Apple Records, the label founded by The Beatles, is suing Apple Computer for trademark infringement -- and not a moment too soon.
There's no doubt that Apple Computer brought down the Beatles -- Yoko had nothing to do with it -- but timeliness must play into the equation somewhere, because it all went down 20 years ago today Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play. And here's Billy Shears, singing out of tune and starting trouble.
Lawsuits. Such a handwiping word. Yes, but names matter. To be more accurate, marks matter. How long before McDonald's figures out they own exactly half of Steve Job's Mac franchise?
This kind of logic could ignite a series of trademark suits and countersuits that would be fun to watch. But why wait? Let's fan a few flames.
One of the first things I learned when I turned fifty was that AARP stands for nothing. Absolutely nada. It used to stand for the American Association of Retired Persons but somebody pointed out that he wasn't retired, and somebody else cracked an eyelid and said yeah! and before you knew it everybody was all cranked up about this retired persons business, because everybody knows meddling's a full time job. And so it was resolved. Whatever AARP stood for, these "retired persons" had nothing to do with it. Then they took a nap. And that's how AARP became AA.
The drunks went crazy. First of all, they weren't drunks, and second, that name was taken. Enter American Airlines, hands on hips, cool logo on a lapel pin: AA. But look closer at that logo. Aren't those actually Golden Arches in blue?
Don't get cocky, fat boy.
The Motorola Bat Wings have been around longer than you, Mickey D's. And speaking of Mickey... is that D for Disney?
It is true that Ray Kroc was forced to retire Speedy Service, the happy waving walking waving neon hamburgerman that said zzt, zzzt, because of his uncanny resemblance to Speedee Alka-Selzter, who was much
younger and rumored to be clay, not that it mattered. McDonald's insisted they looked nothing alike, that the fact that they had the same name was coincidental, and the association of their food with an anacid unfortunate. They lost. But this face-off was the event that created Ronald McDonald, originally Willard Scott, now generally fiberglass or cardboard.
Meanwhile, AARP bleeds, chopped in two, doesn't know its head from its ass or even what to call itself in a press release. All because somebody said old people could do it. Man oh man, were they ever wrong. They shuffled off to the porch, beaten and depressed, but before they even made it out of the kitchen, they completely forgot where they were going.
By default they were now the American Association.
But it felt too broad. Wasn't that what America used to be? And what about their expansion plans overseas? Was it wise use the word American in a place such as, well, elsewhere?
They searched for a more appropriate acronym. Avenues of Advancement of Real old People came close, as did Anti Aging Rowdy Pholks; quite a few liked Adults All Resting Peacefully; only seven went for Age Action Real Politick, but they wanted it real bad and were willing to take hostages to dinner.
In the end it made no difference, they went with AARP, just AARP, which stood for nothing -- sounds so damning to say so, but true nonetheless. AARP means nothing.
It worked for Seinfeld. And the talents of Britney Spears and Jennifer Lopez. Lots of people are good at making a big deal about nothing. I'm one of them.
But to make it part of your name? I'm AARP, I mean nothing, I'm just a sound, like a very loud belch -- AARP?
If it's a word and not an acronym, why do they put it in caps? Why didn't they go with Aarp? It's classy, understated, it treats the word like a word, not an acronym, and it becomes the root for many aarplike words in the future. Such as Aarper, Aarpist, Aarpy, Aarpistic.
When I was a kid and my parents needed to say something privately, they spoke the "Arp language," where the arp syllable precedes the vowel, as in: "Larpet's abarpandarpon tharpe karpids arpat tharpe starpop sarpign." Your Aarp membership would entitle you to speak the official language of the wiser generations, and provide the rest of us a reason not to listen.
AARP, meaning nothing, has now divided itself into four meaningless parts to better cope with four distinct age groups within its membership of not retired people, creating a separate magazine for people in their fifties, sixties, seventies and eighties. People in their nineties have taken the whole thing very hard and will take to the streets when the van gets here. Relatives of the recently deceased have now joined the fray, wondering what happened to their subscriptions, prompting AARP to question whether they should open their membership to the dead, which is not a bad idea since 1% of them remain extremely wealthy.
Rest in peace RP. As for the Apples, you guys work it out.