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Posts Tagged ‘Journalism’

Learn to Listen to the Birds!

Bird Songs Can Teach Us A Thing or Two!

Why wasn’t this intruder getting the message? The Lord of the manor had warned him repeatedly to back off, with threatening gestures and loud admonitions. But the trespasser just sat there and kept singing. So in a flurry of feathers, the resident sparrow dived for his challenger’s head. Michael Beecher, a University of Washington biologist, finally stepped in to end the brawl, retrieving the stuffed sparrow and mini-speaker that tricked the real bird into believing his territory had been overrun.

 

Foe vanquished, the sparrow fluffed himself up, perched high in a tree and let loose a cascade of trills and whistles. “That’s the king-of-the-mountain song,” Beecher said. Beecher understands better than most the messages that pass between song sparrows. He and his students have been studying the birds’ communication patterns in Seattle’s Discovery Park for more than 25 years. The duel he orchestrated on a recent morning provided an opportunity to record the sotto voce song that males use only when confronting interlopers.

 

The way birds learn their songs is similar to the way babies learn to talk and adults master a golf swing, University of Washington brain researchers say. And studies of the seasonal changes in bird brains are revealing neurological twists that one day might be harnessed to heal human brains damaged by stroke, Alzheimer’s disease and other disorders.

 

The strength of the songbird system is that you can go down to the very detailed, micro-level… then explain how that leads to changes in behavior,” UW neurobiologist David Perkel said. “That’s something not a lot of neuroscience can do.” It was research on songbirds that upset the long-held notion that most animals — and most certainly humans — were born with all the gray matter they would ever have.

 

Working with canaries and chickadees in the 1980’s Fernando Nottebohm at the Rockefeller University found brain regions associated with song and the ability to locate hidden caches of food were constantly birthing new cells. Scientists soon discovered neurons sprouting in other brain areas and in the brains of other animals — including Homo sapiens. Many birds are hatched with vocalizations hard-wired into their brains. But the 4,000 species that comprise the songbirds must learn how to sing properly.

 

Perkel’s research focuses on zebra finches, which study and memorize the songs of adults. At first, the fledgings jabber or sing snippets, gradually improving until what comes out of their beaks matches the  template in their memory banks. “It’s a model for speech learning in humans,” Perkel said. Perkel is convinced  the parallels extend to all types of learning that require practice and feedback, from memorizing multiplication tables to honing a golf swing or ski jump.

 

We think by cracking this circuit in birds, he said, “it will have a large impact on our understanding of the brain mechanisms involved in learning a broad variety of skills.”

 

My thanks to Sandi Doughton of the Seattle Times for this fascinating look at how we can learn from bird songs. Her article was picked up and ran in the Chicago Tribune July 20,2012.

 

Wise Words today come from Ralph Waldo Emerson — “You cannot do a kindness too soon because you never know how soon it will be too late.”

 

Wise words from me today — “It’s never too late to think about starting your own business and there’s no easier way to begin than with my book How To Become A Mail Order Millionaire A Complete Guide To Starting Your Own Home Based Business. Long time mail order expert, Fred Broitman, founder and CEO of Chicago’s largest independently owned Direct Response/Mail Order Advertising Agency, has written the definitive guide to success in a business of your own. If you  would like to start a business that can be operated from your home no matter where you live then this book on MAIL ORDER is all you need to get started. With the power of the Internet you can become successful in your own home-based business…. and the book is sold on a 100% Guarantee of Satisfaction Or Your Money Back!

 

You’ll learn:

 

  • HOW TO GET STARTED
  • HOW TO FIND GREAT PRODUCTS
  • HOW TO MAKE YOUR BUSINESS PROFITABLE RIGHT FROM THE START
  • HOW TO PRICE YOUR PRODUCT FOR BIGGEST PROFITS
  • SECRETS OF CREATING WINNING MAIL ORDER ADS
  • 14 SURE-FIRE CHECK-OFF LISTS THAT GUARANTEE HUGE PROFITS
  • and included in this newly revised edition COMPLETE UP-TO -DATE INFORMATION ON HOW TO USE THE INTERNET AND SOCIAL MEDIA SUCCESSFULLY

How To Become A Mail Order Millionaire is available from Amazon at its published price of $39.95 plus s&h or you can save $10.00 and order it direct from the publisher for only $29.95 and shipping is FREE. Send check or money order along with your name and address to: Superior Press  333 N. Michigan Avenue Suite 1032 Chicago, IL 60601

 

How To Start Your Own Blog – It’s Easier Than You Think

GETTING STARTED!

