Cutting Through The Noise

They don't have quite the hold in the academy anymore, but cyberneticians still rule in the marketing world, where "noise" and "cutting through the noise" and "being heard with all the clutter" are the way, the only way, that many see the world.

Over the weekend they ran Indianapolis 500, a celebration of speed and colour and daring -- and noise. And when it was over, and Dario Franchitti had roared to his third title, and the cameras had taken a break from capturing Ashley Judd, it was Tony Kanaan, who finished third, who cut through the noise.

The sub-plot of the final laps of the race was which of the late Dan Wheldon's friends, Franchitti, Kanaan, of Scott Dixon, would win at The Brickyard. Wheldon was a popular driver killed last year in a crash at Las Vegas. They were all in or close to the lead at one point. For Kanaan, it was a chance to win his first Indy 500. The commentators underlined both emerging stories.

Franchitti won. Which meant everyone else lost. That's true, but not the end of the story. Because how you lose, your ability to place that loss in a greater story, is even more compelling than the simple zero sum game of winner and the rest. And Kanaan told that story seconds after getting out of his car.

The audio can be forgotten, but the message is memorable. At least to someone raised on and expecting some riff on the second-place-doesn't-matter, woe-is-me speech of the professional hockey set. To lose like this is an honour, says Kanaan. That's different.

So, what is needed to "cut through the noise?" In this case, a different, seemingly honest answer which is a celebration of, an addition to and not a subtraction from, the sport that pushed and his machine to do their best for a lost friend.


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