a number of articles follow in this one page. all are red-flagged on the current (former) huffington post blogger platform, where one can now only delete previous posts. the red-flagging on these is new; as such, i construe them at risk of erasure and wish to archive them
here’s the text from this red-flagged article, dated 8/17/2017:
The Arts are our bridges, between Man and Mankind.
The Arts chronicle Man and Mankind though history. As perspectives on historical facts are constantly in flux, being changed and added to as Time moves forward, society – and our individual and collective perspectives and memories – are also constantly being adjusted and re-skewed as “victors” take their ever-changing places at the proverbial top (to which we are wired to aspire; for better or worse, it is an inherent part of the survival of our species). They who currently hold power – groups or individuals – do have the ability to shift the lenses with which history and its participants are viewed.
The Arts, which have evolved alongside all societies over time, manifest themselves in the works of men, women and groups of people who craft their personal legacies in their production. Like children, our works hold the potential to serve as placeholders for us; they speak for us, they record our moments in time, place and society, they offer myriad ways with which to view us. The Arts are our windows and our mirrors.
The erasure that has reached a high point in Buzz – which is the combination of news + social media – addresses specifically the removal of Confederate-era based statues depicting notables. First off, they are the handiwork of one or a group of artists who labored to produce a work for which they were hired. To be able to make a “living” as an artist, in this case as sculptor, is a classic and commendable calling. Let us not destroy the artistic works of others because we do not like, agree with, or accept them. That is iconoclasm. I ask to go one step farther, for behind every work, there is a patron. Let us not erase or deny the history that collaboration represented, even if we do not like it, agree with it, or accept it. That is censorship.
Allow me to offer this: Perhaps it is the works that challenge us that are the most relevant, the most reflective (and let us not bend to vanity and ego at the cost of factuality), the ones we must most protect….
Then, let me ask: Who is qualified – truly, truly qualified – to pass judgement on random, unknown – and more dangerously amassed others? And given the limited knowledge/big picture lacking/mass dynamics-susceptibility of movements that in this age are born, fueled and carried out via social media and its non meritoriously derived collective voice, such movements, such passed judgements, are even more in need of serious scrutiny and pause. Limited and skewed perception and anger-based bonding to any cause have dangerous tendencies to marginalize, override and negate facts and constructive pro activism.
When iconoclasm, this erasure of works of Art, is linked to mass movements based on any current/contemporary ideology/perspective, it is a retroactive, censorship based banning, a whitewashing of our collective history that should be given serious pause: We must be able to look back upon ourselves – literally – so we can talk about it, learn about it, ultimately evolve from it. Erasure in history – Kristallnacht, the Iconoclastic Riots, the persecution of progressive and creative endeavor that was too new to be comfortable to the masses and/or those in power at the time (Galileo), the destruction of ancient Middle Eastern cities and temples, is Mankind’s “one step back.”
The way I see society evolve is, as the old quip goes, Two Steps Forward, One Step Back. Like a spiral, thanks to the physics of time and our place in it, it does crawl in a forward direction. But I write this now to add my voice as an American citizen: It should not include us now, at this time in our history, as having been supportive of/subjected to a new era of iconoclastic rioting.
Instead, commission artists to create more statues. Encircle, for instance, those Confederate generals with compass point-placed figures that catch us up visually with the rest of the story as it stands at this moment in time – remembering that in a few years and decades, this time will too be relegated to a past and be subject to scrutiny…. Let us organically and constructively add layers through the Arts to relegate older works to appropriate places without censorship or destruction. In that process, we find new impetus to support the Arts, which we need as much as ever.
Likewise, if this erasure is followed through to a logical conclusion, it must also include the banning/removal of literature, motion picture films and music. If we must, under the ever-thickening blanket of politically correct policing, vet artistic endeavor and its acceptance and by its 1) inoffensive pleasantness or 2) a virtue rubric on the part of the subject matter, artist/creator or the patron/funding source; well, guess what? Our museum walls will be empty, our town squares will be barren, our music channels will fall silent.
Let us not, at least in our Country, in fifty year’s time talk of the Iconoclastic Riots of 2017, and all that was lost forever because of them.
and here’s the text from this red-flagged post, dated 5/26/2017:
I recently served time at Newark Liberty International Airport due to a seven-hour delay, thanks in large part to weather; thanks in large part to it just being the way air travel is these days. I did make it home in the end, which is all that matters, which is why of course air travel will continue as-is at best. It is the science fiction/fantasy manifestation of what I was surrounded by the airport, and forced to participate in, that warrants this commentary.
