The Great Persuaders


Those poor elves are working themselves near to death to meet this year's record demand, what with all the prosperity in the market and all the great Goldman Sachs bonuses trickling down and swimming out there into the economy at large. Not to mention the natural population growth. AND the greater skills of persuasion promulgated by the hyperspeed of information and image richness of said transmission media in our lives... persuasion not only of marketing departments of corporations upon children, but by transitive property to the persuasion of children upon parents--children purposefully armed with more information about products, even tapped into internet discussion boards about how to more efficiently coax parents into greater annual yields of gifts, playing one party off another, applying layers of subtly applied guilt (using the same psychoanalytically-based marketing theories that start the whole wheel spinning in the first place--those of allaying life-long, deep-seated fears of unlovableness and unworthiness, those reptilian hot buttons, little nodules in your cerebral cortex, that are pushed in between the frames of the commercials we strive to ignore, the bus billboards from which we shield our eyes), using younger siblings as pawns in these complex ruses. Little marketing departments in your own home! Literally operating under the covers, pushing out interoffice memoranda, launching campaigns. Measuring ROI. The Great Persuaders, with a clever raft of tailored, targeted messages, all saying, "I will love you until the end of time. You will always be safe. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for the gift of life and the labors of your love. We will all be together in this time forever. Wouldn't it just make your heart melt to see my delight with the new Dora the Explorer Mega House Play Tent?" So the elves, the poor elves--The factory workers who have to fulfill the extravagant promises and delivery dates of the global sales department--they must scurry with otherworldly might today. Yes, we can get you that, we can do that. We can do that by tomorrow. Tomorrow! Tomorrow is the drop-dead day, the crystallized moment! If it's not by tomorrow, then you can forget it!

Here in South Austin, though, just a little latitude change, you cross the bridge and it drops you a few mental decibels, a whoosh into quiet, into this pocket that we inhabit, where yesterday it was uttered, "I don't want to leave here, I don't want to go back into the public sector!" It was uttered here in our shop but it could have been anywhere under this aegis of calm, this eruv inside which it is permitted to skip and run and jump. Christmas came early for one of Mary Street's most famous denizens... Leslie Cochran came by the shop only for a bicycle-borne cargo consultation but left with the gift of a Burly bicycle trailer. There's our own star-struck chef, Adam Alfter, pictured at right with the Real Leslie. On our street, there have been insidious rumours suggesting that Leslie has an alter-ego, a twin brother, so to speak, the differences between whom can only be detected by experts. Bizarro Leslie, we call him, and he is an agent of not so much evil, but just not so much good. There has been no independent corroboration of this rumor, but it is something at least, it is an issue around which we wrap our minds. It is a matter of some debate, really nothing at stake, just an exercise in reasoning and occasionally, expository speaking. Why would there be another Leslie? Do the laws of entropy allow for such a condition? What about Heisenberg's Uncertainty Theorem? Are we ourselves, as observers, affecting the subject of our observation?
(click to enlarge)

We do certainly hope you're well entrenched in love and support right now. The outpouring of kind notes and messages this past week makes us feel well entrenched ourselves.