Enlightened Conflict

hatred of boredom

June 26th, 2016

 hatred of boredom f scott quote



“I’m a slave to my hatred of boredom.”




F. Scott Fitzgerald










Far too often I think we confuse a lack of attention, attention spans, or attention in general, with a hatred of boredom.


I imagine I could say that this is simply about discussing two sides of the same coin.


look bored blink

One side is boredom.


One side is attention span.



Regardless of my imaginary coin … attention spans, in general, are certainly one of the main “topic du jours” a shitload of people, and ‘experts’, pontificate on espousing on “a generation borne of short attention spans” <the infamous … “we have attention spans of a goldfish” — note: we do not>.


I have always said we do not have significantly shorter attention spans today than we have had in the past and that technology isn’t make us a society with an attention deficit.


And I have a post coming up soon discussing the important, and responsibility, of getting someone’s attention.


But why doesn’t anyone ever discuss WHY our attention wavers?




Many people, I included, have discussed relevance matters in gaining attention and maintaining attention  and many people, I included, have discussed how interest and attention are inextricably linked … but why don’t we just simply talk about boredom?


Because if I am bored I will not pay attention.boredom structure boredom





If a goldfish is bored they will not pay attention.




If you are bored enough <as the chart “structure of boredom” suggests you attain “demonic boredom” – this is the type of boredom which can make you say stupid things out loud>





Here is the flipside of the coin.


If you can keep me from being bored? You have my attention.


Personally … I hate being bored.


Some people confuse this with a lack of ability to pay attention. They are wrong.


People have my undivided attention and focus … if I am not bored with what is being said or shown.


I don’t think I am particularly unique n this.


I do know because of my hatred of boredom that I have quasi-mastered the art of ‘surface attention.’


Surface attention?


What this is … is … well … let’s say you are in a meeting. And some bonehead is engenders boredom speaking too muchdemanding you sit through a 75 page PowerPoint presentation.

I can guarantee you that I am gonna feel some hate <some boredom> within those 75 pages <and the 75+ words that must be said accompanying every page>.

But that hate will not keep me from perking up on … well … say … page 51 where … well … you aren’t boring me.


And I have to admit. It is good that I have mastered this particular skill because F. Scott and I have something in common … I am a slave to my hatred of boredom.


Because outside of a meeting or some environment constricting my ability to flee my boredom … not only do I not pay attention but I move on. I actually will get away, if not actually flee, from boredom.

I hate being bored so much I have been chastised for being rude <and sometimes it can also mistakenly be construed as some version of ‘self superiority’>.


I am neither rude nor do I believe I am smarter, or superior or better in any way … I am simply a slave to my hatred of boredom. In fact … as a parallel point … I will actively search out ‘non-boring.’ So … its not like I don’t want to hear what people have to say and i actually highly value other’s opinions, especially of they are contrarian views., but just as i am active n my pursuit for non-boredom i am also quite active in avoiding, and fleeing, actual boredom.


Maybe I don’t handle it as well as many other people but, once again, I just don’t think I am that unique.  Given the opportunity I believe most of us schmucks would haul ass when bored by someone or something.


In most cases it isn’t rooted in any thought that someone is ‘dumb’ or ‘an asshole/asshat’ … we are just fucking bored.


I imagine my real point <and this would be great advice to professional marketers> is … well … if you want my attention don’t bore me.




This doesn’t mean ‘entertain me’ or ‘make me laugh’ or … well … any simplistic tripe many experts spout. Don’t overthink it. There is no formula. And there is no ‘one thing’ to do.


Just don’t bore me.


I don’t care how you do it.

engage me bore interest listen

You can engage me intellectually.


You can engage me by … well … being engaging.


You can engage me by making me smile.


You can engage me by tapping into my inner altruism.


You can engage me by tapping into my sense of responsibility.


The list of how to engage someone is relatively infinite.


But one thing circumvents the infinite list of possibilities … boredom.


I am a slave to my hatred of boredom.


And while I may hate boredom a little more than the average everyday schmuck … in general … I tend to believe most everyone hates being bored.


Well.boredom dog bored attention



There is some professional advice.