Online articles abound on the human dystopia as portrayed in Disney/Pixar’s 2008 screen gem, Wall-E, where flaccid and placid humans recline on hoverbeds with glowing touchscreens planted in front of their faces. They suck down large cups of unspecified, liquid diet concoctions (protein smoothies; check.) that suggest even the need to chew has been eliminated. Like those face-placed screens in Wall-E, Newark Airport’s re-vamped terminal configuration features interactive, touch-screen computers at every seat, at every restaurant, bar and station. They exist to serve as entertainment, info and ordering devices, and (let’s be honest) to track consumer-passengers at the terminal. Security monitoring? Targeted advertising? Both in droves, even if it was euphemistically presented to the public as a “Foodie Theme Park.”
The glare of all those devices lined up in rows and arrays looks so 21st c at first glance – but this renovated gadgetland doesn’t provide any info/entertainment access we don’t already carry with us, often in multiples. Every seat sporting its own screen simply doubles and triples the breadth of each traveler’s anti-contact wall of tech. Paired with piped-in tunes set to 11, conversing with travel partners, let alone amicable strangers, is made just about impossible, surely to keep flight-delayed consumers consuming at full-speed and to turn over tables sooner than later. Though the blaringly bright screens could be easily lowered by turning them horizontally or removed entirely from their stands, nowhere did I see it being done.
The interactive touch screens at Newark Liberty International are old hat technology, yet they were glitchy and problematic. Every item I ordered required a series of clicks and screen changes, leaving me feeling tracked, monitored and too self-serviced despite airport-inflated, full-service pricing. Menus did not display all options or items and transactions errored and triggered separate, online bank security clearancing procedures via apps and texts. My travel partner and I wound up being in constant contact with our server (as in the human, referred to in past centuries as waiters and waitresses) anyway, which was going on all around us. Table service old school – imagine that? Also, my touchscreen was filthy. I had to ask our server to clean it. So now, it’s not just the icky tabletops we must chase down….
In this day and age of “smart”-device addiction and chronic use, do we really need more incentive to remain so glued? And don’t tell me that everyone is busy doing work – it takes only a momentary glance to note the scroll-scroll-swipe-swipe-tap-tap manual action of social media usage. I think back a bit to a woman I observed, with her two sons at a restaurant (we chatted a minute and so I can verify their connection to each other). One boy wore a paper birthday crown and sash. The three sat in silence for the duration of the meal. The women paused on her iPad long enough to take a few pics of herself with the boys, which she then posted as she resumed her solitary, zero-connection-with-kids surfing. I am also reminded of onboard video/TV screens in family cars, where youngsters in their car seats are subjected to passive, repetitive kiddie entertainment distraction from day one. Parents/caregivers running even brief errands in town plug Junior in – and the plugging-in lets up less and less.
The touchscreens at Newark – and wherever else they are showing up – take us one giant leap closer to the dystopian society of isolated, sedentary travelers as portrayed in Wall-E. I guess we could view our personal conveyances, our cars, as high-speed equivalents to the hoverbeds in Wall-E. My State, with abysmal cell phone laws that are nearly unenforceable, leaves our travelers distracted to the point of Wall-E-esque stupification, making destruction machines of our “hoverbeds” as mesmerized drivers attending 24/7 to their social media and text conversations relegate their actual driving/traffic monitoring to a distant and deadly second place. I am not sure which is more scary.
photo by kimann
here’s the text from this article, dated 5/28/2017:
What time is it? Whine time! I as mid-c aged citizen consumer want to challenge supply-siders’ obsession with a certain demographic and the demographic itself. Too many articles, too much talk, too much clever quipping and promoting are too one-dimensionally skewed to Millennials, at risk of disenfranchising all preceding, named generations out there, who are alive n kicking – and consuming – in droves.
The proud assumptions and subsequent broadcasting by Millennials about Millennials is, well, typically Millennial. That they don’t get it I understand. They are young and defined by their consumption, having been raised on pedestals by brand-brandishing parents who strove for friendship, fun and fandom over any semblance of traditional familial (parent-centric) hierarchy. Likewise, Mills are not entirely at fault for their incessant self-lauding, for they know reality (studied and documented) only via the limitless clicks n likes of the Internet and its addictive offshoot, social media, into which they were born, fully immersed, from day 1.
