A policy of foolishness.

Why did ANOTHER Fort Hood shooting occur?

We give mass shooters everything they want; instant global fame, media attention for weeks, nationwide outrage and their name in lights. We spread their name and face far and wide. They should be nameless and faceless. Their victims’ names and faces should receive infinitely more attention.

We refuse to make harsh examples of the criminally violent, we refuse to swiftly punish those who prey upon others, we continue to allow endless appeals, we do not swiftly execute those who have proven that their presence among other human beings in open society results in death.

Despite all of the evidence to the contrary, we keep believing that the mentally unbalanced / criminally insane / criminally predatory will somehow be stopped by imaginary lines on the ground represented by ‘gun free zones’. We continue to say, ‘Stop, or I will say stop again’, and believe that the predatory will somehow modify their behavior. In the case of Fort Hood, we disarmed en masse those we have charged with protecting us, making them most vulnerable in the one place where they should be most secure, the one place where anyone should be terrified to commit an act of violence; we have made military bases a shooting gallery of defenseless victims.

We believe in larger and larger numbers that the state will fix the problem by passing more laws, the state will fix the problem with more police, the state will fix the problem by disarming the populace. We are convinced that if we somehow take all of the bad weapons away, predators will no longer be predatory.  We think that making something just that much more taboo will stop someone determined enough to take the life of another human being. We refuse to accept the truth that all of these factors create more and larger shooting galleries for those who don’t care about laws, aren’t afraid of police, and are seeking the defenseless as victims.  We ignore that deadly violence occurs in a matter of seconds, not minutes, and that emergency services are a delayed response to a crime, not prevention. We honestly believe that training, a steady paycheck, a badge, and a uniform will turn common citizens in supercitizens, the only ones with the training to protect us from ourselves.  We ignore their humanity and believe that these supercitizens’ elevated position in society will keep us safe and make them infallible.  We then cover our gross errors by completely ignoring and blatantly denying the consequences.

We see the armed, peaceful, common citizen as a ticking time bomb, instead of a line of defense against those who have proven themselves to be a threat to others. We run counter to our credo of ‘innocent until proven guilty’ and assume that someone with the means to defend themselves must be plotting something, while ignoring those who have proven themselves to be incompatible with peaceful society.

We assume that mental instability can be detected before the person ‘goes off’.  We assume we can test for it, we assume that if we put enough checks in place that we can prevent ‘those people’ from acquiring weapons, we assume that if we can keep the guns away from them they won’t do anyone any harm.  We refuse to believe that we as a culture and society are at fault for producing psychopaths with little regard for human life and too much regard for their personal problems.

We continue to focus on the METHOD used – the weapon – instead of the ROOT CAUSE – a person that has decided their problems are more important that the lives of the people around them. We have failed multiple generations in teaching them that they are the focus of their universe, they can do no wrong, their problems are not their fault, that life is less than sacred, and that if they make enough noise, others will come running to fix the problem.

We have a cultural problem, and it has absolutely nothing to do with firearms.

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Enough, already!

Hollywood, the supposed creative arts center of the U.S. – and some claim, of the western world – just keeps turning back on itself.

The remakes just keep coming.  Up next?  Fame.  That’s right, the 1980 movie and 1982 TV series about New York City’s Performing Arts High School has been hipped up, trendified, updated and spat back out for the masses in yet another stroke of rehash genius from the big brains down in our furthest southwest corner.

Someone took a look at the success of High School Musical and American Idol, decided they couldn’t compete, but recognized the potential to ride another nostalgia train and use a forgotten franchise as a springboard for a big load o’ dough.  Bang, back comes a movie that we’d all forgotten, only it’s not what we remember at all, except for the logo.

Here’s the worst part of it for me:  I actually had a glint a few months ago about this series, sort of a flash in my head of the opening credits, kids dancing in the courtyard of the school, the big red baseball script logo, the soundtrack….and thought, ‘Wow, there’s a series that nobody’s talking about or even remembers.  Glad that’s one they’ve let lie.’

Someone must’ve heard me.

When is this going to stop?  What next?  Magnum, P.I.?  They’re doing The A-Team, might as well, right?  They already tried Miami Vice(A tip to Michael Mann; the original has been inspiration for far too many TV series and movies for you to be able to pull this off again and make it feel fresh.  Move on.).

CRAP.  A check of the rumor mill and IMDB reveals we’re getting Matthew McConaughey in Tom Selleck’s role in 2011.  Too late.

I swear, I could do this stuff in my sleep.  Fine, you want to ride the wave of ’80s pop culture nostalgia?  Let’s do Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Mannequin again. How ’bout Silver Spoons and another Who’s The Boss? War Games! Short Circuit! (whoops, they’re doing that one…)

Instead of emulating the current popular consensus of what people remember as great film, how ’bout simply noting what made those films great and writing some new material that takes it in a new direction?  Must we keep regurgitating old material and chewing it?

Look, this really isn’t anything new, it took three tries to get The Maltese Falcon right.  Only one version is really all that memorable, but at least they didn’t wait until people remebered it fondly to play on that and bring it back, it was a quick succession of tries(five years between each) until it stuck, and then they left it the hell alone.

