Maybe it’s time to retire the phrase, “This is not your father’s [blank],” where blank is the latest piece of obsolescent consumer goods some company is struggling to rebrand. I see it about four times a day, most recently in this New York Times story about the latest effort to hawk one more thing I hate: an electronic book reader. Amazon is reportedly set to unveil the Kindle next month. It will cost upwards of $400 and will feature wireless connectivity. (Doesn’t everything feature wireless connectivity? One of these days, I’m pretty sure even my toothbrush will be set up for Bluetooth.)
“This is not your grandfather’s e-book,” said one publishing executive who did not want to be named. Hey, I wouldn’t want to be named either, trotting out cliches like that. Google the phrase and you’ll get clever headlines like these:
“Not your father’s encyclopedia.”
“Not your father’s sex shop.”
“Not your father’s Mario Kart.”
“Not your father’s neanderthal.”
“Not your father’s robots.”
“Not your father’s Talmud.”
… and about 3 million other gems that must have seemed quite jaunty at the time. It’s odd that this phrase is so durable, considering that it didn’t help save the Oldsmobile when the slogan was rolled out in 1998. In fact, some say it actually helped hasten the car’s demise by reminding buyers of its longstanding appeal to querulous geezers.
But is this post about e-book readers or dead slogans? I’m not sure; I’m just blogging here. Let’s just say anybody who uses either deserves to be thrashed. Perhaps with your drunken stepfather’s shillelagh.