Thursday, November 20, 2008

viruses and guerillas

You ever wonder why the two types of marketing out there with some sort of mystique are called viral marketing and guerilla marketing? I do.
So here's the deal. With the compacting of the publishing industry into (temporarily) one of a more direct, from author to audience, type of model, there will be an increase in viral and guerilla marketing that is going to be taking place in the interweb. Soon you'll have more and more authors and publishers creating and maintaining online communities and places where they can get creative with wholesome marketing.
What is wholesome marketing you ask?
I'll tell you.
Wholesome marketing is a term that was invented about 3 minutes ago when I sat down to type up this blog. It is a term that is concerned with the execution and implementation of some sort of worthwhile goal and product. While I am only focusing on books, others could use wholesome marketing ideas to promote community acupuncture, raw chocolates, environmental law services, whatever. It basically is concerned with the marketing and selling of some sort of product that doesn't hurt or harm anyone. Period. I'm sure there is some way to say that one or more of those products do some sort of damaging thing, for all intents and purposes, they don't.
Anywho, this brand new virtual marketplace and collapsed business model is directly concerned with making a conceptual place where the work in question is something worth owning. And that's good for everyone, right?
It's not good for the mega conglomerates that are vomiting money. Border's is probably done at the end of the year.. So we're left with some creative options. Look here for some good things that are being done in the publishing world and you'll see that all is not lost.
It's up to the guerillas and the viruses now.

-Thomas Dale

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Xmas and the eating of America

The falls in Portland are crazy. They start off cold and wet, and as soon as we settle into the next year of rain, we'll inevitably get a day or so of beautiful weather. It's nice. However, it makes the Christmas decoration past time no longer defined by the traditional calendar. You don't wait until Thanksgiving before you put up your exterior lights, instead you do it when you can. In my little suburban neighborhood, people know us because we live near this house that goes overboard with the decorations. And I'm not over-exaggerating, either. I don't know how they found all this stuff, but they put these huge, air-filled characters for every single holiday. And I mean every single damn one of them. From the flag waving bear for July 4th to the inflatable turkey to the Shamrock bear (I'm not lying) to the big bunny for Easter, they really love their holidays.
Anywho, the people around us have started upping their game a little bit to show their support (only on Halloween and Christmas, though. We're not crazy). And today, a beautiful and rare Autumn day, two of my neighbors are putting up their lights. Now, old me would've said that it's crazy to do this, damn the weather. I mean, there is still a long time before Christmas. But, even with the ecological reasons, I like it.
Christmas is so much and so little: the birth of a savior, the most magical day of the year for a lot of kids, the corporate necessity, a time to "have" to go home and visit with friends and family. It's extremely multi-dimensional.
Couple that with my intense fascination with all things cultural and social, and bring it fast and early; I love the holidays. So guys, open up the minds, try not to be too cynical, and have a merry holiday season. Already. In mid November.

-Dennis Edmons

Thursday, November 13, 2008

plagiarism and copyrights...

So I got my first plagiarized paper today and I was so pissed and cheated that I had to stop grading papers. But then I started thinking about the nature of plagiarism and the ideas of intellectual property at large.
Is it weird to have mixed emotions about the cornerstone of Western education? We preach to these students that copying without giving credit is wrong wrong wrong, but is it really that bad? It all comes back, I think, to the story of bootstraps and buckling down. Doing work, getting credit, getting paid, all that stuff. However, it's all tied to the idea of getting what you deserve. The capitalist-anti-socialist idea of what's mine is mine, goddamn it.
What's an alternative? Do we just throw the book out the window and wish for a time when everyone shares, everyone gets money, there are no poor artists, and we all hug instead of fight? Or do we say that college is a time for your own thoughts, your own expressions, your own, individual ideas? Maybe that's the answer, but by now I've forgotten the question...


