A few years back, Harley-Davidson, the venerable motorcycle manufacturer headquartered in my corner of Wisconsin (we even have a Harley-Davidson Museum not far from where I live) had an anniversary. I wasn't paying attention, but if memory serves it was its 105th. Bikers came from all over the world—you have to go to Sturgis to see more motorcycles at once, or in a day; they're like locusts. The rumble of big V-twin engines with no mufflers gets into your brain. As part of the celebration, the company threw a big concert. But its spokesmen got coy about who the main act would be—all they did was imply that it would be somebody really, really big.
With the performer's identity a secret, the rumor started getting around that it would be the Rolling Stones. So many people repeated this, so many times, that it was taken for granted by many that the rumors had to be true. The Stones concert was the talk of every street corner. News of where the Stones were and what they were doing became daily banter. The more talk there was, the more people believed it. The more people believed it, the more talk there was.
Come the night of the big concert, and who bestrode the stage but...well, Elton John. That was a surprise, all right, but not in the manner intended. People were so angry and disappointed that they left the concert in droves, thronging the exits before Elton had finished his first song.
It's probably true that Harley-Davidson management should have realized that a gay Brit pop crooner known for flamboyant eyeglasses didn't quite fit the corporate image (then again, my son thinks Harleys are "for really old, fat guys with gray beards"), but that can't have accounted for all the defections. What did it was confused expectations. Sometimes we want something to be true so badly that we feel let down when it turns out not to be the case. But who's to blame for that? Harley-Davidson never told anyone the Stones would perform. All they did was keep the performer's real identity a secret. It was a good illustration that wishful thinking—even en masse—doesn't make a belief true.
What got me started thinking about this is that I've actually stated in public that this site is a teaser campaign for the new Micro 4/3 Olympus. But I don't know that. All it says is that it's a celebration of the 50th Birthday of the Olympus Pen.
Maybe that's exactly what it is. Nothing more. It's possible I'm loading it with my own expectations, just because other people are. There appear to be three more spaces for "updates," but, as this page shows, there are actually five more Pen models.
Who's to blame for my disappointment if the last update is a hand drawing a camera from 1966?
UPDATE: It was the 100th Anniversary celebration, in 2003, that featured Elton John. Thanks to Charles Veit for this information.