The Tyranny of Tidiness

Last October, JetBlue forgettably changed its tagline from the upbeat (and warmly offbeat) “Happy Jetting” to the blandly pedestrian “You Above All.”

The change was trumpeted with a press release proclaiming: “You Above All is authentic. It’s transparent. It’s understandable. Quite simply, it’s very JetBlue.”

I have no idea what that means. (And I have no idea why companies still talk that way.) But “You Above All” has bothered me ever since, and I’ve finally figured out why:

It’s simply too tidy.

I reached that conclusion this morning after stumbling upon Ursus Wehrli’s “Tidying Up Art” TED Talk (click on link, or watch video above), via Arts Journal.

Wehril pokes fun of rationalism—and his own Swiss heritage—by deconstructing famous works of art, and then reorganizing them into neater, more logical components.

What happens, of course, is the soul of those artworks is stripped from them. And that’s exactly what happens when rationalism displaces humanism in consumer marketing. 

The customer comes first + Planes fly in the air = You Above All.

Rationally logical; emotionally void. Like a disassembling a pointilist masterpiece into a pointless bag of dots.

I’d rather jet happy instead.