Bailing Out On History

It’s not a fun time to be working for the Big Three, soon to be the Small Three, Two, One or None. Ford, Chrysler and General Motors are fighting for their lives, receiving government bailouts in the billions – that’s billions with a B, as in Bloody Big.

When you take the first letters of the these three companies (F.C.G.M.) it makes a cute little acronym: Failed Cars, Godawful Management. You have to wonder how such highly paid managers deduced that higher gas prices mean building bigger, less fuel efficient cars.

Of course, now other struggling industries are lining up at the trough. Where will it end? It’s time to take a trip down memory lane and look at all the failed communications industries and technologies over the years and see what they would have to say today.

Papyrus Manufacturers (3500 B.C.) We work hard to make paper out of trees. And now these new guys are coming along making better, smoother paper out of fibres. Talk about paperwork – it’s just not fair! We need lots of paper money to save our paper.

The Union of Quill Pen Makers (3500 B.C.) Damn those ballpoint pen makers! They make a pen that you don’t have to continually dip in ink – where’s the fun in that? Our industry is going straight to the birds!

Block Printers (200 A.D.) The movable type industry has decimated our business. If we don’t get help, thousands of block-heads will lose their jobs.

Movable Type Printers (1040 A.D) This is Mr. Gutenberg. I’ve spent years inhaling the lead fumes from the movable type blocks I’ve made, and let me tell ya, there’s nothing like it. But now these new printing processes are coming along and putting me out of business. I may have to lay off my my maid, my cook, and even my mistress. I need help!

Lithographers (1796) We’re still around, but mostly for big printing projects. Everyone seems to have their own printer now. Tell your local politician to support Proposition 300: Ban the colour blue from private use!

Mimeograph Makers (1876) / Ditto machine (1923) / Thermofax (1950s) – We’re all getting killed by those new photocopying machines. But we’re worth saving, because we’ve got the one thing they don’t: that wonderful smell. Mmmmm – chemical fumes…..

Typewriter Manufacturers (1850s onwards) – Why would anyone want to buy a computer? They crash, they’re too complicated, and they don’t make the wonderful clickety-clack sound that our machines do. Trust us, they’ll never succeed.

Word Processing Machines (1970s onwards) – Like the typewriter guys said, no one is going to want to buy a full blown computer when a dedicated word processing machine will do. Besides, 12 point Courier is all the font you need.

Newspapers and Magazines (1600s onwards) – God, it’s brutal out there. We’ve had to lay off thousands of people. Don’t people read anymore? Oh yeah, there’s that new thing around. Whadya call it again? The Internet? Yeah, like that’ll last…

Failed Software, Hardware and Computer Companies (1960s-present) – Microsoft bad. We good. Give us money.

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If you still support bailing out the Big Three, then I’d say start up a petition – using a quill pen on papyrus, of course.

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