Friday, September 02, 2011

The Unsophisticated App and the Mere Male Syndrome

By George, she's got it!
By George, she's got it! - from "The Rain in Spain", Alan Jay Lerner 1956

For you are younger than I
Younger than I, younger than I
And I am wiser than you - from "Lemon-Haired Ladies", Dory Previn 1971

Ever since there was such a thing as apps, I've been trying to dream up one to make my fortune. And every idea I've had, has proven to have already been taken.

Eventually I decided that I was a bit too slow on the uptake. Age had gotten the better of me; a new generation of people brought up on iPods, iMacs and eco-burgers was taking over.

But then ... I saw the light. It happened when I was checking my Twitter account. Jedro74 had posted the following, "I CANNOT believe the Australian media is ignoring this story! http://twitpic.com/6e1mui".

Thinking that my fellow countryman Julian Assange had created yet another brouhaha, I clicked. Only to find ... well click it yourself ...

It was nothing to do with Assange. It was just that old Australian simplicity, that je ne sais quoi of the unworldly, the unsophisticated, that other worldliness that MAY exist in America, but which I have yet to come across, was alive and well.

Naive Americans like Christine O'Donnell tend to believe in the devil and witches. Naive Australians are not held back by primitive beliefs in Christianity circa AD500. Naive Australians are more focused on the mundane.

"Out-of-date pasty is sold to young mum", screamed Australia's Folkestone Herald on August 25th. "Toddler took bite of food three days past its sell-by date", it groaned.

Page one news! One can only guess the readership of the Folkestone Herald .

My mind drifted back to a hundred years ago when I myself was a "young mum". I wasn't in paid employment - I'd decided to stay at home to raise the children. But I'd always wanted my own income. What work can one do at home?

I discovered an income source. An Australian women's magazine, "The New Idea" had a column, called "The Mere Male". All it was, was a collection of letters from readers about some weird thing their "hubbies" had done. You wrote in with your "Mere Male" tale and if it was published you were sent a check for $5. If it made "Letter of the Week", you got more.

And so I set to work. I can't remember all my letters but I do remember the first one.

"I asked MM (New Idea for "Mere Male") to wash the lettuce while I was going out to shop. When I came back I saw him hosing the lettuce on the lawn in the front yard". Jedro74 was about 18 months old at the time. And I earned $10 for my contribution.

Now, my reasoning is this - if the "New Idea", which was in all probability, and probably still is, owned by the Murdoch Press, could pay me tens of dollars way back in the Dark Ages, they must have had a reason. And the reason MUST have been that there was a market made up of people who actually wanted to read such idiocy.

A market that has been forgotten - forgotten by virtue of the focus on the educated, the sophisticated, the high tech, the Generation teXters.

I'm pretty sure I can tap into that market. The "Mere Male" readers of OZ - those people don't want an app that will monitor their gym activity, apps that will check their heart rate and how many miles they jogged to Starbucks, apps that know when ARRS falls below $11. Such people don't want Kindle or Nook Apps. They certainly don't want to read the Times Literary Supplement on iPads.

They want stuff like "Mere Male" or information about two year olds who might have eaten stale bread. Yes-siree-Bob, I have found an untapped source.

And THAT, dear reader, is my market.

But before anyone accuses me of being condescending, elitist, ex-MacRob girl or Ms Smarty Pants - remember - I pride myself on being just that.

1 comment:

Boggy said...

Like your edge, girl. Or should I say, woman!

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