The  first rule of blogging: THERE ARE NO RULES FOR BLOGGING!

Blogging is no different than any other kind of writing even the fact that at some point you may hope to monetize your work … and to do that you need to attract people to your site. Lots of people. The more followers of your blog postings, the more reason advertisers will want to appear there  to sell their goods and services so let’s get started.

The information that follows comes from my good friend Denny Hatch who is one of the true gurus in the business of writing. He pens a monthly column in TARGET MARKETING MAGAZINE. More about Denny later.

If you are sitting and looking at a blank computer screen (or a blank piece of paper), you’ll never get started. I am reminded of the great wit, writer and actor of the 1930’s and 40’s. Robert Benchley (1889-1945), grandfather of Peter (“Jaws”) Benchley. One day under deadline and suffering from a severe hangover, Benchley was sitting in his room at the Algonquin Hotel in New York staring at a blank piece of paper in his typewriter. To get started he typed the word “The”.

Benchley rose from his chair, walked to the window and, glancing at his watch, realized the gang of regulars was assembling for a splendid lunch of booze and bon mots at the legendary Round Table downstairs — Dorothy Parker, Groucho Marx, George S. Kaufman, Alexander Woollcott, New Yorker editor Harold Ross and others.

Benchley returned to the typewriter and stared at the “The” for a long time. In a burst of inspiration, he completed the sentence. It read, “The hell with it.” Whereupon he took the elevator down to join the party.

Ted Nicholas on Getting Started

Ted Nicholas is a legendary direct marketer, entrepreneur, publisher, copy writer and teacher. In his classic book, “The Golden Mailbox,” he wrote:

  1. Clear your mind. For some persons, this might mean lying down for a few minutes before going to work. For others, it could mean jumping in the pool or jogging around a track. Frolic, spend time with someone you love or go dancing. Do whatever comes naturally to you in order to have a clear mind for creative purposes.
  2. Never write when you’re tired. You’re not going to try to drive or operate machinery when you’re tired. Don’t try to write when you’re fatigued.
  3. Never write when you’re busy. If there are other demands pressing on you, tend to them first. I don’t think anyone can write well when watching the clock. Don’t try to write if you have appointments later in the day or errands to run.
  4. Don’t write in bits and pieces. Once you’ve turned on your creative energy, you need to keep it flowing. I don’t stop until I complete a draft. I try not to stop even for meals.

A Kitchen Timer

The late Gene Schwartz, who wrote powerful mail order/direct mail copy that sold millions of dollars worth of books (many published by himself), once told me to get a kitchen timer and set it on the desk next to me. He said:

Punch in 4-4-4-4. That’s 44 minutes and 44 seconds during which you’re working. Period. All you do is work, write, do research, deal with correspondence, design, whatever. When the timer goes off, get up and shut the alarm sound off. Take a break. Walk around, stretch, get a cup of coffee, clear your head. When you’re ready to go back to work, hit the 4-4-4-4 button again and dive in.

I follow Gene’s advice. It keeps me sane and refreshed.

Hemingway on Writing

When Ernest Hemingway finished a book, he would stick the manuscript in a drawer and come back to it a few weeks later. Most of us under deadline do not have this kind of time. however not looking at a piece of paper or a computer screen for 12 or 24 hours or longer and then going back to it for edits and rewrites can be beneficial. In “A Moveable Feast“,  Hemingway wrote:

I always worked until I had something done and I always stopped  when I knew what was going to happen next. That way I could be sure of going on the next day…I learned not to think about anything that I was writing from the time I stopped writing until I started again the next day. That way my subconscious would be working on it and at the same time I would be listening to other people and noticing everything, I hoped; learning, I hoped; and I would read so that I would not think about my work and make myself impotent to do it.

Denny Hatch is a freelance direct marketing consultant and copywriter, and author of Denny Hatch’s Business Common Sense e-newsletter at www.businesscommonsense.com.

