inkwell.vue.277 : Angie Coiro, On The Air
permalink #101 of 168: Berliner (captward) Thu 20 Jul 06 01:34
    
Whoa, so it sounds like a lot wound up on the cutting-room floor
there. And that neatly defuses what was going to be my next question,
about how the pace of current events can easily outstrip a show that's
got to be finished and in the can on Wednesday night for a Sunday
airing. Have you ever had that happen? Have parts of the show
irrelevant or supplanted by later happenings? 
  
inkwell.vue.277 : Angie Coiro, On The Air
permalink #102 of 168: Cogito, Ergo Spero (robertflink) Thu 20 Jul 06 04:40
    
>Critical thinking. Savvy commercial consumers, wary political
consumers. A program like that would help countless people claim more
power in their lives.<

Much as I like the program and have contemplated similar ideas, I
wonder if the issue is less about schooling and more about people
wanting to be thrilled, romanced, shocked, titillated, scandalized,
etc., etc.. 

BTW, much of the media is given to catering to this desire as well as
slicing and dicing the catering. (BTW, this includes politics.).
The world economy as we know it may rest in large part on the
credulousness rather than the savvy of the consumer. 

I find critical thinking to be both useful and entertaining but notice
a distinct aversion to it in most social groups as witness the usual
cant of political correctness applicable to the group at hand. 
  
inkwell.vue.277 : Angie Coiro, On The Air
permalink #103 of 168: Steve Bjerklie (stevebj) Thu 20 Jul 06 07:38
    
Angie, have you considered formatting your idea to teach children to
be smart consumers into a radio program? I think it could be done, and
I think you could find an interested party/network/etc. 
  
inkwell.vue.277 : Angie Coiro, On The Air
permalink #104 of 168: the fluctuating Queen Mother Band of Mourning (clmyers) Thu 20 Jul 06 10:31
    
I could easily imagine the consumer training program done on tv ala Sesame
Street.  It would probably wind up with a huge adult following too.
  
inkwell.vue.277 : Angie Coiro, On The Air
permalink #105 of 168: Low and popular (rik) Thu 20 Jul 06 10:41
    
The first episode should tell people, that despite what TV commercials tell
them, they are not consumers, and that the entire point of the advertising
industry is to convince you that you are not good enough without their
products.   The rest of the series should be an examination of how they do
it.   This, and how to handle money, should be taught in grade school, but
it won't, since the purpose of school is not education, but rather to turn
out consumers.
  
inkwell.vue.277 : Angie Coiro, On The Air
permalink #106 of 168: the fluctuating Queen Mother Band of Mourning (clmyers) Thu 20 Jul 06 10:45
    
The graduate school version of this would be for students (high school and
up?) to do a critical study of how "citizens" have been gradually replaced
by "consumers".
  
inkwell.vue.277 : Angie Coiro, On The Air
permalink #107 of 168: Steve Bjerklie (stevebj) Thu 20 Jul 06 10:48
    
I imagine selling the idea to a corporate sponsor for either a radio
or TV version might be, well, problematic. 
  
inkwell.vue.277 : Angie Coiro, On The Air
permalink #108 of 168: Low and popular (rik) Thu 20 Jul 06 11:45
    
Well, that would seem to be troublesome.
  
inkwell.vue.277 : Angie Coiro, On The Air
permalink #109 of 168: Angie (coiro) Thu 20 Jul 06 12:14
    
Oh, yes, that one occurred to me early on. Likewise Robert's comment
about ranging into "political correctness'. Getting this into public
schools in the current climate, unfortunately, would light the same
powder keg everything seems to.

This would be a difficult project to fund, and to find appropriate
placement for without a battle. And I suspect every year would bring a
renewed fight to establish it's neither pro-liberal or
pro-conservative, but pro-individual. Pro-kid, pro-mental growth.

