So. I got the thing home. Opened the box. Found two leaflets. Fine so far.
Now. In the morally ambiguous old days, one of these two leaflets would have been titled “Instructions for use”, and the other perhaps “Warranty information”. Although I think we used to use the word “guarantee” rather than “warranty” back in the (old) day. Must look up the difference. One leaflet would have given me a little picture of everything in the box and some guidance on how to charge my new tablet and switch it on. The other would have given me a string of addresses around the world where I could go if I had a problem.
Both for eventual filing under W. Although I have fond memories of my late uncle, who used to say: “In the last resort, read the instructions.” He would have been fascinated by my new tablet. Probably by Spider Solitaire, too.
Anyway. Times have changed. The two leaflets that came with my new tablet were both - both - titled “In search of incredible”. In capitals, but we don’t need to shout here. Every time I turn on the tablet, I see the words “In search of incredible”. In capitals. One leaflet gives me (brief) instructions (on where to find the online instructions) and the other talks about warranties. If you go in search of incredible, you find a signpost to an instruction leaflet and some warranty information.
I had a Toshiba Portege laptop a few years back - loved that machine - and every time I turned it on from dead it showed me the words “In touch with tomorrow”. If that promise meant anything, and if it didn’t literally mean “in touch with the day after today”, but “tomorrow” in the larger sense, I guess I should be hearing from it soon. We’ve gone past Skynet’s awakening, and the future in Back to the Future, and now it’s my Portege’s turn. Can’t wait to hear what it has to say.
But do we need to be told that technology is so impressively ahead of itself? Or so earnestly in search of an adjective? Doesn’t it trust its own capacity to amaze?
My problem is, I have an issue with the word “incredible”. It’s today’s meaningless emphasis-word. People work “incredibly” hard. A challenge is “incredibly” difficult. Give yourself a point every time a media interviewee uses “incredible” or “incredibly”. You’ll score big.
I’ve given up boring people with the difference between “less” and “fewer”. I use apostrophes, but I don’t particularly mind, and I make up my own rules for semi-colons; they’re useful.
But “incredible”. It’s just a thing I have. “Credible” means “believable”. If something is “credible”, you take it seriously.
I’ve just looked up “incredible”, and I found “too extraordinary and improbable to be believed”. And that's my point. Incredible, eh? Then I don't believe you. Okay, meanings change, and I also found “amazing, extraordinary”, but I still find the word difficult.
I worked incredibly hard on this post. It was incredibly difficult to write. Yeah, right.
To take a long hard look at why the status quo has been losing so consistently in the recent past (or at least, failing to win consistently) is to lay the foundations for the future. To insist that "we're right and you are failing to get that message" is to stop listening to the central message of the world in which you operate. Which may be that you're irrelevant now.
Democratic governments have the regular reality check of elections. Corporate entities have sales figures. I wonder about the prominence in modern life of big institutions that seem to have evolved to resist accountability. They serve the public, but they get to define the terms of that service. Every setback triggers a statement that such setbacks don't happen. Everything's positive and exciting. If there's ever an apology, they're sorry that we're upset. Great slabs of modern society are geared to remain monolithic. Unchanging.
While the world goes on changing.