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

dealing with the options of a worldcentric religion

I've been thinking a lot lately about religion. Let me tell you a little bit about my own:

Born, bred, and raised Baptist, I didn't question it (IT) until I was about 16. I saw some horribly racist and closed-minded things in youth group that made me stop and think.
And then it happened.
I went on a personal journey through scientific reductionism, seeing all of life around me as a product of biological and chemical energies, which led me to a state of depression. Later, I found solace in the teachings of Robert Monroe, a self-described astral traveller, but in the end was left unfulfilled with the lack of morality in a scientific approach to spirit. Soon afterward, I grasped for anything, which led me to the intriguing field of demonology and ghost hunting. My fears and hopes were soon realized when I was temporarily possessed, and back on the journey I went. I found myself working in a bar under the tutelage of a Philosophy Master's student who introduced me to Ken Wilber and Spiral Dynamics, and I was hooked. I went on a multi-year journey of categorizing and labelling those around me, but it left me so disconnected with my fellow travellers, I left that trip for "higher" ground. I found what I was looking for in experiential gnosis through Salvia and Gnostic teachings. However, I also inadvertently joined a couple of cults, so I quit that shit ASAP. Now, I'm a spiritual maverick and moderate, constantly looking for some new thing that brings together the finer points of Christianity and spiritual fulfillment from gnostic experience. If religion is a tool of evolution, I can't wait for the next avenue to present itself. If it's a tool of GOD, it's interesting to see how all of the different religions fit together. If it's a biological impulse to vilify our seeming inconsequential relationship with the immensity of the Kosmos, then bring on the worm food. I'll see you at the clinic.

-Dennis Edmons

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

a further clarification

My friend Dennis posted the entry below this one, and while I agree with the majority of his claims, it must be stated that the majority of Americans would never want to be categorized without their explicit input. That being said, as far as a top-down view of the world, it would behoove us to know where we all stand. Not that this debate is getting complicated or anything, but it must be said that the internet age is going to lend us into a new way of thinking. Network thinking, swarm theory, all that shit. In order to understand and effectively apply this knowledge, we must be able to do our own part efficiently. That's where the color coding comes in. 'Nuff said.


color coding of Americans

White, black, red, blue, redcoat, browncoat, it seems like we like to put some sort of easily definable color coding on each one of our categorized groups of cultures. Perhaps it's an American thing; I don't know. I do know that it could be dangerous to us as a people to section ourselves off from one another in order to easily identify our friends. But the more I thought about it, the more it seems to be a natural outgrowth of our ever expanding group consciousness. Think about it. Don Beck and his Spiral Dynamics easily put people into several groups based on their unfolding levels of evolutionary psychology. At first this seems to be destructive to us as a people. However, by doing so, we are able to see the strengths and weaknesses of each other and how we can relate to and rely on each other for specific reasons. If you are some sort of quasi-Darwinian purist, this is basically some form of natural selection stage where diversification of the species is readily needed in order to properly network and divide our energies to more effectively tackle certain goals. I like to think of myself as a reformed Darwinian, now struggling with spiritual humanist tendencies, but see the diversification and categorization, not as a preordained step in evolution, but as a natural occurrence in the chaotic and methodical unfolding of spirit in ourselves. While this does not necessarily facilitate throwing the Bible out the window or condemning Darwin to a fiery stake in the town's center, it does serve a purpose in the networked interwebbed reality that we are all dealing with. Just a thought.

-Dennis Edmons

Monday, November 3, 2008

seasonal affective

As the rains pour, the drizzle adds, the sun goes into hiding and the inner rains mount. It's not that we have little solar panels, ready to absorb duracell energy for our bodies, instead we have this little friendship with the thing that runs the world. We miss it, we remember it, and then we say goodbye. In Portland, it never sticks around for too long, but when it does, you see it. Little families, outside, cooking, cleaning, clipping. And in the winter, the smoke billows out of the chimneys and you don't see the people for a few months. Bye bye sun. See you in a few months.