If you’d like a FREE copy of Denny Hatch’s 22 Rules for Internet Success, it’s yours for the asking; just send an email to: Send me a FREE copy of Denny Hatch’s 22 Rules for Internet Success

Can A Dead Snake Bite? The Answer Will Surprise You!

Snakes use this heat vision system to hunt their prey, warm-blooded animals–at night.

Many kinds of snakes possess a sensory organ that detects infrared wavelengths of heat energy, and this “heat vision” enables them to perceive differences in temperature of just .003 degrees C. The organ appears near their nostrils in the form of two or more small facial pits. Snakes use this heat vision system to hunt their prey, warm-blooded animals–at night. They’re able to discern the size and shape of their quarry in the dark, as well as their distance from it.  Amazingly enough, the highly sensitive pit organ continues to function for up to an hour after death. So if a warm hand gets too close to a dead snake, it will trigger a reaction that causes the snake to bite. Statistics show that around 15% of all snake bites treated by doctors come from dead snakes.

This little known fact appears in the current issue of a new magazine that’s filled with dozens of other fascinating, but little known truths. More about this magazine later in todays blog post.

Do Scorpions Have Eyes All Over Their Body?
Apparently 12 eyes aren’t enough for a scorpion! Scientists have discovered that  this stinging arachnid’s visual organs are located practically everywhere on it’s body. So how is this possible? The latest research results obtained by biologist Douglas Gaffin reveal that scorpions can see with their entire body surface thanks to their exoskeleton. The discovery was more or less a coincidence: Gaffin was trying to find out why scorpions glow under ultraviolet (UV) light, which is invisible to humans. While investigating how UV light illuminates a scorpion’s exoskeleton, he found that the creatures can easily navigate in the light even when their eyes are covered. The reason: it turns out  that a scorpion’s hard shell serves as a 13th eye that shows it the way.

Can Surprises Make You Go Blind?
Researchers at Vanderbilt University have found that surprises act as a blindfold on the brain. Whenever we’re surprised, our brain loses the ability to perceive additional visual stimuli for around half a second–which makes us practically blind in the interim. The scientists say humans developed this mechanism to ensure our brain won’t get distracted by unimportant things in a dangrous situation.

Other subjects covered in the current issue of ID Magazine

Can Asteroids Make Us Rich?

How Deserts Swallow Civilization! 

How To Recognize An Ambush!

The Secret Formulas of Success…Body Language!

For subscription info visit:Idea & Discoveries Magazine or look for the next issue on your local newsstand June 8.

For my own Success Secrets consider HOW TO BECOME A MAIL ORDER MILLIONAIRE: A Complete Guide To Starting Your Own Home Based Business.

Fred Broitman, a long time mail order expert, has written the definitive guide to success in direct response (Mail Order). If you would like to start a business that you can operate from your home no matter where you live, you owe it to yourself to order a copy on his 100% Guarantee Of Satisfaction or Your Money Back.

You’ll learn:

HOW  TO GET STARTED

HOW TO FIND GREAT PRODUCTS

HOW YOUR BUSINESS CAN BE PROFITABLE RIGHT FROM THE START

HOW TO PRICE YOUR PRODUCT FOR MAXIMUM PROFITS

SECRETS OF CREATING WINNING MAIL ORDER ADS

and included in this new edition: Complete Up-To-Date Information On How To Use The Power of The Intenet To Super Charge Your Mail Order Business.

You can order the book from Amazon at its published price of $39.95 plus S&H or save $10 and order direct from the publisher for only $29.95 plus $3.50 S&H (Total $33.45). Send check or money order along with your name and address to: SUPERIOR PRESS 333 N. Michigan Avenue Suite 1032 Chicago, IL 60601.

Charles Dickens and his Secret Teenage Lover

Charles Dickens, one of the greats of english literature whose image was that of a pillar of Victorian morality would have been right at home with today’s sex scandals.

In 1953, when future biographer Claire Tomalin was studying English literature at Cambridge, she came across intriguing refrences  to a figure named Ellen “Nelly” Ternan, a young stage actress of minor reputation. In two separate distinguished biographies on Dickens both mentioned “this girl hanging about (the author), and they were both scathing about her,” Tomalin recalls. “She was (described as) this mercenary, who made Dickens’ kids unhappy, but to whom he seemed very attached. I sensed there was a story there.”. Cut to three decades later, Tomalin, then literary editor of the Sunday Times, mentioned her interest in Ternan to David Parker, curator of the Dickens Museum in London. He encouraged her to write Ternan’s biography.