Don’t be boring and don’t bore people you have an interest in communicating with.

functional nutjobs

June 14th, 2016


evil good hands



“Religious wars are not caused by the fact that there is more than one religion, but by the spirit of intolerance … the spread of which can only be regarded as the total eclipse of human reason.”




Charles de Secondat





Hate crime.


Religious intolerance


Extreme intolerance, in general, of other views.




Let’s just say some level of extreme self loathing.


thou art a wack job nutjobI don’t really care about the label we may, or may not; put on the killing spree some nutjob went on in Orlando.


But here is what I thought about as I listened what was being said about the killer … functional nutjob.



He was an abusive husband, he showed some questionable enough behavior to be questioned by the FBI, he expressed extreme intolerance for gays … and he has had a steady full time job with a security firm.


A steady job.


And a steady job where he carried a gun.


And a steady job in which you assume day in and day out he went to work, did his job, got along for the most part with his fellow workers and left at the end of the day most likely after shooting the shit with some fellow workers.


And a steady job in which I will assume if we scanned his annual reviews he was … well … steady. Not the best employee, not the worst employee but most likely the type of employee most organizations have … the ones who show up, do their work, have some friends in the office, doesn’t really make any waves and get the steady evaluation grades which the standard employee receives.


But he was a functional nutjob.




I am not suggesting that all my points on a steady employee equals “functional nutjob” because most of those steady employees are good hard working people carrying around the normal everyday foibles all of us every day schmucks have.




Within that steady employee group there are spouse abusers, some who harbor extreme intolerant views, some deviant behavior and … well … pick your poison.

There will be some who you are pretty happy you don’t know all the details in their personal life.

There will be some who give you a glimpse of some extreme intolerance for something or an extreme non mainstream point of view.


But day in and day out they function, in general rub elbows with coworkers in a reasonable way and the rest of the people know they can count on them to show up and get shit done.see what we look for


What I am trying to say is that while these functional nutjobs do not represent the majority of the work force … there is most likely a meaningful minority scattered among the daily work force.


If I had to offer a number … lets maybe say 14% … that’s kinda close to the % of people who voted for Trump <I am not suggesting his voters are all functional nutjobs>. Regardless of the % populating our world … 99% of them remain functional nutjobs.


I can honestly say I have only worked with one co-worker who I truly believed was capable of going out to his car and coming back in with a gun when he got fired <he was mostly functional but clearly a nutjob>.


But he was the only one I noticed. I assume that while I worked with some functional alcoholics, some functional drug addicts … I most likely also worked with some functional nutjobs.


For the most part nutjobs keep their true nuttiness to themselves <they most likely recognize it isn’t really a mainstream perspective>. But whether they share it or not … it travels with them wherever they go.

And I would assume nuttiness is just like any strong real mental belief system … some days when it gets challenged you kinda get grumpy. We, the rest of us, don’t get worried <hell … we may not even notice> until the nutjob gets angry.


And that is where motivation for the anger matters.





Perception of being marginalized.




Self loathing.



Pick the motivation.

self regulation motivation

The nuttiness of the nutjob means that the mind is already fertile ground for some mentally disturbing thoughts & voices.


It, ultimately, becomes a problem regardless of motivation.


It’s a problem [when] a young man who walked into a church in South Carolina and murdered nine people who offered to pray with him. It’s a problem when an angry young man on a college campus decides to shoot people because he feels like he’s disrespected. It’s certainly a problem when you have organizations like Isil or al-Qaida trying to actively promote violence.”


President Obama



I imagine it reaches a point where this voice cannot be reasoned with. The voice is immune to listening and immune to any rational dialogue. Evidence seemingly is only found I what is already believed, and perceived, therefore the unthinkable action becomes a viable option.


Some may call it being pushed over the edge.


I don’t.


I just think it is a functional nutjob who has found the motivation to make some statement about what they believe.


Regardless. It was a horrible act. Done by a horrible nutjob.



Politics drives me nuts.


Political rhetoric drives me nuts.



Was he Muslim? Yes.


Did he have a military type assault weapon? Yes.


Was this terrorism? I don’t know under the real definition … but it clearly terrorized.