Wake up, Hollywood!   You’ve run out of ideas and you’re not fooling anyone.

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Marketing blunder #249

If you’re going to have a individual or firm create your public image, simply tell them who you are, what you do, and how you do it.  Give them free rein from there and if you’ve got a good marketing consultant, they’ll usually give you something right off the bat that works and works well with very little further tinkering.

So many people do not  grasp this basic concept and have already created their public image by the time they decide to hire someone to refine it – which is fine to a limited extent.  If what you’ve selected actually fits you / your company / what you do, a marketer can run from there and give it that final polish that it needs.

This is usually not the case, however.  I’ve seen so many cases in which the marketer will receive some sort of clip art or stock imagery – sometimes even another company’s logo – and be told, ‘Make us a logo and public image based on this.’  They’ve already gone out, grabbed something that wasn’t necessarily designed for what they’re using it for, and they’re further fiddling with it to meet their needs.

Something as specific as a public presence should start with a clean slate.  Handing a graphic artist or marketer someone else’s art and telling them to alter it to suit you creates more work for them, not less.  The end result is usually contrived or completely vague as to its meaning, requiring further work down the road to define or explain it away.

This is such a common occurrence that it’s almost a cliché .  You’d think people would recognize it and avoid it.

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…but how could you?!

I’m sick of Glenn Miller.

Tired.

Annoyed, really.

I hate Glenn Miller now. It was different 5 years ago, I couldn’t get enough. I suppose my tastes have matured, but there’s also a contempt born of familiarity that transcends a dislike for the man himself or his music. It’s the culture built up around it that I’ve truly grown sick of.

I’m not speaking of the countless movies he and his orchestra were in during the ’30s and ’40s, I’m not speaking of the tours that they did all over the globe doing moral support of the troops, I’m speaking of the oddly sanitized, goofy ‘oh-boy-oh-goody what fun!’ attitude that seems to surround the WWII reenacting and swing dance crowd, the people whose tastes haven’t matured and they still think it’s all about the music and the clothes.

I actually still like a lot of the music, but it’s the slower, calmer stuff, the less commonly played, rarely heard pieces. If I have to sit through PEnnsylvania 6-5000, In the Mood or String of Pearls one more goddamned time I’m gonna HURT someone, and I don’t care who.

Hey, I like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, too…that doesn’t mean I want to hear Under the Bridge or Give it Away another 500 times.

Back to the point, though. There’s this bizarre superficiality – if that’s even a word, and spell checker says it is – built up around history that’s perpetuated by history buffs. There are little bits and pieces that keep getting dragged up to the top in favor of anything else. Certain pieces of music, movies, personalities, styles of clothing, certain cars, furniture pieces, appliances, etc. The resulting picture of the past looks like some sort of mutant world where everything was campy, overdone, sickly sweet and downright annoying. This couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s no different than today, the problem is that what’s survived is all the annoying overblown pop culture. That picture on the cover of Time of the sailor kissing the nurse, Glenn Miller and Benny Goodman, Cadillacs and Fords, spectator shoes and cherry-print dresses, all iconic and all done to death and worn out.

I have several pair of spectators in my closet. One pair gets use over the rest. Yeah, there are saddle shoes in there, too. Just got ’em, they were $6 and they came with shoe trees. I’ll wear them with a suit. In season. Or out, if the weather’s hot or the event seems appropriate. But I’ve got solid-color shoes, too, and they see far more use.

I’ve got big fat ’40s ties with wild prints on them. They get nowhere near as much use as the subtle ’30s brocades. Why? Because people will save a wild tie. They’ll get rid of the boring or less than remarkable ones. And 70+ years later, here we are with all sorts of wild ties…and the ‘normal’ ones are long gone…and that’s the picture people have. Wild ties. Pinstripe suits. Huge hats. Gangsters. Glenn Miller. Benny Goodman. ’40 Fords. ’41 Cadillacs.

All of those things would have been a very tiny piece of someone’s life in the ’30s and ’40s. Most of the world was listening to what we now call classical music. Glenn Miller and Benny Goodman were teenager and hipster music. Jazz was rebellious ‘colored’ stuff. Blues was something played in seedy bars and red light district clubs.  You want a rude awakening, go look at mugshots of ‘gangsters’ arrested in the ’30s and ’40s, hardly any of them are the overblown Hollywood version of what we think of today. So much of what’s held up as iconic of the early 20th century was a tiny piece of the overall picture.

So give me something better than Glenn Miller. Give me a good pair of captoe brogues and leave the spectators to the guy that’s trying too hard. If I get a car from the era, it won’t be a Cadillac, a Ford or Chevy, it’ll probably be a Plymouth or a Dodge. Maybe a DeSoto, or a Hudson, or a Studebaker. Or *gasp* a NASH. People have completely forgotten that there were 20+ car companies in the U.S. prior to WWII. I’ll wear a single-breasted suit, maybe in a checked pattern instead of pinstripes…if I can find one! Give me some freakin’ variety, because without it, the past is just a corny, campy, cheesy-ass pastiche that gets on your nerves…and people that blindly like anything from the era ‘just because’…well, I can do without them, too.

Hell. I even stopped swing dancing. Take that, scenesters!

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