blog soup 02.12.2012
Mixed Epiphanies for a Monday
by Stan Faryna
Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey, When You Believe
Abigail (aka Jack) tells of his recent online adventure: reading hate propaganda. Jack got upset. As he should!
It’s out there. It’s here with us. Can you feel it breathing down on your neck?
Hate. Lies. Confusion. Misinformation. Misguided anger and misdirected pain. In short, evil.
Evil exists. It’s real. It’s like cockroaches. If you see one, you know there’s a thousand out of sight but nearby just the same.
I think about our children and any children for that matter, wow, I hope they don’t stumble upon that.
This is not a problem we can solve easily or once and for all. The existence and contagion of evil, the problem of pain and anger, and the evil use to which dark intelligence plots with cunning ambition.
But the complexity does not end by cutting the Gordian knot. For the poet Gibran suggests the dilemma lay not in the knot but in the very weave of the rope by which the knot has been tied:
You cannot separate the just from the unjust and the good from the wicked; For they stand together before the face of the sun even as the black thread and the white are woven together.
Somewhat reluctantly, then, I am coming round to an understanding that Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK, Jr.) was right about hate.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.
I don’t think that MLK, Jr. meant for us to love up the hater.
I suppose he meant for us to hold on to our love for our shared humanity, our common good, and our highest hopes and dreams. And not just hold on, but to feed it, fuel it, and to let this love shine far and wide.
Perhaps, the truth will set us free. Not the kind of ever-more devastating shock and awe that thrills the stormtrooper mentality.
The kind of truth I’m thinking about is reflected in the 60+ year old people in Spain that show their solidarity with the younger 99 percenters by protesting with a certain sly and style. Their message is clear: democracy without dignity is nothing less than tyranny in disguise. Corrupt bankers and politicians must be held accountable for wrong doing.
In last week’s blog soup (Wednesday’s Women), I write about Bonnie Greer. She confronts lies and confusion with certain savvy and warmth in her plays and editorials. I think we can learn some things from her. And others too.
As you and I suspect, the ones to worry most about, however, are the villains that wear smiles.
As Shakespeare puts in Hamlet’s mouth (Act 1: Scene V):
That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain.
What I didn’t say:
Speak out. Just like Jack has done. Or share the words of those who speak to truth, human dignity, and conscience. Be curators and you too will have served in the good fight.
It was the words of a Tunisian poet, Abu Al-Qasim Al-Shabi, that helped to fuel the recent Tunisian and Egyptian revolution and the uprisings across the Middle East. It was people who shared those words and stirred each other’s hearts and consciences.
If one day, a people desire to live,
then fate will answer their call
And their night will then begin to fade,
and their chains break and fall.
Al-Shabi wrote his poem as a cry against French colonialism more than 80 years ago! And yet his words continue to ring with the sound of freedom so long as they are remembered, shared, and heard.
Words that speak to our hearts and conscience are mighty – but if only they are spoken, shared, and heard.
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Lady Gaga, Poker Face
2. Dare to Dream Big: From Shy, Awkward Young Girl to First Lady of the World by Sandra McLeod Humphrey
Your mother thinks your ugly and tells you so in front of other people. Your father attempts to kill himself several times. Your parents die and you are put into the care of a heartless grandmother. You grow up heart-broken, poor in spirit, and so very ashamed of being you.
This was the childhood of the woman who forced statesmen to bend to her unshakeable belief that inalienable dignity and conscience of the human person must be recognized everywhere.
This is the story of a great woman that Sandra McLeod Humphrey tells.
Recently, I have been reflecting on Anna Eleanor Roosevelt’s tireless labors on defining a Universal Declaration of Human Rights during her service as chairperson to the United Nations Commission for Human Rights.
The preamble of the Universal Declaration is bold, beautiful, and dazzling to be sure:
Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,
Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,
Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law…
Yes, a woman that made this happen.
A strong, courageous, and clear-seeing woman fought at the table with arrogant, powerful, and self-serving men… and won, their signatures and assent. She was a woman, a shining light, and a beacon of hope.