Did he commit a hate crime? On this one … Clearly yes.


Was he mentally ill? I don’t know … but listening to his ex-wife he surely had some mental issues.


Was he an immigrant? No. he was an American citizen.


Was he a nutjob? Absolutely.


In a country in which there are over 320 million people I think it is fairly triumph over fear evilrational to suggest there are functional nutjobs scattered throughout the country.


The entire idea that we can eliminate all nuthobs is … well … silly. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be strident in our pursuit of safety for all in society. But it cannot, and should not, come at the expense of the liberties & freedoms which make USA who and what it is.


I imagine I am saying … we cannot let nutjobs win. We cannot let nutjobs dictate what makes America great.


I imagine I am also suggesting … stop calling it radical Islam, stop calling it terrorism, stop putting any label on this other than “nutjob who shifted from be functional to dysfunctional.”


And that is the bottom line.


This loser, this once upon a time functional nutjob, went out and delivered an immoral act killing innocent people acting as a dysfunctional nutjob.


hard to be always the same person

May 12th, 2016


i am mine before anyone else


“It’s hard to be always the same person.”


Dorothea Tanning




the epigraph for ‘A Table of Content’ Dorothea Tanning’s first book of poems

A friend, W. S. Merwin, said of Tanning: “She goes out of the room, comes back, and she’s someone else.”







personality created mineConsistency of character.


Consistency in actions & behavior.


Consistency in thinking & opinions.


Consistency of … well … self.





These are things that are much much harder than one would think.


In fact … I believe that while change is hard … staying the same is even harder.


When I first wrote that last sentence I had to sit back and make sure I got it right.


I have written about change so much it seemed strange to me to suggest that staying the same may be even more difficult.


And, you know what? I think I am right.


Change is most often something with a specific destination in mind. Leaving something behind and gaining something, or going somewhere, ahead and something better.


It’s difficult but at least you are aiming for something which you assume is better.


Staying the same is actually a battle against the natural & unnatural elements.

It’s kind of like the shore refusing to change or erode despite the constant attacks from the ebb & flow of an ocean intent on stealing something from the shore. There is no destination … you are defending your home.


You are actually defending your ‘best you’ in a world in which is constantly whispering “is that your best?overcome the labels people self be





I knew what I wanted to write today on this topic but I googled “hard to be always the same person” just to see if I could dig up any research or some factoid to throw in so this wouldn’t just be an opinion piece.


There are no articles on this topic.


Zero. Nada. None.


And, yes, that surprised me.


There were gazillions of articles on “changing to improve” and “how to manage change” and … well … let’s just say that change is a pretty popular topic online.




As for staying the same … philosophy has addressed something similar to this topic in something they discuss as personal Identity.

The interesting thing to me that I dug out of that was something called “psychological continuity.”


Without boring you with details it basically suggests that we psychologically evolve experience by experience through overlapping chains of direct psychological connections, as those causal and cognitive connections between beliefs, desires, intentions, experiential memories, character traits, and so forth.


And while this suggests we evolve … what about remaining true to our self?


How do we do that with all these ‘overlapping chains of direct psychological connections’ constantly bombarding our true self?


Why is there no advice on how hard it is to maintain our identity?


Everyone, experts included, must believe that once you have landed on some person who you actually want to be & like … that it must be easy to maintain.




That is nuts.


Let me explain why it is nuts <and why it is so hard to always be the same person day in and day out>.


Practically speaking the difficulty actually resides with … well … us. You & me.


Every day we act, albeit mostly unconsciously, to recreate the day before and the person we were before.

With the same habits, routine, and daily rituals … always attempting to replicate the ‘same’ which makes up the same person we kind of liked the day before … day in the real world survive in minebut, uh oh, all those little pieces actually all adds up to something new … sometimes a small new and sometimes a big new.


No matter how hard we try our days are different.


Try this thought on for size.


This means in a world striving for repetition all we actually achieve is change.


<insert a “yikes’ here>


Reality is messy, complex and a fairly fragile web of repetition and change.

Therefore if reality is messy that means always being the same person is a big mess day in and day out.


