Postcards from the Bleeding Edge
The National Do Not Call Registry
is up and running. It's slashdotted, just bookmark the link and try again. Telemarketers won't call anymore - but there are exemptions for charities and political organizations. This does not surprise me.
It's my hope that through further legislation that we, the bombarded citizens of these Blighted States - can get an option to get those groups to not call, either.
Wouldn't it be wonderful, if every time you picked up the telephone
, it was a call from a friend, or family?
| The Unbrand America campaign is promoting silent protest by asking people to make creative use of a black spot in public places. They are also looking for donations so they can run a series of ads by July 4th. Running ads to bash branding... that's a difficult concept - but I don't know how to outshout 3000 marketing messages a day. I've learned how to silence them in my home, but that's all. A blogger's voice whispers to the literate and googled, reaching/teaching the bamboozled is something I've been struggling with ever since Doc & David Weinberger published World of Ends. The very people that need to read that piece - don't read.
The black spot - is in itself a recognisable "brand". I rebranded myself in Beating the Brand - Part 1 - crying out - "I AM THE-ANTI-BRAND!" - but I've been trying to work at a subtler level since. Really. Much subtler than this.
, is an ANTI-BRANDING symbol. It's an in-your-face form of protest that cries out - "Wake up America! - you are being blinded, deafened, dulled by sensory overload! You are not pavlovian dogs!"
Until I got the brands out of my face last month I couldn't think clearly enough to write - and look at me now - writing nearly every day. You too can write gonzo stuff if you just get your environment to shut up!
If you want to know who made your shirt, look at the tag. If you want to know who made my car, ask. Same for my fridge. You don't want, or need, to process the information on a daily basis. It is a mind and soul-sucking exercise to filter it all out. I have got to make clear that I am not against brands - I'm not THAT anti-corporate - all I want to do is get the constant reminders of branding out of my/our lives. OK?
I'm going to use the black spot in my future posts but I'm planning to make my website go entirely black on July 4. Why? I'm ornery. The people doing the unbranding brand are also promoting other causes that I don't believe in - And... well, I'll get to that later this week.
writes in. I'm going to comment on this - maybe move it up the blog later - but I have things to do this morning.
Branding is about bypassing quality
Normally, we evaluate a product using whatever subjective quality measures make sense for us. Let's choose an obviously ubiquitous brand as an example: S******. I am a coffee drinker. I happen to like S********** coffee; however, I like it because I happen to like the slightly acidic edge their particular roasting process imparts to the coffee. That's choice by quality measurement. If their coffee suddenly stopped tasting as good, I'd stop buying it--even though it still would have the S******** brand. (I've done it before, with other roasters I like.)
If you're a product purveyor, choice by quality measurement doesn't give you a break. You'd better produce a consistently good product, or some upstart will usurp your market position.
Enter the brand. If, by advertising blitz, strategic product placement, rebates, and other measures, you can mold your product into a "brand" that is synonymous with quality, you might be able to hold your market position without having to work as hard. This is especially helpful with high ticket items (like refrigerators, or stereos, or cars). Truly convince people that at F***, quality is Job One, and you might stand a chance of producing a few F*** loyalists, who always buy F*** cars, without question, because, dammit, Fords are best. (I've known a few such people. I'm sure you have, too. They puzzle me.)
It's probably easier to brand high-volume items, especially high-volume items that aren't subject to the senses (e.g., detergents, as opposed to breakfast cereal). You either like the taste of a cereal or you don't. But the quality differential between various brands of detergents isn't that high, especially if you factor out the generics. Is Tide really that much better than, say A** or F** or whatever? It's doubtful. So how do customers choose? Well, some just buy whatever's cheapest that week, modulo a quality baseline (i.e., they won't buy the supermarket's brand). Of course, that's exactly what the manufacturer doesn't want. That's another instance of choice by quality measurement.
The manufacturers don't want a discriminating customer. They want exactly the opposite. So they work very hard at establishing brand awareness and loyalty, subtly pressuring and encouraging customers to become less discriminating and to settle on a brand. In a way, it's easier for the customer, too: no more time "wasted" doing research to figure out which product is best, one is best, no more running to Consumer Reports when it's time to buy a new car or fridge, no more scanning the shelves looking for this week's cheapest detergent. "If I buy enough T***, they'll give me a coupon!"
