Tuesday, April 08, 2008


That is the sound of an idea. A recent issue, the March 24th, of Time Magazine was dedicated to them. They mention the term paradigm shift, referring to a fundamental change in perception, such as when people started to realize the Earth was not the center of the universe. Not only did I find the ten ideas listed to come nowhere near that benchmark for the term, most of them are already old-hat.

1: The Common Wealth- Yes. Wouldn't the world be nice if we were all rich and happy. Well drop this stupid, hippy idea and wake up to reality. This concept has been floating around for decades. There will always be amazingly rich people and amazingly poor people. It's the end result of an economic spectrum. Going global with this just means we'll have rich and poor countries. And, sorry to say, the world economy is far ahead of any humanitarians in thinking globally. Business is very worried about the environment, world peace, and all these other great ideals because problems in any area mean lost money. This article is almost superfluous because people already know these things.

Oh, and 100mpg cars in 2030? Try 2010. We'll have those running around in very short order with $10 gas.

2: The End of Customer Service- Apparently, those self-checkouts at Wal*Mart are a paradigm shift. "...the need to interact with human beings is quickly disappearing." Anyone who has interacted with those HAL-like nightmares knows that there is still a very big place for human interaction. Especially after waiting at a kiosk behind a 4,000 year-old woman as she tries to figure out which way to swipe this new-fangled credit card.

3: The Post-Movie-Star Era- The death of modern Hollywood has been predicted before. People have known that big name stars do not correlate well with move success for some times. They should have talked about the emergence of the 15-Minutes-of-Fame era, compliments of the internet and YouTube. Big name stars will continue to be a thing because their names mean little, only that a big name is attached, thus indicating a big movie. They mention Ratatouille, Alvin & The Chipmunks, and Transformers as bucking the system. No, idiots. The big names in those movies were the brands, themselves. You didn't need big stars to advertise that it was a big movie.

4: Reverse Radicalism- What? Ok, fine, studying terrorists. I'll support that. But a paradigm shift?

5: Kitchen Chemistry- Again, a paradigm shift? I think not. They set up a straw man in the opening paragraph by saying "you've been cooking like an idiot. You press on meat... to guess how rare it is; you trow spagetti at the wall to see if it's done; you add an amount of salt that looks pretty... If people made medicine this way, we'd all be dead." We are not changing the way we cook forever. Many people are very precise, analytical, and scientific about their food. We've been this way for centuries. Hell, 300 years ago, food was more scientific than it is now. This not new. People have been precise, anal, and analytical about food for a long time. Oh, and molecular gastronomy has been around for decades. It has not caught on because it's a niche product.

6: Geoengineering- This is a good idea, but certainly not a paradigm shift. These ideas have all been around for some time. In the early days in an effort to manipulate the weather for farming.

7: Synthetic Authenticity- Basically a business model. It's been around since at least the 60's and pretty much defines modern marketing. And seriously, there is not such thing as a paradigm shift in advertising.

8: The New Austerity- Yet another credit doomsayer. He lists all the previous doomsayers who were wrong in the first paragraph as though that gives this doomsaying credibility. The fact that I kind of agree with him notwithstanding, this isn't a paradigm shift.

9: Mandatory Health- Paradigm shift? New idea? Really? Go ask Milton Hershey who created Hershey, PA as a healthful haven for all employees. They could live there on the cheap... as long as they exercised, didn't do anything naughty, and were early to bed, early to rise, and all that rot.

10: Re-Judaising Jesus- There are so many fucking splinter groups of Christianity, they've given up the ability to have a paradigm shift. Every idea, EVER, has been posited and discussed. Nowadays, you have a paradigm shift by switching religion, which for many people, according to a recent study, happens once every few days.

No comments: