Tuesday, July 13, 2010

In which our hero's first day as a corporate shill has unexpected consequences.

I woke up this morning, after a terrible night's sleep, to start my first day as a news copywriter for that UK banking client. I received a crash course in some bizarre occult mechanisms, studded with glowing sigils and dripping steam-powered gears known as Search Engine Optimization (oh wait, I've got to practice masquerading as a Brit, don't I? That should have been Optimisation).

It was all meta tags and keywords and all kinds of absolutely meaningless garbage. I feigned interest quite convincingly to the strange accent at the other end of the Skype call and was summarily let loose to do my worst upon the landscape.

Let me illustrate the actualities of this gig. I first trawl through RSS feeds until I find a suitable article on some sort of business banking news. Then I take it and re-write it, making sure to inject into its vapid, lifeless mass several pre-determined keywords to make it more attractive to Internet search engines like Google. After that I check that the drivel I've cobbled together can pass a plagiarism check by feeding it into a specialised (see what I did there?) website. Then, if it comes back clean, I re-post the bleeding monstrosity to my client's blog, where it masquerades as "news."

I'm supposed to do this two to three times a day, all for $60 a week. It works out to about 4 bucks an article, and it takes me maybe an hour all told from RSS search to final posting, so I'm working for roughly $4 an hour. This is deplorable, but I don't have to get off my ass in order to do it so I really can't complain that much.

There is an up-side to immersing myself in the UK business culture by reading all these news outlets, however. I've learned that people are fucking horrible monsters. I re-wrote one article today on how about one-third of British people going on holiday (oh my god! How authentic he sounds, you say!) are planning on borrowing the cash in order to do so. Now that's not terrible, plenty of people put skid marks on their credit card every time they go away, that's just common stupidity.

Then I read how 58% of them won't immediately be able to pay it back. Well, that dovetails into how bloody fucking stupid people are (wow, I'm getting good at this, aren't I? Pip pip, cheerio, and all that shit).

Then comes the kicker. Out of those people who are planning to borrow in order to go to the Isle of Wight or wherever else these assholes go (anywhere but the dentist, I'm sure), 13% of them say that they have to go away every year, regardless of what it costs. Their reasoning? Their neighbors have to see them going on an annual holiday.


I didn't think people were that awful. I actually believed that the only chuckleheads who pull that kind of bullshit are those independently wealthy jackholes that have a BMW for every season and who buy different dogs to match their outfits, not normal poor folk like your good ol' pal Doc Gonzo here. But here's Mr. and Mrs. Nigel and Mary Fishcunt of North London going off to fucking the Côte d'Azur every year and dropping 1200 pounds Sterling on little tchotchkes and overpriced hotel rooms so they can come back home to rub their melanoma tans and massive debt in their neighbors' faces.

Do you know the last time I took a god damned vacation? Do you have any idea the last time I've been out of the general New York/New Jersey/Pennsylvania area? It was six years ago. I figured I'd might as well go to Vegas at least once in my life before I die since I was actively battling cancer at the fucking time. I've been trying to put my god damned life back together since, despite the flaming boulders of assfuckery I've had to constantly dodge ever since then. So don't tell me you simply must go on holiday despite the fact you can't afford to feed you or your vile offspring once you get back from Jamaica or Easter Island or fucking Singapore where you swam with the ladyboys and paid for sex from a great white shark. Get the fuck off my lawn. Bloody wankers.

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