Category Archives: Essays

Beauty &Taxes

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These are two things I have been working on this month and BOTH are surprisingly foreign to me.

The band spent all of the Winter months writing, rehearsing, performing and recording the Strength EP, which is due out May 2012.  The songs are hard, aggressive, thick, dynamic and lyrically pretty clearly about strength – my interpretation of strength – there were some ups+downs writing the material but no un-scalable brick walls.

Now Spring has come and I’m in the midst of writing some new material for the second EP titled Beauty.  I have come to realize, that I have NEVER written from a conceptual space like Beauty before.

It’s disorienting. Most of the material I have written is heavy and generally deals with issues we don’t wish to speak about (living beyond trauma, anger, depression, etc…).  But Beauty – well that’s something we seemingly engage with every day, and can’t stop talking about, particularly in a time of heavy media saturation – billboards, tv ads, magazine pull outs, facebook, etc…

The facebook element really intrigues me – in past we would look to magazines and other external media to draw comparisons and build our sense of Beauty worthiness and attractiveness – I feel that now we do this more so by stalking our friend’s pages and the pages of totally random seemingly happy + seemingly beautiful strangers.  We are very willing to take on the role of the advertiser by posting what we believe to be beautiful photos of ourselves to broadcast a particular notion we’d like to persuade an audience to believe. Simultaneously, we play role of  an audience who is willing to accept the potential deception of the seemingly wonderful scenarios portrayed in the photographs/posts of others.  We should recognize that with any medium there will be an inherent bias in the message – facebook photos are self-selected for us to look our best and to meet some standard (a standard that is quantified by the number of Likes). It’s an instantaneous model for the pursuit of crowd-sourcing a standard of our own Beauty.

But we all know that Beauty is far more than aesthetic. Many times when I think of Beauty I immediately think of love, or truth or justice or good or some other highly conceptual positive element. But I’m not entirely comfortable with that – again that’s too self-selecting, and things like being good or engaging with truth can be painful and difficult actions, but entirely necessary – can’t a painful truth be Beauty?

Can broken hearts be beautiful?

I’m trying to work from neither the aesthetic nor the emotional elements of Beauty. The definition that has really made the largest impact has been the phrase being in one’s hour.”  It’s the only one that’s really rung true in my mind as a place to start writing new material.  It I have LITTLE IDEA what this EP is going to sound like in the end….it’s a grand experiment this Beauty.

And as for Taxes.….well you see I was supposed to be doing that this afternoon – but decided to write to you instead…..if ever you feel really down and out about your Beauty (whatever that means to you), know that you are always and forever more beautiful than taxes will ever be.

The El Mocambo and Me

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What a lovely break I had over the holidays – a whole week off from the 9-5pm.  It was simply fantastic!In that time I ate, drank, danced and booked a show!

Thursday Jan 13th at the El Mocambo in Toronto – It seems to be a very enigmatic place.

I always like doing shows/events in unusual places – now El Mo (as it is lovingly called in Toronto) is not an unusual place per say – it is a licensed bar that hosts live music.  BUT – it’s been around FOREVER! It was the first bar to get a liquor license in Toronto!

The history of the building goes back to 1850!  This is crazy for a city that is infamous for having very few historic buildings. Oh – and you know a little band called The Rolling Stones played and recorded Love You Live at the El Mocambo back in 1977.  No biggie. 🙂

But what I find most intriguing is the current owner.

Now – I’m getting all of this information from the El Mocambo website, Wikipedia and newspaper articles – so take it as you will.  Abbas Jahangiri, the owner of the El Mo is a serial entrepreneur who has taken a vow of poverty.   His previous professional history includes leading an engineering team, CEO of a real estate development company as well as being a principal for a national dance company  (when you are on the El Mo site – click on History and Owner).  In 2003 he took a vow of poverty and has dedicated his life to helping the most vulnerable in society.  Including daily 2am-6am service and distribution of food and survival needs for hundreds of Toronto’s homeless. Very intriguing no?

