Somebody said we were allowed to think out loud. Pardon the mess.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Purple Places Majesty

Project for Public Spaces:
A way forward for America beyond red and blue.

When we raise the idea of place these days, many people's first question is: Is it a red-state place or a blue-state place? The election results show us a country that is close to evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans. Common ground hardly seems to exist anymore.

The issues and rhetoric of the presidential campaign left many people feeling afraid, angry, divided, or isolated. If America stays that way, we'll all be losers coming out of this election. It's easy to forget that progressives, right-wingers, and everyone in between share common ground every day--literally. They cross paths in parks, commercial streets, coffee shops, markets, libraries, houses of worship, trains and buses, community centers. Public places are the heart of our democracy -- not only where we vote in November, but where we meet neighbors and exchange ideas the rest of the year. ...

We've seen over and over again how a community-oriented process to create or improve public places--we call it "placemaking"--can bring people together in new ways. We've found this to be true in areas more deeply divided than the United States, through our work in Serbia, Croatia, and Montenegro.

Placemaking is a practical method to discover common ground in a community by encouraging a diversity of opinion toward the goal of building a better place for everyone. This same spirit can guide our national political conversation. What makes places great, makes nations great -- and makes the world more peaceful and prosperous. ...

To help raise placemaking as a new subject in our national conversation, we are launching the Great Cities Initiative, which gathers all of PPS's services into a united program of community-building. We are also planning a series of workshops, initiated by PPS Board member Ron Sher, to explore the promise of placemaking as a strategy for mending and strengthening American culture. The first workshop will take place this February in Seattle with additional ones planned for New York and Midwestern cities. These will lead up to a landmark placemaking conference or "chautauqua" in 2006, which we believe will spark a powerful placemaking movement the same way that Earth Day did for environmental concerns.

Please help us bring placemaking to the table as a significant social and political issue by joining PPS as a member and becoming a placemaking activist in your own community. America needs placemaking, and we need you to help placemaking succeed.
Shared Air is a precious, magical thing. And powerful too. Check 'em out: Project for Public Spaces

Friday, November 12, 2004

The Aquent|AMA Compensation Survey of Marketing Professionals 2005
Welcome to the most comprehensive survey of its kind ever conducted. Drawing upon data sampled from more than 70,000 marketing professionals throughout the United States, it provides the most in-depth look ever at marketers' salaries and responsibilities across a wide range of titles, markets, and industries....
[p.s.: make sure you read all the copy on the spash'll see what I mean.]
Blue and Red. Values. And Values!*

* Not including tax and tags. Subject to availabiltiy. Offer not binding in AL, AK, AZ, CO, FL, GA, KS, KY, LA, MO, MT, NC, ND, NE, NM, NV, OH, OK, SC, SD, TN, UT, VA, WV, WY. See dealer for details.

Pretty stupid, huh? Bumper-sticker culture cheats itself as it beats itself as it eats itself. (Hey, a trifecta! Assonance, alliteration and anomie. Er--I thinks that's anomie. Maybe it's enemy. Whatever.) Anyway, hello, bait and switch... NYT:
On 'Moral Values,' It's Blue in a Landslide

....There's only one problem with the storyline proclaiming that the country swung to the right on cultural issues in 2004. Like so many other narratives that immediately calcify into our 24/7 media's conventional wisdom, it is fiction. Everything about the election results - and about American culture itself - confirms an inescapable reality: John Kerry's defeat notwithstanding, it's blue America, not red, that is inexorably winning the culture war, and by a landslide. Kerry voters who have been flagellating themselves since Election Day with a vengeance worthy of "The Passion of the Christ" should wake up and smell the Chardonnay.

The blue ascendancy is nearly as strong among Republicans as it is among Democrats. Those whose "moral values" are invested in cultural heroes like the accused loofah fetishist Bill O'Reilly and the self-gratifying drug consumer Rush Limbaugh are surely joking when they turn apoplectic over MTV. William Bennett's name is now as synonymous with Las Vegas as silicone. The Democrats' Ashton Kutcher is trumped by the Republicans' Britney Spears. Excess and vulgarity, as always, enjoy a vast, bipartisan constituency, and in a democracy no political party will ever stamp them out.