This is one very big reason that we're all so assaulted by brands.
Yesterday I was invited to join the "Friends Of Chuck Murcko Exchange", otherwise know as "FoCMe".
I was greeted with a vigorous round of upraised middle fingers. I felt at home. I felt warm sticky fellowship with them all. They immediately changed the name of the list from Friends of Chuck Murdock to Friends of Chuck Murcko, just to entice me into friendship with someone different that I'd only met once 9 years ago.
I've had more feedback on Beating The Brand
than anything since Uncle Bill's Helicopter
. I'm HATING writing the followup to both pieces. I'm Caught between a ®ock and a hardon
. Doc, it hurts when I do this! The paper stickies are still all over my kitchen - and they don't make them in black, the esthetics suck - pink and green and purple don't go with wood tones, black and white....
the Monkey Wrench Gang
. Her advice:
Tamper. Often. Chisel off the nameplates. Scrape off the stickers. Dig into the code and replace ugly splash screens with photos of flowers, pictures of your dog, postcards from Nunavit, anything you like.
It's your stuff, after all, no matter what the labels say. It's in your home, in your hands, it's yours. Don't let the labels tell you any different.
After I got done with Beating the Brand, I wrote Sex in Politics
in a single day. Nobody picked it up. Nobody. I thought it was the funniest thing I'd written in a long time - and I emailed the world on it - I went through the top 50 blogs on technorati - I even emailed Dave Barry - Maybe everyone spam filtered my emails out. What's wrong with a subject line of "Sex in Politics"? The spammers won again.
I had visions of Denis Miller
or Henry Rollins
picking both rants up, I daydreamed of fame and fortune. I dreamed that night of opening for Johnny Carson - (yea, it's been that long since I watched television) I
still laugh at Sex in Politics. Maybe everyone else got burned out on sex in the 90s and are more into fantasizing about driving tanks through the middle east. They're spending too much time in their SUVs to fantasize about anything else. Get out of your cars, people - check out some nice tits
once in a while!
I even emailed Halley
because everything I know about being an alpha male I learned from her
- and I'm looking to test it out on somebody. Anybody. Today, after lunch, if possible.
I thought of doing anything, anything, other than writing Beating the Brand, part II - even going back to my last job
Pericat offered sympathy:
It's a lamentable fact of a writer's life. Just remember that quality and quantity of responses depends much more on events in the reader's life than it does on the worth of whatever you wrote. Some days, readers just suck.
The SCObleizer linked in, calling McPhallicism
- "Wacked". He started blogging 3 years ago, and has 403 inbound links. I started a year ago, have 12 and He wants more
?!! Even the main guy who links to me, who I love like a brother, hasn't bothered to add me to his blogodex, or whatever the heck it's called -
If I had time today, I would write interestingly like SCObleizer or ZeroPointnine
about wacked "standards" like XML, CSS, and HTML
, and web browsers like dillo
, and mozilla
. I'd bitch about the unbelievable profusion of "standards" that make it nearly impossible to fit a usable web interface into an embedded device with less than 64MB of ram -
What the heck do I gotta do to claw my way out of the blogosphere into print? Playboy would be nice. I hear they let the models from the 1970s hang out with the writers. I was in love with Miss 1973. I was 8 - but I'd like to see her again. Clothed.
I'd write about how the letters "SCO" haunt me
- I'd write about the one day that I almost sold out and joined the borg - I found that 1997 employment offer from Microsoft the other day, and used it to light my woodstove...
But I have to go hunt down some lunch. There's a pair of arrogant deer out back - they think they are protected this time of the year. Ha!
They're gnawing at my roses. Little do they know I'm desparate, and pissed, and in the mood to wrestle with something physical, tear off a jugular vein, suck the blood from it, coat my body with it from head to toe and howl at the sun.
A Wireless connection
A Wireless Connection
Aw, hell. Slashdot
- a timesump I've sworn off reading - tells me that the Linux Router Project
is no more.
