You’ll Remember the Guy Who Used All Those Big Words (with Bonus B. Kliban)

I have had containseggs readers ask me what the “goddamned right I’ll be heard” line in the site masthead means. And by “readers” I mean one religious friend who was mildly offended that it says “goddamned.” The other 12 daily visitors move on and continue searching for egg recipes.

For sure, it’s not based on any religious hostility. I am agnostic, which means I’m an atheist but I’m just not a fucking asshole about it. Fundamentalist atheists are as annoying as vegans and Deepak Chopra.

Instead, like most important guidance in my life, the line comes from a Modest Mouse lyric:

“Well I’ll go to college and I’ll learn some big words
And I’ll talk real loud, goddamned right I’ll be heard
You’ll remember the guy who used all those big words he must’ve learned in college.”

I have long found this a perfect perspective on puffed up academic and intellectual self satisfaction. It occurred to me again the other day when I saw people on LinkedIn and Twitter sharing this and clamoring to be clever by proxy:

H2H

My immediate reaction to this was, “Oh, fuck off. Don’t you have a TED Talk to give somewhere?”

Sure, there’s merit to the notion that we communicate more directly and personally than ever. But that’s not new. Smart marketers and sellers in any business have always realized that people think and buy emotionally and personally above all else. It’s true if you’re a consumer buying shoes or a CEO signing off on a $10 million software purchase.

The guy unveiling “H2H” in the picture is Bryan Kramer. I didn’t know of him before seeing this. Looking him up, he’s a deservedly respected CEO of a company called purematter, which has an electric portfolio of content marketing for some big name clients.

And he’s a smart marketer, creating an early buzz for the “Human to Human’ concept that, alas, is also the name of his upcoming book. People are eager to associate with a big thinker’s Next Big Idea:

H2HSycophants

 

But “human 2 human” is an idea contrived solely for its own existence. It’s there to be talked about and fawned over, not to do or invent or solve something, nor to challenge us emotionally or artistically. It’s an intellectual fart that we celebrate as an achievement, ignoring its fleeting presence and pretending not to notice its staleness.

All of which reminds me of this outstanding cartoon by B. Kliban, an immaculate commentary on intellectual self satisfaction:

Intellectual

Kliban was most famous for drawings of cats that overshadowed his other brilliant, subversive and hilarious works. If you’re not familiar with Kliban, do yourself a favor and check out some of his collections.

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