I do see multimedia as a necessity for this. A radio (or other audio)
element would add a lot. But it couldn't accomplish all the work. Kids
need to *look* at images to analyze them. Take them image of women in
clothing ads. So many factors there to analyze: how they're
photographed. How they move. What situations they're depicted in. And
of course, what the ad gives the clothes credit for, so to speak.

The issue of copyright comes up. I think TV placement would be superb
for this. But how many manufacturers would allow use of their
advertising in this less-than-friendly setting? Teaching kids that Gap
clothing won't make you cool, won't make you a better dancer, and may
not even be the right fit for you in the practical sense might
displease Gap, Inc. Using a DVR to capture the spots - or have the kids
bring in spots for analysis - circumvents that problem.

Clmyers, I like that graduate level suggestion. Properly researched
and assembled, this is a program that can follow kids through every
development level. Imagine all the difference it might make - because
consumerism contributes to obesity, political ignorance, and
intellectual laziness. Imagine turning that tide even the littlest bit.
  
inkwell.vue.277 : Angie Coiro, On The Air
permalink #110 of 168: Kindness does not require an infrastructure (chrys) Thu 20 Jul 06 12:15
    
There *must* be a few sponsors out there who would benefit from a
discerning public.

(Slipped by the lady herself!)
  
inkwell.vue.277 : Angie Coiro, On The Air
permalink #111 of 168: Angie (coiro) Thu 20 Jul 06 12:17
    
I agree, they're out there, Chris. But are they the ones with them
most profit to invest?
  
inkwell.vue.277 : Angie Coiro, On The Air
permalink #112 of 168: the fluctuating Queen Mother Band of Mourning (clmyers) Thu 20 Jul 06 12:55
    
This sounds like "grant" rather than "sponsor" territory to me.
  
inkwell.vue.277 : Angie Coiro, On The Air
permalink #113 of 168: Angie (coiro) Thu 20 Jul 06 13:00
    
Yes, it is. And it can't be a one-person project, either. I don't have
any knowledge whatever in some of the key areas: child development,
educational technique, grant solicitation, teacher training. That's
just the beginning.

This is why I need either the genie or the lottery for this one. If I
woke up as George Soros or Larry Ellison tomorrow, this thing would be
*cookin'*.
  
inkwell.vue.277 : Angie Coiro, On The Air
permalink #114 of 168: Cupido, Ergo Denego (robertflink) Thu 20 Jul 06 13:11
    
>The graduate school version of this would be for students (high
school and up?) to do a critical study of how "citizens" have been
gradually replaced by "consumers".<

There is a degree of truth to this.  When gambling first came to
Minnesota, people predicted that us "nordic" types here are to cheap
and staid to enjoy such fun.  After more than two decades it appears
that there was a mother lode that was waiting to be mined.  

It could be that we are "citizens" as long as we don't have the
opportunity to be "consumers". My impression of history is that even
hundreds of years ago, those few that had resources consumed with
vigor.  

Was there a golden age when those with the where-with-all denied
themselves the pleasures of conspicuous consumption and put their
energies instead into citizenship? Veblen didn't mention it.
  
inkwell.vue.277 : Angie Coiro, On The Air
permalink #115 of 168: Low and popular (rik) Thu 20 Jul 06 15:46
    
I wouldn't call gambling consumption, except in a crude sense that you pay
money and get sensations you enjoy (well, some people do).   My sense of
the term, "consumer", is someone who has bought into the idea that you are
what you own, and that the important work of life is choosing the right
products.

There's a wonderful vignette at the beginning of "Zen and the Art of
Motorcycle Maintenance" where the author offeres to fix the loose handlebars
of his friend's BMW (which the friend bought after months of market
research and agonizing over whether or not it's the "right" bike.)   When
the friend found that the author's fix was a shim cut from an aluminum beer
can, he balked.   It wasn't official enough. He was actually bothered that
it wasn't a brand name shim.   The friend is a consumer.
  
inkwell.vue.277 : Angie Coiro, On The Air
permalink #116 of 168: Sharon Lynne Fisher (slf) Thu 20 Jul 06 18:33
    
