I’m amused by the dishonest games that some companies and political causes play today related to Super Bowl ads. Here’s the new way to get attention. Make a cheap 30-second spot with a controversial message that you know the NFL will reject. (There are plenty of mainstream bidders for those ads, so the NFL doesn’t need to take a chance on causing controversy that it can avoid. Any savvy media buyer can explain this to you.)
Then submit the ad to the league and wait to be told that it’s not the sort of ad the NFL wants for the Super Bowl. After that, start yelling loudly about censorship and then get outraged people online to all share your banned” ad — an ad that nobody else would have watched otherwise. This way, tons of people see your ad and you’re not required to pay $4 million for an ad that you couldn’t afford anyway. Smart, huh? Yes, but very dishonest.
A gun company is doing it this year. PETA was doing it as far back as 2009. And others have been doing it since then. Some might see it as just being smart, but I see it as really dishonest, because the people who are complaining about being banned had no intention of spending $4 million to ran an ad. (Most of them almost certainly had no ability to spend that kind of money for 30 seconds of air time.)
Trying to write something that’s completely honest and true is difficult, because ego and “spin” try hard to get into the way. The more honest and true I can be with my words, the more simple and clean they feel to me. When my ego has an agenda, the words seem convoluted and slimy, even if they’re persuasive, like what you’d expect from a used car salesman. Writing anything that’s completely clean and honest is hard, but when it happens, it feels as though I’ve cleaned something on the inside. I wish I could feel more often that I’ve successfully done it.
I’ve recently realized that one of the biggest reasons I look forward to making a lot of money is that it will give me the ability to patronize the rare artists who I actually care about supporting in a semi-serious way. I don’t care about the trappings of wealth that matter to most people, but the idea of being able to underwrite the production of an album that would otherwise go unrecorded or a film that I want to see produced is a powerful incentive.
Once a narrative gets established, it doesn’t matter whether it’s true or not. Everybody “knows” it’s true and keeps telling the same story.
Some marriages remind me of the old movie, “Weekend at Bernie’s.” The marriage is dead, but somebody keeps dragging the body around and pretending it’s still alive.
It’s interesting to realize how much of our judgment about other people is made from subtle clues we’re not fully conscious of. We notice some little thing about a person or situation and draw tentative conclusions, possibly unconsciously modifying the conclusions as more subtle clues show up. We decide things about people — whether we like them, whether they’re trustworthy, whether they’re safe for us to be around — and we’re rarely aware of why we really think those things (even though we justify our opinions in an after-the-fact way).
We sometimes come to unfair conclusions about people this way, but the truth is that our unconscious heuristics are right far more often than they’re mistaken.
For some people, life is mostly a long series of con games — a desperate attempt to get their need of the moment filled without real reciprocation. To them, things such as love and trust are to be unconsciously faked, partly because they’re afraid and partly because they don’t know how to really love or trust. Like emotionally undeveloped small children, they simply manipulate people into giving them what they need in the moment.
Unless they ever learn what’s important and take dangerous emotional risks, all they’ll ever do is con people around them — people who trust them and who believe what the glib false exterior is telling them. I feel sorry for people like this, because they’re more like scared animals backed into a corner than they’re like those who want to hurt anyone. Many of them even feel guilty for how they live. But they don’t know another way to live, so life is painful, exhausting, pointless and dishonest.
A simple look at what I’m eating tells me how well I’m doing emotionally each day. If I’m eating good foods, I’m doing well. If I’m eating junk, I’m probably in a dark place emotionally (or heading there). It’s a bit like a sugary mood ring.
I don’t like empty cliches or most expressions of dogma, whether they’re about politics, theology or most anything else. When you say some version of, “This is the complete truth and I’m here to educate you,” you cut off discussion and connection with others. You put yourself above others. And when you do that with cliches, you preemptively cut off discussion in a pious way that makes it clear you don’t welcome thinking and insight. The worst part, though, is that those most likely to use these cliches and dogma have never honestly questioned their own assumptions, so they’re likely to feel superior to those they’re lecturing, even if they’re lecturing in good faith.
The more I think and feel and experience, the more I realize that all I can say is, “This is what I’ve experienced, so this is what I currently believe truth is.” What I believe in a decade — or five years or maybe even six months — might contradict some of what I believe is truth today. But all I can do is to share what I believe to be true — and be ready to change my mind when I discover ways in which I’ve been wrong.
The passions that motivate us seem to run in packs. When one of them disappears, the others all seem to follow. I never used to understand what artists meant when they spoke of a muse that motivated them. But I understand now. A muse is just a passion — most typically a deeply expressed love for someone else — and that passion attracts other passions.
Collectively, they can ignite desires and capabilities that bring out the best and most visionary in a person. That seems to be why a muse enables a writer or other artist to find something inside that has been hiding. The muse doesn’t bring anything that wasn’t already there, but the presence of the muse is the passion that lights an internal fire that makes the artist manifest what he’s really been hiding all along.
So I’m not sure that any great art or great achievement happens without a muse to light the fire of passion.
If you think fast food wages are too low, then don’t take those jobs. If you are worth more than what fast food jobs pay, someone will offer you money appropriate to the value you can bring to a job. If you are NOT worth more money, then improve yourself and become worth more. Those are your choices.
Complaining that someone should pay you more than the value you provide just makes your look like someone who doesn’t understand voluntary exchange. No one owes you a job or a living. It’s your business to make yourself worth employing at higher wages.
I’m very aware of evil and injustice in the world around me, but I don’t usually waste my time anymore on angry arguments and unwinnable fights — which do nothing positive for me or others. This seems to confuse some people. I’m more interested in finding loving ways that good people can safely live in peace than I am in defeating and arguing with those who try to stop us.
It’s a longer-term strategy, but I believe it will actually work — and it’s an approach that lets me enjoy the good that’s in the world instead of just being obsessed with the evil.
People who are actively fighting the coercive state are fighting on the government’s terms. I don’t fight the state. I’m simply waiting for what I see as its inevitable collapse. Every empire eventually crumbles. Some are entirely destroyed and some stick around as shadows of what they once were.
I think it’s dangerous and counter-productive to try to bring the coercive state system down. The smart alternative is to plan for how to take advantage of the point in history when it’s time for change and opportunity is everywhere. Until then, I see “political activism” as a waste of time. But everyone has to pursue what makes sense to him.
One of the saddest aspects of modern digital life is that it seems to make many people feel that they absolutely must refute everything they don’t agree with.
The control that almost any person or group has over you starts in your own head.
Facebook frequently serves to remind me why I stay away from large groups of people as much as possible.
I’m suffering from “outrage fatigue” from all the posts on Facebook and Twitter constantly telling me to be angry or outraged by something or other.
If you’re posting links to insane theories about a conspiracy between NASA and “the mainstream media” to cover up something vaguely nefarious about the comet ISON, you’re way too nutty for me.
I keep seeing articles that purport to explain how to hide from the NSA. I just want to live in a way that the NSA won’t care that I even exist.
And, finally, did you know that the cast of Star Trek: the Next Generation sang “Let it Snow”? They did. Seriously. Well, sort of. You’re enjoy it if you’re a fellow nerd.