GETTING REAL

The first to present his case seems right, until another comes forward and questions him. — Proverbs 18:16

It happens on Wall Street. It happens in Washington. And it happens in board rooms across the country. What we’re talking about is the misreading and misuse of data. This article is directed toward online marketing decisions based on analytics.

It’s self-evident that without accurate facts, you’re usually not going to make good decisions, except by accident. Unfortunately, we’re so inundated with data that learning how to determine what data has value is a skill in and of itself. The information may be accurate, but those reading the data may lack the skills, or be too biased, to translate it…


PROPAGANDA

Who controls the past, controls the future: who controls the present controls the past. — Geo. Orwell, 1984

When future historians write about the 20th Century, it would not surprise me to find it had been nicknamed The Century of Spin. Today more than ever we see that the battle for the minds of the people revolves around the manner in which events get interpreted, not necessarily the events themselves.

Social observers have long noted this trafficking in interpretations. Who decides what is good and what is bad? Who decides who the good guys and bad guys are in this battle for control of the narrative?

We live in a mediated world. Before entering World War One, very…


Two views on the pursuit of happiness.

I am proposing that what the Founding Fathers meant when they wrote “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” is totally at odds with what it has come to mean today. To elaborate on how this came about is not my aim here. Instead I wish to compare two ideas about happiness and suggest that somehow we’ve now got it all wrong.

What I’m attempting to express here comes from notes I took in response to a lecture on Aristotle that our philosophy club discussed a number of years ago.

Aristotle, one of…


NOSTALGIA

“My work is a moving thing.” — Bob Dylan

The Minnesota music scene has produced some sensational talent through the years. Rock, folk, jazz, blues, bluegrass and even gospel music circles have developed exceptional performers and recording artists. One of these was David Curtis Glover, better known as Tony “Little Sun” Glover. A harmonica player with the folk group Koerner, Ray and Glover (inducted into the MN Music Academy Hall of Fame in 1983) he was also a notable rock critic who wrote for many of the best-known music mags including Crawdaddy, Sing Out, Creem and Rolling Stone.


WORK LIFE

“We are not a team because we work together. We are a team because we respect, trust and care for each other.” — Vala Alshar

For years I have referenced data from the Gallup organization for insights on various topics. What I like about Gallup Polls is that they stake a claim on getting the most diverse viewpoints from the broadest field of data. They have the resources to do this because they do it well and have become trusted for it, unlike many news polls that pretend to do so.

When companies measure ROI, they are measuring results after the fact. …


FICTION

Jeremy plucked up his courage and this is what happened.

Helmsboro, Minnesota, is a town undergoing change… rural, yet slowly being transfigured by the spread of housing developments, building projects and zoning regulations. The farming has always been difficult in these parts, due to the short growing season and the hardscrabble land, hence after scratching out a living for as long as sensible most of the area’s farmers have sold out, subdividing their properties and encouraging their sons and daughters to pursue more promising careers in other fields.

Many have migrated to the Twin Cities, though others have stayed behind, uncertain what to make of the changes taking place all…


BY CHRISTIANITY

“Abandon all hope, you who enter here.” — Dante’s Inferno

One of the reasons many people view Christianity as unpalatable may be because of the doctrine of Hell. The notion of a loving God who throws people into an eternal burning fire doesn’t come across as all that attractive. It gets more complicated still when Christians coming from a hard-core Calvinist background suggest that the chosen ones were chosen before the dawn of time and if you’re not part of the Elect, well, tough beans for you.

Many sensitive Christian thinkers have resolved this seeming incongruity (the harshness of a final judgment by a loving God) by denying that there’s…


MARKETING

“Whoever said money can’t buy happiness didn’t know where to shop.” — Gertrude Stein

In a previous column (Ah, the joys of alliteration.) I noted the origins of the “Four Ps of Marketing.” This past week I came across an article detailing what another author called the eight Ps of marketing. These eight Ps were product, place, price, promotion, people, physical environment, process and packaging.

This article’s purpose is to get us thinking more deeply about the role of packaging in the context of our larger marketing agenda.


Politics

“Politics: the art of convincing decent people to forget the lesser of two evils is also evil.” — Edward Snowden

In our current era the obsession with being up to the minute and “in the know” has caused many people to lose any sense of perspective. If a politician gets caught in a lie, the incident is treated as if such a horror has never occurred before in human history.

At every instant in time “Trending News” feeds into all our devices to keep us continuously distracted by the now. Sensational headlines seem to have one singular objective, like the kid on the playground who said, “Made ya look!”

For this reason, I thought it might be interesting to serve…


PEOPLE

Elvis, Dylan, Johnny Cash… He’s worked with the best.

Ed Newman

An avid reader who writes about arts, culture, literature & other life obsessions. @ennyman3 Look for my books on Amazon https://tinyurl.com/y3l9sfpj

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