Thursday, April 7, 2011

Martin Kihn's "Bad Dog"

Martin Kihn is an Emmy Award–nominated former writer for MTV’s Pop-Up Video and the author of House of Lies and A$$hole. He has worked at Spy, Forbes, and New York, and his articles have appeared in The New York Times, GQ, Details, and Cosmopolitan.

He applied the “Page 99 Test” to his new book, Bad Dog (A Love Story), and reported the following:
Page 99 contains one of the few at-work scenes in my comic memoir Bad Dog (A Love Story), which unfolds mainly in rain-drenched dog parks, AA meetings and E.R. waiting rooms. It kicks off a bizarre subplot that's also an authentic, heretofore unrevealed piece of digital pop-culture history.

I invented a word. True story: I consciously decided to create a new "word" and seed it into the culture using diabolical digital marketing techniques. Page 99 describes the moment the idea occurred to me. What precedes this particular brainwave are 98 pages of alcoholic insanity, bad human and dog behavior, and a few (very few, at this point) steps into the light. What I'm saying is I wasn't making sense, even to myself.

Still, I invented a word. I'm at work, at a big online ad agency in New York, at I'm listening to a young woman who works for me -- a woman who (on Page 99):
... is always raving about somebody or other's WOM [word-of-mouth] and VOM [viral online marketing] strategy, so I watch her lips move for a while.

"... just need to figure out a revenue model."

"Totes," I say.

A moment


"Totes. It's like totally, only shorter. Everybody's saying it."

She nods, dubiously. "Right."

I've noticed if you mention everybody's doing something, and it's a remotely good idea, eventually somebody starts doing it. Thus, I wasn't exactly lying, just playing with the element of time.
There you have it, on Page 99: the invention of the word "totes." Yes, that was me. And you're welcome. What comes next of course is that this highly wired young woman tells her two thousand "friends," who tell their "friends," and lexicographical cyber-history is made.

Postscript: subsequent to my authorship, the word went viral, and many glory-seekers appeared to seize credit. They know who they are. Page 99 speaks for itself. Totes.
Learn more about Bad Dog: A Love Story at Martin Kihn's website and the Bad Dog Facebook page.

Read--Coffee with a Canine: Martin Kihn and Hola.

--Marshal Zeringue