Steve Jobs


I will add but a few words to the millions that will be written in the next few days about Steve Jobs.

At the Innovation Lab we try to inculcate the notion that you can’t be afraid. You can’t be afraid to fail. You can’t be afraid to “be different”. You can’t be afraid to celebrate the weird mix of art and science that is true innovation. Steve Jobs embodied all of those qualities. I wrote a bit about him in my new book and there is a cool video in the book of his graduation speech at Stanford that you will see replayed too often in the next few days.

I think Steve Jobs represents everything we hope for in our vision of the entrepreneurial America we have in our dreams. As a country and as leaders, we fall short of that dream on a daily basis. At Apple, which has been a wonderful partner to our Lab, they have a saying, “Culture eats strategy for lunch every day.” Steve inculcated a culture of innovation into the people he worked for. That may have been his greatest gift.

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38 Responses to Steve Jobs

  1. Rachel says:

    He changed music, movies, and the way people communicate. The last person who had that much impact was Thomas Edison. But I suspect he also changed the way a lot of people think, too.

  2. BERNARD. says:

    A wonderful human being.

  3. Michael Rose says:

    A life well lived.

  4. Ken Ballweg says:

    It will be fascinating to watch over the next decade to see whether his best innovation was to remake the culture at Apple into something that will continue his pattern of creativity and brilliant design, or whether it will only come close but lack the critical spark Jobs brought to the company. Clearly we won’t know for several years, given the momentum he left it with.

    I suspect that a closer parallel than Edison would be Henry Ford, who matched Jobs’ innovation, developed a truly multinational corporation before it was all the rage, and steered the culture of that equally iconic brand up to the post WWII years. In the 60’s design by committee started to take over, but so much of the industry was in the thrall of post war bigger = better, and a three year average replacement cycle that the remaining Ford family members allowed themselves to be led by men like Robert McNemara and Lee Ioccoca who were setting the tone of the company to be consistent with the rest of the industry. Still, it was the one American auto company that didn’t need to be bailed out after the collapse, and it is proving remarkably resilient.

    It will be interesting to see if Apple leads as interesting of a corporate life.

  5. len says:

    After all the plaudits are said, let’s see if the History Channel runs the Pirates of Silicon Valley movie again where the theme is, if you’re mean as hell and win, you’re a hero, and if you’re mean as hell and lose, you’re forgotten. Jobs will not be forgotten.

    Culture is a tricky business. Innovation and entertainment have a fatal irreconcilable difference: popularity is not the only way to have an impact and may in fact not be one of the most powerful.

  6. len says:

    Before being misunderstood, I mourn for Jobs as a person, but before the mythmaker gets too much traction, the mythbusters have a point to make.

    Innovation loses to commoditization. That is the flaw in Jon’s thesis just as others have said about the Apple culture. No one can sustain it.

    Entertainment and product building are two different animals. They may sleep together on occasion and create brilliant bastards, but they don’t raise families together because they are incompatible and then irreconcilable. When the inability to sustain the innovative culture is realized, rather than blame the originator (Jobs) for failing to enable a sustainable business model, they will blame the successor (Cook) because the first job of entertainment and media is to ensure the heroic image is preserved. It is the cheese in the trap of carnivorous cultures.

    Ransom Stoddard: You’re not going to use the story, Mr. Scott? Maxwell Scott: No, sir. This is the West, sir. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.

    – The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance –

  7. woodnsoul says:


    One thing Jobs wasn’t was cynical. He saw light and opportunity where others saw none – can’t bottle that as a commodity, though you can lead with it – and foster leaders.

    Cynicism only begets more cynicism in a spiral.

    I like his direction – a lot!!

  8. len says:

    good but listening to people bragging about photoshopping the wall street photos they took on their eyePhone while they can’t watch jon stewart because it was delivered in flash tech that jobs took a lot of joy in working to kill is somewhat like watching dachau inmates celebrating the doodles they made on their skin while digging pits outside the camp.

    it’s cynicism when cnn tells us the wall street kids don’t have a focused message. it’s worth celebrating that shuttleworth lived to a ripe old age while a lot of people were trying to kill him. that jobs died wealthy for pirating other groups ideas and you celebrate his taking advantage of his opportunities, that’s simply business as usual piracy begets more piracy.

