Posts Tagged ‘Audience’

From the Editor’s Perch…

February 5, 2014

Editor: This seems a timely moment for this thought.

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Popularity

 

“While popularity is a trait often ascribed to an individual, it is an inherently social phenomenon and thus can only be understood in the context of groups of people.”  – Wikipedia

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How much popularity is a single person due?  How much attention should one person presume to deserve: below which she/he can feel rightly aggrieved, and above which he/she should feel blessed?

Tough questions, whose answer comes in fits and drabs, “Yes”’s  and “No”’s throughout  – and for the rest of – one’s life.

According to Wikipedia some of the personal traits which are correlated with popularity are attractiveness, competence, and a high level of aggression.  Social status is seen as a gauge of popularity.  And “social influence plays a large role in determining what is popular and what is not through an information cascade. Independent of personal information, the information cascade acts as a strong influence, causing individuals to imitate the actions of others, whether or not they are in agreement. When downloading music, people don’t necessarily decide for themselves what exact song to buy. Instead, they look at the list of most downloaded songs and decide to get those same top songs.”

The reality is -as in the quote above – that popularity is much more a function of what the crowd desires than what the person is.  Walt Whitman probably said it best: “”To have great poets you must have great audiences, too.”  And books could, and have, been written about what inflames the crowd – with all sorts of caveats and contradictory information tossed in.

Truly, our desires are a lot like that girl with a make-up kit, and popularity is the beholder who fancies that girl’s wiles!  Without a lot of glandular-ridden men, a woman’s charms go for naught.  Beauty needs those construction workers on their lunch break in order to shine.   In fact, we might describe art as the thing which would cause a person to act… which would fashion that overwhelming desire from within the crowd.

Put this way, the popularity we are due, is due to the popularity we create in an audience we can’t know.  And as a personal counselor once noted, “most people listen autobiographically”.  So in a way, popularity is like a charmed circle, and one is either on the inside – or on the outs.  And that is the popularity you are due.

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This information is sometimes best taken with a drink.  And often is.  Ha!

So.  Perhaps a better question to ask might be, “How much audience does a person need?”

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Well, here again, it can depend.  Say you’re an entertainer.  A large amount of paying audience is required, or you can’t pay your bills.  Your career ends.  Say you’re a business person.  You need a certain amount of traffic in order to move your product, or you can’t meet your overhead.  Your career ends.  Say you’re in a marriage where you need a certain amount of attention, or your partner does.  Or the marriage ends.  So here it is.  We probably all need just as much attention as is required to survive in the social net in which we swing.  We need all of the attention we want.  Which is why we want it.  And when we can stop needing attention, we’re fulfilled, and can probably feel that we have – at least the necessary  minimum – of all of the attention that we are due.  ..Whew!

But, how do we get all of the attention we want?

A Buddhist might say that the answer is simple: we decrease the amount of attention we want, until the amount we have is sufficient.  That is, if nobody acknowledges you, treat this as a blessing! and a chance to live as unrestricted and freely as you would.  Enjoy “the sun in the morning, and the moon at night”.  Focus on the joys of pet ownership.  Buy a fish, or go over the top and swim with the dolphins, if you will.

On the other hand, a Christian might say, that we are urged by the Lord to go out and proselytize of His blessings; that this is our number one reason for being.  Or as Robert Jensen has put it, “Christians serve a chatty God”.  “…a God who creates by word, redeems by an incarnate Word, whose Spirit delivers long, complicated texts to a community whose assemblies are full of words,”as Peter J. Leithart in “First Things”, puts it.  And so, a Christian must go out the door each morning and find a way to generate audience – to ‘knock the scales’ from people’s eyes!  This latter can be the tougher road taken, as the Lord’s work is never done, and people can be especially hard to button-hole.

What to do?

A lot of people take the middle road – and enjoy talking to ever so many people about the delights of life – as they walk their dog.

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Photos from Google Images and Carl Nelson

From the Editor’s Perch…

January 12, 2014

Lady Gaga2

Fashion

 

            In the book, Fascism versus Capitalism, Llwellyn Rockwell Jr. mentions the Harvard philosopher, Santayana’s observation “that ideas aren’t usually abandoned because they have been refuted; they are abandoned when they become unfashionable.”  Most people reading this who have tried to introduce an unfashionable notion probably have suffered this observation.  You either find yourself socially isolated.   Or you are made to feel as if you are speaking in a foreign tongue, as if, as a woman at a theater rehearsal once told me (regarding my thoughts):  “I feel as if I am talking to someone from the moon.”  Thoughts judged to be unfashionable are simply left to die alone while conversing to the backs and sides of heads, and thence to float away, detached and withered, into the cold outer reaches.

