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Passionate and fanatical

May 12, 2019

The other day I ordered a new ink cartridge for my printer. It duly arrived, and written on the box it came in was the proud boast ‘Passionate about Printing’.

Passionate about printing. Am I supposed to believe that? The company that made and delivered my ink cartridge is passionate about printing. Not about the history of printing, the invention of printing blocks and of moveable type, the achievements of Guttenberg and Caxton and the way these developments influenced western culture and paved the way for the Renaissance and the scientific revolution. That is something I could imagine being passionate about. But passionate about squeezing ink into a plastic cartridge and sending it to me so I can print out my boring lesson plans? This defies credulity. Nobody could be passionate about that.

Two trends converge here. One is the over-use of the word passionate to describe an interest in anything, as trotted out by over-eager applicants in job interviews. The other is the marketing or advertising idea that companies are supposed to boast of their love for the products they supply. The Odeon cinema near me used to display the films currently showing, until a couple of years ago they gave up doing that and instead adorned the frontage with a big sign saying ‘Fanatical about film’. Really? I don’t think so. I think the Odeon, like all cinema chains, simply shows the movies that will make them the most money. But even if they were fanatical about film, so what? Good for them. But I’d much rather be told what films they’re showing.

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  1. Simon Carter permalink

    It’s possible the alliteration makes them seem a good idea at the time. Fanatical about printing just sounds a bit mad.
    Incidentally it’s not true that Odeon cinemas took their name from their founder: Oscar Deutsch Entertains Our Nation which is a shame.

  2. evangyoung permalink

    Such a narrow post…yet such a very satisfying one! I feel the urge to post it everywhere. Damn.

    • evangyoung permalink

      I guess my comment counts as being truly fanatical and passionate at once!

    • Thanks Evan.Please feel free to re-post – I would love to get more action on this site!

      Best wishes

  3. Mark Brafield permalink

    When I am not doing my day-job, I work as an itinerant musician. This means that I spend a lot of time in Pret a Manger. Yesterday evening I was sitting in the branch on Waterloo Station, opposite a poster that explained what the Pret experience was all about. I was told that I could expect ‘passionate and hard-working baristas and chefs’ together with ‘excellent conversation’.

    I may be being cynical here, but I expect that if I went behind the scenes at Pret and spoke to their staff, I would probably find a high turnover of slave-driven staff on the minimum wage, bored stiff with making up sandwiches, and with passion in generally short supply. Desperation possibly, but not much passion. And ‘chefs’ – really ?

    Excellent conversation ? Maybe, if I go with a friend, but normally it is full of exhausted looking commuters glued to their phones, hipsters posing with their Macbooks, or David Brent types bullshitting their way through business meetings with spreadsheets and notebooks, looking like they would secretly much rather be anywhere else.

    By the way, in case this all sounds a bit negative, I do really like their sandwiches (and, especially, their yoghurt-coated cranberries).

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