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…
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.
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. …
When PBS aired the Ken Burns/Lynn Novick documentary on Ernest Hemingway last week, the first thing I wanted to do was reach out to Denise Costello to get her reaction to the show. Costello has been a longtime Hemingway fan who’s not only read more than anyone I know but also has visited most, if not all, of the places he once lived. When I reached out she agreed to share her views and insights.
If you’re a newby when it comes to Hemingway, Ms. Costello’s insights can help you find an entry point. If you’ve read his novels and…
Can an immense jerk be an important artist? How do we separate the artist from the art?
I have struggled with this many times over the years, most recently while reading Earle Labor’s Jack London: An American Life. There are more than a few people in Hollywood whose bad behavior has tarnished their stars in my estimation. If you want to thoroughly enjoy their performances or what they’ve produced or directed, it’s almost better not to know too much.
When William Gibson published Mona Lisa Overdrive in 1988, he portrayed a future that featured multinational corporations and high tech outlaws competing for power against a backdrop of cyberspace and celebrity culture. And today, what do we see? The machinations of cybercriminals and high tech corporations are so massive that even international leaders are scared, while celebrity worship is more massive than ever.
I find it interesting that not only does wealth turn people into celebrities (eg. Bezos, Musk, Gates, Zuckerberg), celebrities now turn celebritydom into wealth. (eg. McCartney, Kylie Jenner )
Very strange. Years ago I was encouraged to set up a “business account” on Facebook for Ennyman’s Territory, my personal daily blog since 2007. The only thing this “business account accomplished (once set up) was to have Facebook constantly remind me I would have more traffic if I advertised (i.e. Paid Facebook Money). I never “pushed” the page to be liked, but have a few followers even though I seldom post there.
Instead, each day after publishing my post for the day I would share with my “friends” on my personal Facebook wall and Tweet it. I have a modest…
Elle Sandy is a professional proofreader/editor. We first met in Maine when I was one year old. She is my cousin and there is a great photo I have cherished all my life of my grandparents’ four firstborns (all born in 1951–52). My second favorite memory of Elle was frog hunting in Boston when we were eight years old. After circuitous careers, we re-connected through social media. She’s an avid reader with keen powers of attention to detail, well-suited to a late life career as a pro proofreader.
In this era of deteriorating standards regarding the rules of grammar and…
I’ve spent a lifetime listening to doomsayers tell us we will run out of oil in 10 years. It never happens. So why does anyone keep listening? Why do these spokespeople have any credibility left?
And then there’s the climate crisis.
The coming “end of the world” caused by global warming is an even more serious matter, they say, because it’s claimed that the polar ice caps will melt and multiplied millions will die as a result. Is this a fact or another form of spin designed to manipulate the masses?
Ten years ago or so I read an article…