I’m most intrigued by his conviction in his change of lifestyle.

Rock n’Roll isn’t a selfless industry – it is fueled by narcissism and vanity……..

Shameless Self Promotion

 

…..so it’s super interesting to come across people who try to find balance with the rock n’roll attitude and the gravest societal needs around them.  These are two extremes and Mr. Jahangiri seems to live at both ends.

I wonder if he will be at the show?  It would be awesome to grab a conversation with him – what couldn’t you talk about?!

Music is about great stories – I have a feeling that the El Mo has more than a few good tales to tell.

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Sing Bandana Singh performs Thursday January 13th at the El Mocambo (464 Spadina Ave. Toronto).  Performance at 7:30pm  $10.  19+.
Music: http://myspace.com/singbandanasingh
Twitter: http://twitter.com/bandbandana
A Heroic Entertainment Production.
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The Twelfth Night, the Immigrant Experience, and other Thoughts…

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Sand in her hair, corset drenched, Viola from the ‘Twelfth Night’ finds herself on a windswept beach in Illyria, understandably disoriented after surviving a shipwreck she asks “What country, friends, is this?” and then, more pessimistically “what should I do in Illyria?” For the audience it’s the start of Shakespeare’s great comedy about identity confusion, ignorance, insanity, (the Bard understood the hilarity of the human quest to make some sense), but our heroine’s opening lines also speak of the age-old anxieties of arriving on foreign shores.

Feelings of being displaced, uprooted, unsure, of being barefoot and without home, whether of one’s own volition or not, of wading into the problematic muddiness of self-definition. I attach the immigrant experience to all of this and more (nostalgia, loneliness, reinvention, hope…). When I reflect on the journey my own parents and grandparents made from India to the Middle East to Canada, knowingly entering the unknown, weathering the tempest, I think about the idealism and courage that accompanied that decision to carve out a place in the world, and the ability to feel that free and that powerful. As for myself, being a child when I followed their nomadic trail there was no real choice, I was more like Viola and less of the narrator, I wasn’t following a dream or planning ahead, my ship was blown off course, it hit some rocks and I was where I was. My surety and clarity crumbled away. I went to school and felt stupid. Some loud-mouthed kid criticized the colour of my hair. In P.E. I played soccer and scored against my own team (unknowingly, not with purposeful rage). It was challenging for all of us, I was just more aware of my own discomfort. I remember our collective happiness when yellow flowers began sprouting miraculously on our front lawn; and then our collective astonishment when our neighbours complained to the municipality that our mini garden of Eden posed a health hazard, because dandelions shouldn’t be grown in such abundance and certainly not with such enthusiasm. J  I became increasingly aware of how others saw me, how I sounded, I wanted to know the magical formula for ‘normalcy’ that others had memorized. W.E. Dubois eloquently called this mad state of mind “double consciousness” : “the sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity.” Mad and sad is this pursuit because there is no clear measurement or formula for what is normal or natural, nor should our worth be quantifiable. What seems most natural to me is diversity, you see it everywhere in nature, it defines life on this planet. Of course it took me a while to come to this and other realizations. Before moving to Canada, when I was quite young I possessed a world and inter-planetary view that was highly distorted (to put it mildly). I lived in Sharjah, which is in the United Arab Emirates, which is a pint-sized country that sprouts futuristic skyscrapers, (which from an airplane window is simply an expanse of sand), and I literally believed that I lived in the center of the universe; that my world was wielding the conductor’s baton used to produce the celestial ‘music of the spheres’. Sharjah was Earth, Earth was Sharjah, it represented what was ‘normal’ and ‘familiar’, warm and fuzzy. Other countries I believed were literally on other planets (seriously I believed this). What proof did I have? None. All I can say is thank goodness I received an education. My world was the ‘known world’, everything outside its boundaries was shrouded in mystery, everything else was ‘different.’ And what did not have a name (since I did not even know certain countries existed) was simply consumed in darkness.  My young ignorant, egotistical self had a lot to learn, many things I still had to name and less tangible forces I would try to define; I had (and still have) a fertile imagination; I was definitely a sheltered child, the youngest living in an extended family setting; and, of course, at that age, I could not see too far past my own needs and happiness. It was a very comfortable and cohesive and solid sense of self, and the only kind I needed at the time. I can perceive now the danger that accompanies this sort of comfort, this retreat to the familiar, this labelling of what ‘normalcy’ encompasses and what ‘difference’ means. My sense of place is no longer so firmly cemented in terms of geography, but is grounded in what I have learnt and keep learning from my experiences, and from those of my family. My grandfather’s stories of adventures at sea, of putting a padlock on his school’s doors so he wouldn’t have to attend class, of playing cricket in Mumbai’s lanes, still resonate deeply with me. He is one of the best storytellers I have ever met.