    Mayans charted the stars and predicted celestial events thousands of years into the future and didn’t have an app for that. Celebrate the innovators. Mourn the dead.

  9. John Papola says:

    Great post. He’s been my hero for this past decade. I’ve wept more in the past two days than is reasonable.

  10. Ken Ballweg says:

    Len, you should try a different diet than raw lemons.

  11. Adam says:

    If Apple were so great, I’d be able to read iBooks I purchased/paid money for on my Mac or PC. Such as Jon Taplin’s book.

  12. len says:

    And that, Adam, is where Jon’s theories have consequences. Delight for some is pain for others. Access for some is a closed door for others. As I’ve said in reply to Callie’s question about limousine liberals, and Jon says himself, this comes down to when one will lower the tinted glass, when will be vulnerable. Truly and completely open systems dissipate energy/information completely and varying by case, very quickly. You see this concept in practice in everything from biological membranes to XML namespaces. The space boundary removes ambiguity or name collisions. The membrane enables an organism to select/choose. This is information theory rule number one: a set of choices with no means to discriminate among them is at full entropy. When you merge that idea with scales and structures, you find yourself in the world of physics, particularly classical physics.

    Stepping back, Jobs essentially walled off Apple and controlled his suppliers. If you wanted to be an Apple vendor or customer and particularly an employee, you accepted Apple rules and Jobs’ tyranny. It’s all or nothing. Access is conntrolled and this is a selector over quality. Like it or not, this is the nugget of hierarchicalization, the engine of class emergence: access as a means of quality control.

    Some months ago, a fellow who talks to me on FB was angry about Burnett’s production of a famous blues artist. I won’t go into names, but the complaint was Burnett would not let the artist use his own band and it was described as an all or nothing deal. To work with the producer, the artist had to give up some or all control of the production in certain aspects. The complaint was this was a very good band and live it most certainly is. I tried to explain my interpretation of that not being a first person, or even involved, just speculating given a remark Burnett made on this list: “I only work with the best.” When the money bet on a project and the persons involved imply considerable risk, the person making the choices cannot leave anything to chance. They simply can’t because ultimately they are responsible for the results and that responsibility implies failures limit their future access. The time when labels could use the large successes to finance the small successes or failures is over in that industry.

    So I asked the person if he thought that the success of the album would create more opportunities for the band, better gigs, more sessions, and so on and if that is so, it might be a good idea to quit complaining and go forward with the increased opportunities Burnett’s choices were enabling.

    This is the way of quality: choices that eliminate some opportunities create others and that is strategic thinking. Now Jon wants to say culture beats strategy and in the short term for a given set of choices, it can be perceived as true. Over the long run? That is something we can fruitfully debate but before I go on for too long, there is another issue: style. On FB this morning, someone was saying Jobs detractors are revealing more about their own character than his. Ken is going down that path here. To which I reply, that’s victim blame. They want to excuse some behaviors to insist on a model that promotes others and I think it is a false choice, a means to reinforce an actively harmful model of creativity. It is crediting caligula with improving the games by insisting on the combatants fighting to the death. It is the real danger of Jon’s model: it may do more harm than is necessary.

    Having worked in both fields, I’ve met many famous creative geniuses and without fail, the overwhelming majority of them are polite, respectful and genuinely warm people. They are very careful about whom they are vulnerable to and this is a survival requirement for them. Too many want access and they have to choose. It cannot be any other way. It doesn’t mean they have to be cruel, completely self-absorbed, insensitive to the pain they may be creating.

    And that is the nugget: Jobs did a fine job selling Apple products. If the stories are true, he wasn’t a nice guy. He didn’t invent Apple: Wozniak did. It is very important to emphasize the collaboration. It is very important to see the series of choices that lead to quality. It isn’t simply the outlaw blues. That is a model of anarchy and cruelty. Having met some of the people in Jon’s book, some were very smart but also very kind people, Alan Ginsburg for example. These are the people I think we need to emulate because from time to time, to refresh energy, we have to open the membranes, lower the tinted windows, maybe get a car that costs the environment less. These are the people we can admire, who are heros for all of us and whose memory and conversations we can cherish. They bring out the best even in the least, and at the end of the session, isn’t that what the good producers, the good managers, the brilliant artists do? It’s worth thinking about.

