Category Archives: quotation

a theory about comedy strategy from Joan Rivers

joan-portrait

as most people by now — Joan Rivers passed away yesterday
on August 4th, 2014

i truly enjoyed her comedic style and especially loved watching her latest project Fashion Police many an evening with my wife — the level of social commentary on the rather insane world of celebrity and fashion actually seemed to be the perfect target for her brand of ribald, insult-based humor, and even though she sometimes projected harsh criticisms in a supremely public delivery forum, she also intentionally added a level of humility and humanity to every conversation she engaged in on the show { and throughout the span of her entire career, too } by making Fashion Police a conversation instead of a ranty dialog

i actually found her to be quite endearing, regardless of the harsh and vitriolic persona she portrayed as part of her little critique panel for the Hollywood Junior High School culture covered so endearingly in the mainstream media — she also very cleverly hand-picked her more gentle colleagues on her panel to offset her mean transgressions against these almost holy figures the American public seems to so readily worship — her nightly posse, Kelly Osbourne, Giuliana Rancic and George Kotsiopoulos, nicely accompanied and balanced out the Rivers’ material in a really beautiful and thoughtful way, which I’m sure was the natural, genius orchestration behind Joan Rivers and her larger than life personality and comic approach to life

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i think i particularly loved her blunt and ofttimes vicious injections knowing full well that Rivers was consciously targeting her own culture, the culture of stars and fashion and appearances — the surface culture that covers all of America — as much as she was part of it, she constantly thumbed her nose to it in the most deliciously self-deprecating and hilarious way imaginable — and, Rivers also seems to have left a legacy of philosophical insight into the strange dynamics of comedy and funniness that can be rather easily exhumed from various sources around the web

i find this quote particularly fascinating — it seems to confirm the theories that Portland State University communications professor David Ritchie, PhD discusses as his Truth in humor theory in Metaphor and Symbol as most likely derived from Freud’s Relief Theory of laughter and humor 

I succeeded by saying what everyone else is thinking.

— Joan Rivers, 1933-2014
we love you, we live on through your life devoted
to humor, social commentary and laughter

on adaption, survival and environment

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It is not the most intellectual of the species that survives; it is not the strongest that survives; but the species that survives is the one that is able best to adapt and adjust to the changing environment in which it finds itself.

— Leon C. Megginson

design equity

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how much do you value Design?

as a designer — a human-centered storyFirst experience designer, to be more specific — i sometimes have to unfortunately question my value, or at least my perceived value to the people that hire me or collaborate with me on the project work i’m involved with

value is a relative thing

in a lot of ways value is as nebulous and conceptually faith-based as other terms like respect, trust, belief and other similar energy-guided principles that guide our daily decisions and interactions as we make from the head, heart and gut

most people simplify the concept of value to some sort of financial equivalancy

value becomes a purely monetarily-evaluated thing

but this is a perversion of what value really means, because value in actuality is a far less static force in the world, and one not really as directly associated with money as its been made to feel and as it is promoted to be by our larger societal systems

its all a vast oversimplification

but from a design standpoint in general — its actually an unfortunate and unnecessarily cluttered perversion of the term itself

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i can feel that my value as a designer
changes from collaboration to collaboration

from full-time engagement to full-time engagement there is really no standard equivalency that a corporation needs to adhere to from a purely monetary, compensatory standpoint in the hiring process — its all comparative and competitive market ballparking that also involves basic negotiation and ultimately the individual decisions of each party involved — which is fine, this is a free market system we deal with on a daily basis, but don’t forget to defend your value as an employee or independent professional and to actually also stand for and stand up for the other definition variation for the term in its plural values

all that said

your value as built up over the years and as you and your colleagues and collaborators perceive you’ve accumulated through experience, expertise and the daily work you do creates a certain brand equity

in my case i own my own Design Equity

at this point in my career i just simply know what i’m doing — but what i do as a designer might be valued more or less { not just in the monetary sense of value } depending on the company i keep

if i perceive that the company i keep during my day gig doesn’t appreciate my value and the level of contribution i bring to the team and to the company, i start to get a little confused

as much as i typically want to continue with the company i keep — as much as i want to continue to innovate and collaborate with the team i’m working with by bringing the power of my design knowledge, processes and know-how to the table each and every day, if it feels like i’m being kept by the company in some way — maybe kept from leveraging my full potential talent — or kept from contributing the most i can to the business strategies, initiatives and needs of the organization

i guess i just never quite understand that particular dynamic within a corporate business setting

why would a company want to compensate you a substantial amount — after quite rigorously interviewing you and assessing what you can contribute to their business — to just keep you locked up at a desk like an collectable or something and ask you to contribute to the typical mediocrity they suddenly reveal as their real business objectives once you’ve crossed over into the company after the interview process to just be another one of their employees? 

