Enlightened Conflict

sweat it out on the streets of a runaway American dream

April 15th, 2017

 American Workers sweat hard hats

==============

 

‘In the day we sweat it out on the streets of a runaway American dream …’ It’s a ‘death trap,’ a ‘suicide rap.’

‘I want to guard your dreams and visions.’ ”

 

Bruce Springsteen – Born to Run

 

==============

 

“This man said that you can move to Greece, live in Greece, but you can’t become a Greek. You can move to Japan, live there, but you can’t become Japanese; or France and become a Frenchman; or German—or become a—all of these things.

But he said, everybody or anybody from any corner of the world can come to America and become an American.”

 

—————–

Ronald Reagan

 

=========

 

Ok.

 

I have a piece coming up on globalization but today it is about the American work flintstoneswork ethos and American workers and, I imagine, a view on any version of isolationism <extreme to practical>.

 

I admit.

I find very little appealing in an isolationist concept <any aspect of it> … even the common rhetoric of the day.

 

Simplistically I feel like it suggests we, America, cannot compete globally. In my pea like brain I view it like sports … sports in which almost every home team retains an advantage … despite the same rules, same number of players, same dimensions of the court & field. Mainly it comes down to coaching, ability and , I imagine, pride of home field … uhm … but I still get on a bus and go play away games.

 

I believe it was Ronald Reagan who said ”American workers don’t need to hide from anyone.”

 

Which reminds me of how much during American presidential campaign, and even now somewhat, I found it extremely aggravating how we had a bunch of people talking about American workers and American businesses.

work sheep wolf

They all seemed to forget that our ethos is “just do it.”

 

When set free to do the voodoo it does … American business is dynamic, energetic, innovative, can-do and actually gets out there and makes & sells shit.

 

We shouldn’t be impatient because the success is coming fast enough and in our impatience “change the rules” or “hide within our borders” but instead we should use our impatience to invite competition, sweat it out and beat the crap out of them.

 

My impatience? I sometimes get a bit impatient when I hear people moaning about the state of the world and the inevitable “the sky is falling” or “the world is unfair” <pick your poison>.

 

Given an opportunity every generation believes it is tougher for them and will create their own prognostications of doom & gloom and, yet, we are still here and still have the world’s largest economy <and best on a variety of measures>.

 

I am not suggesting there aren’t real business issues and I am not suggesting from a regulatory standpoint there are some tweaks to the system which would enable businesses to improve themselves to compete better <please notice I didn’t say “to constrict the competition” but rather to have us improve to compete>.

 

Isolation goes against every bone in our “just do it” American body & soul.

 

Nike trademarked it but the pilgrims brought it to America. From day one immigrants, with the help of Native Americans, went to work building America … stone by stone … seed by seed … idea by idea … sweat drop by sweat drop.

 

labor american workerAmerica First should never be America Alone.

 

America has never been an individual competition it has always been about a team competition.

 

America First should be earned on the playing field competing against the best of the best and winning <by the way … that defines ‘exceptionalism’>.

 

America should be about building a better engine, building a better race car and running a better race.

 

===============

”It’s time to gun the engines, not put on the brakes.”

 

——–

Ronald Reagan

==========

 

It is aggravating to hear “close the borders” combined with “the world is going to shit” … which all leads to ‘disengage from the world <competition>.’

 

Really?

 

REALLY?

 

What kind of shit response is that?

What kind of “winner” doesn’t want to compete and compete against the best?

 

It seems like we should be investing not in building advantages for ourselves but rather in building a better team. That is where money and energy should be spent.

 

Hire better coaches.

Offer better training programs.

Buy better equipment.

Study better strategies.

Create better plan of attacks.

no substitute for hard work sweat edison

 

 

I wasn’t a huge Ronald Reagan fan but he got it … he hated changing the rules of the business game <tariffs & regulations> and only did so situationally, tactically and for short term ‘balancing out’ … as he says …  given a respite from predatory import practices, can become competitive in a world market.

