Tuesday, March 24, 2009

What's your name, who's your daddy?

This is, of course, Norma Jean. She changed her name to Marilyn and it was good. But lately, all sorts of people have been changing their names without anything close to the lovely benefits of Ms. Monroe's metamorphosis.

Take Diebold, the definition of political hackdom, solidly in the tank for the GOP and George Bush. Their voting machines are considered by almost anyone who does not own stock in the company as fucked. Easy to hack, prone to error, and like most things Republican, impervious to accountability.

Diebold has so tarnished its reputation that it has changed its name to Premier. Premier, as in first. Premier, as in tops. Premier, as in the failed smokeless cigarette RJR's focus group research said tasted like smoking a turd.


But back to Diebold/Premier.

According to an investigation in California's Humboldt County, their machines lost 200 ballots. No one knows why or where the votes went. They just vanished like a fart in a hurricane.

But not to worry. All voting machines have an audit log, one that lets you go back and see just what, if any, changes were made to the machine's innards just in case something funky happened like you lost 200 votes.

And if you were building this machine, you would make it almost impossible to accidentally erase that audit log. Why, only a complete idiot would put a button, whose sole function was to erase the log, anywhere near other buttons someone could mash inadvertently.

And even if you did put that button near, say, the save or print button, then surely you would program a message asking if you really wanted to erase this file. A warning. You know, like you have on your computer. Only an idiot would build a machine with that button and no warning, right?

This is an excellent example of something I call debranding. You know that branding is building an emotional connection with your customer, so every time you say Volvo, the car buyer thinks, safe.

Debranding is just the same, only in reverse. It's what you do when you screw up so disastrously that you want to shed all association with the company you used to be (or as is true in most cases, the company you still are). Think of it as a corporate witness protection program.

For instance, as of this past weekend, there are no more AIG executives to despise. Now they're AIU executives, and still as ethically slimed as before, but now with a shiny new logo. "Credit swaps? What credit swaps? We have a U in our name."

Yes, as in a big FU.

And take one of North Carolina's growth industries, shooting into crowds of innocent bystanding brown people. Yes, debranding has hit Blackwater, the private security firm that quietly changed its name to Xe.

Blackwater, named for the water around NC's Great Dismal Swamp, a place that never felt the need to debrand, is now called Xe, which is pronounced "dick."

I, personally, have failed in so much of life that I need to start with a clean slate. So I'm offically debranding David Terrenoire for something that doesn't carry so much dark baggage. My new name?

Dick Cheney.



eviljwinter said...

AIG should change its name to "Singularity."

SF fans, why is the name Singularity so perfect for AIG?

Well, anyone who's watched Star Trek (or even The Universe or Cosmos) knows what a singularity does to anything that falls into it.

Including your money.

Kenny Smith said...

What doesn't surprise me about this story is that they disappeared in Humboldt County, home of some of the stickiest icky you've ever seen or smelled. It was more of a social experiment giving Diebold machines to people clouded in such a way. One of the many humorless jokes about the war on drugs.

Beneath the Carolina Moon said...

I can hardly stand the anticipation of the big two political parties rebranding. It's gotta come. I just know it!


Charlie Stella said...

Dread, I think they made a movie about the rebranding of the two parties: Dumb and Dumber.

"Useless" would be my preference.