If we are not careful a little of us gets chipped away simply by attempting to handle all the everyday messiness.




I am not suggesting that daily we don’t learn a little something new and that every day we slightly evolve, change, as a person. Most of us do. But as we change based on experience and the context of our lives change … well … that is where it gets hard to always be the same person.  All that experiential change starts easing its way inside you trying to pry away little bits of who you are.


Experience can be very demanding of us.




Our attempt to maintain some sameness as a person is not only about character but you probably realize that consistency is important for making progress, doing better work, being efficient and ultimately achieving some level of success in most areas of life.


The power of consistency is that repetition is actually more important than perfection. And that ‘sameness’ while often associated with ruts & boredom actually represent small gains which inevitably add up to bigger results.


The challenge, of course, is balance. You cannot be “all consistent” just as you once is enoughcannot be “all change.”


I could argue that the success of balance resides in whether you can always be the same person. Because, if you can, it provides a solid fulcrum as Life naturally see saws between consistent repetition and change.


I tend to believe this solid foundation permits you to go forth into Life everyday trying to always be the same person and meet each new challenge represented by each situation, moment or experience which seem intent on forcing change to ‘being the same person.’


I imagine I am partially talking about “being true to thineself.” I once discussed this challenge as the “just this once” justification. Because the world & Life is so messy it is fairly easy to make an excuse for not always staying the same person you want to be. But that just makes it easy to step onto that slippery slope which can slide you much farther, and faster, away from who you are than you can imagine.

Life make it far too easy to leave a room and come back a different person.


I also sometimes think this is why so many of us hate, or just get grumpy, with Life. It is easy to hate something that makes it easy for you to lose sight of the ‘same person’ you liked when you began.


But you know what?


Always being the same person is hard but doable. Ultimately it is about choices. Choices on what you will and will not do and choices of who you want to be as a person. And I actually believe once you find your space & place in Life as a person you actually come to love the world a little more.


For, well, as Tanner says …





He told us, with the years, you will come

To love the world.

And we sat there with our souls in our laps,

And comforted them.


Dorothea Tanning



We all change.

That is what experiences do. We simply become a little wiser with regard to the realities of Life. And in our wisdom we tend to watch & participate in experiences without changing.self discovery loss soul


We don’t permit those experiences to change the character and soul we each have inside us and permits us to sit there and comfort our souls … and be comforted, in turn, by them.


All that said.




“It’s hard to be always the same person.”



dependence on women in life

May 5th, 2016

king is a woman feminism power life

“I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels.

Life’s a bitch.

You’ve got to go out and kick ass.”


Maya Angelou




“Being a woman is a terribly difficult trade since it consists principally of dealings with men.”


Joseph Conrad







Feminism and gender <women> inequality will be inextricably tied to the end of time.


history feminism women anonymousI will get to feminism but let me take on inequality first.


While we flippantly talk about opportunities for women and young girls and how they can be whatever they want to be reality suggests otherwise.


And it does so for a variety of reasons.


But you know what? I could talk until I am blue in the face about the barriers women face and … well … men will not care <for the most part>.


They may shrug their shoulders, maybe say “gosh, that isn’t fair” and even say “boy, we should do something about that.”


Again and again it seems women are forced to … well … convince everyone else <men> that there’s something in it for them if they actually became involved.


That seems crazy.


That said.


A report from the McKinsey Global Institute finds that greater gender parity in the workforce <pay, hours worked, and access to full-time jobs> would also benefit the entire country’s economy. The report makes the case for both the government and businesses to take a more proactive role in bringing about gender equality.


I would also point out some sobering statistics to men.


It is inevitable that women will actually earn MORE than men in the future <so, men, get your head wrapped around that>.


Women outnumber men on college campuses <men earn only about 42% of the degrees>.


Teenage boys in wealthy countries are 50% more likely than girls to fail all there basic subjects in school – math, reading & science.


Women with no high school education dropped from 32.9% in 1979 to 11.4%, compared to men at 12.4%, in 2013.


In 1960 among never married American adults 25-34 there were 139 men with jobs for every 100 women <with or without jobs>.


