Thank you for these magical words, Cleo Wade. This was one of my biggest energetic shifts, when moving to New York City, 20 years ago, realizing people don’t really complain here much. Complaining is draining. It truly has no magic. Hence my personal rule: “When I catch myself complaining about something repeatedly, I have two options: Do something about it or let it go.”
Today is Election Day in the US and even President Obama is saying these elections “might be the most important of our lifetimes”. Everyone is a liiiittle on edge. Instead of exhorting you to go vote, I dug through the kottke.org archives for some videos to watch if you need a calm moment or hour or entire afternoon and deep into the evening’s election returns.
This is one of my personal favorites, a Norwegian icebreaker idling in the frozen Arctic — “natural white noise sounds generated by the wind and snow falling, combined with deep low frequencies with delta waves from the powerful icebreaker idling engines”:
A 30-day time lapse of a container ship traveling from the Red Sea to Hong Kong:
A research company called Morning Consult had 1900 people watch the new Nike commercial featuring Colin Kaepernick and record their reactions in realtime. The video above shows the commercial and the graphed reactions of four age groups: Gen Z (18-21, white line), Millennials (22-37, teal line), Gen X (38-53, yellow line), and Boomers (54-72, red line). The report also has graphs showing results by race and political affiliation (the dashed line is when Kaepernick first appears on screen).
Gen Z & Millennials rated the ad higher than the older viewers throughout and had a less negative reaction to the polarizing parts. Now, the report only mentions the effect of Kapernick appearing on the screen, but to my eyes, there are four distinct moments when the opinions of some viewers (white, older, Republican) turn negative:
1. Right before Kapernick is shown for the first time, ratings start to decline when the ad refers to LeBron James as “the best basketball player on the planet” and “bigger than basketball” for recently opening his I Promise School.
2. Kapernick’s first appearance in front of an American flag with his large Afro triggers a steep decline in favorability among older viewers, particularly Boomers and Republicans.
3. Serena Williams being billed as “the greatest athlete ever” results in the steepest decline during the entire ad…and this was before the controversy at the US Open. Across all groups, only black Americans had no problem with that characterization whatsoever (Gen Z & Millennials showed only slight declines).
4. Immediately after that, Kapernick is shown again and there’s a continued follow-on decline from Serena.
So that’s interesting! What’s going on here? [insert an entire apologist NY Times Op-Ed piece here about how famous athletes are polarizing no matter what, particularly when accompanied by best-ever proclamations, etc. etc.] But of course, it’s probably racism with a side of sexism — three outspoken black athletes, one of them a woman, are uppity. That’s the simplest explanation.
A few days ago my (white, conservative, Navy vet) dad mentioned that Kap was all over the news, and I quickly changed the subject, because I was not in a place to go anywhere near that third-rail. I grew up around openly-racist white people, and I still cannot understand how so much hate can be held for someone.
I'm not yet sure about the best approach to changing racist minds in grown-ups, but my initial suspicions are that positive media portrayals of issues which affect the disadvantaged only comes second to actual positive interactions with disadvantaged people.
Choreographer & acrobat Yoann Bourgeois and pianist Alexandre Tharaud have collaborated on a performance that combines a trampoline, a staircase, and Claude Debussy’s most famous composition, Clair de Lune. Even though I’ve seen a performance from Bourgeois before and knew what was coming, that first drop onto the trampoline was startling.