weisman. Engrossing, engaging, thought-provoking, horrifying, and heart-rending. It's at the top of my Books You Must Read List along with Anthony Doerr's All The Light We Cannot See and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (there are others).

NOTE: while writing this post, I stopped to check spelling on several words and one surname, and find two sources and relevant links. Granted, I'm sitting at a computer, but nowadays we carry computers in our hands, constantly. There's no excuse for willful ignorance.

*I believe that children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way.** Dammit.
**Whitney Houston
mood: annoyed
music: Lena—Neon (Lonely People)


OK, so I don't really pun or get punning, although this is my deficit (I don't have this particular humor gene, but I appreciate the cleverness--and none of this applies to headlines, which can be an art form of punniness).

And to be a little contrarian, I sort of get it. If they don't understand the joke, they wonder why someone else would (since, in their know). But I feel your frustration.

Mine would be people who joke the joke (comment on a joke by making the same joke, also an art form but a STUPID one). I'm starting to think the world without us isn't a bad idea. Or without them. Maybe just them.


Weird...I never thought of punning or getting punning as a particular humor gene, but I think you are right. At least you can appreciate the FINE ART of it, which is more than some people can do. Heh.

And after reading that book, I think the world without us is an EXCELLENT idea. Or maybe just them. Yeah. That's it.

From Megsie

Oh, boy. Truth: I had never seen the word "whorl" before this post. I DID look it up and realized that I use "whirl" instead. Another Truth: I look up words when it affects the meaning of the text in a way that I don't understand the text, otherwise I skip over it...(is that shameful?). I agree with the "LOOK IT UP" notion. I say it all the time. Even in class. While I am teaching. Dammit.

Also...I just listened to this:

It seems to fit with your scenario about how individualistic we (in the US) have become. It did give me a little hope...

Good for you for ordering new stuff for your refridge. I painted the ceiling! (I had to bring the paint that I purchased THREE years ago to be remixed before I could do that.) We are on FIRE!

Re: From Megsie

There it is! I found it and unspammed it. I will listen to the link tonight (before or after the England vs. Croatia game). And good for you for both looking it up AND encouraging others in the same behavior! Yay! So funny that you had to take the paint back to be remixed...haaa! Totally something I would do.

From Megsie

My "real" comment was marked as spam...I got a message when I hit post. I think it was because I have a link in there...sorry!

Re: From Megsie

For some reason, I didn't even get to vet the comment marked as spam. Sorry to you, too!! :(


It took me a while to finally read this. I now understand that you and I are soulmates, if such an affiliation exists. Willful ignorance is, in my universe, an unforgiveable flaw, punishable by deportation to a galaxy populated by Trump clones and their apologists. I have to think that the attitudes calling unfamiliar case studies "invalid" are shaped by fear. Not of the unknown, but of the known that exposes the familiar as feeble and inadequate. They must believe their own case studies are weak and insubstantial in comparison to their more cerebral counterparts from around the globe.

Congrats, by the way, on the vegetable drawer, etc.

It's the little things that make life bearable. New vegetable drawers are one of them.

Way behind here, but. You are completely right that people are looking for an individualistic life experience. It's a really interesting thought. If you think about the web, we see that *everywhere*, so it's no wonder that it's beginning to seep into the real world. Websites give you ads about how many people in FRANKFORT, KENTUCKY (why is it always in caps?) have bought some product, and sites want you to log in to customize your experience so they can show you the most relevant links. I think it's a side effect of the information overload problem. There is so much content out there to consume that it really is only natural to look for THE most relevant pieces of information...but you do miss so much else that's valid and enriching.

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lizardek's obiter photos
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I can complain because rose bushes have thorns or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.

Abraham Lincoln

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Findus the cat as used in my user icon and header is the creation of Sven Nordqvist.