In 2012 there were only 91 employed men for every 100 women. This gets worse for African American men … not even counting employed or not employed … there are only 83 men <not in jail> for every 100 women. In some inner cities it drops to only 50 black men with jobs for every 100 women.


Working class labor intensive jobs <which males tend to dominate> are decreasing globally while occupations which women tend to dominate are projected to grow.


In America pay for men with only a high school diploma fell 21% in real terms from 1979 to 2013 <women actually increased 3%>.

For those who dropped out of high school it fell by 34% <women dropped 12%>.

feminist cobain


<primary source: The Economist>



What is tamping down the growth of women professionally, and income wise, is that despite the sobering male work numbers the majority of leadership <where jobs, pay & employee services are decided> are made up of old white men <95% of Fortune 500 CEOs are male as well as 93% of government heads>.


Suffice it to say.


Men are getting stupider. Men are less qualified for the work force. And, yet, men maintain the reins on this horse & buggy situation.

Boy oh boy.


Does anyone doubt this situation will change once women assume more leadership roles? <and we wonder why old white men scoff at feminism and women inequality in the workplace? … said sarcastically>




Feminism may be one of the most mis-discussed and misunderstood words & topics of my generation.


Feminism has lots of company in the tricky business because causes, in general, are tricky things.


Tricky in that bringing them up publicly tend to bring out the worst in … well … everyone.


Some people balk as they protect their own interest.

Some people balk feeling like the cause implies some sense of entitlement.

Some people balk over an implied ‘victim mentality’ aspect.

Some people become obstinate in their approval.

Some people become obstinate in their disapproval.


And mostly tricky because everyone would benefit from a little more education on any topic and, yet, causes almost seem to shut down our inherent listening & learning muscles.

speak listen ear

Causes are discussions. Discussions about important issues. I imagine I could point out it is tricky to discuss something if you are either shouting or not listening.




Feminism, while about equality, is about women and status and roles.


And maybe because I sometimes shake my head at how women sometimes speak of equality for women and feminism in general I begin my own thoughts where I believe the discussion in general should begin:



  • Do we doubt our dependence on women?



  • Do we doubt a woman’s value?



  • Do we doubt a woman’s importance <beyond reproduction>?



Simplistically the answer most people would give is ‘no, we do not doubt’ to all of the above. So, surprisingly, you would tend to believe feminism is off to a roaring start.




This one may be the hard part. I tend to believe many of the discussions are grounded in the wrong place … they begin with inequality.

Inequality, to me, is never where I would begin.





Seems like I would want to start any male/female discussion with simply assuming everyone is equal upfront <and then move from there>.


This permits us to discuss maximizing what should be rather than figuring out how to ‘fix something.’


I admit.


The discussion of feminism seems mired down in emotional haranguing where rational simplicity seems to be a more fruitful path.

respect women feminism

I admit.


I love the fact that Canada’s new Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has named a cabinet that is equally balanced between men and women.

The ministers – 15 women and 15 men – are mostly aged under 50, in a team marking both a generational change and a commitment to reflecting Canada’s diversity.


Asked to explain his gender parity promise, he answered: “Because it’s 2015.”


I love the actions but there is still an attitudinal issue.




“I’m all for empowerment and equal wages and the such.

Just don’t expect me to understand or care about feminism as a movement.

I’ll be honest, I don’t care. It’s got nothing to do with me.”

Corey Milne of WhatCulture.com



“It’s got nothing to do with me.” <what a fucking idiot>


That sums up the biggest issue female equality faces.


Men and their attitudes. Its not me. I am all for equality. I do not disempower women. It is never “me” it is always someone else … and therefore it is always up to someone else to change things.


This is crazy.

Frickin’ crazy.


Of course someone is going to point out one of the few jobs that are not mainstream typical for a woman … but in general … any women can do anything that  a man can do in the work world.


Reflect upon that as you ponder equal pay for women.





Let’s set aside can women ‘do as good a job as men’ <which, frankly is not the issue> and go to the root issue of men’s attitude … “their work is not of the same value as mine”.





Rather than theoretical pontificating or made up analysis of data … how about a real case study?


