Lest we forget that lines of sight vary from person to person, consider two perspectives on this year's Sarah Palin Halloween costume. The context for costume is evolving as room is made for simultaneous reverence and satire.
(Photo: Rubies Costume Company has sold more than 15,000 units of its latex Sarah Palin mask since start of production in late September, and it can barely keep up with requests. In past years, election-related masks were a good indicator of who was slated to win the presidency, but this year it’s “confusing”: Obama is outselling McCain, but the Palin mask is clearly blowing them both out of the water.)
Considering the cacophony of late from recession to politics to terror, much like any brand we all need a little white space to gain perspective. A certain barometer of the times, NYC's Village Halloween Parade couldn't have a better-timed theme: Ghost. How's that for back to basics?
"A white cotton sheet with two holes for eyes floats before you. It is the first and the simplest of masks. The sheet defines an absence, or rather an invisible presence, made perceptible only by its earthly veil.
"Beneath the veil lies the sum of our hopes, fears, and memories..."
From now until Election Day, an artist in Brooklyn is calling on peers to simply circle round public objects (manhole covers, storm drains, pipe caps, etc.) making them into large Os, and then chalking the letters 'bama' to the immediate right of the object in the street or sidewalk, so that it looks like [ROUND OBJECT]bama. The point? Get people to think "OBAMA!" whenever they see an O-shaped object in public.
(Photo: O for Obama in NYC.)
"We have asked the Republican campaign publicly not to use our music. We hope our wishes will be honored," the group said in a statement that said they "condemn" the use of the song at the Republican convention.
The cover story of this week's NY Times Magazine deals with the diminishing child rate in Europe. The ripple effect on cities and global commerce is shocking. The video is from a documentary from last year titled "Where have all the babies gone?" by Journeyman Pictures.
(excerpt) In the 1990s, European demographers began noticing a downward trend in population across the Continent and behind it a sharply falling birthrate. Non-number-crunchers largely ignored the information until a 2002 study by Italian, German and Spanish social scientists focused the data and gave policy makers across the European Union something to ponder. The figure of 2.1 is widely considered to be the “replacement rate” — the average number of births per woman that will maintain a country’s current population level. At various times in modern history — during war or famine — birthrates have fallen below the replacement rate, to “low” or “very low” levels. read more
We are a bit obsessed with networks here at scenarioDNA. Our job is to flesh them out and focus their potential for our clients. A great article in this week's NY Times Magazine by Dalton Conley of NYU's Sociology department touches on the power of networks in relation to the Democrats struggle with articulating their "New New Deal". Dalton identifies the root of the problem as not recognizing the fundamental cultural shift. We live in stark contrast to post-WW2.
(excerpt) Government and big business had an understanding, famously embodied by the line, “What’s good for the country is good for General Motors, and vice versa.” Employers, in turn, agreed to pay their (male) employees a living wage and provide generous benefits.......Today, by contrast, the most common model of social organization is crosscutting social groups. Less than a quarter of families still fit the traditional nuclear model. Meanwhile, more than two-thirds of households with two or more adults have multiple breadwinners.
...perhaps we need to reimagine these nesting dolls and instead think of the social contract along the lines of a computer network or the hub-and-spoke airline network in the U.S. In such “scale free” networks, distance has been collapsed by long links that allow you to skip between any two points in a couple steps. The government’s role is less as a backup provider — in case one link of the nested chain breaks down — and more as honest broker and resource hub across groups. Read more [image Corbis]
A ban on bikinis at the city pool [in Kanab, Utah] is expected to be revised, ending a short-lived prohibition on the popular two-piece pool attire, reports the Chicago Tribune. But that does not mean that lifting the G-rating is going to lead to poolside G-strings.
"My recommendation is going to be no thongs or string bikinis," said City Councilwoman Nina Laycook, who called the original dress code an oversight.
(excerpt from How to Pick a Veep)
1. Play to Your Strength: In 1992, Bill Clinton picked another Southern baby boomer with a moderate record. Picking Gore reinforced Clinton's claim to be part of a new generation of Democratic pols, liberated from the tired (and losing) politics of the past.
4. Hug Your Rival: That's what Ronald Reagan did when he picked George H.W. Bush in 1980 and how John Kerry came to choose John Edwards in 2004. Sometimes party unity simply demands it.
(from the New Yorker) Currently, the Department of Defense is testing Virtual Iraq—one of three virtual-reality programs it has funded for P.T.S.D. treatment, and the only one aimed at “ground pounders” in six locations, including the Naval Medical Center San Diego, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, in Washington, D.C., and Weill Cornell Medical College, in New York. According to a recent study by the RAND Corporation, nearly twenty per cent of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans are suffering from P.T.S.D. or major depression. Almost half won’t seek treatment. If virtual-reality exposure therapy proves to be clinically validated—only preliminary results are available so far—it may be more than another tool in the therapists’ kit; it may encourage those in need to seek help. Video Read full article