Newsflash: Bill Gates really is the Antichrist

Would you sign off an expensive TV ad for your software with the words 'the damned and accused are convicted to flames of hell'? That, as Internet classical music buffs have cheerfully pointed out, is exactly what Microsoft is doing in its US TV campaign for Internet Explorer, which goes out with an excert from Mozart's Requiem.

Would you sign off an expensive TV ad for your software with the words "the damned and accused are convicted to flames of hell"? That, as Internet classical music buffs have cheerfully pointed out, is exactly what Microsoft is doing in its US TV campaign for Internet Explorer, which goes out with an excert from Mozart's Requiem.

The rousing choral accompaniment to Microsoft's closing "Where do you want to go today?" is the Confutatis Maledictis from Requiem, whose Latin lyrics, "Confutatis maledictis, Flammis acribus addictis", can be variously translated as above, or as "When the wicked are confounded, Doomed to flames of woe unbounded," or "When the damned are confounded, And consigned to sharp flames."

The Confutatis movement ends with the deathbed plea, "Gere curam mei finis" or "Help me in my last condition."

None of these, presumably, are quite the vibe Microsoft was seeking to create for its flagship browser - but they arguably reflect the kind of karma you invite when you use a mass for the dead as a marketing tool.

As the denizens of a variety of Usenet newsgroups spent the weekend arguing about whether the unfortunate entendre was a subtle prank by ad agency creatives, one came up with a whole new angle, pointing out that in Milos Forman's film Amadeus, the Confutatis "is the background music when the successful, but pedestrian composer Salieri is in the study with Mozart. Salieri has secretly hounded Mozart to the brink of death, and now is taking down Mozart's notes for the Requiem, hoping to steal some of Mozart's genius."

Frightening, really, isn't it? Perhaps the same team which made the Rolling Stones' 'Start Me Up' safe for use in the Windows 95 campaign by excising the words "You make a grown man cry" could be drafted in re-purpose Microsoft's new tune.

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