Iceland, 24 October 1975


Sparked by the activism of the Red Stockings radical women’s group, 90% of Iceland’s women went on strike on this day to protest against men’s exploitation of women’s free labour within the home and women’s underpaid, underacknowledged and underpromoted labour beyond it. For one day, they didn’t go to work and refused to do the childcare, cooking, cleaning and family admin. Iceland ground to a halt, as it would if women in any country did the same. It demonstrated just how much of society ran on women’s uncredited free work. More than 30 years on Iceland is famed as one of the most egalitarian countries in the world. Perhaps we should all take a tip from the Red Stockings.






‘Well-behaved women seldom make history.’




Nope, Marilyn Monroe didn’t say it. The historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich said it.





Someone has to do the care work in an economy, otherwise nothing else works, but because care is not valued, it is either badly paid or not paid at all. On some level, we still believe that professional nurses, caretakers and child minders are simply extending their natural family role as nurturers. It’s not a real job, “anyone can do it”.

At least … any woman.


But let’s take the women out of the home and into the economy.

feminism unfinished rights hillary

Calculations about how much growth would go up if women and girls had the same opportunities as men are important. They show us that gender equality is not just a question of fairness but something that everyone could benefit from.

But they are also problematic in that they don’t acknowledge the economic contributions that girls and women are already making.


When married women in the west entered the workforce, they started to devote more time to the kind of work that is counted and less time to the kind of work that isn’t. This dramatically increased the GDP in the western world.

But was this increase accurate?


Because no one had bothered to quantify housework, we might have overvalued the actual increase in wealth. The calculations we make today about how much wealth would increase if more women in developing economies took up paid work might be wrong for the same reason.


We need a new economic story. One that stresses the need for change, without ignoring the economic contributions women and girls make today.


Girls and women are not an untapped economic resource in the world; their work is the invisible structure that keeps societies and economies together. But they haven’t freely chosen this role. And they are not being paid, compensated or acknowledged for it.






That would suggest that we are not only dependent upon women for keeping the behind the scenes world running but we are also dependent upon them for the future economic success of the world.


<how many men ran to the liquor cabinet after reading that?>


I shared the economic stuff because, well, going back to the beginning … I felt like while gender equality kind of seems like a no-brainer I had to point out ‘what is in it for us.”


I hate having to do so.

But the end justifies the means.


And, that said, let me mention where I believe feminism seems to go awry <at least with men>.


It seems to far too often the discussion devolves into some bra-burning diatribe or strident loudly asserted  statements that women are better than men … or some other ludicrous ‘women are unique’ diatribe.


This all gets in the way of the simple fact that men seem to struggle with the fairly simple concept that feminism attempts to address unfair discrimination against women and attempts to create gender equality.

equal we are all

It is not a ‘better than’ discussion <although I do understand the intent is to ‘build value perceptions beyond current belief> but rather an equality discussion.




Sometimes the discussion can get a little ludicrous. But even I will admit that in some way … even in its absurdity there is value. It only <most often> becomes absurd because without the absurdity it may be ignored.


Absurdity or not … issues of equality and civility concern everyone.


I’m not sure how anyone can be part of a society that treats women, even if it is only occasional, like ‘lesser thans’ in some way and say “it isn’t me.”


It is me.


It is you.


It is us.


And me, you & us should care.


And we should recognize it is a real issue and , consequentially, a real problem.


This certainly doesn’t mean every man should devote their life to fighting gender inequality. Nor does this mean that every time you encounter one of the more absurd aspects of the feminism debate you should stand and applaud.


It just means that you are more aware.


More aware that we are more dependent upon women than maybe we perceive.


More aware that gender inequality more often than not arises in more subtle nuanced ways than in some loud obvious behaviors.future past present


More aware that remaining silent in the face of gender inequality permits misguided behavior to thrive.


More aware that we should be concerned with the society we live in because … well … we live in this society <as do our girlfriends, wives, daughters, nieces, etc.>.


More aware that even though it doesn’t appear to affect you … it surely does affect you <whether you like it or not>.


The future of the world is dependent upon a number of things … women being one. An important one … but one. I say that to insure I am not an extremist and at the same time I will suggest that addressing gender inequality benefits us, all of us <including men> economically, socially, psychologically and societally.