    I can’t read the book either. I don’t buy Apple products. I made that decision years ago after hearing about Jobs’ treatment of people and having seen what his methods do to the open source community from whom he was very willing to take but loathed to contribute. It’s hard to admire that and I vote with my purchases. Others need the ease of Apple products. I don’t. I’ll trade some problems for more opportunities every day. It’s called freedom.

  13. Martin Pitts says:

    An excerpt from Martinshushu Blog:

    Theories of economics are often not intuitive or practical. Albert Einstein gave up economics because he said it was too hard, and the great English mathematician and philosopher Bertrand Russell gave up economics because he said it was too easy.

    Steve Jobs built his company on inexorably creating more and better goods and services for his clients and customers. Jobs spent the money on inventing and applying the invention to products and services. That is innovation. That is how True Capitalism works.

    The Fake Capitalists will certainly try everything to stop all innovation because innovation will lead their deserved destruction. The white noise of the spin weenies of politics and Fake Capitalists of finance and industry are lies of evil hucksters. The Fake Capitalists are trying to sell America a bill of damaged goods. The Fake Capitalists use quotes from the constitution or from the bible. The Fake Capitalists are the barkers for the evil destruction of our nation. Our national government must spend money on innovation now.

  14. Amber in Albuquerque says:

    Better goods. Or just “cooler”? I’m not brand loyal and have used Apple stuff and may buy more in the future. But I am with Len on this one.

  15. Amber in Albuquerque says:

    OK. Len has made most of my points for me already, but I am feeling compelled to rant. Whoever made the comparison to Henry Ford, rather than Thomas Edison, was spot on. Jobs was a great capitalist and probably, using Pixar rather than Apple as evidence, a creative genius. Nevertheless, I am absolutely apalled by the hand wringing, clothes rending outpouring over his death. I had one of my facebook friends say she “felt like she had lost a friend even though she never met the man” and “was honored to work for him”—for pennies. At an Apple store for God’s sake. Give me a freakin’ break here.

    And then there are all the people saying how he “changed the world” and “made so many lives better.” I will once again point out to this overconnected little salon (and I love it here, but we are an extremely privileged bunch) that there are huge numbers of people who don’t have access to his products at all and huge numbers more who can’t afford them even if they do have access to them. I live in a state where (by one account) it costs $26K per mile to get electrical lines to people who are currently off grid in remote areas (aka Indian reservations). Where people STILL carry water from a central location in 5-gallon jugs or bigger drums to their homes. Where until recently (10 or 15 years ago) people were still on party line telephone service. I own businesses in towns where broadband is not the norm and most people don’t give a damn anyway. Jobs’ impact on these peoples’ lives? Not fucking much.

    Jobs may have helped to make the internet what it is today, but he didn’t invent it (neither did Al Gore). That was the MIC (lest you all have forgotten) and some folks at the University of Illinois (remember MOSAIC? I do) who were, in all likelihood not operating with funding from a grant given by Mr. Jobs or Apple computer. So, we can thank Big Steve for giving us 24/7 access to cool stuff and free games, and instant shopping and porn. Oh yay.

    Jobs was a great capitalist. So is Bill Gates, but he was and, in some circles is, still villified for it. But, unlike Jobs, Bill had some mid-life epiphany and decided to share huge chunks of his money with those in need. Jobs did no such thing (at least not publicly), which is his own business, but not IMO a good example a la Paul Newman, Big Bill, and Warren Buffet (who is still kind of dodgy in my book). And still Jobs is a saint and Gates is a villain.

    I swear this guy must’ve had Winston Smith working in his PR department. As Elizabeth Warren points out—no one gets rich on their own and that includes Jobs. So yeah, he was brilliant and he died young and that’s sad, but again, I’m with Len—mourn the dead. Celebrate the innovators. Call out the Orwellian spin doctors who would re-write history to boost their sales and their ratings.

  16. JTMcPhee says:

    Soft sciences can’t produce hard answers, which I guess is a good thing (except for the fraud called “economics,” whose practitioners and adherents pretend it to be one thing when it is something else altogether.)

    For me, at least, it’s not so amazing that Jobs in death has been gifted with a mantle of commercial sainthood. I’ll not pretend to understand all about Jung, but the notion of the archetype, as I get it, resonates in the key of “true.”

    Jobs benefited, in the last years, from the cachexia that rendered him into the image of beneficent asceticism.