Mills boast of their preferences for eco-friendly, global-hugging, PC-and warm-fuzzy-laden goods and services, which is essentially marketing genius that pulls in all age groups. While much of it is valid, most of it is thinly clad, virtue-stroking materialism (my 2014 HP piece on vicarious philanthropy addresses an aspect of this) . Do Mills have enough of an outsider perspective to even see this? Pink ribbon – and now “Millennial Pink,” a psych-laden Empowerment Blush – pervasiveness is as big money iconic as are golden arches; and exclusionistic consumption, from non-rescue pet to dietary disdain, is ripe with its own snobbery, especially when broadcast for purposes of self-elevation. Re-use and living with less (aka quality over quantity; link to my HP piece on re-use), especially if devoid of status-marking logos and labels, is the only real consumerist evolution left to any of us. Problem is, it flies in the face of the capitalism upon which most nations function, the meta-platform upon which all exist/subsist, officially or not. Politically, the Millennial wave points to a Sanderesque conundrum. While admirable that Bernie Sanders got as far as he did, the votes cast came from well-intended, flannel-clad, young elites who don’t fathom Socialism (for this would require in-depth learning/expertise, which requires discretionary effort/learning) and what, if fully implemented, it might mean for them.
I have dubbed Millennials the “Trend Generation,” or “Trend Gen.” It points to their malleability as a demographic whose identity is crafted by consumption, euphemistically called lifestyle choices. An EZ target darling of supply-siders, the Trend Gen, thanks to so-called Smart Phones, came with its own free, 24/7 advertising machine, a two-sided, double-edged coupe. The term Trend Gen has been published at Urban Dictionary. Its definition appears below.
An Ode to Mills by a Mill, published as an Op-Ed at Business of Fashion, claims that Trend Gen parents take their kids everywhere with them and that they are the first to do so, as if family outings were a new concept. It is a perfect example of Millennial self-praising wrought by innocence > ignorance = assumption. Let’s re-do the underlying math: Babysitters (I suppose titled as childcare providers) now demand minimum + wages. Verifiable odds are these childcare providers remain plugged-in and face-planted to their cell phones for the duration of the job (even if stipulated to remain off phones, how tracked?). Why would anyparent pay a sitter more than a night out’s total tab, and why would any even marginally caring parent leave beloved tots with inattentive phone addicts? On those reality based counts, I concur with the notion of dragging Junior along, rather than leaving him behind. But then I notice the toddlers accompanying their parents at all-day, summer rock music festivals. And I am not talking about seeing children in wagons or traditional, spacious strollers, occupied with toys/books/activites, snacks packed just for them, sunglasses on their lil noses. The only accoutrement spotted are noise-cancelling headphones, covering their lil ears. I am not only unimpressed with the kid-tag-along claim; I as parent of three with some idea of a child’s needs am offended by these cheap cop-outs, domestic parades posing as family outings.
On the other end are the supply siders and their inexplicable obsession with the Trend Gen and their starter incomes. Aside from the fact that they provide all their own advertising, Trend Genners earn in lower income ranges than the older named gens, who simply have been at it longer, who bought in at lower rates and costs across the board. Let no one be sidetracked by stats; despite acute self-spending, less net is still less net. Trend Genners’ on-going financial dependency, from all those Family Plans trending deep in pockets everywhere to handout subsidization, is not only acceptable in their eyes but viewed as a goal. The struggle to nurture the nuclear familial concept, which previous generations contended with due to career/income mandated long-distancing, is in some part solved, not thanks to love n loyalty but to the extended parental housing Trend Genners view as a lifestyle enhancing strategy. And the fiscal-pinch reality of eventual offspring cost-bearing, which cannot be overstated, will kick in for most Trend Genners and affect them not for mere years, but decades to come. I maintain the Millennials are not the only demographic to target with such feverish tunnel vision.