Lady Gaga is a fleeting sparkle that leaves no mark. That leaves no legacy as rich and beautiful as did Eleanor Roosevelt. Perhaps, Lady Gaga, Madonna, and all the others can change before their time is up.
Perhaps, you and I can do something beautiful before our time is up.
Because like Angela Maiers says, you, I, and each of us matters. Myself, I emphasize that the substance of our significance is only complete when we do amazing things. When we are a light unto the world. When we are the salt of the earth.
This is what it means to be you. To be true.
Speaking as a man, I would be very satisfied (and blessed) to leave a legacy that compared to half of Eleanor’s accomplishment.
We don’t need no stinking poker face!
I leave you with this call to summon your courage to be:
Surely, in the light of history, it is more intelligent to hope rather than to fear, to try rather than not to try. For one thing we know beyond all doubt: Nothing has ever been achieved by the person who says, ‘It can’t be done.’
– Eleanor Roosevelt
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I often see tweets and status updates linking to blog posts from famed marketing and social media gurus touting the top 10 ways to make money from your blog or podcast or Twitter feed as if these were arcane secrets teased out of the Internet and shared begrudgingly with anyone willing to make the hit counter on the guru’s site spin.
The reality is that there are two requirements if your goal is to make money from your new media project: Work hard and be talented.
Don goes on to explain what hard work and talent mean. Because, maybe, we don’t know. [grin]
Dom says something that needs to be repeated and echoed in one million blog posts.
… not everyone has talent.
I’m sorry to break the news to everyone in the self-esteem generation, but it’s true. For many people, no matter how hard you work, how much time you spend working on skills, you just don’t have what it takes to be a success in this area.
Time, commitment, strategy, passion, talent, self-control, patience, courage, friends that can help, and, GASP, a little luck (aka miracles). To name just a few of the things that you need in the mix – the mix to do almost anything in this world.
I know my re-emphasis of Don’s point on the absence of talent seems unkind. Perhaps, heartless. But I promise you that I’m asking myself the same.
Do I have talent?
Honestly, I fear that I don’t. But I am, as Jack seems to recommend, having lots of fun believing that I might.
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Eugene says that a great content mix has benefits. Like friends with benefits? [grin]
He lists some of the intangibles:
What am I doing wrong, Eugene?
My number one fan, Betsy, says that my blog posts are simultaneously informative, persuasive, and interesting to a wide audience. That should suggest a certain talent and, perhaps, an advantage, right?
I’m mostly about asking the right questions about the right things – the things that matter most to us. That’s what we really need. That’s good content. Right?
At least, that’s what I’m trying to do. So either the trying is not good enough. Or the design is bad. Or the writing style is sucking. Or all of the above.
My traffic tends to flat line where it is. It’s not rising. It’s not falling. Like on Twitter, I lose and gain followers on a flat line of where I’m at. That suggests a certain lack of talent and certain kind of getting something wrong. Right?
But then other people tell me that they dont see much (or any) change to their traffic across a year- regardless of what they do.
But that’s not Eugene’s experience.
Such confusions make me scratch my head and say, mmm-kay… where’s the polar bear? Maybe, I’m done. Maybe, I just don’t matter, anymore. My contribution is exhausted.
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Monty Python, Spam Song
Michael argues that content strategy will save marketing – not kill it.
Not any content will save marketing – I would like to point out. For content without character will never truly matter.
As MLK, Jr. said so long ago, we shall be judged by the content of our character.
In other words, the only good content is the content that serves; it must be good, useful, and it must speak to our dignity and conscience as human persons.
Everything else is but spam.
Let me put it another way, content strategy will only save marketing if it helps us (you and me) to be relevant, crucial, and significant in our world, in our lives and circles of influence, and in our contribution and compassion.
We can not live on spam, spam, spam, eggs, and spam. And if spam shall prevail, marketing is not the only thing that will be dead. The heart and conscience of Man will be dead too. And those that remain shall hail the brazen servant of a beast as king. In other words, they shall embrace slavery.
Did I go deep on you? [laughing] Hopefully – not a Jack Handey kind of deep.
Hand jobs are so uninspired!
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12 February 2012