    Reagan, the image, had the fortune to fit the “avuncular” archetype, even while he and those attracted to him were gutting the rest of us. Hitler and Stalin and Huey Long and you name your favorites all fit another keyhole. Why does Casey Anthony become a fixation, or Lady Gaga, or Oprah? Once the particular button has been pressed, and the harmonics set to humming in the subjacent strings, why is it surprising that the old critical faculty goes out the window?

    The individuals who happen, by pure fortuity, to clang in that range that stirs the sentiments of strong emotion and identity (too often the same genera,) can get away with all kinds of unpleasantness, and still expect absolution and grace. I bet Newt Gingrich expects to be admitted to Heaven, in his turn.

    We live in the Cave, and poets know it:

    In Memory of W.B. Yeats

    Earth, receive an honoured guest:
    William Yeats is laid to rest.
    Let the Irish vessel lie
    Emptied of its poetry.

    Time that is intolerant
    Of the brave and the innocent,
    And indifferent in a week
    To a beautiful physique,

    Worships language and forgives
    Everyone by whom it lives;
    Pardons cowardice, conceit,
    Lays its honours at their feet.

    Time that with this strange excuse
    Pardoned Kipling and his views,
    And will pardon Paul Claudel,
    Pardons him for writing well.

    In the nightmare of the dark
    All the dogs of Europe bark,
    And the living nations wait,
    Each sequestered in its hate;

    Intellectual disgrace
    Stares from every human face,
    And the seas of pity lie
    Locked and frozen in each eye.

    But see, we LIKE to be manipulated, to root for the home team, to snap up the worm despite the barbed hook, to feed our children to the belly of Moloch and then jump into the flames to be with them, to work 12 hours standing in the Apple Store for pennies. Because Our Ford is in his Aerie, and all’s right with the world…

  17. Martin Pitts says:

    McPhee, you got it right. Economics is a science in name only. The field was created to study the wonder of industrialization in England around 1800. One of the founders was Thomas Malthus. Later in his life Malthus was a friend and muse of Harriet Martineau who wrote about how British capitalists were the new paragons of social brilliance. The problem with dear Harriet was her deafness. Certainly she was very attentive to Malthus when she met with him near the end of his life. But note that Malthus had a cleft pallet so how could Harriet not have misreported Malthus sage and sad predictions of population explosion and subsequent direness for the common man.

    That nudge of history reminds this writer of Ronnie Reagan who during his eight year White House sleepover was completely without short and long term memory because of degenerative dementia. Understanding the modern art of economics requires a quick wit and a profound memory. To help the old guy think more clearly, Reagan’s handlers called up a muse and monetarist from Chicago named Milton Friedman. Note that the term “monetarist” signifies a base interest in all things banking. Just like Harriet Martineau, Friedman listened to some mentor Malthus through a horn vaguely and wrote it all down for the reverent press and republican sycophants. Ronnie and all the Reaganistes declared that a fanatical “Trickle Down” doctrine was the new apotheosis forever and ever for the entire economy of our great nation. Ronnie and Kaiser Karl Rove and his rightwing gang practically canonized Friedman. And the Marine Band seductively played “Hail To The Chief” as the chauvinistic, amnesic media all jumped on the wagon.

  18. len says:

    I’d like this not to become another slagging thread particularly on Steve Jobs. Let him be mourned. That some people are going over the top is a reflection of a) Apple does produce brilliant products and b) people need heros, particularly the artistic classes that Apple supplies very well with easy to use and highly polished toolkits.

    What I’d like to question is Taplin’s assertions that Apple represents a model of innovation that should be emulated across the board by US government and industry and by inference, that Job’s management style is critical to the success of this emulation. I think this is a beggared analogy because 1. Apple is behind a walled garden and we have few facts to judge their culture, strategy or means. Only the output. 2. As illustrated by the gawker article, Jobs’ style of management may not be exemplary or applicable broadly.

    I believe it useful to discuss this as a way of furthering Jon’s goals of providing innovation exemplars. Measuring output is only useful if the hidden means can be and should be measured and replicated. A culture that cannot sustain itself is a one-off much as a self-made artist such as Dylan can be imitated but not replicated, and then you have to ask do you really want to imitate if innovation is the goal.

