Tag Archives: culture

Money, the value of a human, and what it means to apply empathy at scale

I made a lot of money last year.

I don’t have any of it, but I made it.

A significant amount went to the staggering cost of living in San Francisco for close to a year.

Another large chunk went to friends and family for various reasons – art and music projects, trips to see relatives, etc – in other words, I gave it to people who were engaged in growing their careers / passions, their families, and their hearts.

I also tipped more frequently / in higher amounts than I ever have, gave money to charitable orgs, and regularly bought food and other items for folks living on the street (most of the time I do these things quietly and quickly – there’s a more nuanced point about why, which I’ll get to later).

Then, about a month ago, I was laid off. While it wasn’t my favorite moment of the year, it certainly wasn’t the worst either.

Losing a job will definitely make you consider what growth, personal and collective, is about
Losing a job will definitely make you consider what growth, personal and collective, is about

As I write this, I’m helping bootstrap a journalism startup from $0, have a bank account in the low hundreds, and am scratching together freelance writing & content planning/strategy to make my bills.

Oddly, I’m fairly comfortable with the situation – something that surprises even me at times.

Continue reading Money, the value of a human, and what it means to apply empathy at scale

An open letter from a white man to a black man in the year 2013

*This is my response to an editorial piece by Questlove, which you can click here to read

 

If you put the two of us in a room together, we’d make an odd pair.

You, a black man with access to wealth, influence, and places I’ll never go.

I,  a white man with access to goodwill and social capital that no one will ever accord you, regardless of how hard you try.

On the train home from work today, I looked a young black man in the face and we both nodded our heads ever so slightly in the standard greeting of city dwellers. Then I wondered what it would be like to live in his skin, to walk in his shoes.

He was an ordinary looking man, perhaps 25-35 years old, wearing jeans, a shirt, and a sweater. I know nothing about his life, other than that there is a singular characteristic about him that at its core is neither negative nor positive.

Continue reading An open letter from a white man to a black man in the year 2013

Style Over Substance: Five Ways That Culture Writers Snow Us In

Usually, I ignore culture writers.

I skim plenty of articles (I’m a voracious reader) but every now and then I pause on a piece that hearkens back to a mythological time when “romance still existed” or “men were real” and have a good chuckle.

Do you remember the era when nothing bad ever happened and everyone was great? Me neither.

This sort of thing shows up often in the standard semi-intellectual and/or culture oriented magazine, so it’s no surprise that an article titled “The Rise and Fall of Charm in American Men” would be published by the Atlantic.

The headline alone suggests the editorial staff knows they are being ironic (readers with experience in journalism or publishing already know that editors, not writers, are responsible for headline & sub-head).

Of course, when it comes to oversimplification and rhetoric/style over substance, even the NYTimes culture / style section is guilty.

Here are five ways that the Atlantic piece employs standard tactics:

Continue reading Style Over Substance: Five Ways That Culture Writers Snow Us In

TaGQ: Shall ye friend first then date, or just date first?

A friend was telling me about her experience with online dating recently and mentioned that she liked the fact that she got to go on real dates right from the start, as opposed to how some men simply ask her to hang out informally.

I’ve been on a couple of first dates (at least I think they were dates) in the last month. Kind of like this article I find myself enjoying some of them, but unsure of how to followup. Actually, I recently came to the realization that unlike my friend mentioned above, I don’t really like dating that much. Contrary to what you might think this doesn’t mean I’m anti-social, in fact I get a long with a variety of people and with the exception of extremely formal events I’m comfortable connecting with new people. Basically, I like building friendships.

Continue reading TaGQ: Shall ye friend first then date, or just date first?

Collaborating not dividing

Wow I’m really rocking this whole blogging thing, huh?

 

I’ve been working on a bunch of stuff on the side which has been exhausting, but here are a few things that have been bouncing around my head lately:

1. I’m voting for President Obama.

There’s plenty of talk about what he’s doing wrong, but if you grade him across a wide variety of issues he’s working hard and succeeding at things that matter. For example, in my book he gets: a B+ on the economy/jobs, D+ on civil liberties, B- on civil rights (including marriage equality), C on welfare (the corporate kind), an F on campaign finance reform.

He’s far from perfect, and for those people who accuse him of going back on ’08 campaign promises…well, he doesn’t work in a vacuum and if you’re going to hold him accountable for, let’s say, escalating national debt, then hold your  congressional rep or U.S. Senator’s feet to the fire too, not to mention all those private interests that are constantly advocating mind numbingly stupid ideas like getting involved in regional conflicts in the Middle East (which has NEVER EVER been a simple win/loss kind of idea). No president in the history of this country has been good or evil, or right or wrong about everything. Think: Nixon and Watergate, Nixon and China.

2. We owe it to ourselves to listen to each other more often, no matter our cultural or political views….as long as we agree to say why we believe what we believe. “I love Obama” is the same phrase as “Obama is a commie” unless you can say why you believe it to be true. And for the record, I, like a lot of people, am sick of one of the most pro-capitalism pro-business presidents in the modern era being called a communist.

3. Positive change comes from our own communities and it comes from working on NOW and not waiting for a perfect opportunity/situation to occur. Build joy in your own life and the life of those around you.

4. If the apocalypse is coming (and who knows, some days it feels closer than others) than we might as well go out with a smile on our lips and kindness in our hearts.