i would automate the timepunch workforce, let go of the half aSses that keep the company { and the country, for that matter } at that well-established level of mediocrity and hire more of the go-getters and game-changers to actually maybe get some real shit done

doesn’t that make a whole lot more sense?

i think if you analyze it from even that pure economic monetary value perspective, which most companies supposedly do, it definitely makes for just better business practice

if i feel like my company is merely keeping me, that’s when i consider taking my Design Equity elsewheremy LinkedIn Profile reflects this mentality, which is a bit more than a mentality, its my personal business and career methodology and i actually recommend more people think about and conduct their careers and their lives following this more aggressive set of personal business policies that place more accountability and responsibility on the corporations that choose to engage with us

in Massachusetts we’re all considered employees at will — basically meaning at any point the company you work for can decide to let you go without any real reason whatsoever

but that decision actually goes both ways

its a ultimately bisexual decision — or at least its a two-way street

and you as the employee at will can also decide to let the company go, too

but there is a little bit of a stigma that comes with the terrain, of course, if you do choose to live by the ethical standards and values i allude to so far — and this stigma i speak of is very much not in as kind to the individual as an employee as it is to the companies that hire them

i assume its because the financial power
typically resides with the company

they decide on our relative worth and value or devalue us

although those that defend their value and fight for their real value set up and enforce a dynamic where we can ultimately at least influence and fend for what we know our real Design Equity and general workforce worth is in the world — there’s simply still more power in the hands of the corporations, for recruitment and for just about every other facet of our current capitalist, consumer-based socio-economic systemic setup

making corporations a bit more accountable when they don’t properly empower you is just another way to move our culture away from our econoRuled world to a more humanistically-beneficial, and maybe even a far more truly democratic new roadmap for the future world 

Design is one of many very powerful ways to better participate at the larger level and maybe even help change our world for the better

and i choose to use my own Design Equity to actively work toward making the world a better place for actual peoplenot to simply promote new technologies to just drive better profit margins on somebody’s fucking Excel spreadsheet — and definitely not to contribute toward the mere survival of a legal entity that doesn’t in actuality even exist in the world as anything real and that doesn’t ultimately care in any way for actual people, including: their employees; their partners; their clients; and the people of the world

i Design to imagine and help create a better world

i leverage my Design Equity for people over corporations

i am not against corporations or anti-American, though — i just think corporations need to be more accountable for their actions and behavior and for what they promote — and corporations need to be babysat a bit more through actual government-driven policies and services that put The People at the core of what this nation and the world is all about

i hope you weren’t previously confused by who i am or what i stand for, but if so — i hope this blogPost clears things up for you

let me know if you have any questions, aight?

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The reality of our century is technology: the invention, construction and maintenance of machines. To be a user of machines is to be of the spirit of this century. Machines have replaced the transcendental spiritualism of past eras.

— László Moholy-Nagy

 

an interesting quote from László Moholoy-Nagy — the Hungarian painter and photographer as well as a Bauhaus artist and educator that advocated the integration of technology and industry into the arts

of course in the quote above Moholy-Nagy speaks of The ‘Modern’ Twentieth Century, an era that heavily focused on celebrating { and counting on } our new technological inventions as the new obsessive means and universal answer to any challenges we might be facing in the natural { and transitioning } world as human beings

if, as Moholy-Nagy states in the quote, ‘Machines have replaced the transcendental spiritualism of past eras’ — then what are we currently experiencing as the current replaced psychoSocial dynamics of our day in this grand Age of Information?

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don’t forget

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the wheel
is an extension of the foot
the book
is an extension of the eye
clothing, an extension of the skin,
electric circuitry,
an extension of
the
central
nervous
system

The Medium is The Massage, Marshall McLuhan

i think we can all interpret these effects, as McLuhan calls them, in various extremes, dimensions, and ways

one way i interpret some of our extensions as influenced by books like The Body has a Mind of Its Own and The Moving Body: Teaching Creative Theatre is that in some way, the tools we use become a part of us, and likewise the other way, too — we become part of the tools we use

i specifically think of the performance art and new media works of the Australian artist Stelarc — in his piece called Muscle Memory { seen in the image included in this post, below }, the artist installs himself into a robotic, spider-like structure that augments and extends his physical abilities as a human being through this strange, science fiction-like machine contraption

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a question i think about a LOT recently is — well, what’s so controversial and different about this performance and the gadgetry involved and, let’s say, the average commuter driving to work at 6:34 AM?