    There are other means more measurable, replicable and proven over longer periods of time to be equally successful *depending on the product and what it must do* to be successful. We should ask the successful in different fields how they do it and apply the same measurements.

  19. JTMcPhee says:

    Silly language. All these words, with all these meanings.

    What does “innovation” mean? Or how about “successful”? I always wonder about “victory,” and “fairness,” and so many others. Absent, especially, the interaction with other words, like “normative content.” Google is a wondrous grab-bag — in the search for meaning, you run across stuff like this,, which decrees by agreement that parts of the Geneva Conventions are “without normative content.” Or building on some of the same foundations, how about this: ?

    All those aspirational, inspirational words. And here we sit, mired in what, a Kleptocratidally stagdeflational swamp, where the few who figure out innovative ways to detach themselves from the stickymuck have easy pickins’ from the rest of our pockets.

    Before applauding the innovation and success of that whatever-it-is shorthanded as “Apple,” might one ask what either of those Very Big Words means? Or another kind of question: What’s Important? Or another: are “we” just all along for the ride, Google-eyed and soaring with breathless anticipation on the aspiration, no, the positive expectation, that Innovation will bring More and Better and Success? Or even less pain and fear?

    Not too far away in the cloud, there are tons of little bits like this one: Which indicates whole battalions of Innovators are busily at work, every day, picking up a paycheck on the way to what, a Balance of Terror Security? Remember when, not so long ago, the Serious People actually used that phrase, and saw that it was good? Old technology, Old World thinking, I know. We are way past that silly notion of nuclear-detonation-shaped-microwave decapitation. And on to much more Innovative stuff than that, even. Like this: Gotta love the notion, the innovation, that is the Silent Guardian, don’tcha? Even better than the neutron bomb — just drives the people away, screaming in pain, feeling like their skin is on fire, and leaves the buildings untouched! A positive moral improvement, right?

    How does one, or how do many, inspire the few Innovators to do stuff that feeds people, increases the stabilizing and homeostatic tendencies of the net species vector, reduces the sicknesses that suffuse us and our presence on and decimation and occupation of this-here planet? Or is a moral compass a positive inhibition to innovation, which maybe most of us agree should be in no way trammeled or circumscribed, so that people messing with genomes can grow second noses on the rest of us if it suits their successful fancy?

    Innovation exemplars, indeed. Where and who are they, all the obscure geniuses and genii that hope for an opening of the Klein bottle, letting all that Innovation loose without releasing any more of Pandora’s pathogens (unless that’s really profitable, right?)

  20. len says:

    @jtmc: Today the kids in wall street ran geraldo and fox out of the square and as he fled with his crew, they sang nana hey hey, goodbye. Over the weekend I saw a poster from them to that said moveon doesn’t represent them, the dmc doesn’t represent them, we don’t represent them. they told move on in short words to “fuck off and keep on moving.”

    There’s a light burning. The kids finally stood up. They won’t hear the fancy distractions. They don’t want to be pushed and prodded and spindled. They want the truth and now we have to discover what that is. It’s isn’t Apple. It isn’t BancoMerica. We don’t know what it is but I think they are going to get closer than we did. Hope.

    As to your questions, oddly enough, logistics can be a big help. Now I’m going upstairs to work on a love song. It’s what I do. :)

  21. len says:

    A side bet, JTMc, is how will the entertainment industry respond to the movement spreading out in the cities? The kids as Jon notes elsewhere have been raised on trivial pablum, unreality TV, caca creepy vampire fantasies. Suddenly they are awake. They answered the question we’ve been asking: where are the kids, why is this generation taking it? Turns out some number of them aren’t. There really is a next-gen street action happening. So what will Hollyweird do? Recycle The Mod Squad following Fratloose? Hey Link!!

    For the last ten years or more, most of what has come out of the valley had been fantastically expensive crap. Is there a new set of turks capable of discovering a truth out there or in there? Who makes the new Easy Rider and what will that be about? Who can tell this generation’s story? So far it’s been the Felicia Day’s but they’ve been co-opted. They produce caracatures of themselves, parodying their own creations, more elf-ears and nothing dramatic.

    Who’s going to tell the story of them waking up, turning off the games, taking off the ears and hitting the streets to fight for their future? Has Hollywood noticed? It’s a fascinating story in the park. It seems the series I talked about here a few years ago has become a new reality. Groovy.

