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Thursday, May 06, 2004
  And as I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted

Barcodes!

I like to think that the fact that we haven’t talked about them isn’t down to an oversight, or a mere consequence of us being too caught up in other wonders of the modern world such as teletext and the beta band.

No, we have neglected to write about them because we haven’t needed to. It just sits up there in the top left corner, to all intents and purposes minding its own business. But, drip by drip, it is seeping into your consciousness, travelling out to the far reaches of the internet and YOUR MIND.

Seriously though, we don’t need to make any claims for the barcode because it’s already an icon in its own right. Forget Beckham. Does he get blipped by barcode readers in every shop in the world? He wishes! Is he pasted somewhere on every product you’ve ever bought? Dream on, David!

So the barcode is the most recognisable symbol of consumerism, yet, unlike Beckham, it is rarely appreciated for anything other than its basic functional value. No, wait, I have interesting things to say too! Yes the barcode is beautiful, yes the barcode is brilliant at what it does, but most importantly it’s entirely anonymous. Barcodes signify numbers, which are cross referenced to give you product information and prices. So they’re all different, and yet they’re all just as famous as one another.

Just like you and me. Well, not me actually, I am famous. But like you! You express your individuality by buying different products (music, clothes, wallpaper) from those other people buy, but so far as the BIG BARCODE READER IN THE SKY is concerned, we’re all pretty much the same, only some of us have different sized black and white bars all over us.

All of which could be very interesting, when combined with the appropriate hallucinogens. But this has nothing to do with the real reason we used a barcode as our logo. Oh no. If you have a barcode reader at home (and really, who doesn’t?) you will already be aware of the extreme right wing message that our proud logo proclaims in alphanumeric fashion. Please have a go at deciphering it, and post your results in the comments section! 
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