Monday, February 22, 2010

IF SUPERFICIALITY IS A REALITY

One Thursday and Friday I quoted a comment by Joe Klein (TIME MAGAZINE, Feb22,'10) talking about Sara P. Here is the entire quote:


"...How's that Hopey-Changey stuff workin' out for ya?...
It was the signature line of the her speech,which rocked the
joint--and then, slowly,began to rock the national political
community. The speech was inspired drivel,a series of distortions
and oversimplifications,totally bereft of nourishing policy
proposals-- the sort of thing calculated, carefully calculated,to
drive lamestream media types like me frothing to their keyboards...
I will not deride her. Because brilliance must be respected,
especially when it involves marketing IN AN ERA WHEN IMAGE ALMOST
ALWAYS PASSES FOR SUBSTANCE."

Drivel? Distortions? Oversimplification? Words that apply well beyond the political arena. Words that have always applied to the political arena! Words that typify many promotions, schemes and scams. In an era where image trumps substance,we as voters, consumers,investors and just plain people struggling and striving to survive, succeed and avoid getting ripped off need to do the following:

Know what we are committing to and how we are making that
commitment. This blogger once "signed" a cell contract by initiating
the service,even though he had no clue there was a contract,
nor the terms of it. This was with a global corporation of
seemingly high repute.

See the universe, not with rose colored glasses, but through
those that focus on details, fine print and a doubting Thomas
mindset. Caution trumps image and the imaginative/creative/conniving
ways of white collar executives/criminals.

Last week I switched from my 90's dictum, "It's not paranoid to be
paranoid these days", to "Paranoia is essential! This counters the
"distortions" cited above."

Part of the protection plan I am encouraging is that you do your
homework and research things thoroughly. Ask many questions. Think
about what the marketing promo, politician or investment advisory
isn't saying. Check it all out over the web,with objective and
knowledgeable people and others who have done,used,bought into or
otherwise have experience in the area in question.

Finally, we need to be able bodied warriors in the fight to
protect ourselves. It takes time and patience,but I have found that
phone calls and letters to the higher ups eventually right the wrong
or correct the inequity. The internet offers excellent opportunities
to offer feedback and out the dangers that lurk about ( think Angie's
list and other sites). Ultimately, legal battles may need to be
initiated. The point is we are not powerless. We have modern day
slingshots to fight the Goliaths of the world.

None of what I am saying needs to be seen pessimistically. It is part of a world that has become image conscious, if not obsessed (think designer stuff,brilliantly branded and selling for ridiculous prices). Or think about 12 year old girls looking like pop or porn stars in much too short shorts,make-up and bra straps showing,independent of whether they even need a bra!(what are their parents thinking?). Or, for that matter, our seemingly collective obsession with tattoos as image makers/markers.

The real point is that we can still be happy and optimistic,yet cautious in approaching important decisions and commitments. Most importantly, we can conduct ourselves -- our lives,families and our work honorably. We can be committed to being substantive even though that area is losing popularity in the mainstream.

I also predict that we will see a return to substance over image in the next few years. As we wise up,pay attention, out the drivelers, distorters and oversimplifiers,I believe there will be a return to integrity,responsibility,respect and honesty. Substance will become the next image to promote, alongside green and organic. Let's just hope and pray this happens before the next presidential election-- or I am really moving to France--YOU BETCHA!!

Bye For Now,

Bill

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