  22. JTMcPhee says:

    len, I haven’t been to a movie theater in years, don’t do the video thing either. Remakes of remakes of pretty tired stuff to begin with, or stuff that aims for the basest of base interests and instincts, ain’t worth a $40 outing. Theatre popcorn sucks. First Amendment is just wonderful, but it does not a fortiori result in uplifting or illuminating anything (except, of late, the wonders of IP and what Citizens United can do for, or to, the rest of us.)

    Hey, if Papola can figure out how to produce that whatever-it-was on Hayek/over/Keynes, and Worgon can help Brietbart produce propaganda against ACORN and such, one might hope that somehow, out of all those technically adept young folks who seem to be Brailling around more successfully than many of their elders and compatriots for meaning and order in the world, might produce the flowers of guidance and enlightenment that come from seeds like “It’s A Wonderful Life.”

    Can I offer a once-GI’s hope that if there really is some nascent spiritual change in the wind, that the People of the Change, brought up on Forever War and “Call of Duty,” will find a way to butter and salt it so liberally over the rest of us that all the already-embedded and yet-to-be-born Jacobins and Buonapartes and Lenins and Pol Pots are swept into the dustbin of history before they ever take center stage? Find their way to some durable peace-‘n-love solution to the grand puzzle of human misery?

  23. len says:

    In bits and splatters, yes. Day just finished up Dragon Age Redemption with It will likely be the usual elf-ears, swords, wire fu, innuendo, shallow sex play. IOW, the gamer culture. And for the demographic that likes that, it will be what they like and don’t you dare get on a high horse and say otherwise. :) IOW, about as much truthyness as Dennis Miller on the Factor. It’s work and that’s ok.

    But change agent? No.

    On the other hand, I’m starting to see some pretty good stuff from the streets up there. They are filming, interviewing, chasing Geraldo out with his tail between his legs (wonderful!). Some have honest intentions; others are photographing and copyrighting as fast as they can (future revenues for being there sort of like Jon: No disrespect, JT, you earned it). Pap did fine, got his fifteen nanoseconds and so it was. I liked it. It had style and thought and most important, he had the balls and talent to do it. Way to go, Dude.

    But if you leave the loins of the elite, go to Facebook and hang out, they’re happening over there and some of it is pretty good stuff. Funny. Wise. Pointed. If there is a young soul of the ‘reg, that’s where it’s shining. Face it my friend, we can watch, we can applaud and we can advise but this is their movement and their time, and thank God they’re waking up at last.

    Hollyweird is strangely quiet here at the beginning of the best opportunity they will see in a generation. Instead, we get the same formula forensics, sexy murderers, and pablum sci-fi. Genius will out though. Always has so I’m waiting and watching. Somethings happening and it’s spreading fast.

  24. JTMcPhee says:

    len, I see where CNBC has it all figured out.

    My age set had the draft (and still enough idiots like myself who enlisted, fer cripe’s sake, to round out the quotas of cannon fodder.) In our new dysconsumatopia, there’s those oppressive STUDENT LOANS, all that non-dischargeable, full-faith-and-credit-underwritten, banks-make-out-like-bandits-what-a-surprise DEBT. CNBC money people, from their perches in the C suites, have finally glommed onto a monetarilizationist Explanation for It All. A Unified Feel-Good Theory. No draft, you can keep fighting the Forever War. Some Grand Bargain with the “students,” and securitoderivitization may thrive forever, until it fills every description of quantum space, or whatever Reality really is, with infinitely leveraged wagers on quantum states…

  25. Morgan Warstler says:


    You don’t like to give up much, but I think you may grudgingly support FL deciding that kids going into crushing personal debt to become skilled in “anthropology” might be the tough love medicine those jobless OWS bongo players need.

    “”I could have gotten a degree in something practical like psychology, which I find very interesting but I would have been miserable,” she said.”

    JTM, the one thing I think even you have to admit to, no matter what else it is, the American Dream is NOT making money at whatever you find personally interesting.


    In may ways capitalism is about selflessness, it is about suffering and sacrificing to give people exactly what they are asking for at a price they can pay.

    Most people are only interested in things they know about, and they only take time to learn about things they are interested in.

    That’s why most people don’t know shit and aren’t interested in much.