That last sentence alone should be the rallying call for feminism and gender equality.

celebration of vanity and frivolousness

March 18th, 2016

 immortality waste of time



‘What is “fashion” anyways, but a celebration of vanity and frivolousness?


We should pursue higher truths: let us shed the falseness of apparel, together, and writhe naked on this carpet.’




Sarah Jeong




“You have scattered your awareness in all directions,
and your vanities are not worth a bit of cabbage.
The root of every thorn draws
the water of your attention toward itself.
How will the water of your attention reach the fruit?
Cut through the evil roots, cut them away.
Direct the Bounty of God to spirit and insight,
not to the knotted and broken world outside.”












This is about fashion … and … uhm … journalism.


completely useless meJournalism & fashion?




Both seem to teeter on the edge of frivolousness.


Both pander to the ego.


Both push the envelope in what they showcase all the while showcasing that which is not really helpful for the general public on an everyday basis.


Both seem to have a wandering moral compass.


And both seem to have an uncomfortably disproportionate effect on us <society>.


By the way.



An industry can have a moral compass. I say that because most industries do play by some ‘rules.’ And a portion of those rules are dictated by the industry moral compass. And by rules I don’t mean lying versus not lying and having some sense of overall responsibility to how they sell what it is they are selling <not selling a crappy product/service> but rather an overall sense of higher ethics.


This is tricky.

Maybe trickier than it looks on the surface.


Ethics could very very easily reside in ‘truth.’ But instead I would argue that if you are an industry in which you know you have a larger impact than just selling what it is you have to sell that you have a responsibility to a higher order of ethics.


I worked in advertising for a long time in my career. So I understand the responsibility to something more than ‘selling shit’ <which was my compass early in my career>.


The responsibility resides more in understanding that what you say and what you show and what you ‘sell’ makes an impact with regard to attitudes. How people think and creating some societal impact. I imagine many <many> people in fashion and journalism think about this an assess their actions on the moment … as in “I have a responsibility to the moment.”


That is the easy path.

The lazy path.

And that is the path that detours you around that beautiful little park which seems to have fewer and fewer visitors to what I will call “moral responsibility park.”


Each moment in fashion and journalism creates a ripple. Yes. EACH moment.

And, yes, if you look at it that way it can become a little overwhelming and possibly it creates some issues with regard to what you may actually do, or not do, in that moment. And it may even mean you take a moment and decide ‘damn, but this would have sold some shit <or created some awesome viewership>.”


I will be honest.


I am not sure if I am discussing fashion & journalism’s inordinate desire to celebrate moments of vanity <which is actually a frivolous approach to their business and overall responsibility> or if this is an overall ignorance of lack of responsibility <or possibly lack of understanding> of a higher responsibility that what they do and say each moment has an impact.


I can almost assuredly say that these days both industries seem to be fighting not only for some rational valued place in society <as both appear to be relegated to frivolous irrational/emotional status> and, therefore, while no one is noting it … internally both are fighting to find their inner compass and are clearly standing in the moral relativism space.


This should be important not only to them but to us.


Their vertigo, i.e., without being grounded in some way with morality each step, doesn’t just make them dizzy but also creates a spinning in overall societal attitudes with regard to what is important and what is truly happening around us <outside our own sphere of activity an experiences>.

frivolous vanity



Vertigo is when a person feels as if they or the objects around them are moving when they are not.

Often it feels like a spinning or swaying movement. This may be associated with nausea, vomiting, sweating, or difficulties walking. It is typically worsened when the head is moved. Vertigo is the most common type of dizziness.






I think sometimes both of these industries confuse the dizziness with ‘the light headedness associated with the celebration of vanity.’


They become so fixated on the dual glittering spectacle of that which they seek to sell and that who is … well … themselves.




While I could editorialize about the misguided ego of that which is fashion and journalism I believe I will talk about some specifics. Because it is lazy to simply heap disdainful opinion upon the empty carcasses of fashion and journalism.


I want to discuss some specifics because when journalism and fashion get t it wrong … when they lose their moral compass and stray gleefully with vanity & frivolousness across our lives … they can fuck us, people, up.