At the end of the Twelfth Night shipwrecked Viola reveals her true identity, gets the man of her dreams and lives happily ever after in Illyria, so it’s fair to say that she learns to settle in. Despite the hardships faced she finds her sense of place, and as one of the stronger, more textured17th century female characters, all I can say is ‘more power to her.’ Idealism renewed, stability restored, the play ends with a bountiful feast and yet in subtle Shakespearean fashion, a final song darkens the mood, suggesting that this sense of idyllic comfort is always short-lived, that “the wind and the rain” of change is as old as this world, that Viola’s journey into the unknown has no end in sight.

Value$

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We’ve had a couple of very interesting and diverse posts recently – however I do think there are some convergent ideas.

Quil4 had just written her first blog post ever (hooray!) and had mentioned the difficulty in defining ‘self-expression’ and the differences in the utility of different types of writing (how the skills of some arts will be used in non-art endeavours – for instance writing for academia vs. creative writing)

Micpen2 has made a great  point on the Artists and Entrepreneurs post about how artists should do not need to feel insecure about being paid for our work – all professionals are paid for their time, talent and skill.

Self-expression is absolutely necessary – I firmly believe that self-expression and the ability to self-express in a safe environment can play an important role in our overall attitude towards life as well as our physical and mental health. But we generally have a tendency to express when something has made an emotional or intellectual impact: new loves, new loss, old love, old loss, haunting, happiness, pain, sadness, joy – you get the idea.

Artists – and those who consider themselves professional artists – differentiate ourselves by being able to create and produce even when there isn’t a gut wrenching emotional response to a particularly intense period or set of events. Of course, professional artists are also moved by such great and tempest like times in our own lives – that was what made us want to initiate in art to begin with!  However, professional artists will also learn aspects of the craft or forms that are related to their own vision or art that allow the overall quality and intention of the message be delivered clearly to the audience.  Also – professional artists are willing to exhibit, perform, publish – they are willing to share.

Many people suggest that in order to be truly considered a professional artist, you must be paid for your works. I’m not sure if I buy that entirely (no pun intended – hahahaha).  I do agree with MicPen2 – if we are going to make our art and works available to others for sale, we need to learn to appreciate our own skill sets! We sometimes forget that not everyone has the ability to do what we do – even if they had the capacity they haven’t put in the time.  Our works have monetary value and we should slowly understand that our audiences (aka consumers) are willing to pay fair market prices for our works (you pay unfair market prices on things everyday and don’t even think twice about it!).

However –the quickest way to lose your passion is to start getting paid to do it! There comes this bizarro veil of resentment once you attach monetary value to work that has inherent intrinsic value.  Scott Belsky (CEO of the Behance Network) puts it brilliantly, “ Your challenge is to maintain an organic relationship with the craft that you love.  The expectations and rewards imposed by others will only compromise your passion if you rely on them as the source of your interests…..stay motivated by the means rather than the ends.” (Making Ideas Happen, Penguin Group).