 

But … he understood the importance of the attitude of the American worker above all else … check out these words he said to Harley Davidson:

 

… you gave some folks in Washington an important lesson about how we go about buying and selling with other nations. You see, we’ve shaken hands on an agreement with most of the other nations of the world, an agreement that sets the rules for international trade. We have problems, of course, with some of those nations—the ones that don’t let us sell to their people as freely as they sell to ours. But the agreement, called the GATT agreement—that’s the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade — gives us ways of dealing with those problems, and it also gives us ways of giving industries the kind of breathing room we gave you.

 

And if they’re as serious as you were about shaping up—now we’re about to begin worldwide talks on how to make this agreement even stronger.

 

Because of the GATT agreement, when you were ready to sell more bikes around the world, no one stopped you.

But now there are some in Congress who say, in effect, that the United States should break its word with the other countries.

They say American workers need to run and hide from foreign competition, even if that means other countries will strike back by not letting you sell your bikes to their people. Well, Harley-Davidson has shown how wrong that is and what the truth is. American workers don’t need to hide from anyone. America does best when America sticks by its word. And American workers can take on the best in the world, anywhere, anytime, anyplace. No one is better than you are.

 

You may have heard that my temperature’s up about some trade legislation that’s before the Congress right now. On TV the other night, it was called one of the toughest trade bills of this century. I remember the last time we had a so-called tough trade bill. It was called Smoot-Hawley, and they said it would protect American jobs. Instead, after other nations were through retaliating, it helped us—or it helped give us, or at least deepened, the Great Depression of the 1930’s. I’m probably the only one here that’s old enough to remember that. I was looking for a job then. [Laughter] Twenty-five percent were unemployed, including me.

 

The Harley-Davidson example makes a very strong statement about how government, through the judicious application of our trade laws, can help the best and the brightest in American management and labor come together in ways that will create new jobs, new growth, and new prosperity. Government’s role, particularly on the trade front, should be one of creating the conditions where fair trade will flourish, and this is precisely what has been done here. Our trade laws should work to foster growth and trade, not shut it off. And that’s what’s at the heart of our fair trade policy: opening foreign markets, not closing ours. Where U.S. firms have suffered from temporary surges in foreign competition, we haven’t been shy about using our import laws to produce temporary relief. Now, there are those in Congress who say our trade policies haven’t worked, but you here at Harley-Davidson are living proof that our laws are working. The idea of going to mandatory retaliation and shutting down on Presidential discretion in enforcing our trade laws is moving toward a policy that invites, even encourages, trade wars. It’s time to work to expand the world market, not restrict it.

 

Today, as many as 10 million American jobs are tied to international trade, including many jobs right here at Harley. For more than a century, when America’s trade with the world has grown, America has created more jobs. When trade has declined, so have the number of jobs. So, when it comes to making new jobs, free and fair international trade is America’s big machine. It’s time to gun the engines, not put on the brakes. Your chairman, Vaughn Beals, summed it up when he said, and I will quote him: “We’re sending a very strong message to our competitors and to the international industrial community that U.S. workers, given a respite from predatory import practices, can become competitive in a world market.”

 

The best way to meet foreign competition is also the right way: by sticking to our agreements with other countries and not breaking our promises, by making sure other countries also stick to their agreements with us, and by being the best. As America prepares for the 21st century, you’ve shown us how to be the best. You’ve been leaders in new technology. You’ve stuck by the basic American values of hard work and fair play.

 

================

 

A danger we are currently meandering our way toward is one of attitude.

 

attitude foreign life adventureWe currently have a president who doesn’t foster attitude and belief in self but rather believes success is found solely in removing disadvantages, real or not, and removing “unfairness” <even if the other team were simply playing the game better or had better players>.

 

He is wrong in his approach.

 

Business is often more about attitude and fortitude then it is about whether “the pitch was mowed at 1 inch instead of an inch & a ½.”

 

It is a false narrative, and a dangerous narrative, to suggest success is based on ‘fairness’. Why? Because … well … more often than not we will always find that the world was unfair in some form or fashion … and you know what?

You still gotta compete, you still gotta play the game and you still gotta figure out a way to win.

 

America is at its best just doing it … sweating it out on the streets seeking the runaway American dream.

 

America is at its best when it ignores all the reason why we cannot do something and just go do it anyway.

 

America is at its best when we have a leader standing up in front of us not making excuses, not whining about unfairness and all the reasons why we haven’t been successful … but one who is instead saying “here is what we are gonna do and lets go do it.”

