Tuesday, March 19, 2013

It Bears Repeating

I've submitted my share of research proposals over the years, and while I took every one of them very seriously, I don't think it criminalizes anyone to acknowledge that despite every effort, the quality was not always the same. Some ended up better developed, or more innovative, or benefitted from a better technical grounding. And some of the basic ideas were just more compelling than others. Nor, I think, does it damn anyone to note that when one of the turkeys tried to pass itself off as a duck, it compensated for a lack of sound reasoning and good science with a whole lot of extra-bouyant marketing-style weaselspeak.  "This innovative concept will revolutionalize the paradigm..."

Sure, talking your concepts up is a necessary evil, but you can also tell that an idea is fundamentally hollow when it reaches a critical level of bullshit self-praise. There's a point where you need to show, not tell, as the writers say. Sales is a lot more natural when you understand and believe in the advantages of your product, as marketing people know. And all I'm saying is that if you have to put on your cover page, in gigantic letters, "A Responsible, Balanced Budget," there couldn't be a bigger tell that it is neither of those things.

And look, it's actually a lot worse when you believe writing it and parading your smirky "professionalism" makes it reality.  That's delusional.  It's cargo-cult territory.  Putting on a suit and jumping around with that dynamic-but-serious clown act doesn't make you business savvy any more than rolling around in your big 5.0 makes you enormously endowed.  Word to your mother, fucktard.


David Marlow said...

Hey Keif. That was really really good. You start with a deceptively mundane (sorry) open topic -- I mean, you know, proposals are all the same whether they're for corporate or grad school. Then just as you're ramping up the frustration level, Screech's picture makes itself appear in the down-scroll, and you know what's coming. And you delivered.

Sorry if this comment is coming off as a critique of humor or whatever. It's trying to be me saying, "That was very well done." I know. "Praise, indeed," says Elinor Dashwood. But it gave me a satisfied smile I've not had in a long time, and the weather has me really really really down in the dumps. So, I guess thanks.

I think Letterman has one writer whose sole purpose is to scour the boards, if you will, because last week he did a short blurb with this Ryan quote:

"... because we’re not going to give up on destroying the health care system for the American people."

Timing, obviously, had to be there, etc., but Dave's set up was beautiful. Like, well, yours.

P.S. Are you guys watching this seasons's Hell's Kitchen? (Careful! Your answer will determine my Tuesdays for the foreseeable future.)

Keifus said...

I'm not sure I deserved that for this post, but thanks. But it's true that I have written zillions of technical proposals--it used to be my job--and yes, the egregiously bullshit ones are a piece of cake to spot. (Maybe I should share the joke with the rare old friend from that world.)

Yeah, my favorite part of Hell's Kitchen so far is when Ramsey booted off the dorky unserious guy straight away. "Hell's Kitchen is no place for comedy," he dismissively exhales.

The hell it's not, Gordon! I mean you have fully half the cast made up of deranged fuckups that no sane person would ever give a job to, and also have no apparent cooking skills, never mind (an extended internship for) a high-profile one. And these mutants as of yet haven't been rolled out the door, clearly kept around for ratings.

I do like that loud Nedra woman. (Not that anyone will ever replace K-grease for me.) I have it on the old Bostonian dude to win (local pride), but there are for or five that are apparently competent.

Jeebus, if you were going to go on that show, you just might practice cooking a few scallops and pans of risotto beforehand. Buy a pile of deliciouis Wal Mart steaks and get a feel for doneness. They do appear to get trained somewhere offscreen for the menu items, but still, this show's been on for a hundred fifty seasons by now.

Also, I wonder if we, as viewers, underestimate the whole skinner box aspect these people go through. Locked up on a set for a few weeks can't be bringing out the best for these people, especially the weirder ones.