What anecdote has a staff adding an intentional mistake to fixate boss?
November 7, 2013 12:50 PM   Subscribe

I can't remember this anecdote for the life of me. But the jist was, a very picky director / designer / CEO's people would plant an intentional piece of ugliness (something off center, something ugly) into a project, or design, or film, to fixate him, so he wouldn't tear apart any other parts of the design.

It might be Steve Jobs or someone similar. Or it might be a famous director (Kubrick? Lucas?).

Bonus if there's a name for this practice, or the phenomenon of a major problem masking minor ones, or other examples.
posted by condour75 to Society & Culture (14 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: It's a duck.
posted by redsparkler at 12:51 PM on November 7, 2013 [4 favorites]

posted by a snickering nuthatch at 12:53 PM on November 7, 2013

Best answer: Or a hairy arm.
posted by pont at 12:54 PM on November 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

jobseekers do the same thing on their resumes. it was last july (just googled) that i was bored and clicked on that epic clickbaiter businessinsider.com's "most ridiculous resumes"...

at the end of his resume, one guy had volunteered that he had been a "hymen checker at an australian sheep farm." when queried about this at the interview, he said that it was his way of making sure potential employers had read the resume.
posted by bruce at 1:08 PM on November 7, 2013 [2 favorites]

A related phenomenon: the Censor Decoy.
posted by McCoy Pauley at 2:08 PM on November 7, 2013

This was also done to pass scripts in Hollywood during the Hays Code era.
posted by winna at 2:20 PM on November 7, 2013

Seconding hairy arm.
posted by MrMoonPie at 2:32 PM on November 7, 2013

nthing 'hairy arm' as the story I read.
posted by Kadin2048 at 5:09 PM on November 7, 2013

This may not exactly fit your parameters, but there is a parallel nonetheless: Classic Ways to Conquer Writer's Block. I remember hearing about the rotten apples employed by Friedrich von Schiller, your question reminded me of this....
posted by lakersfan1222 at 6:32 PM on November 7, 2013

Oh yeah, we heard it as the orange doorknob.
posted by susanbeeswax at 6:55 PM on November 7, 2013

The hubs used to do this with his boss.
posted by mon-ma-tron at 7:26 PM on November 7, 2013

We would call it the blue boat.
posted by Jubey at 8:45 PM on November 7, 2013

The composers I know who work in t.v. production call this a "clam."
posted by corey flood at 10:39 PM on November 7, 2013

In graphic design, I've heard that if a particular client always wanted a logo bigger, they would purposely make the logo 50% smaller than the designer actually wanted, so that when the client said they wanted it bigger, they would actually get it to the size the designer originally wanted. Or something like that!
posted by sxtrumpeto at 3:54 AM on November 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

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