The most dramatic example I’ve run across of this phenomenon is from the same book as mentioned above.  Henry Hazlitt was an editorial writer for the New York Times from 1934 till 1945 who backed a return to the gold standard.  He was finally sacked for his editorials in opposition to the Breton Woods agreement of 1945 establishing the World Bank.   Hazlitt wrote: “it would be difficult to think of a more serious threat to world stability and full production than the continual prospect of a uniform world inflation to which the politicians of every country would be so easily tempted.”  Throughout his tenure, no one, as far as can be seen, joined him in his warnings.  He could not even generate a credible opposition.  His opposition around the Breton Woods agreement ignored him, claiming a world catastrophe if the measure were not passed.

History has proved Henry Hazlitt correct.  And millions of lives perhaps need not have been lost to the devastations of WWII if the advent of rampant inflation had not been there to fuel the rise of fascist philosophies.  But no matter.  WWII did occur.  The Times has never apologized.  (Don’t hold your breath!)  And Henry Hazlitt lost his job.  John Maynard Keynes ideas appeared to be new.  Henry Hazlitt’s appeared to be old.  To be included in a current conversation you must be perceived to be ‘new’ – otherwise, the argument goes, why have one?   Though there was no factual basis of incompetence for firing Henry Hazlitt, by 1945 the Times publisher,  Arthur Sulzberger, “had had enough.”  “When 43 governments sign an agreement, I don’t see how the Times can any longer combat this,” he said.

 

“How important is sound money?  The whole of civilization depends on it,” says Llewellyn Rockwell.  Nevertheless, fashion trumps it.

 

            If these anecdotes don’t arouse you, then I give up.  I can’t reach you with a sharp pin.

 

But fashion itself is a fascinating topic.  It seems to move and change on its own timeline, without regard for events.  (Which, I would suppose is as we should expect, given its impervious nature.)  In my younger years I lived in a home I’d purchased on the cheap in the Rainier Valley area of Seattle.   This section of Seattle contained (and still does) the most diversified population in terms of race and ethnicity of any area in King County.  While I lived there, gang violence was endemic.  I still remember my neighbor arguing loudly in the middle of our street with his son not to join the gang which was waiting for him on the corner.  I had passed the years watching this decent kid grow from a toddler, to the middle school aged youngster who now apparently had been judged old enough to join the gang.  I also remember a neighborhood friend relating the tale of going to pick up her son at school and having to hug the floor of her car outside of the school to escape the exchange of bullets passing overhead.  Our community and the city government tried this and they tried that.  Then, after it seemed I had given up hope and had moved on anyway, it just ended.  No more violence.  No more gangs on the corner.  And yet everything else was the same.  Same people.  Same laws.  Same police.   Same homes.  Same everything.  Only the people who did that sort of thing, didn’t do it anymore.  As near as I could tell, it just passed out of fashion.

Photo is Lady Gaga from Google Images

From the Editor’s Perch…

October 15, 2012

“Hope we get there by curtain time!”

Finding Theater  on a Small Island in the South Pacific

The great thing about live theater is that it can be created anywhere!  with very little… and still work just fine.  Here’s an account of happening on some on a tiny island  in the far away South Pacific:  http://www.sailblogs.com/member/pantarhei/?xjMsgID=244898

Fashion with Chris

February 23, 2011

Editor’s Note:  A lot of you have been getting upset about our lapsed coverage of the Elvis Invitationals.  Sorry!  We had to interrupt our coverage for breaking news.  But here is the denouement you’ve all been waiting for…  Except that first we want to post a bit of the dress standard for the event.  Start planning! those of you who are planning to attend next year’s event.

Elvis Invitational Audience Dress Standards

A Bit of Haute Coutre Showed Up

Formal Attire

Eclectic Goth Rockabilly

The Well-Heeled Were There

Everyone Wanted to Touch These to See If The Little Black Things Were Bumpy

Meow!

Court Jester to The King

And finally: Let's Give It Up for the Lone Star State!

Photos by Carl Nelson


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