It’s all in how you say it

Adam Griffiths

Right now, I’m enjoying a “nutrient-enhanced water beverage” and designing a page layout on my laptop that really embodies “the speed and screen area of a professional desktop system in the world’s best notebook design,” while sitting in a building that has a “fully equipped HD television production studio, a 150-seat interactive auditorium and lecture hall and a converged student media newsroom.”

Before class, I listened to a voicemail on “a revolutionary and magical product that is literally five years ahead of any other mobile phone.” When I walked to class this morning, I crossed “an engine for economic, cultural and workforce development in the region and beyond.” I saw a few officers from “one of the first nationally accredited law enforcement agencies in Ohio and the second university police department in the United States to be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies.”

Students were reading about the victories of “an experienced conservative leader in the tradition of Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, and Ronald Reagan” and the still unsure race between “a tough critic of the administration’s bungling of Iraq” and her opponent who “continues to speak out on the issues that will define America in the 21st century” in “all the news that’s fit to print.”

Does any of this actually mean anything?

Now before all the public relations majors jump down my throat, let me clarify. I’m not bashing your work. Advertising and public relations are amazing, lucrative industries – they get us all to go out and spend money on things we never really knew we needed until we were exposed to the product of their efforts, to think about things in ways we never knew mattered.

But why are we buying into these ideas? Am I really an “aspirational man” if I buy “the highest quality, casual, All-American lifestyle clothing” at Abercrombie and Fitch? It’s notable that, as a corporation, Apple’s mission statement really doesn’t define a mission for the simple reason, as someone posted in an online Mac forum, that “a company that aligns itself to a mission statement is basically saying it is not willing to be flexible enough to change, adapt, innovate, or invent anything outside of the prescribed mission statement.”

The first 192 words of this column were pretty worthless, but they prove a point.

When it comes down to it, I was drinking Vitamin Water and designing a page layout on my MacBook Pro while sitting in Franklin Hall. Before class, I was listening to a voicemail on my iPhone. When I walked to class this morning, I crossed the Kent State campus. I saw a few Kent State Police Service officers. Students were reading about the victories of Sen. John McCain and the still unsure race between Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in the New York Times.

I just said the same thing as above, a whole lot of nothing really, in 85 words.

Think before you speak, before you need and – most importantly – before you invest or spend.

(Credit to all the various organizations and companies mentioned above for the direct quotes from their Web sites.)

Adam Griffiths is a sophomore information design major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].