The creator of LRP, Dave Cinege, has given up. What he said struck me close to my heart.
As of January of this year I have finally accepted the fact I will likely never be able to develop LRP into the operating system it could have been. It is not an easy thing to give up on your life's work. I am also now semi-retired as a computer engineer. Aside from my general disgust at the computing industry and what the Internet has become, scrambling around for scrapes of work and praying for the next good money project that eventually ends suddenly in a few months, just isn't keeping food on the table.
and I based our 1998 wireless router project
on LRP. We pushed consumer wireless to 13.1 miles
- unheard of at the time. Our remote mountain home in Redwood Estates, Ca - after 7 months of spare time effort and skull sweat - became an high powered internet retreat far above the Valley smog. As payback for the karmic debt we owed the world and the open source community - we published a wireless howto
, and I published my diary on our attempts to get online
. Our wireless howto got read
by people throughout the world - and for multiple years Greg and I have fielded questions from as far away as Sri Lanka and conversed with some wonderful people.
Best of all, once we got the system stable we spent the next couple years telecommuting extensively - the hours others spent driving we turned into billable time - and I reaped two other benefits I'll get to shortly. If it hadn't been for the LRP project, we would never have been able to do that. So: Thank you number 1, Dave Cinege.
Now: aside from supporting the howto's readers - we never really did anything to support LRP directly. At least I didn't, maybe Greg did, I'll ask him when he gets back from sailing with Cherie
Over the past 2 years the questions on our now sadly outdated howto have subsided - because commercial companies, like Hyperlink Technologies
, have stepped in and have a booming business manufacturing all the parts we had to make by hand in early 1998. Here's all that Hyperlink had available
then. Not only that but 802.11b itself, and it's successor 802.11g - have spanned the globe. Wireless access points seem to be in nearly every restaurant, every cafe, every airport, there's three of them on my street alone, they're even in nudist resorts, and barbershops. There's a plethora of new designs and standards, there's hundreds of millions of dollars being thrown into the wireless industry. What cost us over $3k and hundreds of hours of custom effort then - can be had for less than $1.5k now, with off the shelf gear, running at 5x the speed of DSL.
I look back on 1998 with a lot of satisfaction, because:
Greg and I wuz there first.
I'm not bitter that no VCs have called me recently to ask what I think about their latest weird wireless project, and that I don't get emails from Sri Lanka anymore. Actually, I'm delighted. I can do other things.
I didn't have my emotions tied up in birthing a Linux based wireless router and the wireless howto - I just needed a solution, then. Greg and I indulged our Linux expertise and learned a lot about embedded systems, and we paid back the karma with writing the experience up, or so I thought until today.
Dave, I agree with you: In the embedded Linux router market:
You wuz there first.
I'm no stranger to getting so wrapped up in a project that I confuse it with growing a child. I've done it multiple times before, and I'll probably do it multiple times again, until I actually get around to growing a child. It hurts to give up a project that isn't rewarding - but it's not a child - you CAN and SHOULD abandon it if it isn't working out, and fill up that empty space with something else.
Fast forward a little in time
I met Jim Ready, President of MontaVista Software, at the big LinuxWorld show in 99. I still have his plain white business card in my rolodex. Back then MontaVista was a tiny company - and I was in the same "ectoplasm in all directions" mode I'm in now. I ranted and raved about the future of wireless 802.11b, settops and handheld linux computers. He listened politely but there was a disconnect - at the time MontaVista was doing a Compact PCI network implementation, and that was it. And I was coming from outer space - I was coming from 5 years in the future - I was coming from LRP - I was coming from mars.
Later on, I heard about this cool thing - the Kerbango Radio - on the internet - and I found out that MontaVista was doing the Linux
OS on it! I got enthused...
I have no idea if Jim actually remembered that conversation at any but a subconcious level when I came there to interview in May, 2000 - but through the owner of my wireless downlink (hmmwv.net), I'd made a connection to a piano player at MontaVista, and via that - and the wireless router howto - and my other linux skills & charm - I got the job, and ended up doing 802.11b, settops, and handheld Linux computers. Very little of my previous job experience counted. Thanks number 2, Dave. I would never had made two of those connections without you. MV didn't use anything from LRP - except me.