Money makes it SEEM as if the value of the work is tied directly to the amount of dollars someone external to the artist is willing to pay – that is not the real value of the work;  the real value of the work and subsequently the value of the artist is the consistent, persistent and determined way in which we love, love, love the process of creating.

Money and Value are not synonymous – however both have their place in the life of the artist – it’s just a matter of you creating the right balance between the two – what works for you? what fits? what feels right? There are no right answers and fortunately there are no wrong answers either.

Quil4….My story so far…

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I majored in International Relations with a minor in English literature, as part of my BA studies, and recently graduated with an MA in International Affairs, focusing on human security and development. Residing in Vancouver, I’m currently contemplating law school and searching for gainful employment. Creative writing has always been a hobby(though my readership has been mostly limited to myself), and though somewhat technologically illiterate, I’m truly excited to learn more about the world of blogging.

I’ve always loved the idea of being a storyteller, with all its romantic implications. If art is defined, above all else, by what one feels, then what better way to live life than to live it feelingly. Throughout my academic years, creating and enjoying art, in whatever form, seemed to offer both escape and elevation. It wasn’t the focus of my studies at university, so I linked art with leisure and pleasure and indulgence, it was satisfyingly separate from my professional reality and academic exercises. It was dessert.

But that didn’t mean I didn’t need it. Tired with reading about wars and dead political theorists and evidenced-based studies on global health issues and harsh international realities to which I was becoming increasingly de-sensitized to (my major was international affairs), I craved the release of reading less objective, less empirically sound, less strictly worded material. I wanted to be moved. (I like this expression that denotes internal emotional mobility and dynamism, that can be both a quiet shift or dramatically seismic). I wanted to read words crafted to evoke an emotional response, and I resented having to avoid those words in my own papers (though I understand the necessity of staying away from a propagandist’s agenda in the realm of political science).  I resented referencing every sentence, citing my words, searching for peer-reviewed articles to substantiate my thoughts; my writing felt impersonal, I didn’t feel particularly articulate. I missed the malleability of creative writing, that freedom to sculpt out your own meaning with the scalpel of your choice. Writing with style and texture. Inhabiting a story. Hiding meanings between the lines. Floating around as the omniscient narrator, going on a power trip and getting into characters’ heads. The creative process is incredibly empowering, as Josh Groban would say: “It lifts (you) up, so (you) can stand on mounntainnns.” As the ‘creator’ you have an incredible amount of flexibility, can traverse vast landscapes, can bridge past, present, and future; in short, you can be something of a superhero.

So while immersed in academia, I also allocated time for some creative writing, and often felt like when I was writing I was at my best as a person. (I heard author Zadie Smith talk about this in an interview). At my most empathetic. At my most understanding. At my most forgiving. At my most good humoured. For me, (being quite slow at most things, like eating) rallying my thoughts together takes time, when I speak my words are less thoughtful than when I write. When you write you can trace your thoughts all the way to completion, you have room for eloquence. You can take a breath and avoid jumping the gun, you can backspace your assumptions and other errors of ignorance, you can best traverse the shades of gray that color human life, you can wade through people’s complexities, digest them, and eventually learn to love all parts of them.

So creative writing was never purposeless for me, yes there is a level of self-involvement that I draw from, but equally a sense of connection to others. There was thus much gratification be had by me from investing in my so-called ‘diversions’. Escape and elevation, and lets also add, expression. Expression of self in relation to others, self’s connection to self and others…(I honestly don’t know if that makes any sense..expression is often difficult and problematic and …so is self). So now that I have my degree in hand, I am faced with the challenge of reassigning the role of creative endeavours in my life. To pursue it as a career is daunting for numerous reasons, financial of course, but I also lack discipline with my writing. I write when I feel like, I don’t know if I can do it any other way. And if it’s not my dessert…what does it become then? Unenjoyable, health conscious (financial health) writing? That’s no good. Hence, this blog, that I am so happy to contribute to, keeping me in line with due dates but encouraging creativity for the fun of it.

