Thursday, June 16, 2011

Connected in So Many Ways

I was sort of kicking around today, somewhat eager to write something, but had no fresh ideas.  Of course I hadn't yet picked up the paper, so it was probably understandable.  If you can't find something to write or think about after reading or viewing anything that's in front of you, delivered through any format, even something as old fashioned as paper and print, then you are somewhere else.

So when I saw the front page of the Paper of Record provide an advance on an obituary inside I read the blurb.

A Champion of the Bar Code

And when I realized that the teaser was placed squarely over the paper's own U.P.C. code in the lower right hand corner of the front page I suspected I knew who wrote the obit.  I was right.

A highly informative obituary, six columns wide, is given the Margalit Fox treatment.  This gives us some poetic alliteration (perhaps over the top, but fun nonetheless) as well as a solid history lesson in the development and adoption of what is now known as the Universal Product Code (U.P.C.).

And then there's that special something that I'm sure did not escape the reporter's knowledge.  A few years ago they wrote the bylined obituary on Gerard Damiano, the director of one of the largest grossing movies ever made, the prono film 'Deep Throat.'  Fame is achieved in many ways, and Mr. Damiano's was the movie.  Ms. Fox merely recounted his passing.

But, here's where everything in the world sits inside of something else.  Alan Haberman, the champion of the bar code as we know it, didn't invent it, but rather was notable for getting it accepted as the standard to be used by all forms of product manufacturers.     

Ms. Fox uses a passage from a book that was written about the bar code and Mr. Haberman where his consensus building skills are recognized. 

"Mr, Haberman's committee comprised more than a half dozen type-A businessmen, and discussion could be fractious...Mr. Haberman found a spectacularly good way to smooth dissent. First he organized a dinner at one of the city's finest restaurants.  Then he took everyone to a local movie theater to see 'Deep Throat.'

"Not long afterward the committee votes unanimously for the I.B.M. bar code, adopted in April 1973."

To think that consumerism as we know it today was likely propelled along by pornography is to recognize how community standards can be achieved.

If only ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner's efforts had been so noble.

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