Year before last, I had the honor of meeting Steve Wozniac
in his mountain home. Damn few of my idols are alive - he's one of them. I'm not going to go into the number of things I respect the man for, he helped create the entire personal computer market, he did some amazing engineering... he came back from a head injury... he's done so many great things and nearly everywhere I've been in this field...
Woz wuz there first
Let's just say, that as I approached the door, my knees shook, I was in danger of stepping on my tongue and... my linux based wireless computer beeped - I was online! there was high powered wireless there! Hey
I wuz there first.
My shoulders straightened up, my chest expanded, I saw on his wall the famous "Love Hz" Kerbango poster - and I managed to get through a couple enjoyable hours of being a gui/wireless/crypto expert without stuttering much, or getting down on my knees and thanking him for all the things he'd done for me. He must get that awe reaction a lot - he handles it graciously. I spent a few moments in there deeply grateful to you, Dave, for doing LRP - so I could hack it to do wireless - so I could get to that day.
Now, someday all of us are going to be toothless old farts trapped in the old programmers village - and we can still say - we wuz there first.
Now, Dave, you may be very bitter.
My many contributions to the computing community has reaped very little personal benefit for myself. As I now struggle to pay the bills I can not help but feel quite pissed off at the state of affairs, for myself and the other authors who contributed massive amounts of time and quality work, only to have it whored by companies not willing to give back dime one to the people that actually created what it is they sell. Acknowledgement and referral would have at least been acceptable. Care to tell me what Embeddix (for one) is based off of? Ever offer me work Caldera? Even when I asked?
There's one really crucial difference between people and corporations. Although they have all the rights of people, few corporations say thanks, pay up when not asked, or recognise when they are strip mining fertile ground.
But people say thanks - and just as you publicly thanked your contributors to LRP - Phil Hands, Paul Russell, Charles Wright, Vesselin Atanasov and Paul Wouters - I'd like to say thanks - number 3 - not for your work - for your wierdly wireless connection to my life.
The experience of what you've done will stay with you forever - the people you've touched in your life will stay with you as well - money never does. Try not to be bitter about that.
Your work on LRP will rebound on you in some wonderful way, like it did on me. Maybe not today, maybe not this year, but it will. Count on it. If, as you embark on your next career, you're a bit nervous - and you notice out of the corner of your eye some sort of embedded Linux based routing gear running the company, remember: You wuz there first
. And stand tall.
. It's the idol worship of the phallus
and the idol worship of the corporation
, combined. I've been struggling to compress everything I know about these two topics into a set of definitions that make sense and, well, I keep getting distracted by real life.
Anyone else care to riff off on this newly coined word? Read Beating the Brand
first... and below is the Beating the Brand, part II segment where McPhallicism first appears
... then send mail to: mike (a.k.a Johnny Net)
Pericat thought about the 99¢ orgasm special
but got distracted after that
Interesting word choice, pericat, later on in your blog - the word discourse
vs social intercourse
Right after that I thought of hitting the drive-through window and saying
"I'll have the orgasmic happy meal - GO LARGE, please."
Got distracted after that by the Clinton and the Intern
From Beating the Brand, Part II
- Reversed therapy with Dr A:
perfume and a drugcompany salesrep waft into Dr A's office and his senses overload - he's momentarily disoriented - he gets up to find her a chair. She's 22 years old, fresh out of college, and definately not a virgin. She smiles - revealing stunning white teeth - then:
She unstraps her McPhallus
and slaps it down in the middle of his antique chess set. It's a tissue box, her company's latest drug emblazoned in maroon on all 4, no... 6 sides.
This is for you
, she says, with a sexy smile - it's a gift
The tissue box now weighs 14 thousand pounds
. You can't move it
Now it's been in your field of vision for weeks. It's a gift
, from a sexy lady. It's right in the middle of your chess set - Your blue fisher king cowers before the maroon monolith... the big hairy corporate balls hang out invading your private space, your office... but it's a gift, you can't move it
- you keep seeing it and you keep deleting it from your thoughts - you stop playing chess because of it...