Peas in a Pod us Artists and Entrepreneurs

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In my last few posts I’ve been obviously obsessed with combining the ideas of art and business.

Do art and business always go hand in hand? Of course not!  But there are times when they do.  Everyone should have the ability and a safe space to self-express and business has little to do with that.  (Self-expression is not exactly the same as being an artist or creating art – if you want to argue with this please feel free). Business is really an exchange of goods or services – forget the dollar sign if it makes you uncomfortable.  Think of business as a way to fulfill a need that you have (instead of a want which is what we do in consumerist culture). Cool?  Cool.

Artists and entrepreneurs share similar characteristics and our work has similar properties:

  • We both have great passion
  • We move from initial concept through stages of development to a final product or work
  • We are constantly looking to explore and learn
  • We have to deal with a lot of constructive (and not so constructive) criticism
  • Financing or Funding our dreams is a hefty aspect of our work
  • We find what we do very satisfying
  • We are willing to invest emotionally, physically and financially into our projects
  • If we fail (or deem something a failure) we will eventually get back up and try again or try something new
  • We are risk takers (even if the risks seem small)

If you are a CEO or a COO or a HR Manager or a Team Lead (essentially someone who is allowed to make final decisions) you should consider hiring more artistically inclined people to your teams.   Artists aren’t sensitive – we are critical and analytical. We synthesize great amounts of information and see patterns and themes in disparate ideas.  Business leaders always tell their teams to think outside of the box and then put them in a closed bare walled boardroom to brainstorm.    I have no idea why so many brainstorming sessions (even in creative industries) take place inside of board rooms – this is brainstorming not contract negotiation.  You would actually have to be a very skilled artist to make use of a blank space like a boardroom to create  brilliant ideas without external inspiration- and let’s be honest the vast majority of your staff are not creatively inclined.  Alternatively you could provide time or encouragement for your team members to express their creative sides or propose ideas which are tangent to your business.

Artists – we need to be more business saavy – the world of the record label, large gallery, movie studio or television network, essentially the idea of big media business currently is in pieces and in future will be replaced by the Apples’, Googles’ and Yahoos’ of the world. These companies are not made for artists – they are entrepreneurs – they use art, music, literature to further their businesses – but they are not in the business of art. Google is not really interested in meaning – they are interested in information – these are very very different ideas. And in practice Apple is not interested in creativity – they are interested in facilitating creativity.  Now of course, inherent in the Apple process are aspects of art and design – but they use these as tools for their software business (as discussed by Colin Gibbs in the post “As Always Mobile Music faces Uncertain Future” Jul 17 2010 on GigaOm.com).

The profitable and meaningful media future will require a hybrid  in the media industry.   A hybrid company that has the brains of a technology based corporation and the heart and soul of a community based artistic organization.    Any thoughts on building the foundations or staples of the a sustainable new media ecosystem or the real ticket – the business model to support that ecosystem?  If you have the monetization aspect down – I’d love to treat you out to coffee ;).

Art+Business – I want that love child.

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This is what I was really working on during my  island escape from the city:  an artist business plan.

For artists  ‘business’ is a bad dirty word -it’s quite a taboo subject for some.  So let’s talk dirty – let’s do something naughty, let’s  just do it –  we’re going to create the the love child of Art + Business.  Oh yeah.

Everyone is a business, whether you like it or not. You earn money you have expenses money comes in and goes out and hopefully at the end of the day there’s a little bit left over for savings and rrsps and ice cream.

I’ve been busy reading the usual creative + entrepreneurial blogs: The 99%, GigaOm, TechCruch, FastCompany, and  following up on Toronto + non-Toronto  based entertainment + tech entrepreneurs (Kunal Gupta, Gurbhaskh Chahal*, Zark Fatah*,  , Uniq Lifestyle’s Nitsa Tsoumaris* – one of the few female entertainment leaders I’ve come across).  Amazing people working on very different ideas that all intersect in parallel industries.  I’ve been mulling over their accomplishments, and comparing and contrasting their businesses with the smaller non-profits that I have worked for.

