Thursday, October 14, 2010

The case against Flash

As my wife will tell you, I bring a scary commitment to my life as a professional curmudgeon. I've written letters to CEO's about anything and everything. From poor customer service to shoddy product design. Today I had a phone chat with my fishmonger about the less-than-satisfactory cut of my salmon steaks.

While I like to think I do a damn fine job with my letter writing, the sad truth is I will never reach the pop culture hero status as the nameless fellow who flew Continental airlines and occupied Seat 29E.

If you've never read about his exploits, I urge you take the time and read of his ordeal (see the link above). In the history of airline complaint letters, his soars above all the rest. Not only is his command of the English language stunning, yet simple, he propels the reader further into his woe with sparse, yet telling, line drawings.

At the end of this masterpiece I felt as if I had taken the flight with Seat 29E. As if I were on the other side of the fuselage in Seat 29B.

As I was tracking down the link to the pdf of of this letter, I came across something disturbing. A flash video rendition of the letter, that while high on gimmickry and visual stimulation, does nothing, in fact weakens the purity and rage of the original complaint.

See for yourself at:

It amply demonstrates how technology can sap the art out of something so pure and powerful. And it symbolizes the philosophical battle between the new practitioners of media and old school people like myself.

If I were the Seat 29E guy and I saw this Flash piece of trash, I'd be really mad.
In fact, I'd be tempted to write a letter.

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