Tomalin spent the next few years piecing together clues in letterrs, address books, diaries and photographs as she traced the arc of the secretive 13-year liaison between the great author and the actress. The result was her celebrated 1991 book, The Invisible Woman: The Story of Nelly Ternan and Charles Dickens

Ternan met Dickens in 1857, when she, her mother and sisters were actors in a play he was producing. Dickens was 45; Trenan was 18. Anxious to preserve his image as a pillar of Victorian morality, Dickens purchased a house for her near London, where he visited her secretly. Dickens seemed both to revel in and regret the affair. Dickens and Ternan apparently destroyed all correspondence between them but Tomlin says, “there was plenty of material,” including details about Ternan in missives by Dickens children: Both his son Henry and daughter Katey, for example, “confirmed that (the couple) had a child,  and it died.” Tomalin believes that Nelly and the child, said to be a boy who did not survive infancy, had been sequestered in France.

In 1876, six years after Dickens death, Ternan, then 37, married a clergyman 12 years her junior;  they had two children, neither of whom learned of the relationship with Dickens until long after their mother’s death.

Having been rescued from obscurity by Tomalin, Ternan is about to to take center stage a second time; Ralph Fiennes will direct and star in a film adaption of  The Invisible Woman, with Felicity Jones in the title role, shooting is set to begin perhaps this Spring.

Looking forward to this movie and one other  thing I’m looking forward to are your comments on any of my earlier postings. Having your feedback will help me learn what you like and of even more importance what you don’t like so I can continue to make my blogsite a permanent part of your on line life.

One question for you. Do you know anyone interested in starting a businees of their own or perhaps you may be. After all my blog site is HOW TO BECOME A MAIL ORDER MILLIONAIRE. If you or someone you know would be interested in my special offer to visitors of this site…my book HOW TO BECOME A MAIL ORDER MILLIONAIRE. Save $10 from its published price at Amazon only $29.95 plus $3.50 s&h. Total $33.45 checks or money orders can be sent to SUPERIOR PRESS 333 N. Michigan Avenue, Suite 1032, Chicago, IL 60601. All books sold on money back guarantee of satisfaction.

Death comes to visit the living – Jeff Zaslow’s tragic passing.

This blog post is dedicated to someone I knew only through his writing. Jeff Zaslow was a columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times. His untimely death occurred Friday February 10. The words are not mine but someone who knew the deceased well, who worked with him, shared good times with him and admired him.

Neil Steinberg is also a columnist for the Sun-Times and a damned good one as was Jeff Zaslow. Since this is my blog and I can post anything I care to, here is Neil’s column from the February 15 edition of the Chicago Sun Times.

Ludwick Wittgenstein’s Tractus Logico- Philosophicus is a list of numbered propositions, each leading to the next. Number 6.4311 begins “Death is not an event in life. Death is not lived through.” For the person who has died, that is. That person is whisked away to whatever reward awaits us after death.

It is those of us who live through death, big time, who must cope with it, particularly accidental death, which radiates outward, sending shock waves, first to those at the scene, stunned to find death intruding onto an ordinary day. Then to the oficialdom who must deal with death regularly and handle the particulars. Then exploding into the lives of family, who suffer the most and, finally the thunderclap reaches the outer world, where people hear it and look up, moved to the degree they knew the deceased.

Jeff Zaslow died in a car accident Friday, as you’ve probably heard. Longtime Sun-Times readers will fondly recall his thoughtful, human and funny advice column that ran from 1987 until 2001, or his best selling books such as The Last Lecture.

I don’t do grief well–I’m self-centered and over-analytical, a bad mix–and no sooner feel loss then immediately start  questioning it, to see if it’s legitimate. Jeff’s death came as a sickening shock, yet I instantly pulled back, certain that I occupy  too distant an orbit among his concentric circles of friends to be entitled to feel awful, which is reserved for his wife and daughters and family, the true epicenter of suffering. Any hurt I feel must be ersatz, overdramatic.