That tissue box just sat there - for weeks - until I showed up for therapy and moved it for Dr A.
Dr A said, with total astonishment: "It's amazing how much better that feels
We sat and admired the chess set for a while - the seagull pawns, the esthetics of the board itself - it was a perfect, peaceful moment - and then he found himself compelled to start finding all the other brands in the room, suddenly noticing pens, and cups, and worst of all the silver "alarmco" sticker in the window... we turned some of them around, we taped some of them out, hid the sticker behind a plant, and I could see the doc visibly relaxing, growing less tense. I was having fun - maybe I wasn't entirely crazy
Then we talked about how the everpresent and overwhelming corporate sexuality symbols may cause millionth monkey syndrome
. He asked me for a copy of Beating the Brand
, and then... I had to drive home... somehow... through the information overload... on Soquel Road...
... to be continued ...
I really, really would like a break from the industry - especially - to not be under any NDAs for a while. I threw out 30+ NDAs this past month, and couldn't remember whatever I was supposed to have compartmentalized - so I guess I'm an integrated whole now.
I wrote a song about driving Hwy 17 - the Hwy 17 blues - 5-6 years ago, I can't remember the lyrics. I can't remember the drive, either, I haven't made that drive in a long time now. Thankfully. Usually I drove a long series of pleasant back roads culminating in Bear Creek Road. If 17 was backed up there, I'd cut over to lupin
and play piano for a while before trying to face the traffic.
I used to drive RT 1 regularly up to SF. Not once did I stop to surf - in fact - not once in that whole gig did I leave work before 10PM, so I never got to the theater, or a symphony, or sampled any of the other delights of SF. Dumb. They wanted to go public with a bang. So I worked my ass off and got my kicks from driving really fast all the way home on 1...
There remains a large fantasy element to my thinking - I'd really like to get out of the US for a while, as one example - I like to think that in mtaht version 38 I've resurrected Johnny Net - the guy with brass cojones, a clear mind, and a sense of mission - as another. I had kind of planned on spending time fixing my bugs rather than this...
Back in 98/99 I'd have had my mailbox flooded by now, and the phone would be ringing off the hook
I look out the window to see if the ball has rolled up to take me to the old programmer's Villiage
Hmm, maybe I should exercise and do some basic maintenence. Surf's down
, darn it.
I went to lupin wednesday, after doing laundry
. I really burned my butt. Doing situps I can feel every single carpet hair abrading me.
A couple emails from friends rolled in. One just read the original Uncle Bill's Helicopter
and said "classy work". We had a long chat last night about music, sound, about where the "kool-aid" is in open source development, trains - we go way back - he's got Z80 CP/M machines that still work - I talked about my fantasy of using my old 486 laptop to run Wordstar again, so I wouldn't have a browser and could cut back on my internet addiction that way... the guy's going on vacation in a few minutes - I wish I could treat this week like a vacation.
Another email - brian's been reading REALLY far down in the blog about what I said about simplifying gui design - he's still using emacs to read mail - "does that count?" - sure does - I've been thinking of switching back myself.
Every day is a precoffee day these days. 6 months ago I drank 10 cups of coffee a day, now I drink a half cup, in the afternoons, and it gives me jitters. Still, waking up is a long process...
Fight with my cat to clear space for the monitor.
I'm trying to prioritize my day - there's a lot of things I can do after the mail comes - but not much beforehand. I should really focus on the immediate problems but I'm drawn to writing
Mike Owens's blindspot
comments on Beating the Brand
and ad pollution
with the Ad That Slimed Me
Advertising seeks to replace the enriching, nourishing symbols that give real meaning and guidance to our lives with vacuous vampires whose only purpose is to drain our psychic well being and transform it into material wealth for an overly rich few.
The results of people being unable to think or feel clearly because they minds are bloated with this crap are all around us: short attention spans, an inability to tell truth from lies, dependency on the opinions of others, fanaticism, individuals and groups easily manipulated by the powerful, and the need for increasing levels of stimulation.
Furthermore, since clear, critical thinking is fundamental to democracy and civil society as we would practice it, advertising is therefore fundamentally undemocratic, and disruptive of the social relationships that society depends upon.
