Friday, July 17, 2009

Story Week Tuesday: Little Triggers

So we looked at how people responded to a story told by Obama back in StoryWeek. What did people think about Tuesday's story? Here's a quick recap:

... we organised a workshop, it was really high pressure and done at very short notice. It ended up being a success, but the CEO was there, and I thought it was one of those things where the team had all sort of pulled together, and it could of fallen over, but it didn't. At the end of the workshop, it had all gone well, there was a perfect window there for the CEO to come up to the team and say "Good job". I don't know the CEO at all, but it was a perfect opportunity for him to go and get some easy PR, or even at least say good stuff, and pass it on. But he just left. I mean, he may have had a thousand other things to do, but it was one of those things.

So how did this score?

Well overall it wasn't as memorable as the Obama story - although people did find it more believable. However as with Obama, there was a definite split in terms of who found this story memorable. For Obama it was country of origin. For this story is was around gender.

The ratings given by men (n=27) & women (n = 24) are almost mirror images of each other. Which is interesting because we know that the CEO is a man but we don't know the gender of the storyteller or any of the other characters. For women this story is far more memorable. Why*? Is it because women have been in this situation more often? Is it because they empathize with the characters more? What do you think?

BTW the Wordle clouds are here and here if you are interested.

*More women gave the Obama story 6 out of 6 for memorability but the other pattern of responses wasn't as stark as this.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


Katie Chatfield recently asked Where did the future go?

She was following up on Bruce Sterling's closing speech at Reboot 11 - Sterling also runs a blog on related topics courtesy of Wired.

Some reflections & responses:
  • The talk was a half-digested stream of ideas - some awesome, some dumb, some both.
  • Many of themes that BS touches upon mirror the obsessions of early 90s CCRU (incl. Mark K-punk Fisher & Steve Hyperdub Goodman). Cybergothic, inhuman technology, undead capitalism, the swarm. CCRU's ideas were heavily influenced by Deluze & Guattari, Jungle and the writings of... cyberpunk authors such as Bruce Sterling.
  • "High-Tech Gothic" is a great phrase but it applies more to system than to individuals. Zombie banks. The financial system as out-of-control Frankenstein's monster. Financiers as parasitic vampires. Capitalism has reached its Gothic phase. It is epitomised not by Steve Jobs but by Dow Jones Index or a CDO contract sitting in someone's email - something that may once have had its origins in human behaviour & needs but no longer "human" or "alive" in any meaningful sense.
  • "Dark euphoria" is another great phrase but it feels wrong. We're not entering a period of euphoria or depression but dysphoria. You can try to cushion the dread rush with shopping at the endless sales ("For a limitless time only") or alcohol or religion (Islamic, Christian, Environmental) but it just won't go away.
  • Gen X are not goths - but I can see how we may look that way to Baby Boomers who salved their dread of nuclear war with the bounty of consumer culture. What happens when the cure becomes the new disease?
  • "Favela Chic"is a great way of both celebrating & critiquing "open source" culture. Everybody code before the police come! No civil rights. No protection.
  • The "great grandfather" crack is misplaced. Consuming less than we do now does not make us dead. It just makes us thinner. Bruce Sterling or Mr Creosote?
  • The final point about keeping a small amount of good stuff and getting rid of the rest is a very sensible idea of which I am a massive fan.

Monday, July 06, 2009

marrickville week (2)

marrickville week (1)

This is the street where I live now. On the downside, there is no baker's cart plying its wares every morning. On the upside, I don't have to shovel up the horse dung from the baker's cart every morning.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

man week (6): little acts

Men like doing stuff. We are creatures of action. However in my case, "stuff" consists of sitting in front of the TV promising to fix the busted tap in the laundry (I will, I will).

So with all this Man Week stuff, I'm curious as to how this all plays out into action. We bare our souls and have our group hug and it's all like an episode of Thirtysomething but online.

So I'm interested in what happens next. Not big things. Just little things. I can think of a few off the bat.

man week (5): brutal

Man Week is leading to some darned interesting blogging. One theme that crops is violence. Mostly men being violent to each other via bullying (the issue of men being violent to women crops up less in the writing so far). And it's true. Men - esp. young men - are brutal. And this cuts both ways - the most frequent victims of violence are also young men. This happens at all levels of intensity. I have never murdered anyone. I was bullied at school and I also bullied others. I still feel I am a very angry man but not an especially violent one*.

So if my child is a son, what can I do? I think role modelling is really important. But what does that mean? I can't see myself beating people up in front of him. How I control my temper is going to be important. As will be my assertiveness. One of the most painful lessons in life for me has been the need to meet conflict directly rather than avoid it. I would rather he learned that lesson early.

But beyond that I'm not sure. Mark Pollard mentions martial arts and I would love a son to take up one of these sports - because they are about control & discipline**.

Any ideas bloggerati?

Source: Economist

*We all have emotional motors that power us though our lives. I would like to say I am driven by a desire to better the world or by an ambition to be the best at whatever I do but if I'm honest with myself it's just non-specific rage - as destructive as it is creative. My tombstone will probably have "What are you looking at, breather?" carved on it.

**May be we should bring back national service. And the death penalty. Hang on...

Man Tag