08 December 2011

Post 455: Pattern Recognition

Pattern Recognition by William Gibson. ISBN: 9780399149863.

Er, I think this might be one for the fans. Or people who don't understand women very well. Or something.

Unlike some people who thought the logo phobia/allergy was ridiculous, I actually thought it was pretty interesting. Sadly, Gibson doesn't actually do much with it. We don't know why  or how Cayce came about this phobia, and apparently it doesn't even "work" in foreign settings, because logos don't have any affect unless they're in English... I don't know, it only seemed to appear when it was convenient or Cayce started being too boring (which I think happened way more often than Gibson thought was the case...).

But imagine having a phobia of certain logos? What if you had an extreme aversion to the Starbucks logo? You wouldn't be able to travel to any of the major cities in the United States (or any of it really), and there were more than a few locations in various European cities when I lived there in 2005-2006. In fact, there are currently 55 countries that have Starbucks locations (there are even a couple in China). What was really interesting about Cayce's condition though was that we could actually use people like this in our world.

We are so inundated with advertisement all the time, that if it caused people physical and emotional distress, maybe there would be places where it wasn't allowed. Maybe we would get a break from the nonstop sell-a-thon that is life in America (and increasingly the world). Wouldn't it be nice to go to school and not have to see a myriad of corporate advertisements? The park? The zoo? The library? It's gotten to the point where I wish my brain had an Adblock. Sure, I like learning about new products to see if it's something that I can use, but most of the companies that can afford media spots have products I already know (and usually don't care) about. You can't usually reach me through the internet (seriously, Adblock, bitches), I rarely listen to the radio, and I don't have TV. Actually, one of the few ways you can get to me is through mail, which I will actually look at. And ad placement in TV and movies just pisses me off (I'm looking at you Disney; I saw what you did to the Muppets,* assholes).

There's even talk of discounted eReaders that have advertisements. What? No! Reading is one of the few forms of entertainment where there's almost no advertising at all (or at least it's pretty clearly demarcated with ads for other books in the back). Occasionally authors will mention products in the book by name, but unless companies have started paying authors to do this (I will stab someone), it is less product placement than detail.

But here's a challenge for you: mark down what time you finished this post, then tell me how long it took before you saw a logo, advertisement, or product placement. Was it before you even finished that sentence?

Kirkus Reviews adequately captures the meh-ness I felt in reading this book, although I disagree with their assessment of the logo-allergy. I just think Gibson didn't give us a good reason for Cayce having it. Goodreader Karou pretty much sums up my feelings on why I didn't hate or like this book.
LibsNote: Bought with personal funds from library sale table.
*I still recommend seeing it, but it was definitely cheap and tacky. The Mini-Cooper closeup felt especially insidious.

1 comment:

  1. Ended reading exactly at noon. Glanced to my left and saw the logo of the game company UbiSoft less than 5 seconds later.


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