Media Guy's Pop Pick: Despair, Inc.

Our Columnist's Current Media Obsession

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I almost threw out the latest Despair, Inc. catalog, because at first glance it looked like that of any other peddler of motivational products. Then I noticed the tagline: "Finally, you can experience all the pain that motivational products inspire -- without the indignity."
One of Despair Inc.'s 'motivational' posters
One of Despair Inc.'s 'motivational' posters

Austin, Texas-based Despair's product line is built around its pioneering work in the field of "Demotivation." Like the "LEADERS" poster of a soaring eagle, captioned, "Leaders are like eagles. We don't have either of them here." And the "MOTIVATION" poster, with a shot of a sun-dappled shore and the caption, "If a pretty poster and a cute saying are all that it takes to motivate you, you probably have a very easy job. The kind robots will be doing soon."

The company's long-running schtick -- "Increasing success by lowering expectations" -- is an old joke, and a thin joke, but it's a good joke. Browse the newly expanded catalog online at
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