This Is Funny

     Humor shouldn’t be taken seriously.
     Neither should “experts.”
     South Butt is a classic and pretty obvious case in point. In case you missed it, The North Face Apparel Corp. sued The South Butt, LLC for trademark infringement. Think of it as Up suing Down for confusing dumb animals.
     The ensuing publicity over the lawsuit, naturally, has made the South Butt clothing line a huge success.
     So what would possess North Face to sue in the first place?
     This is where most of the media reports I’ve heard or read bring in an “expert” to pronounce that North Face must file suits like this to protect its trademark or go the way of zipper and aspirin.
     Huh?
     Raise your hand if you’ve ever heard of a company losing a trademark because someone used a term with absolutely no similarity to the trademark.
     Raise your hand if you’ve ever heard of a company losing a trademark because of a joke.
     I don’t see any hands.
     So why would North Face really sue?
     I’m now going to pronounce myself an expert and explain: North Face did it for the publicity.
     Oh sure, the lawsuit turned South Butt into a legitimate business, but consider that North Face got just as much publicity as South Butt out of this. I never heard of either one of them before this (perhaps because I only get new clothes when my wife decides to buy something for me).
     If South Butt gets the anti-establishment, anti-trend business, North Face must get the pro-establishment, pro-trend business.
     It’s brilliant marketing.
     Which brings us to Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien.
     I don’t think I have to explain who these people are. Imagine the press coverage they would have gotten if there hadn’t been an earthquake in Haiti. Even massive human suffering (not to mention war, famine, sickness, and environmental destruction) can’t blot out the media coverage of a couple of comedians switching time slots.
     And the most astonishing part of this (at least to me) are the news reports of heated words and attacks by people whose job it is to tell jokes – when the heated words and attacks are jokes.
     Um, wouldn’t it be a little odd if all these people didn’t make jokes?
     People with no sense of humor should not cover comedy.
     And consider the result of all this Leno/O’Brien stuff: more people are tuning in.
     It’s brilliant marketing.
     
     SCHEDULING. I’ve discovered an advantage to contingency fees that I hadn’t considered before: if you time them properly, you don’t have to share with the spouse you’re dumping.
     A lawyer named William Ball discovered this the hard way when his wife filed for divorce and then he got a $17 million contingency fee before the divorce was final.
     The Tennessee Supreme Court ruled that he had to share.
     If he’d just planned a little bit better – getting the wife to file for divorce a tad sooner (or filing himself) or delaying the big settlement – he may not have had to share (apparently despite working on the big case for years during the marriage – nobody said life was fair).
     It’s not as if the guy couldn’t have seen either the settlement or the divorce coming. After all, he had been working on the case for a long time and, at least according to the wife, he’d been “dissipating” marital assets by spending money on “paramours.”
     This, allegedly, included a $100,000 bonus to an “employee and paramour.”
     I really want to see this employee’s job description.

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