84 Lumber and the Reclamation of the American Narrative

It finally dawned on me not long ago that if you don’t control your own narrative, people will happily control it for you, and almost certainly to your detriment.  It’s true in day-to-day life, and it’s true for the larger social and political discussions.

Thankfully, some companies with marketing dollars to spend are beginning to get it.  Tonight, 84 Lumber stepped boldly and brilliantly into the fray.

“’Ignoring the border wall and the conversation around immigration that’s taking place in the media and at every kitchen table in America just didn’t seem right,’ said Rob Shapiro, the chief client officer at Brunner, the agency that worked with 84 Lumber to come up with the ad, told the Washington Post. ‘If everyone else is trying to avoid controversy, isn’t that the time when brands should take a stand for what they believe in?'” (via Heavy.com).

The unfortunate reality of 2017 America is that we cannot avoid controversy, because there are dangerous forces at work that rely on that tendency.  We have to speak out or our political system will be hijacked in the same way most institutional religion has already been hijacked.  Just because someone grabs the microphone and yells into it does not make him or her an authority or a spokesperson.  Let me be clear.  Franklin Graham and his ilk do not speak for me as a Christian, and Donald Trump and his fellow oligarchs do not speak for me as an American.

And it’s not even about liberals versus conservatives and other social constructs wielded like clubs to divide us.

I can understand why someone would not vote for Hillary Clinton (as I noted on my very possibly final Facebook post, I never thought I would).  I can understand why someone would want to be fiscally conservative (I would like to be, if joining that club didn’t come with so much socially reprehensible baggage), or even on the conservative side of moderate, overall.  What I cannot understand is how anyone could take an objective look at the way the Trump administration has governed in the first few weeks and think “yeah, this is what I voted for.”

You can be conservative and not be an asshole.  You can dislike Hillary Clinton and not be an asshole.  You can want change in our country, and not be an asshole.

But I’m beginning to wonder if you can approve of the job Donald Trump has done so far, and not be one.

Oh, and before I forget.  What a choke by the Falcons tonight.  One more example of how things never go my way in sports.  But the ads were good.  A lot of much-needed positivity and genuine patriotism.  And even though she is way after my musical period of interest, Lady Gaga killed it.

Ad Blocking as Social Activism


“As a user, I’m ecstatic about Content Blockers. Some might say it’s not morally acceptable to block ads, but when publishers reach the point where a single 80 KB article weighs 6 MB, maybe it is time for a wake up call.”

via MacStories.

I’ve used Adblock plus and other ad-blocking solutions for as long as I can remember.  I don’t see a moral issue in any context, but when content providers load up pages with so much excess bloat, there’s no moral issue with blocking them.  To the contrary, I believe there’s a moral imperative to block them in their tracks.

I spend a fair amount of money to avoid ads.  I never watch TV in real-time, so I can skip ads.  I rarely listen to traditional radio.  I skip over ads in my podcasts (though, in fairness and loyalty, I already use many of the products who place ads in the podcasts I listen to).  If there comes a time when some content I like goes away because folks block their ads, oh well.  Figure out a better way to do it.

It’s not that all ads are horrible.  Just most of them.  But there are exceptions.  I will stop fast-forwarding and rewind a Subaru ad on TV.  They are that good.  I’m not getting tracked.  The ads don’t bloat my TV and stall my experience.  They’re just well-made, minimally intrusive and interesting.

Unlike almost all of the repetitive and bloated ads people want to heave upon us on the web.

Social Media Question of the Day: Does Anyone Really Want to “Connect” to Brands?

This question, in one form or another, has bugged me for years.  Some people wonder if Bigfoot is real.  Or if there is a God.  Or if there are any women Herman Cain won’t hit on.

I don’t wonder about any of that.  Here’s what I really want to know…



Is there someone sitting down at his or her computer this very moment thinking “I wonder what Target is doing?”  Or “I think I’ll tag General Motors in a meme.”

I think it’s stupid to (capital F) Friend a non-person on Facebook.  I’m  (capital F) Friends with one cat, and the Guy on a Buffalo band, but that’s about it.  I don’t really want to be (capital F) Friends with my grocery store or the pizza place down the street.  I go out of my way to avoid contact with people trying to part me with my money.  I sure as hell don’t want to volunteer to be marketed to.

This whole connecting with a brand business is nothing more than a desperate attempt to recreate the dying traditional advertisement business.  It’s a volunteer brigade of allegedly easy marks cleverly compiled in the name of targeted advertising.

So, is there anyone out there who doesn’t have skin in the game who really wants to “connect” to a brand?  If so, please tell me why.