Sunday, April 16, 2017

No is Not Enough



I saw a video of Naomi Klein on Facebook.  She was talking about "brand jamming."  She referred to a book she wrote years ago, No Logo, where she explains that if a brand is designed to convey a certain image or message, the alternative message can be just a powerful.  For example, Nike was damaged so severely by sweat shop images that it had to change its policies. ( I know you're thinking right now that United Airlines inflicted the brand jamming directly upon itself.)

Turning her attention to Trump, she says he is an ideal candidate for brand-jamming because brand means everything to him.  She has a lot of ideas on how to make the Trump name toxic wherever it appears.

Naomi Klein's brand is super intelligent creative thinker who can lead us to some innovative actions. At a time when the brands of diversity, empathy, and community have been jammed almost to oblivion, she is worth listening to.

Her new book is No is Not Enough.

Friday, April 14, 2017

My Spartacus Moment




Here is my fantasy about the recent incident aboard the United Airlines plane.  When the doctor (a.k.a. everyman) was singled out for removal against his will and against all notion of a rational universe, all of the other passengers, perhaps led at first by one brave soul, would have unbuckled their seat belts, rose as one and declared: "I am Spartacus!"

What if the "security" people had said: "Hey United, that's your problem.  Sorry, not our job."

These fantasies have a tendency to go on and on, don't they?

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Billionaires Forever



The billionaires on Wall Street and Silicon Valley are at it again.  Remember when I wrote a few weeks ago about how, looking for safety,  they are turning abandoned missile silos into luxury bunkers? And are buying up property in remote areas of New Zealand?

Now, according to a flurry of articles in the New Yorker and the New York Review of Books, they are employing A.I. and other possibilities, to attack death as if it were a company ripe for a hostile takeover.

"I want to live to 150!  200!  Forever!"  Sounds like how they squeal about quarterly profits.

Even Vanity Fair is addressing this hot topic in an article about Elon Musk.  Of course, this mag is delighted to include a shot of his knockout gorgeous mother.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

We'll Always Have. . .



As I was channel surfing a few week ago I came across CASABLANCA and I stayed right through to the "beginning of a beautiful friendship."  So much has been heaped upon this film that it's remarkable how it bears the weight and remains its beloved self.

Maybe I'm being too sentimental about the stars and the story:  the best character actors ever surrounding the iconic Bogart and Bergman; fleeing refugees released to freedom; underground resistance; cynicism conquered.

And maybe that's because it feels so immediate.  Rick calls out from the archives: "Someday you'll understand."  And here we are all over again.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Just Dreaming




Last night I had the strangest dream I ever had before.  Bernie was able to get Donald on the line.  "Hello Mr. President.  I have a feeling you would really like a "win" right now.  You sensed what to do about health care in your campaign when you promised great health care for everyone.  There's a way to get that win.  Forget that we've been calling it "single payer."  We'll let that go.  Let's call it the Trump Plan.  You don't have to work on it yourself.  We've got the details already lined up.  It will be HUGE. People will love you."

"Let's get together at Mar-a-Lago and talk it over . . . That's great!  See you Saturday on the golf course."



Saturday, March 18, 2017

Amazing and Unhappy










The people I listen to on the radio and the people I read are talking about it.  A class I took last year examined it in depth.  I see it everyday in my elevator, on the street, at the theater.  It is our attachment to our electronic devices.

Two quotes stopped me in my tracks.  One was from the comedian Louis C.K. in an article by Adam Gopnik in the New Yorker:

Everything is amazing and nobody is happy.  Each citizen carries on her person a computer more powerful than any available to a billionaire two decades ago, and many are using their devices to express their unbridled rage at the society that put them in our pockets.

The other quote came up in a discussion between Terry Gross and Adam Alter about his book "Irresistible.  The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked."  His research shows that addiction to video gaming and electronic devices has the same effect on us as does heroin.  In commenting on this he says:

"These people have less of an attention span than that of a goldfish."

Gopnik's essay examines the crushing re-examination of liberalism and capitalism.  Alter's book lays it out pretty clearly in his title.

Two authors. Two Adams. Is the "original" Adam trying to tell us something?






Friday, March 17, 2017

Deep Purple




My team, Northwestern, made it into the NCAA tournament for the first time ever.  And, they won their first game by two points.  The other team made a mistake in the final seconds while the Wildcats kept their poise.  The stands were a sea of purple, dotted with the many famous alums from TV and radio.  Now they face one of the powerhouse teams.  We have until Saturday.  And then . . .?

At a moment like this it's easy to understand why the dark side of the NCAA is so hard to address.  Who wants to think about the moveable money and the exploitation when it just feels so good to win.