I could see Consumer Reports partnering with Mother Jones on the kid
thing (which I'm working on teaching my kid).
  
inkwell.vue.277 : Angie Coiro, On The Air
permalink #117 of 168: Low and popular (rik) Thu 20 Jul 06 20:28
    
My point, which I can see that I left buried in my verbiage, is that the
concept is so subversive to what is currently both the American way of life
and the means by which very powerful people get rich that it will get
killed, buried, and the grave cemented over by the US Chamber of
Commerce.    If you think PBS took shit over Bill Moyers and Frontline,
wait until TPTB grab their bought legislators by the throat and gut funding
for everything but the Nightly Business Report.
  
inkwell.vue.277 : Angie Coiro, On The Air
permalink #118 of 168: Angie (coiro) Thu 20 Jul 06 22:13
    
I think it was at the Well picnic, rik, that I brought this up and was
promptly told it could get me killed. I'm sure that was only partly in
jest.

So like so many other good ideas, it could only be passed along in
individual lessons, to parents who are already bright and informed
enough to go out and seek it for their children. Yippee, another gulf
between the haves and the have-nots.

Sharon, I think partnering with Mother Jones would get it buried that
much faster. Affiliation with any politically activist body would make
it more of a target. Consumer Reports, OTOH, is a stroke of brilliance!

Frankly, I suspect this will always be a pipe dream. Minus a personal
fortune, this would take such a battle to fund and implement, I'd have
to devote more time and energy than I have.

Nice thing about Inkwell - it's publicly viewable and archived
forever. Someday some exceeding rich and civic-minded person could find
the idea here, and move it forward.

Hey, I can dream.
  
inkwell.vue.277 : Angie Coiro, On The Air
permalink #119 of 168: Berliner (captward) Fri 21 Jul 06 11:57
    
But there is that threat which public radio seems always to be under.
It's what makes those stupid spam messages we've all gotten from
well-meaning friends -- "Nina Totenberg said on Talk of the Nation
that..." blah blah blah, sign this petition and send it on -- credible.


Do you see this eventuality -- public radio and television folding
under political pressure -- as even a remote reality? Do you feel any
safer with commercial radio? 
  
inkwell.vue.277 : Angie Coiro, On The Air
permalink #120 of 168: Cupido, Ergo Denego (robertflink) Fri 21 Jul 06 18:51
    
>My sense of the term, "consumer", is someone who has bought into the
idea that you are what you own, and that the important work of life is
choosing the right products.<

If you think that Western Civilization or capitalism invented the
"consumer", guess again.  Veblen's Theory of the Leisure Class shows
conspicuous consumption to be ubiquitous.  It may be that the West has
been particularly efficient at exploiting this human trait.  

I'm all for enlightening the consumer but let's acknowledge the
"nature of the beast" as we develop the systems to curb his/her nature.


BTW, thanks for reminding me of the shim vignette.  It was precious
and an excellent example of a total consumer. I seem to recall that the
BMW owner also recoiled at the idea of being able to fix his own
machine. It seemed, in his mind, to sully the purity of being a rider. 
  
inkwell.vue.277 : Angie Coiro, On The Air
permalink #121 of 168: Low and popular (rik) Fri 21 Jul 06 20:22
    
Exactly.

I read Veblen in high school, and it was an eye-opener.  Even more fun were
my teacher's stories about his private life, but that's a side-trip.

And I'm well aware that human beings jockey for status, often without being
aware of what they're doing.   It's built into the animal.  But what our
modern culture has done, by way of modern media and beginning towards the
end of the 19th century, is make a science out of exploiting this trait.
The bottom line message of modern advertising is as I described it.
Happiness is to be found in owning the right stuff, and the descendents of
hunter gatherers now go shopping for the stuff the will fill the hole in
their existences.