For-profit or non-profit organizations start the same way:  someone has a great idea and starts gathering people and resources to execute their vision.  However the trajectory for the for-profit start-up is very different compared to the non-profit  start-up which seems to have a much more difficult time finding partners for growth even if the ideas are sound.  Whereas for-profit start-ups seem to be able to gather capital even if the idea is inherently risky.

With a VERY broad brush – here are my thoughts:

The non-profit organization model is somewhat like an older woman with maternal tendencies:  steadfast, dependable, self-assured, resourceful and willing to make whatever sacrifices it takes to her own material wealth to ensure the health of the family unit. But this model has inherently been neglected by investors because of the lack of financial return (obviously).  Growth becomes difficult without capital.

Whereas the for-profit model is much more like a young man in his prime with an adolescent swagger: well connected, brand-conscious, self interested, status driven, willing to risk whatever it takes to be recognized by his peers as number 1.  Investors have always loved these kinds of organizations – venture capitalists salivate at the thought of the financial potential gain – but I wonder if they recognize how many for-profits are inherently neglectful of the very communities that are supporting them.

I want to be both a mom and an alpha male.

The non-profit world does so much amazing work – the people are incredibly knowledgeable, experienced and educated, but  overworked and underpaid. In many instances the non-profit worker is without health benefits – which makes them vulnerable.  You shouldn’t have to take a vow of poverty to help your community.    On the other hand, the corporate world has the incredible ability to raise huge amounts of capital in short periods of time; but does so at the expense of common or community goods and values.

Hence my business plan – where I’m trying to manage, or rather mix, both cultures into a third more holistic business culture – the Social Enterprise.  Cultural Careers Council Ontario has been a huge help.  Many people, including MaRS in Toronto,  are working on these ideas and  my own works are a small part of this experiment.

If you were going to create a business plan for your own life – which model would you be? For Profit? Non-Profit?  Social Enterprise? What kinds of ways would you be comfortable making money?  What material assets could you not do without?

Try to build your own basic business plan for your own lively hood – it’s daunting, daring and a surprisingly fun.  Here’s a great PDF primer for artists (but it’s useful info for everyone)  from the Cultural Human Resources Council: AMYC-Chapter1-en

*I have a TON of respect for these guys – they are all self-made, they’ve worked like crazy to get where they are, they run successful businesses which are all highly recognized – but what’s the deal with the dark backgrounds and shiny pics?  Have you noticed how similar the aesthetic is between all of these brands- even Mr. Chahal’s brand  even though he  is actually a tech entrepreneur?   Intriguing – needs a thesis I think – something along the lines of male dominated industry + night time pursuits with inherently dark imagery to evoke the mysterious exotic aspect of their brands…..I struggle with this idea with my own branding – I think this is another post in the making.  Meggy Wang and I have had great conversations about this topic – I think it’s going to be my next post.   Any thoughts?
PS: My interview with Manu Sharma from The Natural Capital Project will happen in the next week! Keep an eye out!

Plan B…

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Thanks to B for that intro and to Sachin for his insightful post, which was indeed food for thought!

Interests, aptitude or financial security – oh my!  Quite the dilemma…

No doubt it becomes an even more trying issue when you have a number of varied interests and aren’t quite sure which one you’d like to pursue, when you’re skills may or may not be marketable, and/or when you have a sneaking suspicion that a predictable/banal/secure job might crush your soul (just a little bit – even if only around the edges).

It doesn’t help either when that dreaded beast (Career) Anxiety (which I’ve often imagined would appear as a walrus toting a briefcase, should it be so inclined as to take material form – go figure!) lumbers over your thoughts, your plans, your imaginative inklings and does it’s very best to crush them under it’s lumpy, bulbous belly.  It barks and honks at you (“What if?,” “Is this the right choice?,” “Could this be an awful mistake?”) and refuses to clean up after itself when it leaves…..What a horrible house guest!