If anyone is laughing all the way to the bank this election year, it must be the undisputed king of the red cultural elite, Rupert Murdoch. Fox News is a rising profit center within his News Corporation, and each red-state dollar that it makes can be plowed back into the rest of Fox's very blue entertainment portfolio. The Murdoch cultural stable includes recent books like Jenna Jameson's "How to Make Love Like a Porn Star" and the Vivid Girls' "How to Have a XXX Sex Life," which have both been synergistically, even joyously, promoted on Fox News by willing hosts like Rita Cosby and, needless to say, Mr. O'Reilly. There are "real fun parts and exciting parts," said Ms. Cosby to Ms. Jameson on Fox News's "Big Story Weekend," an encounter broadcast on Saturday at 9 p.m., assuring its maximum exposure to unsupervised kids....

Thursday, November 11, 2004

The WTO tackles the big issues

...but papers over numbers 1 and 2. Via Incite by Design we hear rumblings of movement on a global scale
World Toilet Organization
A Preview on World Toilet Summit 2004
* A Global Perspective - Relationship between Toilets & Quality of Human Life
* World Class Tourism & Toilets
* Entrepreneurship: Social & Economic Returns on Investments
* Maintenance - Good Toilets Improve Heartland Community Living
* Design - The Challenges and Considerations in Establishing the Code of Practice for Toilets.
* Catering to the diversity of Culture - toilets for different cultures
* Water Conservation: The Cost Effective Use of a Valuable Resource, Water
* Toilet - The Past, Present and Future of Public Toilets in Beijing
* Many more….
No word on the catering.
Arafat dead. Yassir, don't mean maybe.

©Jan Op De Beek

"a new... truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it." - Max Planck

"Though each may hope to convert the other to his way of seeing... neither may hope to prove his case. The competition between paradigms is not the sort of battle that can be resolved by proof." - Thomas Kuhn
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (Thomas Kuhn, 1962) is an analysis of the history of science. Its publication was a landmark event in the sociology of knowledge, and popularized the terms paradigm and paradigm shift.

©eugene kuo

[Duh. Published to "Drafts," not "Blog."]

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

"Okay, smart guy, show me."

Got an email from a reader saying, essentially, the above.

Okay, I will. But first, two clarifciations.

1. We are dealing with the impression of "morality" not it's actual practice. As they say, it's not a principle unless it costs you something. Heretofore, nobody on the "morality" side is giving up a damn thing.

2. Understand that when I'm referencing morality as viewed through politics, or business, much of what get's said is framed in bumper-sticker-simple assertions. As practiced, it's hit and run spirituality--points scoring--that doesn't wait around for the practical evidence to catch up to the emotional response and the inevitable conclusion that comes from comparing the two: You talk a good game, but you are insincere.

I wrote the following stuff over at Digby's blog (link dissappeared) back around the time of Rush's Oxycontin confession:
The rules of the game currently being drawn in the coming '04 hairpull and carefully cultivated to the media (to, not in, the media--they're being re-conditioned in prep, again), is that right wing complaint is constructive to the fabric of discourse. Left wing observations of the Right are destructive. (David Brooks -NYT) And that right wing fallibility is evidence of commitment, albeit with natural human imperfection. (David Drier - Arnold Campaign Co-chair). In business you might call this emphasizing Brand Identity over Quality Assurance.

What's this mean? Simple. The reason that Righties do so well in the face of seemingly inexcusable failings is that they often place people before ideas, absolute group identity before absolute individual consistency. People identify far more deeply and resonantly with other people than with abstracts like "ideas". Some of us enjoy the jui-jitsu of wrestling with patterns, dynamics and reasons why? For most of us though, it makes our brains hurt: We say, "My conclusions could be wrong and then I'd look dumb. Or people may disagree, and then I'd be ostracized."