I stole this out of the New Yorker:

JOE HELLER

True story, Word of Honor:
Joseph Heller, an important and funny writer
now dead,
and I were at a party given by a billionaire
on Shelter Island.
I said, "Joe, how does it make you feel
to know that our host only yesterday
may have made more money
than your novel 'Catch-22'
has earned in its entire history?"
And Joe said, "I've got something he can never have."
And I said, "What on earth could that be, Joe?"
And Joe said, "The knowledge that I've got enough."
Not bad! Rest in peace!

- Kurt Vonnegut
  
inkwell.vue.277 : Angie Coiro, On The Air
permalink #122 of 168: Cupido, Ergo Denego (robertflink) Sat 22 Jul 06 07:10
    
>and the descendents of hunter gatherers now go shopping for the stuff
the will fill the hole in their existences.<

I recall a TV documentary on a Inuit (I believe) village where the
acknowledged best hunter was scorned by the other villagers because he
displayed too much vanity while doing the traditional dancing depicting
the hunt upon their return. I

It is possible that that the bet hunter had been humble up until the
TV cameras were set up whereupon he became quickly corrupted by
civilization.

I need to put another plug in for mass entertainment as an aspect of
consumerism and not just the machinery and the commercial messages. 
  
inkwell.vue.277 : Angie Coiro, On The Air
permalink #123 of 168: Steve Bjerklie (stevebj) Sat 22 Jul 06 08:32
    
>>>I recall a TV documentary on a Inuit (I believe) village where the
acknowledged best hunter was scorned by the other villagers because he
displayed too much vanity while doing the traditional dancing
depicting
the hunt upon their return.<<<

Heh. Someone else who could be scorned for the same reason but isn't:
Barry Bonds. 
  
inkwell.vue.277 : Angie Coiro, On The Air
permalink #124 of 168: Angie (coiro) Sat 22 Jul 06 11:49
    
Not being a sports person, I'm admittedly missing context on a lot of
major sports stories. But I've wondered a lot about the people who are
still cheering Bonds. Is integrity irrelevant to them?

To Ed's question, last part first:

I've heard lots of conjecture about the future of commercial radio.
None of it is encouraging to me as far as reclaiming the fertile
creative ground it once was. It's always been a commodity. Now, with
few exceptions, it's nothing else. 

I believe it will always be around. The key question to me is whether
eventually some stations might be allowed to pursue small,
sharply-defined audience segments. For example, when I was doing radio
in Hawaii, the station owners also owned a big-city classical radio
station on the mainland. They didn't try to compete in the 12-24
demographic, like most others. They sold their airtime much the same
way NPR seeks out underwriters - as a prestige image buy. They were
very successful. Off the top of my head, I can't think of a half-dozen
stations doing that now.

On to public radio -
  
inkwell.vue.277 : Angie Coiro, On The Air
permalink #125 of 168: Angie (coiro) Sat 22 Jul 06 12:15
    
Public radio, contrary to what many believe, is very much in the
ratings game. They're competing fiercely for dollars, whether it's
called "advertising" or "underwriting". What we see from outside is the
political pressure to conform to ideological guidelines. That's an
endless wrestling match. Less obvious is public radio's pressure on
itself to compete with commercial news and talk stations. In a sense,
they do this to themselves as soon as they go all news/public
affairs/talk. Fewer and fewer run classical or jazz programming, both
of which were well-represented not that long ago. And eclectic
programming is even more rare.

Mind you, this isn't all bad. Programs like This American Life, Wait,
Wait, and Says You came about in part because long-established shows
like Morning Edition and ATC became more formulaic. Without pressure to
please fickle audiences in significant numbers the programs wouldn't
have to keep fresh at all.

On the other hand, niche programming and the truly novel don't make
the grade. They don't pull enough numbers. More and more rare is the
station that will roll them anyway. KALW in San Francisco has a superb,
unexpected program called Philosophy Talk. Honest to gosh, a program
that discusses events and issues in a philosophical context. It's
fabulous. But is it fabulous to enough people that it could compete in
a strictly ratings-centric milieu? Will all programming eventually come
down to that?

As we say in the biz - stay tuned. 
  

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