Hmm. I really, really, really have to think about that last bit. For me, I try to step into the founder's shoes of these here Blighted States... I know that advertising has existed ever since the first caveman or woman gave themselves a tattoo. I'm not so disturbed at advertising as I am by branding so that everything we see and own is a an advertisment... let me stew on this for a while.
I've also discovered that Evan has coined a phrase that is on google's page 1 - "ad pollution"..
I've been busy defining a new word: McPhallicism
. It's a combination of the idol worship of the phallus
and the idol worship of the corporation
. Here's a graphic
that starts to express what the meme is about. There's (much) more about it in Beating the Brand part II - whenever I finish that piece.
I had no ideas as to what to write today. So I started by writing about writing. It's stu's fault
, see below. Then I moved onto researching Brinkley's involvement with smoking
- found a good book on how our overwhelming ad culture can wipe out another
in less than 10 years by Jean Kilborne
- then I discovered Larry Lessig
had read and linked to Evan Hunt
's piece on ad pollution
- thus achieving more inbound blog links in a single day than I have in a year - and now it's four hours later. I've overwatered the garden.
When I started blogging I resolved to put out two pieces per month, and struggled to do that - english came hard to me back in January. I knew I had to keep at it. It was theraputic.
Every real author says you've gotta do "1000 words a day" - but it was never clear to me on what - I felt like I had to tackle the big subjects head on - stuff I care about, like copyright law, the state of computation, the state of the world, space, the meme war, Linux, gui design, and consumer electronics. I ended up writing, sideways, about what was really on my mind.
Most helpful to me were the 6 audio cassettes of Steven King's book, On Writing - A memoir of the craft
. He was brilliant, concise, & inspirational. I would play a side, write for a week, then play another side. I accumulated major library fines... Two ringing phrases remain in my mind:
"The road to hell is paved with adverbs." - I play homage to that phrase in the ADverb Apocalypse
"Write the Truth".
Write the Truth
. That was his first, and most important lesson to me. I groped and groped towards Truth with a capital T. Writing became easier.
Gradually I ramped up - 2-3-4 pieces a week, sometimes two in one day, it got easier to just type and write - aha! I realized that you just had to write whatever came to mind and gradually, gradually, you will be able to tackle those big subjects, just as sideways as you tackled the little ones, the trivial ones. In the last couple weeks I've blogged nearly every day - some good stuff - most trivial - but I think I'm cracking 1000 words a day now - almost by accident - and it feels like a dam bursting.
To write - oh - to write - it's better than cocaine. You lay out a fine line, you do it, you look away and have the world sparkle a little, and you look back... and it's still there! You lay out another... and another... and another... and another... and suddenly it's 3AM and your head hits the keyboard. You hit save. You get ready for bed. Then you have to just admire your work for a while. You notice problems, and fix them, and then it's 4AM.
With writing - you don't screw up your nose - but you do end up just as broke.
Today, maybe I'll catch up on some choice emails, and continue to work on my own thought processes - I've been experimenting with first/second/third person writing, talking to myself, trying to see if I spoke better with your voice, or with theirs.
...in a can without a brand
From stu - who tried blogging once and went back to writing weird emails, playing jazz bass, and making late night phone calls -
anonymous tin can
poor little can, lost in a world without a maker
it feels a faker
cause it don't know who it's cor-por-ate daddy is
i'll tell him this: "you need a job like mine where you can just administer some Linux systems and various database flavors,
write no code
and let the words flow..."
this is your thang, my friend, write about it. write about not being able to write about it. write about not being able to write about writing about it.
In some university somewhere maybe but... are there any jobs left? Truly it feels like living in thoroughly decadent corrupt and dying world. jazz gigless out of seattle. pedal-to-the-metal capitalism. It scares me my sweet friend because you somehow skipped the dubious development stage which allows a poyson like me to take a lickin' yet keep on tickin'. you are a younger soul maybe.