I have grown tired of all the Millennial press & promo devotion in large part because I know the spending power and consumerist loyalty of the older, named generations still matters – deeply. Tech-assimilated (aka global consumers), financially actualized (olde worlde work ethic), and “young” far longer than their predecessors, their – and i am a member of this – collective, fiscal influence is substantial and still growing. And yes, we click n buy with the best of the Mills, and with our greater income levels, where and how we choose to spend should be as interesting (if not more so) to supply siders. Consumerist tech savvy does not have a set age limit, though I am first to admit the skill levels vary tremendously amongst those who assimilated tech as adults/in their post educational years. On the other hand, ineptness knows no minimum age, either.
Retirement, a fast- fading, 20th c. concept, is not only passé due to longer term income security quests in our volatile economy, but also passé thanks to the life-enriching effects of active societal engagement, documented and in practice. Baby Boomers, the bridge generation between 2 centuries and 2 epochs – Pre-Tech (our horse n buggy) and Post-Tech – witnessed the stagnation and rapid shutdown of a generation of fully retired, parental sedentarians. Thanks to evolving lifestyle choices and the Information Age, what was witnessed was documented and shared. Adults decided not only to live well longer but also learned how to tackle that goal. Post-War generations do not just accept but embrace active social engagement – and not up to a certain age, but until the end of life. Sixty-five, schmicksty-five. “We” are going to be around – and consuming – for a long time, as well.
Philanthropic, non-profit entities and institutions to industries and businesses everywhere, transfixed on the luminous and loud likes of the Trend-Genning Mills, are pushing aside the preceding named generations. I believe they do so at their own risk – and possible demise.
Trend Gen – Another name for the Millennial Generation, pointing to their malleability as a consumerist demographic obsessed with trends as status markers and elevators, not only an EZ target for all supply-side industries but, thanks to the Internet and social media in particular, a free advertising machine as well.
And to help keep this all in perspective, allow me to close with this venerable, time-tested quip:
The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. Socrates 469–399 B.C.
here’s the text of the article, dated 6/18/2016:
I as lifelong music and theater lover am so over with what has happened as regards the Hamilton the Musical ticket speculating schneick show.
The morning immediately following the 2016 Tony Awards broadcast, I scanned my inbox and saw, wonder of wonders/miracle of miracles, Hamilton the Musical Tickets on sale at Ticketmaster (aha & hmmm…newly class action-lawsuit beleaguered.Read HuffPost piece by Carly Ledbetter here). This new block of tickets for the NYC Broadway venue would take fans to the show from about June on outward to the end of 2016.
Having caught this notice a few hours on the late side, I knew it was a lost cause, but I had to click anyway…call me a glutton for punishment or an optimistic fool. I looked, just in case a couple shows had a seat or two left. It would warrant a quick trip to NYC, no question. So I clicked and scanned and here is what I saw:
Show upon show was sold out via initial sale, with “official” Ticketmaster resale seats starting at about $1,000 to just shy of $3,000 per ticket. Original ticket prices range from $139.00 to $199.00. Each and every show now has/had tens if not hundreds of these so-called resale seats available for our price-gouging pleasure. Ditto for Stubhub and Ebay, where hundreds more reside, with asking prices in even broader ranges. The spec-seconds at Ticketmaster were being bought up from one scan of a show date to the next. A fun btw: German for bacon is ‘Speck.’
I get it, that Ticketmaster is happy to be able to broker each purchase twice, its hefty service charges – a fee/ a fee nothing more – is their financial coup. So for them, not caring a wit about the act of actually seeing a show (though per our Justice system,”Ticketmaster” is a person too), doubling (and tripling…?) their cash intake by fully underwriting a market others call ticket scalping is a no-brainer.
Get this: Ticketmaster’s NYC maximum purchase number: It is not 2 or 4 or 6 or 8. Ticket maximum is 14, which means brokers and their bots can sell out shows in moments, not minutes.
Lin-Manuel Miranda himself just posted an op-ed in the NYTimes, lamenting this low-down turn, “Stop the Bots From Killing Broadway.” His piece was accurate but focused on tech and the “professionals,” and imo in a tone friendlier than what was warranted. And moot, for so long as there is apublic willing to accept grotesquely inflated values by paying what is being asked by career scalpers and wannabe buck-makers, this market will continue unfettered, even if Big Al’s brilliant Godfather Miranda has asked otherwise.
