Can't a point just be a point?

The other day I heard an interview with Edan Lepuck on NPR. She was talking about her new novel California.  I haven't read it. But it's about a world with dwindling resources and I've been working on some clients involved in those issues so I thought it would be interesting to listen to.

It's a good interview but one answer in particular made me really happy. The host asked a question about her book fit into the Cli-fi genre. (That's the one that all this apocalyptic weather fiction has come out of with the express purpose of making people wake up to the terrors of climate change.) Here's Edan's response:

"I didn't set out to make any kind of message when I was writing it. That seems to didactic. I really was thinking on the pure, emotional, thematic story level."

She went on to explain that while the book might make people think about scarcity or the potential for scarcity of resources that wasn't some pointed argument she was trying to make.

I found this really refreshing. Not because I think art with a point is a bad thing (pointless art is sometimes nothing more than a bird's nest full of shiny objects) but because I think that art doesn't have to be this grand things that's trying to change the world. It might be but it doesn't have to be.

So many people seem caught up on doing something with a secondary purpose. Having some grand mission that everything flows into a changes the world in some way some person deemed necessary. And with this extreme rise in cause-based stuff we just get a pile of garbage that we're supposed to support and love because it's for a cause.

And that's fine for some people. Some of that stuff is rather good. But I don't think there's enough people willing to admit the bullshit people assign to their work is bullshit. 

Or at least that things do not have to do anything beyond be an affecting piece of fiction that entertains the viewer (viewer being a very loose term for whoever is interacting with whatever was made). 

I understand the impulse to big yourself up. To latch onto a cause because you worry that you're not interesting enough, or likable enough, or palatable enough on your own. I've fallen into that trap myself. But all that leads to is being a person who co-opted a cause because you really haven't looked hard enough into your soul to express what's important to you.

These are broad generalizations but it's what I've seen in my own life and in the mountains of drivel that show up on the internet every day.

This problem has also infected marketing to a point where companies feel the need to hide their company-ness behind a cause.

I don't believe for a second that a corporation really cares about any of the causes they're co-opting. They wouldn't co-opt those causes unless they were really, really good for business. 

Capitalism is a flawed system and if there's not anything in it for the company then they're not going to invest in it. These cause efforts are often done to un-do some of the bad or make companies look better.

 It all go back to companies being ashamed that they are companies and the people in marketing departments and agencies fostering their own shame about shilling product. There may be a way to marry these two outlooks (like the way Toms and Patagonia have put them firmly at the center of their business). But it seems for most companies there's still an inauthenticity to anyone trying to co-opt a cause. 

If it develops organically or really changes things systemically within a company that is a very great thing. But if it's sending clean water to a village in Africa already flush with clean water because that's what media and the account people told you you could do then what a fucking waste. 

You might as well done something that isn't detrimental and does entertain people. Like Edan did. But what do I know?

We may have lost the war but they let us keep our weekly links.

Poughkeepsie, New York - After two long weeks of struggle and effort the other guys have emerged victorious. However they've left us with this mess of links to clean up. The Ad Caulk team of editors believe them to be of some importance and have decided to share them with our readers. Please send war stories for an upcoming piece to



Dan Harmon at the Banff World Media Festival

If Humans Said The Stuff Other Humans Say (what happens at 0:41 will SHOCK you)

Smart releases the really big city car.

You are not a storyteller - Stefan Sagmesiter

Deadmau5 and Rob Ford get coffee.

Angry Fried Chicken

On my drive to work this morning something at Popeye's Louisiana Kitchen caught my eye. It wasn't the succulent golden-fried birds. Or the smattering of delicious sides. 

No, it was a sign for their Tuesday special: two pieces of chicken for $1.29.

$1.29 for two pieces of chicken is almost less than nothing. That's an astoundingly low price for sustenance and a week's worth of saturated fat.

Then my mind turned on me and made me think about the chickens that go into $1.29 chicken deal. Not in the Food Inc. sense, rather the thinking what would happen if a chicken found out its leg and thigh were being sold for such a small amount of money. Here's how that played out:

A one legged chicken, Eunice, hobbles past Popeye's one day and gazes up at the sign. She squints her tiny beady eyes, straining to read the sign. Then she opens her beak and shouts.

"129! One dollar and twenty nine cents? Are you kidding me? I mean are you people even serious right now? Can you really be so dense to think this is what my life adds up to? Just shy of six bucks?

This is an affront to me. An affront to my family. Hell, it's an affront to chicken kind! That was my leg! The thing I use for mobility. Now I use this stupid cane and some human gets to gorge himself on my body party for less than a bottle of Coca Cola. Look, I don't mind being used. I don't even mind the idea of being eaten. 

My sister's dead but at least those humans had the decency to sell her at Balthazar for 74 bucks! You might as well give away my leg if you're going to insult me like this. At least then I would feel like I became charity rather than some low-rent meat. You all make me sick."

Eunice then spits on the ground, turns on her heel, and continues mumbling to herself as she hobbles down Jefferson street. 