    The reality is ANYONE can make themselves interested in ANYTHING, but you have to struggle through the yawning boredom until you know enough to be hooked on the subject matter.

    We do a disservice to our young by giving them enough rope to hang themselves.

  26. JTMcPhee says:

    Worgon, “we” don’t do ANYTHING, with rope or otherwise.

    Your fictional “selfless capitalists, suffering and sacrificing,” outfits like National Education Corporation and all the others you turn up if you google “college education loan fraud,” are the ones who come up with the loan programs lobbied into those guaranteed-by-the-“government” scams, the steady climb of tuition costs. The ones who inflate the whole bubblicious consumer economy, with all those really smart marketing and demand-manufacturing critters tacitly conspiring across all product and service lines to keep the people who actually create wealth, the ones doing stuff that most of them probably find “interesting” only because they happened to fall into that particular laboring niche and need the job, in that ignorant state of angst between the evanescent nanobliss of today’s iPurchase and the sure and certain and crushing knowledge that New! and Improved! ownership hyperorgasms are just a credit card swipe away. (You know, “swipe” seems to me exactly the right nounyverb to capture the essence of card-facilitated consumer transactions, complete with the transaction costs the Bankstas tack on for providing “convenience.” Pay the minimum, open a new card account to extend your credit shadow, share in the real American Wet Dream…)

    Here,, is your sickness of manufactured demand in this one little corner of our slack-and-slacker-ridden culture.

    FL is ever more dominated by the breed you adhere to and shill for, pure Kleptocrats. With Scam-a-Minute Scott (who has finally hired some really great spinmeisters to hide his predations in the rest of the bad news of the “business cycle”) and the Red Lectroid Legislature ( “we” who reside here are well on the way to emulating the failed narcostate of Mexico, a nice inversion of your exhortational paradigm that would have “us” turning Mexico into The New FL.

    But of course you need not worry: folks in your line find ways to coattail to comfortable lives even as the Terror grows… After all, it’s hardly new news that there’s a sucker born every minute, into the illusionary American construct that s/he is FREE, and has LIBERTY, and can make CHOICES.

  27. len says:

    The difficulty they have, JTMc, with the OWS ‘mob’ (love it; as if the tea party wasn’t) is they aren’t fitting into the categories. After all the questions asked the common denominators seem to be anger and government corruption. Then it breaks down across different groups with different situations. They all seem to agree that Wall Street corrupts our culture and our government and that makes it hard to bribe them with jobs, money, status and so on. They are like a volcano, a force of nature that once it erupts you can’t do much to stop it and you may want to stay clear of the lava.

    IMO, this is a sign of returning sanity and health despite the way it is spun. As I said, the event IS the message.

    Groups can usually be classified by their common activities and who they choose to emulate and the way they behave and have to be dealt with depends entirely on understanding one’s own relationship to those commonalities. You see this in blog communities such as this one. Taplin is political and entertainment oriented. He is himself a money guy and an educator but he has some other qualities that shape who shows up here and who stays. He is challenging, argumentative, tolerates dissent and doesn’t have an overarching insecurity. So we have some rather good rambunctious debates and over time have shaped ourselves away from excessive cruelty.

    Try this in the online gamer community and see how that goes. It becomes clear quickly the gamers are the internet psychos. They thrive on conflict, like nothing better than to savage by ad hominem. One has to decide quickly if the discussion is worth it because it really goes nowhere. There is no rational debate; just attack and slash and behind it a deep emotional insecurity. So if you make a point and it criticizes their gestalt or their icons, get ready for the crap to fly in your direction.

    The crowds in the square and elsewhere seem immune to this. Despite all attempts by the mean of the media to go after then, nothing is sticking. That tells me there isn’t one group there. It really is as they claim a commons and everyone who wants in and isn’t attacking gets in. That means the claims of representing the “99%” are legitimate and they really are “America”, The Public, The People. And that means there is no way to stop them short of direct and sustained violence or letting the winter weather do it, and neither of those will work for long.

    They are going to force government to the table. They are going to force Obama to start doing something if he wants to win another term. There is nothing there to hit and they have nothing to lose. They aren’t terrified. FOX, the ultra-right, the Hannity’s, the Koch Bros, the Rupert Murdoch’s are. And it shows.

    Good. They should be. They can’t beat these people. Time to deal.