in the case of Stelarc’s Muscle Memory, the artist demonstrates the sheer power and new capabilities afforded the machine operator to an audience in a gallerySpace — its a performance and a demonstration, and its very future-forward and cyberSurreal and interesting in a way that might inform the audience in both a positive and negative way — we might be able to very obviously see how Stelarc, now living and breathing within the confines of this ginormous metal robot, might start to behave, well, like a ginormous metal robot — he, in many ways, becomes the machine, and he learns and adapts and adjusts to both the new things he can do with it while simultaneously sacrificing his own human experience along the way — or, maybe i’m thinking far too much like a transitional, if that’s even a term — i’m not sure that he evolves in any literal way by using the robotic equipment as part of his Muscle Memory performance piece, but his discussions on the topic of this Singularity between man and machine, the combination of the biological and the technological extensions of the previously nearly-pure physical human form, put us in the typical uncanny valley of confrontational wonderment — what does this all mean for us as human beings — will we all need to put on a robotic suit in the near future to perform our on-the-job tasks and assignments? or are our human capabilities ‘man’ enough to get the job done? perhaps it depends upon the line of work you’re in, not sure though, but i’m sure we’ll find out in 10 to 15 years

now let’s take the case of driving to work in the morning — i embed myself into my maroon Honda Accord every morning and drive from Boxford to Waltham every day and i would like to argue that while i am in the car i actually become the car — i adopt the personality, the feelings and the mentality of driving to work, at least for 40 minutes to an hour, twice a day — and, depending on traffic and the flow of traffic and other automobiles on the highway as i drive down Route 95 South, and depending on my mood as a human being now living and breathing as a wetware organ beating inside the machine like a nearly obsolete heart of meat, i act quite differently than i normally do when we talk face-to-face in the office or when i’m at home playing with my son or my grandchildren on the floor — i really think i can become the car in a very literal way, at least if you let yourself follow the subconscious flow of desire that stands in front of you like the temptress you know she is

let’s say you’re in a hurry and you know that if you stay in your conscious state as a person sitting at the wheel that you’ll get to work in about an hour and 15 minutes — not bad, not bad

but why not trust you’re own muscle memory as a driver, as a commuter that’s gotta get shit done, as a worker bee that’s gotta shake the tree and make the magic happen today, ya know? that care now becomes far more than a mere vehicle for rapid movement across a peripherally streaked landscape of trees and jersey barriers and guardrails flying by at 80 miles an hour

that’s right, think about it

from a human-centered perspective, you’re not really moving at all — in fact, you may move here and there, adjust the ball of your foot to move from brake to gas, click the direction into the left position to send a signal to the 20 people behind you as you course like blood through the body that is the highway, but for the most part you’re parked solid and still on your ass, sunk into a quite comfortable chair that let’s you command your magic journey some 30 to 50 miles away from where you live

if you let go a bit and begin to think and behave like the car, you start to decipher new rules of the road that can be leveraged to your advantage — little openings in the flow of traffic beckon you to quickly shift lanes and push ahead of the losers driving slowly in the passing lane to the left — sure, they’re supposed to pass you, but for whatever reason the first and second lanes are wide open and you can make better progress by ignoring the implicit rules of the road — let’s get moving, right? and so on, and so forth

your a little less human when you drive, and more like the pilot of a zombie robot that’s bolting to the office, zipping in and out of the lanes that help you make it all happen

the wheel is an extension of the foot is what McLuhan said in the original quote from The Media is the Massage, but i beg to differ

with our newly adapted and evolved modern lives and our commonplace daily use of machines and devices like cars and trains and other vehicles, the person becomes and extension of the automobile — we become the force that operates a vehicle such as a car, a forklift or an airplane — we become a reverse-extension of it, or them, and we do all the adjusting and discover the new terrains now opened up by our technological progress

i’m not sure where that leaves us as human beings

but i think we should all exercise, at times, a little more conscious awareness and control over our newly-extended selves

cyberSurrealism is about looking at the self by psychoanalyzing the human element through our cybernetic machine influence back on the wetware components of our society — how do our machines change our behavior? how do they then influence: our culture; our interactions with each other as people; and our capabilities on a more holistic scale? as certain capabilities improve, is it inevitable for us to lose other very valuable skills and qualities as human beings? and, in all of this, these thoughts and experiments and explorations through progress and innovation, do we still have any control whatsoever over the evolution and invention of the tools we create and use? or do these things almost subconsciously invent themselves now? how do we keep focusing on the valuable potentials of these human ingenuities and foster more humanly helpful technologies and progress? and most importantly, what the fuck does 4G mean?