I’m annoyed to see Google’s use of a Rembrandt self-portrait across their logo today, on the 470th anniversary of his death.
I live a short way from Kenwood House in London, home to one of Rembrandt’s greatest late paintings. In this painting, the sad sack stares us down, brushes bunched in his fist; a confection of in-your-face paint strokes which brag about being the difference between what things are and what they mean. In the background, a map of blank hemispheres asks us if an empty hunt for money and the new is worth a spit without knowing the truth about yourself. Looking in a mirror is a nasty business. You never know who’ll stare back.
But this witless #GoogleDoodle works hard to say nothing at all; it’s just a bad ad where the key visual perfectly describes the corporation’s USP; a decontentified meme that gives away nothing we don’t already know. In a culture where the data-corp believes that stories are only big data, “Don’t be Evil” means, almost always, the opposite.