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by Dale Connelly, 1/14/00

Dc: The big media merger has been all the rage this week ... the biggest media company, Time Warner, being bought by the biggest online service, AOL. . Steve Case of AOL, who will be chairman of the new, combined company, said about the merger ... "we will fundamentally change the way people get information, communicate with others, buy products and are entertained." That came across as rather ominous and big brotherish, and I'm sure he couldn't have intended it to sound that way, so I called the main office and asked for Steve.
He wasn't available (surprise)! But they did send someone out right away.

(sfx: doorbell)

I was thrilled.

(sfx: door open)

P: Mr. Connelly?

Dc: Yes?

P: AOL Time Warner. I'm here to fundamentally change the way you ...

Dc: I know, I know. I called.

P: Is this where you enter the house?

Dc: Usually. After I stop at the mailbox.

P: And this low table here?

Dc: Is where I set the mail down. It sits there longer than it should.

P: (looking) Time, Sports Illustrated, Fortune, People...

Dc: Sorry. Sometimes they don't even make it into the living room. They sit here until I take them out with the recycling.

(sfx: scribbling)

P: Mmmm hmmmm.

Dc: That's all right, isn't it?

P: Mmmm. And then you step this way?

Dc: Into the kitchen, yes.

P: And there's a TV there. On the counter.

Dc: It's usually off.

(sfx: scribbling)

P: Mmmm hmmmm.

Dc: I could leave it on. Maybe I should.

P: What do you do in this room if you're not reading one of the magazines you left in the entryway and the television is turned off?

Dc: If I'm just coming home from work, I look for something to eat. Because it's the kitchen.

P: And while you're looking for something to eat, are you being entertained?

Dc: Not really.

P: Communicating with anyone?

Dc: No.

(sfx: scribbling)

P: (sadly) Mmmm hmmmm.

P: Where's the computer?

Dc: Upstairs. Do you want to see the computer?

P: Seen one, thanks. The phone?

Dc: Right around the corner, here.

P: No cell phone!?

Dc: Nope.

(sfx: scribbling)

P: (surprised, disappointed) Mmmm hmmmm. If you were standing in this spot and you needed to buy something, what would you do?

Dc: I would go to the store and buy it.

P: (incredulous) Get in the car and drive there?

Dc: That's right.

(sfx: scribbling)

Mmmm hmmmm.

Dc: What do you think? Am I OK?

P: Well're missing opportunities to be entertained and informed and communicated with.

(sfx: intermittent scribbling)

We want your computer to move to that table in the entryway. Then there won't be room for you to park our magazines there.

Dc: The magazines should go ...?

P: Into the kitchen, on the table. And the computer ... it needs to be on, all the time, OK?

Dc: Even when I'm gone?

P: That way, when you get home, it's waiting for you, like a puppy.
While you're taking off your boots we can prompt you with CNN and Turner Network programming teases so you'll go for the TV before the fridge.

Dc: But I've got to eat.

P: Yes, but by the time you sit down to eat, we'll have you surrounded ... TV over here on the counter, computer in the entryway ... magazines in front of you on the kitchen table! Triangulation! Being entertained, informed, communicated with! Constantly.

Dc: What if someone comes to the door?

P: No one's gonna come to the door anymore. Coming to the door is over.
We're ending it, along with talking over the back fence .

Dc: Well ... thanks.

P: No problem. We'll be making some other fundamental changes to your life, so watch for regular upgrades, OK?

(sfx: door open)

Dc: I will. Thanks.

(sfx: door close)

The AOL - Time/Warner merger is expected to gain easy approval.

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