No matter How I tried to focus my  thoughts on others–Jeff’s genius, the key to his life: he was a big-hearted, generous man, a true friend–I kept returning  to my own experiences with him. Memories bubbled up, random stuff. as if my brain were venting everything it knew about Jeff Zaslow, from the fact  that at birth, he was delivered by Dr. C. Everett Koop, the future Surgeon General, to his sister’s hand-made picture frames, to his love of Bruce Springsteen–we once went to a concert together–to the day, almost 25 years ago, Jeff was being given his welcoming tour of the Sun-Times newsroom and I hurried over, curious to discover just what kind of idiot leaves a job writing front page stories for the Wall Street Journal to advise women how to get stains out of a broadloom rug on page 27 of the Sun-Times.

If a Russian novelist tried to create two separate characters to split the spectrum of qualities a writer can possess, might cook up Jeff–happy, concerned for others, frenetic, sincere–and me: melancholy, self-absorbed, shambling, scarcastic. Jeff wanted to help everybody. He held  those enormous Zass Bashes at Navy Pier because he got so many letters from lonely people, and wanted to fix them up with each other, to give each one a shot at the joy he found with his own wife, Sherry. I thought he was crazy. “Jeff”, I’d say. “You’re not a social service.”

When I got the awful news–we have the same literary agency–I dutifully phoned it in to the newspaper. “Do you want to write something?” an editor asked. I said “No.” The planet of my ego is such– think Jupiter–I knew it would be impossible to launch a tribute to Jeff without having it circle back and crash into myself. “Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent” is the final line of Wittgenstein’s book. Good advice. I wanted to honor Jeff by shutting up, an under appreciated art form.

But silence felt even worse. We Jews bury our own, and standing at Jeff’s graveside, mutely waiting for my turn with the shovel, I stared at my shoes and tried to block out the sound of his daughters weeping. “This is the worst thing in the world,” I thought. “I hate this I hate this I hate this”.

Silence has no utility, it isn’t a sharp enough blade to scrape at the icy loss that Jeff’s death frosts over the world. I wish I could wrap this up tidily, with an inspiring  thought that counterbalances the tragedy in the world and leaves you with a smile. Jeff was so good at that. Alas, he is not here, a hard fact that touches on the often cruel nature of life, one that we lucky enough to have known Jeff will struggle with for a long time.

Thanx, Neil for allowing me to share this with my small group of bloggerfriends. If my mother were still alive and I could have read her this column, she would have said to me in Yiddish “Gut Gazooked”…roughly translated as “Well said”.

17 Year Old Starts Own Business – It’s Not Rocket Science Or Brain Surgery

Over the years I’ve spoken at many trade shows and conventions about starting your own mail order business and many of the attendees ask me how hard is it to start your own business, especially in this difficult economy and I usually wind up telling them “well, it’s not rocket science or brain surgery”. The easiest and best way to begin is to rely on advice from people already in the business who have been successful. Going this route will save you many dollars and keep you from making the dreaded B-B’s…beginners blunders. See how easy it is to begin by first reading the following article which appeared in the November 27th issue of the New York Times written by Nicole Laporte.

DON’T KNOW HOW? WELL, FIND SOMEONE WHO DOES!

Is advanced technical knowledge necessary to become an inventor? Look at the story of Katherine Bomkamp, and you will see it isn’t. Ms. Bomkamp, 20, came up with the idea behind the Pain Free Socket, a prosthetic device that is intended to ease phantom limb pain in amputees. The device, now awaiting a patent, works by applying heat to the amputee’s joint socket through thermal bio-feedback. The theory is that as the nerve endings are warmed, the brain is forced to focus on the heat rather than send signals to the absent limb.

Now a sophomore at West Virginia University, Ms Bomkamp was in high school when she began working on her invention. At the time, she had zero background in chemical or electrical engineering, which were essential to the creation of the device.

“It was all completely foreign to me. I had no interest in engineering before this,” said Ms Bomkamp, who was a criminal-justice major at the magnet high school in Maryland. In college she’s studying political science, with plans to attend law school.

Her experience shows how ambition, persistence and an ample supply of curiosity can lay the groundwork for achieving breakthroughs, even technological ones. (A bit of youthful pluck helps, too.) It also shows that drawing on other people’s experience and resources is often as good as, if not better than, doing everything yourself.