 

It was Theodore Roosevelt, in 1904, who said:

“We, the people, can preserve our liberty and our greatness in time of peace only by ourselves exercising the virtues of honesty, of self-restraint, and of fair dealing between man and man.”

But he also reminded everyone of the importance of work ethic.

“They stood for the life of effort, not the life of ease.”

Freedom, Roosevelt warned, had to be earned by the exercise of restraint, and its bounty could only be harvested by diligent labor.

 

Anyway.

 

I am not an isolationist mostly because of all I have written today. I am a compete flower bloombusiness guy and as a business guy I want to compete … and I believe I can compete well and win often enough if I put in the smart thinking and the diligent labor.

 

While I may proudly wrap myself in an American flag I also proudly wrap myself in an attitude … ”American workers don’t need to hide from anyone” … and I am an American worker.

 

We should never underestimate the American worker and American business ingenuity.

We shouldn’t hide from the world … we should be building the best team and sending them to the far corners of the world, wherever they may have an opportunity to compete, and win through hard work and fair play.

 

Isolation is the wrong path. It’s not American. We compete, work hard, play by the rules … and win more often than we lose.

 

American workers can take on the best in the world, anywhere, anytime, anyplace.

why women get aggravated by men

October 7th, 2016

 

 

stupid-men-smart-beautiful-women-1

 

I had no real reason for posting this thought today other than:

 

<1> I saw these two gifs posted, and

 

<2> it reminds me how stupid condescending sexist assholes like this make my Life more difficult, and

 

<3> it reminds me how far we still have to go with regard to some fairly stupid masculine attitudes.

stupid-men-beautiful-smart-women-2

 

And just because I do think far too many guys don’t think about gender equality/inequality enough nor do they think about it thru a woman’s eyes <as best they can> if they do think about it … every guy should read the following from For the Men Who Still Don’t Get It <Carol Diehl> and just take a minute to reflect upon it:

 

 

“What if
all women were bigger and stronger than you
And thought they were smarter

 

What if
women were the ones who started wars

 

What if
too many of your friends had been raped by women wielding giant dildos
and no K-Y Jelly

 

What if
the state trooper
who pulled you over on the New Jersey Turnpike
was a woman
and carried a gun

 

What if
the ability to menstruate
was the prerequisite for most high-paying jobs

 

What if
your attractiveness to women depended
on the size of your penis

 

What if
every time women saw you
they’d hoot and make jerking motions with their hands

 

What if
women were always making jokes
about how ugly penises are
and how bad sperm tastes

 

What if
you had to explain what’s wrong with your car
to big sweaty women with greasy hands
who stared at your crotch
In a garage where you are surrounded
by posters of naked men with hard-ons

 

What if
men’s magazines featured cover photos
of 14-year-old boys
with socks
tucked into the front of their jeans
and articles like:
“How to tell if your wife is unfaithful”
or
“What your doctor won’t tell you about your prostate”
or
“The truth about impotence”

 

What if
the doctor who examined your prostate
was a woman
and called you “Honey”

 

What if
You had to inhale your boss’s stale cigar breath
as she insisted that sleeping with her
was part of the job

 

What if
You couldn’t get away because
the company dress code required
you wear shoes
designed to keep you from running

 

thinker thumbtack

…… just think about it ………

And what if
after all that
women still wanted you
to love them.

 

For the Men Who Still Don’t Get It – Carol Diehl

 

 

friends and enemies and interests

August 29th, 2016

friends goofy unintended together

 

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“We have no permanent friends.

We have no permanent enemies.

We just have permanent interests.”

 

—-

Benjamin Disraeli

 

===

 

Well.

 

I admit.

murderers among enemy

I have always had a slightly contrarian view on relationships with competitors in the business environment.

 

I always met with them.

 

I always encouraged my people to meet, and interact, with them.

 

I always debated and discussed with them.

 

I have always had some friends at competitors … and certainly had some enemies at competitors.

 

Oh.

And I have always been quite willing to put them out of business if, competitively, I felt like my business was better than theirs.

 

Yeah.

I just said that. In fact. I said two things.

 

First.