How does fashion fuck us up?


Their advertising is misguided and sucks.



Their advertising may actually dictate some social norms and beliefs.




Advertising can do that.


And if they kept that style and vapid effort to themselves it would be okay … but then they convince someone else to do something “artsy” to create “buzz” and be “cool” and … well … my quotation mark key is getting worn out.




I am not disregarding personal responsibility with regard to electing what is important to us and what is not. But if you are continuously being pounded with images and words depicting what is not only socially acceptable but what is socially desirable … you will inevitably begin thinking it is truth <or maybe even just thinking that it is possibly truth>. It is a seductive path to walk. And none of us … yes … NONE of us are immune to this seduction.

We eye it equally with trepidation and thoughts of possibilities. And in doing so it creates seductive images of … well … false glory.character dignity glory worth




“False glory is the rock of vanity; it seduces men to affect esteem by things which they indeed possess, but which are frivolous, and which for a man to value himself on would be a scandalous error.”




Jean de la Bruyere




By the way … this is human. This is not some sign of weakness or of lack of self identity … his is real world ‘me & you’ attitude stuff. Don’t laugh. Don’t think you are immune to it. it I how we think. That doesn’t mean you can’t fight it off but, trust me, their frivolousness is insipid and wily and is constantly trying to sneak into our thoughts and attitudes.


By the way … I note that last thought because that is where I believe fashion’s lack of responsibility is … well … almost unforgivable. Unforgivable because my guess is that in the back room discussion this never even comes up in the conversation.



Shame on them.  


How does journalism fuck us up?


While advertising can shape social norms and beliefs … journalism can do so exponentially so.

For while we see fashion as ‘trends to jump on’ journalism is seen more as ‘issues to jump on.’


Therefore if both teeter on the edge of frivolous … journalism bears the burden of irresponsibility even more so.


It seems like “objective” news has disappeared and now news outlets reside almost all in a partisan driven, niche opinion/attitude space … but do so under the guise of intellectual discourse.


They get away with this intellectual highway robbery because they are legally classified as commentary or opinion under the larger ‘infotainment’.


They sit comfortably in their plush moral relativity seats selling people what they wish to hear justifying the irrational hate/anger of a mob mentality against other opinions/commentary creating some sense of belonging among their viewership/readership.


They have lost any remote relationship to a higher moral compass and responsibility for a higher responsibility to the moment.



Shame on them.

lies we tell oursleves fingers

I can wag my finger and shake my head at fashion and journalism because their moral relativism <or lack of moral responsibility> actually falls into the same trap they are driving society into … their vanity and self esteem.


I am constantly amazed each industry is simultaneously preoccupied with the appearance of its own body and at the same time completely out of touch with it as well.




“It’s amazing to me that we can be simultaneously completely preoccupied with the appearance of our own body and at the same time completely out of touch with it as well.“



Jon Kabat-Zinn





They celebrate their own vanity and frivolousness because … well … they have lost sight of their moral compass. Or at least they have lost sight of the higher moral responsibility.


Let me be clear.


What I am discussing today matters.


It matters because while we would like to flippantly relegate fashion and journalism to some irrelevant chatter occurring on the edges of Life … neither are irrelevant and neither are just chatter.


They impact society way beyond informing our opinions … they inform and impact our attitudes. And, yes, attitudes impact our behavior.


Our behavior with regard to not only ourselves <how we look, eat, dress, think and do things> but also with regard to those around us <how we view how they look, what they eat, how they dress, what they think and what they do>.


Both fashion and journalism absolve themselves of the higher order responsibility with words like “we want to inform people so they are better aware.’


What bullshit.


That is simply their excuse to do whatever they want in the moment.


They are both current in the managing/maximizing the moment’ business which is knowledge higher planesimply moral relativism.



Shame on them.


To circle back to the beginning … my advice to fashion & journalism is … cut through the evil roots, cut them away …  and  pursue higher truths: let us shed the falseness.


Running business by ‘moments’ is seductive but  only leads to moral relativism. Pursue the higher path.

Enlightened Conflict