Look at Rush or Arnie and the response of true-identifying-believers: Patting someone on the head and bringing them a covered dish is easier than wrestling with working consistent ideas that accommodate drug addiction or serially groping women.

In a way, the old "Love the sinner, hate the sin" construct is at work. But following the theme that ideas are abstract, it's far easier on the ego and the faculties to just declare yourself a sinner, buy someone else's laminated list of predetermined "sins", and get on witht the *fun* part: belonging to a group of people. In a way, for certain parts of the humanity, specifics of ideology is the icing on the cake. A repeated and general and vague affirmation of the general principle of US versus THEM is what they worry about most, because it secures their cake--group membership, and the security blanket it offers in an increasingly fluid world--most effectively.
Okay. Enough talk, I love role plays.

Know your audience. An example.

For righteous people, personal inconsistency is the secret weapon. There's a tremendous amount of cherrypicking that goes on when it comes time for evangelicals to dole out their outrage. A la carte Pauls, many. I referenced evangelical firm, Barna Research on this blog back in February. Here's an example of their findings....
*Born again Christians are just as likely to get divorced as are non-born again adults. Overall, 33% of all born again individuals who have been married have gone through a divorce, which is statistically identical to the 34% incidence among non-born again adults.
If you click through to Barna, you'll find all kinds of neato facts: Such as, Massachussets Liberals walk the talk of the sacred commitment of marriage better than evangelicals. Tell me again, who is it we're protecting marriage from?

I don't ask that question to just make a snarky point, but to point out the above mentioned inconsistency vulnerability. But. BUT. In order to be heard, you must frame your message in the vernacular, otherwise your only audience will be you, and bats and dogs.

Use the words they would use, but use them first. Take gay marriage, the reason this election went south in more ways than one...

Demonstrate: that if you (evangelicals) are going to cleave the country in two, then many of your most active allies will be "left behind", so to speak, because, as we have learned all too well of late, the mirror has two faces. The "demons" you choose to so paint also have (R) after their name. They go to your churches, they live under your family roof. They are your friends, they are your children, your brothers and sisters, they are the family of Man. Imperfect, as God intended. Living together, as God made them to be. If man's words and laws made life the idyll you imagine, then we would have all been sipping ambrosia since birth.

Visualize: Faces of families, gay and otherwise, young and old, large and small, each with members disappeared from screen. "These are the enemy of God?"

Ask: If man and woman are God's creations, who are we to arrogantly divide--by impecfect, human, political means--that which he has, inexplicably to some, placed on this earth to live together. Love, commitment, sacrifice, all the ingredients are there. Suddenly these are less than virtuous?

Say: This is not a new challenge. It is an ages old conundrum. But if you deign to take matters into to your own hands merely to serve your modernistic, earthly impatience at not understanding His plan, then what do you get? Who is to say, but we know what we've been told: He who troubles his own house, shall inherit the wind.

God has told us we can do better than that. But only together. And only if we truly will try. Now go. In peace. And be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only.

### end translation/demo ###

Democratic values are not absent, nor are they broken. There are, however, horribly represented when you limit their discussion to sterile leagalistic concepts and inert words devoid of universal ideals. You cannot credibly call misguided faith to account without using the words of faith any more than you will reassure and persuade a CEO by asking "What's a balance sheet?"

FYI: The meat of the above moral-speak wasn't written in response to this election result, but as strategic assessment/advice posted, also in Feb, to MetaJournalism,

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Tired of meetings that go nowhere?
Stuck in first gear? Get on board! Get moving!
Get... ConferenceBike!
Wanted: Noodge, pain-in-the-ass, or comparable. Hourly. Death-stare a plus.

From Craigslist via Gothamist:
I'm a first year law student but I've been having terrible concentration problems. I need someone to sit with me while I study and make sure that I'm studying. Otherwise I'll waste hours surfing the internet or just thinking about random things. You can be reading the newspaper or doing your own work while you do this, you just need to be sitting at a starbucks table or other location with me. You DO NOT NEED TO KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT LAW SCHOOL to do this job. I'll pay more for people that can tutor me in Civil Procedure, Contracts, or Torts.

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