This ordeal hasn't made me a vegetarian but I'm never going to get Eunice out of my head whenever I see how cheap chicken is at Popeye's and all fried chicken joints across this great nation.

Alright Scouts, here's a little knot we call the weekly linkly. Watch close.




Funny guy pretends to be R&B singer it works. Bening the Weeknd w/ @BenBiznuh

Russell Brand talking about commercials (via Ben Kay)

Cuphead E3 trailer. It's a game that looks like a goddamn 1930s cartoon!

Lettuce plant.

Deep Frequency

Your hipster surrealist music video of the week: Technicolor Yawn.

The terrible thing of Alpha-9.

Alan Moore: His Heavy Heart

Do you like being told what to do?

Or, why do marketers think shouting at people will convince them to buy product?

We know that when someone instructs us to do something we will do everything in our power not to do it. That instruction leads to resentment. That's why people hate so much of literature. Because it was forced upon them rather than discovered. It was an assignment long before it could become something they love.

Which makes me think about the way most ads talk to people. For some reason companies are convinced that the way to get customers is to instruct people into using their products. As though we've ever been able to successfully bully people into using product.

Telling someone to buy, buy, buy is as effective as telling a toddler not to play with his/her food except these toddlers have no relations to you. They probably don't even like you. Probably resent you. 

And barking in their face that they need to do something is so backward and misguided it hurts to think anyone could have ever thought it was a good idea. 

This method worked for the fascists and the nazis in the short run but that doesn't make it a good idea or an effective way to advertise to people. And unless some company is willing to rule by force then that's probably not an option.

So what we have left is charm and wit and intelligence and humanity. The same things that have worked for advertising in the past. And while those might run counter to how a company would like to talk about itself, it's what's necessary.

Just wish marketing departments would get that.

It's July 4th and I closed all the tabs that were supposed to go here. So this is your abbreviated Weekly Linkly.


One Chef's quest to make Lionfish a thing that people eat. I'll take three to go, please.

Billionaire writes warning for other billionaires about how having all that money ain't right.

Words we ought to know and use.

Absurd psychedelic bike.

Reverse engineering your way to success.

Community is back! On Yahoo! And this Sony exec's interview made me even more excited for it.


Nike's still got it.

Diner Danger

Weekly said no, but Linkly persisted. Now they're married and in complete stasis.

Been a eventful couple of weeks. So eventful you're getting last week's Weekly Linkly this week. So if your Monday morning is Garfieldian in nature then pull up a chair and gorge yourself on some of this.



Inside the mind of an inventor

Nathan For You Season 2

Bug Salad

Diner Danger

A documentary about the owner of my favorite coffee shop I've ever been to.

And it's Supercow!

Humans are animals

I mean that, of course, in the most affectionate way possible. We're animals who have convinced ourselves to abide by rules that make us feel like we're better than the other animals in the world. 

Of course we're better. We invented things like the car, the iPhone, and the camera. And it's the camera that inspired this post. Because some man is going around Seattle and shoving a camera in people's faces. He attests he's doing it as commentary on the surveillance state. 

While that may be true I found his videos so fascinating for a different reason. It was like watching fish in a bowl or animals in the zoo. They didn't quite understand what was going on so their nature came out in full force. There's a certain honesty that comes from being taken off guard. Watch what I mean below:

See that? There's something about the way a camera dehumanizes people but also magnifies their personality. He's just a guy holding a camera and not saying anything, but that makes the subjects so much more interesting.

When he walks into the back of a Taco Bell there's a certain cinematic quality that made me feel like I was watching a dream. It was too good to be real. The employees cared so little and merely let him observe as though nothing was wrong. He was the fly on the wall we've all aspired to be from time to time. It was calm.

But there's also the opposite reaction. People so put off by a camera in their face that they lash out at it. They attack. Which is very confusing because everyone seems to feel so comfortable around all the other cameras in their lives. What is is about this camera that's so different? Why is it when a camera catches someone off guard, at their most vulnerable and human, people won't accept it? This guy  isn't asking anything from these people but they make him out to be this horrible monster. (Well, unless they work at Taco Bell. Those people don't give a single fuck.)

I don't know  why certain people react so poorly to this type of filming. I don't even know how I would react if I suddenly had a camera jammed in my face. What I do know is that I like this video because it got me to ask those questions about myself. And see humans as animals.

Jerome done gave Weekly to Linkly and Linkly knew better than to look a gift horse in the mouth.

Shame, really, because he would have seen that Weekly was brimming with such fine teeth it was like Jerome didn't know what he was giving away.


  • Fear of Selling by The Ad Contrarian. It is an excellent, excellent missive for people who have lost track of the point of advertising. Of course it's still about selling. That doesn't cheapen the work in any way but, rather, makes it more impressive when someone can create something entertaining/useful that sells product.


  • The story of New Orleans' most well known and respected Madam. One hell of a story from NPR: The Last Madam


Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Decisive Moment (via)

Time Lapse looks like it'll be an interesting movie.

"Pupa" boy deals with joining the world of gross, scary adults.

The Future!!!