Monday, June 23, 2014

Would You Bet Your Life on a Segway?


NOTE: These essays are all reproduced from my defunct blog "Random Notes". All are cited in "The Return of Malaise", mentioning my many analogies between Obama and various individuals, all made during his first presidential race (mostly during the primaries). I confess I underestimated his chances, and anticipated too much press scrutiny (easy to do as he received absolutely none), but looking back, my criticisms still seem quite valid after one and one half terms as president. I may have called the race wrong, but my descriptions still ring true to me.

How many people recall the marketing hype surrounding "Ginger"? Back in the early part of the year 2000, there was all this talk of "Ginger", a new invention which would change the very way we lived. It was revolutionary and new and most of all, undefined. It was the best marketing pitch one could hope for, as all its claims could not be tested since no one knew what they were describing. Anything can be true when you don't know what they describe.

Unfortunately, every pitch eventually has to deliver, and the same for "Ginger". And when it did it was... the Segway. This goofy looking crossbreed of scooter and parking meter is going to change our lives?  If Moses had gathered up the shattered tablets and said "Guys, it was just a joke" it would have only been slightly more of a let down.

Move ahead seven years, and we see Ginger Mark II. Except this time instead of using vague claims to pitch an unknown product, they are using vague claims to pitch an intentionally undefined politician. Obama is the second coming of the Ginger marketing plan. Rather than a platform or political beliefs he has "change" and "hope". He won't tell us what he believes, where he is leading us, anything. He is an unknown being sold with hyperbolic hype.

And just like the Ginger, he is getting tons of favorable press, and a huge amount of word of mouth.

And just like Ginger, as we learn what is behind the hype, more and more people are feeling tremendous disappointment. And more will come to feel that disappointment, as his real beliefs become ever more clear. He won't be able to hide forever, and, when he finally comes out form behind the curtain, the disappointment about Ginger won't hold a candle to the disappointment many of his backers will feel.

As I ask in the title, would you bet your future on a Segway? Well, why wager it on an unknown like Obama?

Originally posted in Random Notes on 2008/08/21.



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