Monday, June 14, 2004


last week was a very intellectual one. starting with a somewhat heated debate over SUVs and messaging. whether ant-suv messaging is right and appropriate. i argued that any negative message was likely to not work in the face of massive pro car messaging that is engrained in our culture.

which has had me musing at odd times about how we form our thoughts and opinions and how they do or don't change over time. it was depressing that no one's position seemed to have changed by the time the debate petered out (what's the root of that word by the way?). it was also depressing that nearly everyone laid into "the left" as doing the wrong thing.

'deep labeled them namby-pamby. but i wonder if that doesn't come out of the fact that everytime "the left" had used negative, anti-thing messaging the opponents didn't just turn that around on its head and use as a weapon against us. so now our messaging has swung perhaps to far to the other extreme. but it makes me want to study it further, it seems from cursory thought that the right is good at using "we want this policy because it serves you as an individual" and "they want to take X away from you as an individual," which is hard. Heck, I would like to take cars away from people.

thoughts on this were further piqued by a lecture by designer extraordinaire james victore, who principled as he seemed to be, seemed to be a total asshole and completely unquestioning of his high opinion of himself. it was curious that he also really hated when people copied him, which seems part and parcel to being a designer, it's not as if he is working in a vaccuum afterall. anyway, he has some great, amazing, hard hitting posters, but I have to wonder -- do they change minds, or only change minds of people who are ready to be changed ( and what is that ). one interesting tidbit was a retiring justice (blackman?) ordered several copies of his hangman poster after he changed his mind on the death penalty.

the final peice, unrelated, was a lecture by Bruce Sterling on Singularities, displaying his usual humor. the talk was a little disjuncted and not terribly interesting at some points, but was brought back round when he began to talk about the dilemmas of scientific progress, and our place in the universe: "we have to consider that we might be at the edge of nothing particularly significant." a lesson from boom cycles. I also liked the notion that we have to get used to the "glut of technical innovations that we are unable to absorb". which might have been a better way to frame the talk maybe.


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