Well, I’m not sure what combination of “interests, aptitude and/or financial security” it’s best to go with (particularly in this economy!), but in hopes of finding some kind of answer, I’ve made a concerted effort of late to seek out the counsel of older folks – you know, those who have already settled into their careers and who seem satisfied with their choices.  Curiously enough, many of them have instructed me to follow my “passion” or to “look into my heart” to find an answer.

I’m still not sure how I feel about this advice.  Do you buy it?  What if your “heart” has taken a vow of silence?

One colleague with a very enviable career path offered these consoling words: “Don’t worry, I didn’t figure it out ‘til I was like 40.  You just gotta keep trying different things until you figure it out”.

I’ve decided to take comfort in that.

I suppose a career is as much a work in progress as is anything else… if all else fails, look for Plan B and refuse to be taken hostage by any walrus you should happen to bump into (particularly if it’s of the imaginary variety!).

Money and Men

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Neither Money nor Men, in isolation, are particularly malignant. However the results of mixing these elements together can have a variety of effects, not surprisingly negative effects.

By no means am I bashing money or men -as it happens,  I actually have a soft spot in my heart for both. But instead, this is the first of many posts discussing and exploring the incredible impact that both money and men in collaboration with each other have played in the shaping of our societies.

Many societies have placed immense prominence on the status of those who have money or those who are/have men (or exceptionally those who are men with money).

The idea of a seemingly chemical reaction that occurs between ‘Money and Men’ has intrigued me for many years.   What will the near future  look like as the emphasis on either money or men or both is increased, decreased or moved to new elements?

I love both money and men – however  lets us imagine a world that includes money, men and many other meaningful members (again no sexual innuendo intended). 

Are we being social right now?

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Sooooo……What do you think is the culmination of this social media frenzy?

ICQ, Yahoo chat rooms, MSN Messenger, Hi-Five, Facebook, Myspace,  Twitter, Google Buzz….etc….

Social interactions with people you would never really interact with in the flesh. The virtual self seems to be more appealing – how do we aggregate all of this extraneous information?

Are we trying to communicate that which can not be said?! I wonder. McLuhan believed that eventually media technologies would lead to a ‘post-literate’ world, where the written word and language would be superseded by the visual medium.

Hmm.  Well, that’s hardly the case is it?!  All of our ‘social’ networking is highly contingent upon the written language!! Gah! Literacy is a HUGE aspect of how we now communicate in our ICT (information and communication technology) laden world!

But is literature social?  The written word is not entirely a social thing – I mean you are reading this and I have written it and in some way we are sharing the experience – but not in ‘real time’, not with any meaningful fleshy connection (no sexual innuendo intended here).  Doesn’t being social inherently include a human connection which is predicated upon a physical human characteristic? (Touch, taste, smell, sound…you get the idea).  We are experiencing a social moment together in some sort of suspended time warp where the human aspect has to be ‘guestimated’ – sarcasm and intonation fail miserably over social networks.

Even if we can have updates that are fractions of a minute or second apart (ahem..twitter), it’s not nearly as quickly as you could transmit a message by just talking to me in person. Granted of course that these technologies are leaping great distances in short periods of time, What is the need for people in the same place to have an interface between them?  More over – why do I need to know INSTANTANEOUSLY what is going on in the world?!  How have our social interactions been hijacked by technologies created by the inherently anti-social?  We sit in our own rooms distanced greatly not only by physical geography but by a constant interface through which we must first pass our message.  I suppose telephones did the same thing – but then with telephones there was a physical connection still – the human voice.

Oh – and does Blogging count as a social media?!  Is a cork based real life bulletin board a social media?  So confusing!

Obviously this is just the beginning of a phase or stage of communications technologies – we have yet to plateau.  Where are we going – where is this taking us?  After you have read this,  are we now ‘friends’?! (I’m a pretty great friend who always has chocolate on hand just so you know)

So many questions!!