some bi-partisan good news – uptick in crime is a bump in overall decline

We get plenty of bad news so let’s talk about crime trends again. From the article:

Using the FBI numbers, the (crime) rate fell 50% between 1993 and 2015, the most recent full year available. Using the BJS data, the rate fell by 77% during that span.

Click the image below for actual facts about crime in America (And here’s something to listen to while reading to make it more dramatic.)

Pew Research on Crime Decline in US 

More from the article:

Property crime has declined significantly over the long term. Like the violent crime rate, the U.S. property crime rate today is far below its peak level. FBI data show that the rate fell 48% between 1993 and 2015, while BJS reports a decline of 69% during that span.

and then there is the disparity created by the advertising supported media that influences our brains. We are gullible.

Public perceptions about crime in the U.S. often don’t align with the data. Opinion surveys regularly find that Americans believe crime is up, even when the data show it is down.

Although it’s not all good.

Many crimes are not reported to police. In its annual survey, BJS asks victims of crime whether or not they reported that crime to police. In 2015, the most recent year available, only about half of the violent crime tracked by BJS (47%) was reported to police.

Bottom line? Stay thirsty for the facts my friends. We can’t always drink the kool aid. Or the same thing. Stay thirsty for knowledge because knowledge is power.

There is no media really, only advertisers selling scary stories in the media. People Tweet alt-official-news, fake news or real news alike. So I think it’s healthy to point out (again) a few positive overall societal trends we are experiencing.


The Rule of Consistency and Why You Are Being Played

You are being played to keep you on the corporate teet photo of a photo of a foxand make sure you don’t rise up. You have been convinced to do what you are told at a level that you no longer even realize it. Yes. You.

There is no one “the man” that is keeping us down. It’s the entire empire. The one that tells the black man he has to argue with another black man about “whose parents were worse and whose childhood was worse.” (see  original and “you ain’t never been on probation“)  The “man” that tells the country kids about the working man blues.  The one that sings Narcocorrido to our youth on both sides of the border.

Humans are persuaded by a variety of means. This author gives us the six laws of persuasion. Reciprocation, Commitment, Social Proof, Liking, Authority and Scarcity.

Example: Most people are aware of the power of reciprocity, which is why they are so eager to give you a cookie when you go into a furniture store or buy you a free coke at the car dealership. Once we say yes, we owe them. The fact that we don’t OWE them enough to buy a 30k car is besides the point, there is nothing else we can give them to repay the favor when we are in their offices. So a free coke and a free cookie really do increase sales.

You, we, us – we are being played. NoLogo indeed.

more breasts and less violence

NOTE: This is a cross post. Please comment on the Houston Chronicle More Breasts Less Violence Post.

I have mentioned before, half jokingly, that part of the problem with the media is that we need “more breasts and less violence.”

brighton uk-11

As a parent of three children, I find it disturbing that CSI can show the charred remains of a human victim of sexual assault on TV and that is OK. Or a half naked dead girl as long as the chest cavity is missing. While showing a woman’s breasts on TV gets you fined by the FCC and the rest of us watch nothing-but-oldies at half-time. From wikipedia on the wardrobe malfunction.

On September 22, 2004, the FCC fined Viacom the maximum $27,500 (US) penalty for each of the twenty CBS-owned television stations (including satellites of WFRV in Green Bay, WCCO in Minneapolis, and KUTV in Salt Lake City; current CBS owned-and-operated station KOVR in Sacramento at the time was owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group) for a total $550,000 fine, the largest ever against a television broadcaster at that time.

I am sure Viacom is really glad it was only one breast or it might have been over a million dollars! Geez.

As humans, hopefully we will live out our entire lives without killing someone. God said it best – “thou shall not kill.” Yet hopefully at some point in our lives we will have sex. Breasts are awesome. It’s blunt to say it like that, but everyone dances around the topic. If you lead a successful life you will have sex and you will not kill. It’s just that simple. Shouldn’t that balance be represented in our media?

If we must have either violence or sex to appeal to the reptilian brain‘s need for entertainment, wouldn’t it be better if we erred away from violence? Wouldn’t it be better if in fact there were “more breasts and less violence” in the media? Assuming of course the depictions of sex are healthy. Unfortunately when it comes to sex in the media it horrifically gets blended with violence and more recently an increase in depictions of violence against women  in the media! From a 2009 study:

“Violence, irrespective of gender, on television increased during the study period only 2% from 2004 to 2009, while the incidence of violence against women increased 120% during that same period.”

“Cumulatively, across all study periods and all networks,  the most frequent type of violence was beating (29%), followed by credible threats of violence, (18%), shootings (11%), rape (8%), stabbing (6%), and torture (2%).   Violence against women resulted in death 19% of the time.”

