Friday, June 27, 2014


A diversion from Math-Frolic fare today… I've long admired Cathy O'Neil's penchant for addressing all manner of subjects over at her Mathbabe blog, especially her vigilant watch over our corporate/financial overlords (so blame Cathy if you don't like the following diatribe ;-))
In a slightly similar vein, I can't help being a bit skeptical over two recent lovely videos that have gone more-or-less viral. I love these videos as much as everyone else… but would frankly love them more if they came from a government agency or a non-profit, rather than from corporate entities.  Corporate America has itself to blame for my cynicism in wondering about the motives/sincerity behind these offerings from Verizon and Procter & Gamble. It would be nice to imagine that some company CEO woke up one day, and said to himself, 'I want to do something on behalf of my daughter and all her peers, and dammit I've got the money and the position to do it.'  But it seems just as likely (or moreso?) that a marketing or "Mad Man" whizkid approached some corporate officers saying 'hey, we just thought of a great way to burnish your image with 50+% of the population' (or in the case of "Always," virtually 100% of their customers) -- I mean how many marketing tests, focus groups, surveys, research-hours, psychologist-consultants, and Big Data number-crunchers were employed before the below videos ever went live?

I grew up in the 1950s when companies were presumed honest and trustworthy until proven otherwise.  Starting somewhere 'round-about the 1980s that began to change, until by today, due to my own experiences and those of friends, I feel required to operate on the assumption that businesses are dishonest and deceitful unless proven otherwise. I'm not even sure that truly honest, ethical businessmen have much chance of long term success in today's America. It's a distressing thing to go through life, or even through a single day, constrained to distrusting each sales and business person one encounters (...but it's more distressing to be continually ripped-off).

Anyway, if somehow you've missed either of these recent vids take a gander… the sentiments are lovely and ought be passed along far-and-wide… I just wish I didn't feel the compunction to question motives.
Further, I wonder if we've reached a state in this nation, where only corporate entities have the $$$, the creativity, the mass reach and resources, to produce and distribute such important messages… I hope not:

...In the event you prefer some mathy reading for the weekend I have a Friday potpourri list up over at MathTango.

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