The Gap and How to Use It

January 9th, 2006 · 2 Comments
by DavidThayer

This is a how to article. It’s about the Gap. Long before there was a store by that name, the Gap slipped into the vernacular, worming its way onto TV. Picture this: in the year 1966, news comes from three sources including Walter Cronkite. TV news is sedate, stentorian, ominous. There was a Missile Gap in the Sixties, a Knowledge Gap after Sputnik. On the fashion scene archival evidence suggests that women of the era bore an odd resemblance to David Bowie, not as he appeared then, as much as he does now. Every squeeze of the aerosol can created a Gap in the Ozone layer and that led to the Cuyahoga River catching on fire and the rise of the Burning River News.

To enjoy the Perception Gap we view certain institutions with a kindness born of need. Jack Abramoff, the indicted lobbyist, took Tom Delay on a golfing trip to Scotland. That looks bad, but think about it. Without that congressional junket Scotland’s military ambitions might have grown unchecked. They grab an island in the North Sea, then pour across the border and sack York. Scotland had plans to invade the US, plans to install Sean Connery as Dictator, plans that fell apart when the Scots saw Tom on the back nine at St. Andrews. That junket averted war.

The Gap is generous. It shelters entire industries in the sweet warmth of balmy forecasts, outlooks, projections and budgets. The Gap really loves the publishing business because the business needs love, because without the Gap, publishing would no longer appeal to anyone, not even Rupert. They’d put away their branding irons to allow any old body through the pearly gates into the Magic Kingdom. As surely as Google rises in the west the Gap will soothe the distressed titans of industry, enabling them to unleash shareholder value, ravel back their sleeves of care ignoring reality for one more fiscal year.

Unless the Scots invade. Those guys have hatchets. They know how to fill the Gap.

File Under: The Business of Publishing

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