Thursday, April 17, 2008


Depending on how it is used and by whom, the word "product" can take on more trajectories than the inside of a dog's ear.

Drug users, eager for the means to scratch their particular neural itch, are wont to approach other individuals variously known as dealers or pushers, wanting to know, Hey, man, you got any product?

Neighborhood garage and repair services telephone regional distributors in search of product, supermarket managers seem always to be after shelvers who are invariaby named Larry, to for Chrissake get more product up on the shelves, and managers of motion picture theatres grouse incessantly about distributors who don't distribute enough product, which is to say film, to fill a mini mall cinema. Book publishers, increasingly run by MBA grads named Helmut or Franz, wanting to be more discriminating in their production of product and thus a book has become a product and is judged not by literary merit but by how many units it has moved in a particular time span.

It is like the Colbert Report writ extra large, where a few writers meet at day's end for a beer or two and one broaches the subject, Hey, how much product you get done today?

It is bad enough that in contracts you are hereinafter referred to as author, not Fred or Sam or some such thing but hereinafter referred to as author and your counterpart is hereinafter referred to as publisher.

This is an agreement between Author and Reader, executed on this eighteenth day of April, which is kind of funny because there was a poem that begins, Twas the eighteenth of April in seventy-five/Hardly a man is now alive/Who remembers that famous day or year...but I digress, this is not the midnight ride of Paul Revere but the contract executed between writer and reader in which the writer affirms and warrants that all characters herein displayed are original and do not trespass on the copyright of another.

Thanks, Helmut or Franz. And guten tag and a happy zeitgeist.


R.L. Bourges said...

And may the Force of the Zeitgeist be with you, sir.

lettuce said...

more trajectories than a dog's ear - thats a great image!

your post reminds me, yesterday I overheard two arty types discussing yesterday, in the Tate Britain restaurant - one of them was saying that the word "manufacture" comes from "Manchester".

seems unlikely to me.........