The sand is drippin from the post-modern hourglass, onto our brows, in a form of water torture saudi-arabia-style; the petrol-based system is doomed. who will tell the people? which people want to know?
ironic: you helped save the industrial system from Y2K meltdown and what thanks you get? i was right about meltdown, but my timing was a bit off. It will be oil depletion which will sink the endless-growth ship and offer a chance for evolution in other directions.
None of this would have surprised Sitting Bull; i can hear him sitting there and laughing his red head off
Stu sends me this mystic trippy stuff after we talk nearly every time. We used to tape our conversations because once we got on that same ethereal plane - we was out there, man - we was out there - and you know when you are achieving perfection when the you you are ain't there, you know? I remember one tape we made of a drive to Frys - we talked about asteroid colonization - that out there, "there was Real Estate, on the hoof" that anyone
could live on! I spoke so convincingly that there was a deep pause in the conversation and Stu said, longingly:
"Can I go?"
I told him: "Sure".
Same tone of longing, and dead seriously, Stu said:
"Can my dog come, too?"
"Sure. We can use her to thoroughly test the air recirculation system..." - Luna, now sadly deceased, was a smelly dog, but stu, Luna, and his van were inseperable...
I forget what else we talked about - oh yea, we talked about stupid laws, and just as I finished ranting about it - we had maybe 5 minutes to get to frys - I got stuck, needing to make a left at a red light with absolutely no oncoming traffic. The next sound on the tape: "Vrooooooom".
Stu writes on:
It certainly borders on miraculous that i have survived, being the wide-eyed self-anointed harbinger of end time that i am, for well nigh over half a century. i think god loves me. even though i blow my nose on bath towels in fine dining establishments (as a matter of principle and convenience) and blow farts during church service.
and she has also gifted me a fine life companion. truly one of nature's nobler creations.
i work in a basement amongst sheltering sub-tropical plants going brown from too much of the wrong kind of lite. Metaphor is everywhere! We turn off the harrowing fluorescents and live under incandescent brandless lamp fixtures. i have taken refuge in this monastery-disguised-as-a-library basement after the meltdown of the last high-tech i-told-u-so economic bubble of the last stage of industrialism. in the context of a quite broken feedback loop where the best and most evolved individuals are marginalized away from levers of influence and the death-worshipping christo-facists rule the roost. So I hover here waiting for the worst, ensconsed within an institution which provides mind power for laser based weapons of death. we have been psychologically and spiritually strip-mined.
i cry inside for the young who walk around this place preparing for future which will not ever come. They are preparing for a meal most not suspecting that the pantry has been raided and the silverware stashed long ago.
We are at the point where we have survived because in some fundamental way our ancestors did not fuck up. Or at least sizeable procreating minority had not. Emerging from unified consciousness and timeless tropical wanderings on to the horrors of historical time to produce us, who could very well be the last-of-breed. It is at this point a contest between thanatos and our survival urges, we will see if the game turns out to be even sporting.
Rejoice brothers and cisterns, Here’s a man who can save the day!
I'm rather reluctant to drink from that cup - but the cosmic rap - I always dig, brother. We had another exchange of emails, I talked about my henry milleresc-ape fantasy... and he gave me his:
i had not realized u had retreated from "reality": what a dread concept. when i need to use the phrase i call it "consensus reality" in order to relativize it. me, i have a great survival instinct implanted by, perhaps, my roots in wandering jew-ism.
all that appears solid appears so only cause our senses are too gross to perceive the big S P A C E S therein. Thus the great need for the imaginitive leap in the Wordworthain sense. Not so much in the escapist Disney sense altho i dug Mickey in his earlier manifestations. He and Stravinsky clearly had a great affinity.
Walt was a raging Orange-county anti-commie republican who had this immense need to manifest squeeky animal allies.
These days there are precious few beings whose words or sighs i cannot anticipate afore they emerge into manifestation; i take delight in your meanderings cause they are REAL, spontaneous, and a big kick in the pants.
it seems i need interaction with real person to write, who will be the Moe to my Curly? the Huntley to my Brinkley?
i follow your blogz with great savor, so do me a favor and keep at it. if you build it i shall come. - stu
Brinkley died recently. I'm not going to write a eulogy for him, I don't know his work. I've only watched television news twice in the last 15 years. I had heard that in the early days of his news show, it was sponsored by Philip Morris, and there were all sorts of "interesting" requests from them... let me go research that - hmm, nothing on google so far... history started in 1993 it seems.... let's try google groups - here's a good rant about cigarettes - no Brinkley, but. I've been bitching about the lack of crossover between USENET and blogs recently, so: here's a good USENET rant on cigarettes
. USENET was/is GREAT - more people should try conversing over it...