Politicians know this. Business leaders like Steve Jobs knew this. And yet when we think of a solitary soul hunkered down in a basement lab for weeks or months before emerging to claim an unshared victory. To this, Ms Bomkamp would say: think again.

The seeds for the Pain Free Socket were sown when Ms. Bomkamp, whose father is a disabled Air Force veteran, found herself in waiting rooms at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center—the hospital in Virginia that has since closed—seated among wounded soldiers just back from Iraq and Afghanistan. Many of them were amputees.

“They would tell me their stories, and phantom pain kept coming up,” she said. She started researching the condition and learned that “most amputees are prescribed antipsychotics and barbiturates which are expensive and have high addiction rates.”

“So I wanted to see if I could eliminate the need for those holistically,” she said.

An opportunity to pursue her idea came when a teacher announced a school science fair. Wanting to “do something meaningful that impacted the community,” she said, she decided to work on a device to treat phantom pain.

“My thought process was: when I pull a muscle, I apply heat to it. If I applied the same concept to treating phantom pain, I thought that could work.” The only problem was execution. Ms Bomkamp was the furthest thing to from a math or science geek; there was no way she could do this alone. So she began e-mailing engineering professors at universities in the area and asking them for assistance. “They were all very receptive,” she said. “they all invited me to come work in their labs. I chose the University of Maryland because it was closest to my house”.

And every Friday, she would take the day off school—with permission—and her mother would drive her to College Park. There, she worked with Professor Gilmer L. Blankenship in the department of electrical and computer engineering, and his lab manager, Jay Renner. “They taught me electrical engineering from the bottom up—electrical programming, heat-wiring,” she said. “Basically, everything, they had to teach me”.

They helped her build a prosthetic socket as the first prototype; heated socks used by hunters served as the gadgets heat source. But engineering was only half the battle. Ms Bomkamp wanted to expand her invention and build a prosthetic limb. Who would build it – and not charge her $15,000, the typical cost of an artificial leg?

Again she resorted to grass roots outreach, printing the names of prosthetic companies she found on the Web site of the Amputee Coalition of America, and making calls. “A lot of people hung up on me, saying, “This won’t work, you’re just a kid, don’t waste my time” Ms Bomkamp said. Finally she reached Jake Godak, who at the time was working at Cascade, an orthotic and prosthetic supply company in Chico, California, and remains a consultant in prosthetics. “He said this could really work, and so he built sockets and a leg for me,” she said. “I still work with him”.

In the second generation prototype, the heated socks were replaced by ribbing cable, and the electronics were such that the amputee could control the temperature of the socket.

The device “appears to be a very promising prototype for one of the possible ways for amputees to deal with phantom pain”, she said. Joe McTernan, a director of coding and programming at the American Orthotic Association. “This certainly is interesting and intriguing research,” he said, adding; “but it is, as far as I can see, currently very much a prototype”.

At West Virginia University, Ms Bomkanp has acquired a new set of mentors in the school’s entrepreneurship program. She has set up her own company and is working on third, and fourth generation prototypes. These will have smaller, more compact electronic boards and will be able to be operated by a mobile phone.

In the meantime, she has applied for a patent, and the device will be tested. She also is in talks with a domestic prosthetic company about licensing the rights to sell the device, which is subject to the approval of the Food and Drug Administration. She hopes to receive a small percentage in royalties from future sales.

Otherwise, she’s just an ordinary college kid—sort of. “I definitely don’t have the typical college student life”, she says, “But at the same time, I do. I still worry about tests and getting scholarship money. But yet I’m a C.E.O., and I’ve got this project and I go on business trips. I walk the line between the two. And yes, she won the high school science fair.

So what has this wonderful story got to do with starting your own business? Hopefully it will inspire you to take a chance on something new, something you know nothing about. My book HOW TO BECOME A MAIL ORDER MILLIONAIRE is like having a mentor right next to you answering every question you will ever have on becoming successful in mail order… and even if you don’t become one of the mail order millionaires like some of my clients have, you’ll have the opportunity to make an excellent income in a business of your own.

The book is sold on a money back guarantee of satisfaction, so you have nothing to lose.