 

Put them out of business. This doesn’t mean doing anything evil nor does it mean going behind anyone’s back in some slimy undercutting way. This is about confidently putting yourself alongside the enemy and beating the living daylights out of them. And doing so over and over again until you suffocate their business or they just quit.

 

Second.

 

Please note ‘my business was better than theirs.’

 

Well.

 

Yeah.company culture die trying

 

Sometimes you are actually not the best and sometimes you are actually not different in any real significant way.

Sometimes you are just a different alternative.

Sometimes you don’t compete exactly directly.

And sometimes your enemy actually is a better fit for someone then you are.

 

But.

 

If you are better, then beat them.

 

Now.

 

Beyond beating the crap out of some competitor … 90% of the time I find the ‘enemy’ quite the delight to rub elbows with.

This doesn’t mean I was flippant with regard to confidential information it is just that I believe ‘unique’ or ‘proprietary’ are more often than not … well … not. I also believe that my ‘enemy’ was simply a business competitor who had the same interests that I did <selling more shit at the highest price possible>.

 

But I have never understood some absurd ‘never talk with the competitor.” And I think it is absurd for a variety of reasons but let’s go through why business relationships are always tricky But no reason to not interact openly with a competitor>.

 

Your best employee may become the best employee at your competitor at some point.

 

Your favorite boss may leave and start a new company … competing against a portion of your offering.

 

You may leave, leaving behind a boatload of people you like & respect, to take a promotion at some competitor and … well … compete against those same people you like & respect who happen to be at a company you still like & respect.

 

And the trickiest?

 

Sometimes you actually decide to partner with a sometimes enemy because of mutual interest <and money of course>.

 

What business teaches you … well … what it should teach you is that there are no permanent allies, no permanent friends, no permanent enemies and, really, only permanent interests.

 

This shouldn’t be construed in any way as morally hollow or ethically challenged.

just keep trying flourish grow

It is a simple business truth that it is in the interest of a person and business to maximize behavior in a given situation. That means you give your best, you offer your best and be your best regardless of who is in the room or whomever you may be competing with.

 

I imagine the net translation on that thought is that through individual behavior the interests of a business are being best served and ultimately it is the interest of the business itself that is the only thing that truly remains constant.

 

The corollary?

 

Friends and enemies may keep changing depending on what suits the business interest best.

 

Sure.

 

There are potential costs … as well as potential benefits to rubbing elbows and being friendly, or at least conversationally cordial, to your competitors.

 

But that should not mean ignoring competition nor should it mean not maintaining some dialogue with them.

 

Some people will not agree with this.

 

What I have on my side is diplomatic history. The concept of ‘continuous dialogue’ originated in the 17th century with the French and Cardinal Richelieu.

It is a “belief in the utility of diplomatic representation and communication even between states that have reached a hostile relationship short of war.”

And you do so not to be friends, nor to seek to be allies, but to maintain the respect of two entities with different interests, but a similar interest to succeed, as a way to reduce the chances of war.

 

But let me point to what I believe is the truest of benefits.

 

People.

 

As long as your business is well defined, as long as your business has a strong culture, as long as your business fosters the attitude of ‘being the best’ without arrogance … I would suggest that nothing strengthens your people than interacting with the people of friends, enemies and those with different interests. Your people, through interaction with others who may be seeking things on their own self best interest, are the surest arbiters of what is right, wrong, true, false, lawful or ethically hollow.

 

And while I do not think this is solely an American trait it was Alexis de Tocqueville who said this about Americans in 1831:

 

[T]hey hold that public opinion is the surest arbiter of what is lawful or forbidden, true or false. … They hold that every man is born in possession of the right of self-government, and that no one has the right of constraining his fellow-creatures to be happy. They have all a lively faith in the perfectibility of man; they are of opinion that the effects of the diffusion of knowledge must necessarily be advantageous, and the consequences of ignorance fatal; they all consider society as a body in a state of improvement, humanity as a changing scene, in which nothing is, or ought to be, permanent.

 

 

ignorance is their powerIt is the people who are the surest arbiter of true & false … therefore if you ever want someone to truly believe in your business that you must mentally believe “the consequences of ignorance fatal.”

 

And embrace that an industry, which is often a society within itself, is a body in a state of improvement.

