Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Seth Godin

"If you've read one of my books, thanks. I write them to be read, so without you, it would be a pointless exercise."
Seth Godin

Seth is widely considered to be the digital marketing genius in the world. He could, to borrow from Tommy Boy, "sell a ketchup popsicle to a woman wearing white gloves." He takes marketing concepts and turns them into "A-ha!" moments every day. But, at the end of the day, he's just selling you something. Or at least convince you that you didn't buy what he just said but that you came to the conclusion on your own. Really, that's all that marketing is.

I think that the fundamental flaw with Seth's statement from this blog entry is that writing with a sole intention of being read is "pointless". Write what you want, Seth, not because it's going to make you look like a better writer. And that's coming from somebody who reads your blog daily.

The worlds of art and commerce are inexorably drawn together these days. I'd rant on and on about what little the Honda Civic has to do with a music tour but I'm pretty tired and I think that an episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia would be a better use of my time.

Telling people how cool you are on the internet is not as cool as being so in real life.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The problem with the Tea Party and Kasey Everly's comments

A childhood friend of mine, Kasey Everly, wrote this article for Livingston Talk. The site calls itself the "future of community journalism". I'm well-educated enough to know that the words "future" and "community" on the internet (least-a-ways in the same sentence) are probably going to lead to an article or op-ed piece that aren't going to jive with my political ideologies.

People still say "jive" right?

As I've stated time and time again, I'm no liberal and I'm no conservative. I think the idea of forced giving which really is what taxation is, is not giving at all. I think the idea of hoarding one's money is selfish. I'm independent. The idea of constraining oneself to a party even if you don't agree with all of their basic ideas is ridiculous. I'm for personal responsibility. I'm for charity. I'm for the utter abolition of our two-party system because, let's face facts, both parties are going to spend money faster than they can print it and then tell us they're the ones who balanced the budget. Fuck, I can balance my checkbook and still be six grand overdrawn. After reading this piece and the co-opting of the Tea Party which has happened over the past year and a half, I've come to the conclusion that having a political opinion is like having asshole: everyone has one but no one wants to hear what comes out of someone else but I'm going to continue typing anyway.

Now, Kasey does have a few facts right in this here article and I'm always one to give credit when and where it's due. Yes, the Tea Party has been absorbed by the idiotic GOP Sarah Palin machine. I think Sarah has as much business in politics as I do running a whorehouse: as much fun as that might be, I am probably not the right person for the job. Of course, given my current interview situation at work, I may be looking soon again and if anyone has an opportunity at the best little whorehouse in Texas that they'd like me to run (George W, I'm lookin' at you), I'd certainly be up for the interview. Especially if lunch is involved.

One of the points that Kasey makes is that church attendance is down. I don't go to church and I haven't for years. I get more out of 'church' by sitting on my back porch and drinking a beer than I do from any four walls and a hymnal. Going to church makes you a Christian or, hell, a good person much the same way that hanging out in garage makes you a car. But back to my diatribe.

The problem with the Tea Party (and the Republicans and the Democrats and the Socialists and the Marxists and the Communists and the Whigs and the Labours and the Torries and the Ba'aths and the Sinn Feins and the hundreds of other successful political parties the world over) is that they've all got it wrong... and that the only things they've got going for them are a good marketing department and a wad of cash. Don't believe me? Take Barack Obama's "Hope" campaign. Ask anyone who supported the President during his campaign that hadn't taken even a few hours to do some research on his platforms what in the hell they were placing their "hope" in and you likely would have gotten a response along the lines of the following:
"He gives hope for the future!"
"He gives hope that things are going to get better!"
"He gives me hope that things are going to be different than they are under Bush!"
Folks, I could have given you all of those things, too. I have the dream, just not the hundreds of millions of dollars that it takes to get elected to the presidency of this country. But I hope to one day.

If anyone out there believes that the most modern inception of the Tea Party is anything but a political campaign to Palin elected in two and a half years then I'd hope you either get educated between now and election day. It has gone from a truly grassroots organization of folks who were entirely sick of paying unconstitutional income taxes [the 16th Amendment did not authorize income taxes -- South Carolina v. Baker -- check it out] to fundraisers for the 2012 electoral campaign.

I think that everyone is entitled to their political opinion; from the hippie at Bonnaroo who is on seven different kinds of psychotics to my boss' boss' boss' boss' boss who makes more money in a year than I probably will in the next 20... even though I probably think that both of their opinions are wrong and ridiculous. The problem with Kasey's article is not her political view but it's her writing.

It's sophomoric. It's self-aggrandizing. It's holier than thou. The attack on Glenda Brown (whom we both know) was safe and predictable. And with my father the Mayor Pro-Temp of the neighboring city of Brighton, I know a little bit of small-town politics. The problem with small-town politics is, well, that it's "small-town". Thinking that a grassroots political movement (or Palin fundraiser... whichever) who hosts an event at Howell High School's freshman campus is going to light the fire of a nation is as likely to happen as Keira Knightly coming with me to my friends' Trevor and Hillary's wedding next month. It might happen but I'm not hedging my bets.

Kasey goes as far as writing "If you think it's that simple for those who disagree with you -- for anyone in my family or anyone else, for that matter -- you may still call yourself an American as is your birth right, but you certainly don't deserve the honor." And that's where I take umbrage.

No one has all of the answers when it comes to solving the world's problems. And, yes, folks... there is the whole vast expanse of the world that's yours and mine to explore. It's full of people who love the same things you love and who love things that you've never heard of. It's full of religious zealots, great men and women of science, captains of industry, moms, dads, sisters, brothers, musicians, artisans, craftsmen, and everything else you can think of. But it's not full of Americans. As a nation, we're a tick on the clock in the history of time.

I would rather be a citizen of the world. I would rather go explore the wonder it has to offer. I would rather see a penguin in its natural habitat, a lion on a safari, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Nile, the Amazon, the Straits of Gibraltar, the Matterhorn, and the South China Sea. I would rather see the world than worry about "the honor" of being an American. I love my country. I love my home. I love the fact that almost everyone wants to improve it (from their perspective). What I don't love is one person or one party thinking that they have all of the answers. I don't love the Tea Party. I don't love it when people think that everything that really does matter has to be fodder for satire. And, yes, I realize the incredible irony of that statement given my usual writing style. 'Cept for I'm writing about how much Justin Bieber sucks (he does) and how I think that Die Hard is the best Christmas movie ever (it is). I'm not writing about how I've got an answer to the world's or (*gasp*) 'Merikuh's problems.

Kasey, a wiser man than both of us once wrote that if you're dumb, you need to surround with smart people; if you're smart, surround yourself with smart people who disagree with you. And maybe get out of Howell every once in a while. It might do you some good.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Well, hell... What am I gonna write about now?