The Windows 7 Launch Party Video – Playing Us Like Violins?
Recently I watched Diggnation with Alex Albrecht and Kevin Rose. The episode I watched focused on the Windows 7 launch party video that has become the focus of parodies and countless scathing blog posts everywhere. If you have not seen the video yet, you should at least know that the exquisitely contrived cultural mix of people you see is balanced out in perfect symmetry by the flawless homogeneity of the actor’s personalities. The cast consists of four milquetoast mild mannered super geeks straight out of a slightly progressive episode of Happy Days. But instead of selling Tupperware in this Stepford Geeks Gathering being held somewhere in the really scary part of David Lynch’s imagination, they’re selling, wait for it, Windows 7. Throughout the video this quaint quartet of Pleasantville escapees offer helpful tips on how to host your own launch party so you too can be the talk of the town as you educate the unwashed masses on the beauty of Windows 7.
First, Alex and Kevin play the original video complete with a three panel split screen view with their faces showing like bookends. This allows you to watch the video in the center panel and still see the pained expressions on their faces as they suffer through the video with you in obvious disbelief. When it is over, they make a few comments about Microsoft and their ad agency, most of which revolve around the ad agency being fired unceremoniously in a manner Donald Trump would admire. Next a parody video is shown that is making the rounds on the Internet. The parody uses the original video track but the audio is replaced with a track consisting of strategically placed censorship bleeps that change the entire video into a giant sexual innuendo.
After the parody video was over I was struck by a creeping realization. But before I get to that I want to make two things clear. I am not a conspiracy theorist and I think excessive cynicism is a shield for the jaded to abdicate themselves from doing anything about what’s wrong with the world while preserving their right to complain about it loudly, every chance they get. But consider these facts. Steve Ballmer has a purported IQ of 160 (so does Bill Gates), and Microsoft has about 95% of the PC operating system marketplace with billions of dollars in the bank. Whatever your feelings or loyalties are regarding the man and the company the facts are he’s a bona fide genius and a good businessman. Now I have no inside information, but I’m pretty sure he saw the video before it went to print. With that information I offer you my theory and remember, that’s all it is, just a theory.Continued on the next page