The New Copernicans

#MeToo Plus #NeverAgain: A Red Line Has Been Crossed

by

Screams turned into silence. It was a profound and systemic problem. Women’s lives were being ruined. Nonetheless, silence. And then the Harvey Weinstein controversy broke open a cultural sea change in the public perception toward sexual abuse. USA Today survey reports that 94% of women in Hollywood have experienced some form of sexual harassment or assault during their careers in film. According to the same survey, 21% have been forced to do something sexual at least once. Yet only one in four of these women reported these experiences to anyone for fear of personal or professional retaliation. Social media in part has changed all this.

While we must not overlook the heroic and courageous early voices of actresses Rose McGowan, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ashley Judd and Salma Hayek, we must be also grateful for the emergence of hashtag activism: #MeToo. Today studio heads are rolling and ethical conduct statements are being written and enforced. Those who curate the social imagination have taken control of this narrative in ways that suggest that real change is possible. The code of silence has been broken and the ubiquitous good-old-boys clubs have been exposed. The public is now siding with disclosure not denial.

Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Reality’s Push Back: PTSD and ‘Thank You for Your Service’

by

Reality is pushing back and we don’t like it. We like our wars quick, our victories decisive, and our soldiers John Wayne. That is not the reality of our contemporary nation or military.

We need to be careful about romanticizing war through the eyes of special operations specialists—Navy SEALs, Army Delta Force, and the like. Their missions are usually short and decisive and met with overwhelming technological ability and professional expertise. The real measure of warfare is the reality of the Army or Marine infantryman. This story is powerfully depicted in Thank You For Your Service (2017). It tells the story of four veterans of the 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment returning to the vicinity of Fort Riley, Kansas, following a 15-month deployment in Iraq in 2007.

This film illustrates the lingering scars of a prolonged national investment in war. The film was written and directed by Jason Hall based on a non-fiction book by Washington Post reporter David Finkel. Hall was the Oscar-nominated writer behind the 2014 film about Chris Kyle, American Sniper.

There is something both heroic and tragic about America’s all-volunteer military.

Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Millennials at Work

Three Keys to Cultural Change and Why Millennials Will Lead

by

Culture change requires three things and millennials are poised to maximize them. The dynamics of cultural change are more like football than golf. Golf is a solitary sport where the individual is expected to be proficient in the woods, irons, wedges, and putters. Football in contrast is a brutally choreographed dance involving men of different sizes and skills working in total concert for a common goal. Cultural change requires dense networks, social location, and collective curation.

 

Historian and scriptwriters often highlight the extraordinary individual, the genius, or the charismatic leader. However catalytic these individuals may be for the success of an enterprise, it is the “dense network” rather than the individual who is the main actor on the stage of cultural change. Overlapping and purposeful relationships are central to creating significant change.[1] This fact highlights the rising importance of collaborative leaders in contrast to imperial leaders.[2] These networks, whether formal or informal, are key to developing cultural change.

This is seen most clearly in the historic example of the abolition of slavery in England. The singular effort of parliamentarian William Wilberforce is often given front billing.

Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

President Trump Tweeting

Is There a Method to the Madness of Trump’s Tweets?

by

Trump is controversial. Trump’s Tweets are even more so—both to his supporters and his detractors. Perhaps we have been looking at them in the wrong way! Is there a method to his madness?

Berkeley cognitive scientist George Lakoff is an expert on linguistic framing. Everyone thinks first in frames. If the facts don’t fit the frame, the facts bounce off and the frame remains. So in this sense, frames rule.

Lakoff argues that Donald Trump’s Tweets are an exercise in framing and are not to be parsed as a series of factual propositions. They are tactical rather than substantive. Because the news media is addicted to ‘Breaking News’ and has a high proclivity for left-brain propositional thinking, media companies rush to report extensively on Trump’s latest Tweet… playing directly into his hand. Media outlets inadvertently shift the focus off the substance under debate and on to the frame of Trump’s choosing in his latest tweet. The media may well serve as co-conspirators of Trump’s reframing and serve as amplifiers of his preferred perspective. Trump’s approach may be subversive, but it is also genius. While there may be some substance in some of his Tweets, their main focus is to establish the frame rather than deliver the facts.

Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Featured Video Play Icon

A Misfire that Matters: Kit Harington’s ‘Gunpowder’

by

Why should we care about historical biopics such as HBO’s mini-series Gunpowder? Is it because it stars Kit Harington—the heartthrob Jon Snow of Game of Thrones fame? Is it because of its message of religious bigotry and violence?

This is a British story exported to the U.S. Its resonance here will be very different from the U.K. where it played last October on BBC. The Gunpowder Plot is celebrated annually in England as Guy Fawkes Day. It is the British equivalent of our 9/11. And like 9/11 it is seared into the British consciousness.

We have a contemporary U.S. TV drama that is premised on the blowing up of the entire government assembled at the U.S. Capitol, ABC’s Designated Survivor. This is the story of a similar plot in 17th century Jacobean England.

Like an iceberg, most of what shapes our identity as persons is unconscious. Only about 10% of who we are is shaped by our direct rational control. Most of who we are is shaped by mysterious unknown factors. Social psychologists and sociologist have determined that past historical experiences are one of those determining factors.

Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Continue Reading