How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the OWS Protests

That’s the headline to Matt Taibbi’s article in the current issue of ROLLING STONE MAGAZINE. Last week’s post was from a conservative columnist who writes for FORTUNE MAGAZINE. It’s only fair for a progressive view–and there’s few as good as Matt Taibbi. He alone is well worth subscribing to one of my favorite magazines ROLLING STONE. Herein are excerpts:

“I have a confession to make. At first I misunderstood Occupy Wall Street. The first few time I went down to Zuccotti Park, I came away with mixed feelings. I loved the energy and was amazed by the obvious organic appeal of the movement, the way it was growing on its own. But my initial impression was that it would not be taken very seriously by the Citibanks and Goldman Sachs of the world. You could put 50,000 angry protestors on Wall Street, 100,000 even, and Lloyd Blankfein is probably not going to break a sweat. He knows he’s not going to wake up tomorrow and see Cornel West or Richard Trumka running the Federal Reserve. He knows modern finance is a giant mechanical parasite that only an expert surgeon can remove. Yell and scream all you want but he and his fellow Franksteins are the only ones who know how to turn the machine off.

That’s what I was thinking during the first few weeks of the protests. But I’m beginning to see another angle. Occupy Wall Street was always about something much bigger than a movement against big banks and modern finance. It’s about providing a forum for people to show how tired they are not just of Wall Street but EVERYTHING. This is a visceral, impassioned, deep-seated rejection of the entire direction of our society, a refusal to take even one more step forward into the shallow commercial abyss of phoniness, short-term calculation, withered idealism and intellectual bankruptcy that American mass society has become. If there is such a thing as going on strike from one’s own culture, this is it. And by being so broad in scope and so elemental in its motivation, it‘s flown over the heads of many on both the right and the left.

The right-wing media wasted no time in cannon-blasting the movement with its usual idiotic clichés, casting Occupy Wall Street as a bunch of dirty hippies who should get a job and stop chewing up Mike Bloomberg’s police overtime budget with their urban sleepovers. Just like they did a half-century ago, when the debate over the Vietnam War somehow stopped being about why we were brutally murdering millions of innocent Indochinese civilians and instead became a referendum on bralessness and long hair and flower-child rhetoric, the depraved flacks of the right-wing media have breezily blown off a generation of fraud and corruption and market-perverting bailouts, making the whole debate about the protestors themselves—their hygiene, their ‘envy’ of the rich, their ‘hypocrisy’.

The protestors, chirped Supreme Reichskank Ann Coulter, ‘needed three thing: showers, jobs and a point’. Her colleague Charles Krauthammer went so far as to label the protestors hypocrites for having iPhones. ‘OWS’, he said is Starbucks-sipping, Levi’s- clad, iPhone clutching protestors (denouncing) corporate America even as they weep for Steve Jobs, corporate titan, billionaire eight times over’. Apparently because Goldman and Citibank are corporations, no protestors can ever consume a corporate product—not jeans, not cellphones and definitely not coffee’—if he also wants to complain about tax money going to pay off some billionaire banker’s bets against his own crappy mortgages.

Meanwhile on the other side of the political spectrum, there were scads of progressive pundits like me who wrung our hands with worry that OWS was playing right into the hands of assholes like Krauthammer. DON’T GIVE THEM ANY AMMUNITION! we counseled. STAY ON MESSAGE! BE SPECIFIC!. We were all playing the Rorschach-test game with OWS trying to squint at it and see what we wanted to see in the movement. Viewed through the prism of our desire to make near-term, within the system changes, it was hard to see how skirmishing with cops in New York would help foreclosed-upon middle-class families in Jacksonville and San Diego.

What both sides missed is that OWS is tired of all this. They don’t care what we think they’re about, or should be about. They just want something different.

We’re all born wanting the freedom to imagine a better and more beautiful future. But modern America has become a place so drearily confining and predictable that it chokes the life out of that built-in desire. Everything from our pop culture to our economy to our politics feels oppressive and unresponsive. People want to go someplace for at least five minutes where no one is trying to bleed you or sell you something.

I think I understand now that that’s what the Occupy movement is all about. It’s about dropping out if only for a moment, and trying something new. It doesn’t need to tell the world what it wants. It is successful for now, just by being something different.”

These are only excerpts from Matt’s excellent article in the November 22nd issue of ROLLING STONE MAGAZINE. To read it in its entirety, pickup a copy or better yet become a subscriber. I’ve been hooked on their political reporting for 25 years and with age, year after year, it only gets better.

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