And here's a great one cohesively summarizing everything about the smoking industry you didn't ever want to know.
I've been writing this past hour with a cig in my mouth, trying NOT to go outside and smoke it. Aha - from George Will
In 1949 John Cameron Swayze's ``Camel News Caravan,'' for which young Brinkley, who had joined NBC in 1943, was a reporter, was carried for 15 minutes five nights a week. NBC's network consisted of four stations, in Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Washington. The sponsor required Swayze, who always wore a carnation in his lapel, to have a lit cigarette constantly in view. Not until 1963 did Cronkite's ``CBS Evening News'' become the first 30-minute newscast.
I've heard more than that. I heard - this is hearsay, ok? - that the various smoking companies kept news programs from ever showing a non-smoking sign, and also didn't allow pipes and other kinds of tobacco to be seen. I look at pictures of NASA in the 60s and I see a lot of pipes being smoked, not many cigs. Fast forward to today - I felt like a real anachronism with my tobacco pipe. I would walk down the streets of santa cruz figuring I'd be arrested for possibly smoking some other substance. The thing was - I vastly prefer pipe tobacco to cigs - it smells better, tastes better, is cheaper, and lets you measure out your dosage better.
I'm trying to quit, really, I am. I threw out my good pipe in an orgy of "I will quit. I will quit." a few weeks ago, when I thought my stress level was in decline - and I am doing a half pack a day of the cigs that I hate instead... it's a more expensive habit than the pipe was... I miss my pipe... I could smoke and write instead of gnawing at this filter...
From Jean Kilbourne's Can't buy my love
Although it is virtually impossible to measure the influence of advertising on a culture, we can learn something by looking at cultures only recently exposed to it. In 1980 the Gwich'in tribe of Alaska got television, and therefore massive advertising, for the first time. Satellite dishes, video games, and VCRs were not far behind. Before this, the Gwich'in lived much the way their ancestors had for a thousand generations. Within ten years, the young members of the tribe were so drawn by television they no longer had time to learn ancient hunting methods, their parents' language, or their oral history. Legends told around campfires could not compete with Beverly Hills 90210. Beaded moccasins gave way to Nike sneakers, sled dogs to gas-powered skimobiles, and "tundra tea" to Folger's instant coffee.
Human beings used to be influenced primarily by the stories of our particular tribe or community, not by stories that are mass-produced and market-driven. As George Gerbner, one of the world's most respected researchers on the influence of the media, said, "For the first time in human history, most of the stories about people, life, and values are told not by parents, schools, churches, or others in the community who have something to tell, but by a group of distant conglomerates that have something to sell." The stories that most influence our children these days are the stories told by advertisers.
gets some feedback from furdlog
on more thoughts on ad pollution
(which started with my Beating the Brand
I have to point out - since I wrote that and larry didn't link to it - I coulda been a contenda, I coulda...)
The kind of irresponsible/destructive behavior that Evan describes and then parallels with the issues that Larry holds so dear does not necessarily arise out of malevolence. If it were malevolent, it probably would be easier to cope with. Rather, what we're facing, for example through the appropriation of culture via IP laws and regulation, is a loss of community and shared appreciation for the responsibilities that are owed to one another outside the domain of the marketplace.
Of course, why kick about this? In the words of Gordon Gecko, "Greed is good," right? Apologies to my friends at Sloan, but there really are things that the market cannot value or, more accurately, there are things that societies shouldn't allow markets to value - the environment is one; culture is another. It's just the wrong working metaphor, leading to a variety of untoward behavior. And movements like environmentalism and, dare I say, Creative Commons come into being to develop ways to develop institutions and instruments that can harmonize human action across these different domains, rather than allowing a single perspective/institution/mechanism to overwhelm another.