Google vs. The Culture of Aggrieved Victimhood

So this past weekend, in addition to its usual holiday doodle, Google commemorated Father’s Day by adding a “call your dad” reminder on the bottom of the main search page plus a “Reminder: Call Dad” entry in the web-based GTalk interface. It’s both the sort of cute holiday schtick we associate with Google and, it should be noted, a subtle bit of marketing (it’s now possible to call folks from GTalk).

Apparently, some folks were offended, and started calling this a “Google social media fail,” because, you know, some people’s dads are dead, or some people don’t have dads, or are estranged, or whatever.

I hate finding myself in the “oh, go shut the fuck up” crowd, but doesn’t it really seem like this is an example of people waiting around to be sad about something? Both Heathen HQ dads shuffled off this mortal coil long ago, but that doesn’t mean we’re going to get up in arms about the whole idea of Father’s Day.

Mostly what we have here is the intersection of a tech press without enough actual meat to cover (I’m looking at you, Techcrunch) combined with some free-floating anti-Google sentiment and agitated to a froth by the eternal presence of people who are, apparently, going through life looking for things to become upset and put-upon about.

The official Heathen position on this? These people should go piss up a rope. Google has a personality, unlike many corporate behemoths. They do interesting, fun things. And they are discovering that, at a certain point, anything they do that is at all out of the ordinary results in some X number of hundreds of people online getting all whiney. THEY SHOULD NOT CARE. This comment at the Metafilter thread is pretty spot on:

This is why corporations retreat to bland, impersonal, inoffensive personas that become indistinguishable from one another.

2 thoughts on “Google vs. The Culture of Aggrieved Victimhood

  1. It may not be possible for me to sufficiently concur with this post.

    To the offended: whatever you have been told about your father’s passing is false. The truth is as follows; your father offed himself to get away from YOU.

    To creatively neuter Google’s nifty little doo dads would be no less egregious an act than the tearing out of the Astrodome’s animated scoreboard of yore.

    That is all.

  2. The only real meat in the complaint is that Google inserted the reminder into the Gmail/Gchat interface without any way to dismiss it. That’s annoying, but you have to remember, too, that you get to use those things for free.

    I suspect people would have been just as panty-twisted if you could have dismissed it, though.