Good designers are a dime a dozen, he said. Coming up with a great design solution is the easy part. The hard part, he said, is getting the client to
"But if the work is good, don't the clients know it when they see it?" I asked.
My boss just looked at me silently for a long time. And then, with gentleness and no small amount of pity, he reached out and patted me on the head: Poor kid.
David Foster Wallace, Branding Theorist, 1962-2008
Of all the ideas crammed into David Foster Wallace's sprawling 1996 novel Infinite Jest
, there was one that reviewers never failed to mention. In the future, Wallace predicted, the Organization of North American Nations, representing the merged countries of Canada, the United States, and Mexico, would sell off the naming rights to each calendar year to whatever corporation had the highest bid. 223 pages into his 1,079-page opus, he lays out the "Chronology of Organization of North American Nations' Revenue-Enhancing Subsidized Time (TM), by Year" as follows:
(1) Year of the Whopper
(2) Year of the Tucks Medicated Pad
(3) Year of the Trial-Sized Dove Bar
(4) Year of the Perdue Wonderchicken
(5) Year of the Whisper-Quiet Maytag Dishmaster
(6) Year of the Yushityu 2007 Mimetic-Resolution-Cartridge-View-Motherboard-Easy-To-Install-Upgrade For Internatron/InterLace TP Systems For Home, Office, Or Mobile (sic)
(7) Year of Dairy Products from the American Heartland
(8) Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment
(9) Year of Glad
According to some chronologies
, we're now in the Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment, when the novel was set. And Friday, in his home in California, David Foster Wallace committed suicide
There must have been marketing executives out there who read Wallace's visions not as a dystopian horror show but as a collection of brilliant revenue-generating ideas...