Keeping yourself, or your employees, cocooned within just who and what you are endangers the livelihood of the business itself in that you miss the opportunity for potential change and run the danger of ‘permanent’ <or stagnant>.

 

I personally find nothing wrong with positioning yourself as close to your competitors as you possibly can. The benefits outweigh the possible negatives.

 

On a separate note.

 

I tend to believe this idea works just as well in non-business life.

 

I have friends & acquaintances who clearly have different political points of view, different views on religion as well as significantly different views on a spectrum of different things. I watch news programs and listen to news programs which clearly do not appeal to my sense of what is true or right.

enlightened conflict think

It doesn’t harden my point of view but it certainly makes me more self-aware with regard to how others think and why they do the things they do.

 

And it certainly reminds me that no matter how much I may disagree with someone the majority of the time they have the same interests that I do – a better country and a better way of doing things.

 

I don’t think this makes me any better than others but it may make me a little more enlightened and aware.

And I have to believe that isn’t a bad thing.

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

 

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

 

Joseph Conrad

 

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So.

 

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>

 

Ok.

 

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.

 

Regardless.

 

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.

 

Next.

 

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.

 

 

Why?

 

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.

 

Ok.

Ok.

 

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”.

 

Really?

Really???

 

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.

============

 

 

Well.

 

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.

 

Yes.

 

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.

do I suffer well

April 2nd, 2016

 dignity suffer

====

 

“It’s true, I suffer a great deal–but do I suffer well?

That is the question.”

 

 

 

 

Thérèse de Lisieux

 

===

 

 

I have had this debate a zillion times … the one where you discuss who has it worse. Who is going through tougher times. Maybe even discussing a bad moment in life as horrible … but how horrible? … and horrible relative to other horribleness?

dialogue with pain

 

And while it is most likely true that, regardless of your situation, someone somewhere has it worse than you do … that thought doesn’t really seem that comforting nor does it really offer any solutions when it is you in that moment.

 

To me … comparing bad situations is not only not very helpful but it also tends to suggest the wrong thing  – “my suffering isn’t equal to your suffering.”

 

I mean … well … how the heck do you compare suffering? Isn’t suffering suffering?

 

I hesitate to use this next quote only in that while making the point it suggests ‘horrible’ can be viewed as a flower:

 

 

A flower does not think of competing to the other flower next to it. It just blooms.

<zen shin>

 

 

But I thought I could use this quote because flowers do not judge … and maybe we shouldn’t judge suffering, or more simplistic for most of us, the holes each of us fall into on occasion.

 

 

To me?

 

Horrible is horrible. A black hole is a black hole. And while maybe not all holes and abysses are created equal  … all seem equally deep when in one and the suffering when within a hole is … well … pretty insufferable.

 

This may not be literally true … but figuratively I tend to believe that is how we view it when encountering horror or slip into some dark hole.

 

And, yeah, we will all fall into a hole, or two, in Life.

I wrote this back in 2013 I wrote this about holes

 

…. almost everyone has their own hole that Life makes you climb in and out of on occasion.

 

But inevitably, at some point, Life puts you in your hole and leaves you there … alone … with your thoughts … thoughts of how different you are or how different you think or simply how different your life is from every one else … and Life doesn’t help you get out of the hole.

Because it is yours. And it is yours to figure out how to get out of.

 

 

This leads me back to my opening quote.

no brain pain

Everyone steps, slides or falls into holes in Life.

 

Inevitably this pretty much means we all suffer to some degree during our Life.

 

The question one must ask themselves at some point is … well … do I suffer well?

 

For if we all suffer at some point … and 99% of us figure out a way of getting out of our hole … then the question isn’t really about getting out of the hole but how did you manage yourself when in the hole.

 

In other words … do I suffer well?

 

An interesting question of character I would say.

 

A thoughtful one to ponder.

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.”

 

=

 

Rumi

 

—————————-

 

 

 

Well.

 

This is about fashion … and … uhm … journalism.

 

completely useless meJournalism & fashion?

 

Yup.

 

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.

 

Yeah.

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.

 

==

 

Now.

 

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.

 

Ok.

 

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.

 

Worse?

Their advertising may actually dictate some social norms and beliefs.

 

Yeah.

 

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.

 

Look.

 

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