  28. JTMcPhee says:

    len, I bet you had the ethologist’s definition of “mob” in mind when you wrote the foregoing…

    Time to deal? Who are the deal makers going to nail down as the “group” that can speak for the “mob?” And I would be very leery of any “negotiations” or deal-making with a bunch of ********** predators who have so ardently and recurrently demonstrated that there’s no “deal” they can’t “angle” and “scam” and “warp.” Whether nominally in “government” or nominally in “business.” How many state Attorney Generals does it take to cut a deal with the TBTFs that will shitcan a thousand years of common-law notions (and effectuating statutes) regarding title to real property that decree what a Banksta has to have in hand if s/he is going to claim the right to “foreclose” on and evict a yeoman suburbanite from his little bit of Heaven?

    Love that scene in “Lawrence of Arabia:” the ululating Bedou lined up on the crest of the dunes, looking down at the Turks who have just slaughtered a village, berserker foam starting to form on their lips, and O’Toole trumpeting “NO PRISONERS!”

  29. len says:

    That’s a brilliant reference, JTMc. Thanks! I didn’t but I do think it interesting.

    They will have to deal with the people. Tomorrow morning Bloomberg is sending in his minions to clear the park. The protestors have plans and they are quite innovative (the mother of invention, Jon). It may get uglier and some of what is not being broadcast in the mainstream already is. Apparently the powers-that-bleat believe they are going to get away with this or are too uninnovative to come up with a better solution so they are, as Amos and Andy said, “getting back on the ground they are more familiar with”. Let’s hope no one gets badly hurt but I am unsure it can be stopped. Cross your fingers.

    Weirdly, that same scene from LofA has been running through my head too.

  30. Ken Ballweg says:

    Showdown put on hold. So no camel riders whipping their way through the square (for an alternate image involving camel riders).

    Interesting in and of itself as a “result”.

  31. len says:

    It is. Bloomberg and the company that owns the park were overwhelmed by phone calls from local politicians who realize their careers are on the line. If NYPD forces a way in and it gets ugly, he’s toast and some of those big townhouses will burn. I don’t advocate that; just saying, it’s happened elsewhere.

    The concern is that they are waiting for the weather to weaken resistance, then they will wait for a Sunday very early hours opportunity to roll in and clear them out. They’ve proved to be very effective and splitting up crowds on the move using the orange netting to corral parts. Classic crowd control stuff. They’ll bide their time until they think it will be easy. We shall see what we shall see.

    Bloomberg looks like Richard Daley in those photos. Very strange. An event is planned tomorrow here in the belly of the MIC. Should be fun. I don’t think it’s going to stop. The harsh part is neither Conservatives or Progressives mean much to this historic event. No one trusts either side. This is class war.

  32. V says:

    Bacon’s Rebellion

    created the middle class.

  33. len says:

    The comparison is a bit specious, V. I think I get where you are going, but I’d to see OWS compared to a rebellion where the intent was to drive the Indians off their land.

    Bacon’s Rebellion was an uprising in 1676 in the Virginia Colony in North America, led by a 29-year-old planter, Nathaniel Bacon.

    About a thousand Virginians rose (including former indentured servants, poor white and slaves) because they resented Virginia Governor William Berkeley’s friendly policies towards the Native Americans. When Berkeley refused to retaliate for a series of Indian attacks on frontier settlements, others took matters into their own hands, attacking Indians, chasing Berkeley from Jamestown, Virginia, and torching the capital.

    It was the first rebellion in the American colonies in which discontented frontiersmen took part; a similar uprising in Maryland occurred later that year. A protest against raids on the frontier; some historians also consider it a power play by Bacon against Berkeley, and his policies of favoring his own court. Their alliance disturbed the ruling class, who responded by hardening the racial caste of slavery.[1][2] While the farmers did not succeed in their goal of driving Native Americans from Virginia, the rebellion did result in Berkeley being recalled to England.

  34. V says:

    Specious? Probably, but that is a fairly brief report on Bacon’s Rebellion. Indentured servants, poor whites, and slaves banded together which disturbed the ruling class and caused them to institute a buffer class between them and the poor- the 99%. The scale and specific cause are different, but the underlying sense that the government does not have our best interests at heart is the same. They torched the capital. OWS is torching the capitol.

  35. dante says:

    you are amazing ! r.i.p we love youu <3

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