The Consumer: Posting Patterns in the Shed

  • by February 23, 2006
Okay, so it's the 9th. The column's due on the 16th. I've got a pitch on the 17th. Better get started. Must remember to pay my bills on the 15th. It's a Sunday. Wonder if I'll have to work that day? Okay. Nonlinear. I could murder a cup of coffee. The French eat lots of butter and they don't get fat and don't have an unusually high incidence of heart disease. I'm sure that if you provide your body with fat regularly enough it won't store it unnecessarily. Screw the skim milk. It never tastes right in café au lait anyway. Or café con leche, as they say in that bakery downstairs. I always thought there was condensed milk involved in café con leche. There was condensed milk involved in the crepas dulce de leche I had on Saturday night. They were excellent. Very sweet but good.

...Nonlinear media. What the hell is that, anyway? Some new term for integration or something? All this new media stuff's getting out of hand. Iraq, too. Another 18 people killed today. By suicide bombers dressed as policemen. Did I pay that parking ticket? I think I wrote a note to Jennifer asking what the hell nonlinear media was. It's been a while since I've been out for a curry...

...Okay. Something to do with not reading magazines from cover to cover. Jumping in and out of stories. Hmmm, interesting. What was it Einstein said? I wrote that down somewhere. Would it be in my files? I need to write that brief for the brewery. I don't know why it's taking so long. I've got the idea already, why can't I just do it?

...Okay. Here it is: "Words or data as they are logically written or spoken do not seem to play any role in my primary mechanism of thought. The physical entities that seem to serve as elements in thought are certain signs and images...It is clear to me that the desire to get to logically connected concepts can only be a secondary stage, when the associative play of images is sufficiently established." What a god. Imagine being so smart that you could analyze not just the things you thought but the way you thought about them. Bloody brilliant. That marinated octopus was really good. It's always fun eating with Dr. Bob. Hmmm, e-mail from Lisa. Wonder if she's coming to the shoot tomorrow?

...What was it that Bob used to say? The mind is e-logical -- we're driven by emotion, not logic. Feeling comes first. I need to send that link to Callum. I had no idea he was interested in historical novels. Confirmation bias. I wonder if that's why we jump around when we're online or reading magazines or watching TV? Because we want to confirm what we already believe rather than challenge it? Hmmm. Doesn't sound right. I'm sure it's simpler than that. Nonlinear. Nonlinear. Nonlinear.

...Can you make media nonlinear? Surely that would just mean forcing another arbitrary convention on people. Instead of beginning, middle, and end, you have middle, middle, and slightly off-center. People don't want to be forced into stuff. I guess it's more about making media accessible to people however they choose to use it. What was the name of that movie? Russell Crowe. I can't believe he got away with throwing the phone at the guy in the hotel. Money talks. Need to go to the bank. Bugger. Forgot to call my mum.

..."A Beautiful Mind." There was that great scene: His wife thinks he's contained his madness only to find him locked away in his shed looking for a pattern of codes in thousands of newspaper clippings stuck to the wall. But that's what we all do: Look for patterns to find meaning. That's probably why we jump around so much when we consume media. We're looking for patterns. Sounds a bit complicated. This nonlinear thing is complicated, isn't it? Just what we need -- another buzzword that clients won't have a clue about but will still use as the reason we're not the agency to do it.

Maybe media needs to mirror our minds better. Now that would be nonlinear.


Paul Parton is the brand-planning partner at The Brooklyn Brothers, a creative collective. (

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