I propose we regular, real citizen theater goers curb the demand and Just Say No. How I would love to see these scalpers sit on every last one of their phat tickets. Although I really really really want to see this musical, this century’s “Superstar,” I will not line some scalper’s pocket with far more gold than the pockets of those who created something or who did something, who actually worked to earn it. I’ll get around to seeing Hamilton the Musicaleventually. Although its super-nova stars will be long gone, there are new rising stars who will take over, who I can support when they are on stage. Fact is, it’s a play, a night out, and I have other stuff going on that demands my time and attention. I will survive this deprivation. But I have to wonder: In our world of commerce-based mile markers, is a ridiculously overpriced ticket really that cool a thing to nab? Does this fill theaters with musical theater lovers or superficial status seekers? And at what point does the axiom, “a fool and his money are soon parted” apply more accurately, no matter how fab the show?
How about Ticketmaster reign in its maximum quantity at the very least? How I would love to see the public skew the outcome of this speculating and not buy into the most ridiculous of asking prices. Sure, I will be playing the real-price roulette wheel for the upcoming Chicago run, no doubt chapter 2 of the Hamilton attendance pipe dream….let the games begin again.
Allow me to close with a quote from the original man of the hour himself, Alexander Hamilton:
“Those who stand for nothing fall for anything.”
For past HP posts by Kimann, go to www.kimannschultz.com
here is the text of the first open letter to the media article i wrote, challenging its priorities as regards its potential incentiviztion of violent mass acts via notoriety gained from coverage, specifically continued use of name and face publicity in covering the perpetrators
this first article is dated 5/27/2014:
Our violent, gun-saturated society is fed guns as means of expression, from entertainment to tragic aftermath in the news time and again. Our media-saturated society can no longer differentiate between validly earned fame and cheap or destructive notoriety, and it is well-known that susceptible individuals are inspired by the notoriety given mass killers via mass media.
I ask you to change this means of informing the public to:
1) Place the victim BEFORE the perpetrator — air or press time granted IS acknowledgement, no matter the initial information-relaying reason behind it.
2) Minimize violent incentivization via mass media.
In your case this is in regards to the incessant publicity granted to mass killers:
1) Referring the them by name.
2) Broadcasting their faces, video clips, voice bits.
Can we consider new parameters?
Mass killers/shooters should be referred to not in ways that memorialize them. They should be referred to ONLY by name or number of victims, location and time. For instance: “The six-victim Santa Barbara University shooter.”
NO face shown or obscured only; NO full name mention; and especially NO clips broadcast. Yes, indeed, their demographic information, issues and histories should be talked about, bluntly and openly — that is valid, constructive discussion.
And in addition to all the talk of mental health as a bridge to dealing with this epidemic of violence, we should also be talking about the arts. These young, male mass killers are turning first and only to rage, when other empowering outlets and means of expression are being undercut and ignored, by not only them but also by our society as a whole. Case in point? Consider the Santa Barbara shooter’s anger at female rejection. Then ask any band member/musician and let them tell you their story of how, to be more attractive to women, they turned to music and performance and how it worked then and works now. We don’t advocate guitars as much as we do guns, do we? Additionally, consider the 20-victim Sandy Hook shooter, whose mother, his first victim, thought she could empower her son with weapons training. Then talk to teens in arts programs, from music to theater to visual arts. Listen to song lyrics, look at art, see the anger that can be expressed there, which yet serves to build us up and move us forward — these are other, alternate, powerful means of expression, of which I am an outspoken advocate. Talk also to the New Orleans school recently honored by the White House for its embracing of an arts-centered curriculum, which is living, beautiful proof of the impact the arts have on our youth.
Are media ratings points or magazine sales more important than the humans from whom they are earned? If the shooters and killers are continuously sensationalized by being given personalized air and press time this must be asked.
For my previous HuffPost piece on this subject, read “In Support of Art as Alternate Non-Violent Means of Expression.”
and here is, tragically, a second open letter post. i re-post these to social media every time another mass killing takes place; and so long as i can, i will keep doing it. this post is dated 1/9/2017:
Each time tragic events such as the Ft Lauderdale 5 person massacre occur & perpetrators’ faces/IDs are posted everywhere, I am compelled to re-issue my idea/request, that the media needs to create a policy of news sharing that does not feed the contagiousness of violent inspiration, a documentable beast. My original HuffPost article was published in May of 2014.
There are easy adjustments that would place victims before the perpetrators & diminish notoriety.
With the Ft Lauderdale tragedy, I am reposting it.