“Violence against women or the graphic consequences of violence tends overwhelmingly to be depicted 92% of the time, rather than implied (5%) or described (3%).”

According to the report there was an 81% increase in the incidence of intimate partner violence on television from 2004 to 2009 and FOX was on top of the heap when it came to using “violence against women as a punch line in its comedies.”

To repeat, while violence went up 2%, depictions of violence against women specifically went up 120%! What the heck is going on here!?

And the porn industry is following the same pattern. I was shocked to read about the current state of porn in Chris Hedges book Empire of Illusion. I had never heard of “Gonzo” porn and for my older readers, um… things have gotten a lot worse since the “soldier meets a waitress while serving overseas” bawdy contrivances of our youth. No, modern porn has set about training our 18 to 25 year old males to be misogynists, unfortunately. I’ll leave that for another day (more for the curious).

But what about a healthy depiction of sex between a man and a woman? Such a depiction of intimacy just earned the movie Blue Valentine an NC 17 rating. From the article on CNN which quotes Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams:

“It’s an inappropriate rating,” an outraged Gosling, 30, tells CNN, adding that violent movies rarely get slapped with an NC-17. “I mean, you go see films and the guys are getting their arms and their legs cut off and that’s an R rating, but … if it’s in the direction of a woman receiving pleasure, you know, and she’s complicit in a sexual act, it’s pornographic.”

Williams agrees that there’s a double standard when it comes to both women and violence in movies.

“That’s the thing that really gets me as a parent,” says the mother of 5-year-old Matilda, her daughter with the late Heath Ledger. “Violence as pornography is condoned and accepted and given a sort of stamp-of-approval rating, and we’re punished.”

European advertising has long had a more open approach than America.

America has a different social norm. And nudity in publicly consumed media is illegal. Companies like American Apparel turn this into an opportunity and  gain notoriety by pushing the boundaries. But AA’s approach seems cheap and exploitative, whereas the nudity and sexuality in the European advertising seems more sophisticated and tasteful.

When I have talked to people about this topic you always get a few snickers. None of us are really sure why breasts are so awesome, but they are. Yet in our society we can’t talk about sex without acting like 13 year olds but when people blow up on screen it’s “pass the popcorn!” The explanation people always tell me is that we are a Christian nation and are more modest about such things. Yet I come from a Catholic family and I’m the third of six kids. I’m pretty sure Mom and Dad had things figured out.

My point when I say that we need more breasts and less violence is this: we need more healthy depictions of women, we need more openness when it comes to breasts (really?) and we need to feed less violence into our minds.

I ask you, would you rather your children watch this CSI episode? Or….

Or this Victoria Secret Fashion Show?

Personally, I’d much rather my kids watch the latter. I for one would like to see more breasts and less violence in our society.

rosen on wikileaks – stateless news organization

Worth a read on wikileaks Wikileaks, the World’s First Stateless News Organization

Ask yourself: Why didn’t Wikileaks just publish the Afghanistan war logs and let journalists “˜round the world have at them? Why hand them over to The New York Times, the Guardian and Der Spiegel first? Because as Julien Assange, founder of Wikileaks, explained last October, if a big story is available to everyone equally, journalists will pass on it.

“It’s counterintuitive,“ he said then. “You’d think the bigger and more important the document is, the more likely it will be reported on but that’s absolutely not true. It’s about supply and demand. Zero supply equals high demand, it has value. As soon as we release the material, the supply goes to infinity, so the perceived value goes to zero.“

the culture of instant gratification that we’ve so come to live by has been neatly swept aside and tethered back

“For once, the culture of instant gratification that we’ve so come to live by has been neatly swept aside and tethered back… for as well as bringing meticulous glamour back to womenswear, Tom Ford is bringing back something even bigger: anticipation. Fed up with the Internet age of public consumption Ford has kept the cards of his women’s line close to his perfectly buttoned-up chest, and in doing so has created something that’s truly exclusive. So exclusive it’s not all over Twitter. So exclusive that we won’t see photographs of the Spring 2011 preview parade, which took place this week, until December. That may be three months in the real world but for the “overexposed” digital universe, that’s decades.”

Fashionising on Tom Ford

The Pursuit of Attention – Quotes

The pursuit of attention is now emerging as one of the electric organizing principles of American life. Not only are people pursuing attention in new ways, but there is evidence that we have begun to restructure our culture – including even our politics and economy – around the idea of attention as a glittering ultimate recognition and reward. Celebrities are the icons, but the pursuit of attention is now being diffused and institutionalized, hardwired into our beings through new systems of media, business, and technology, and fueled by new, aching deprivations that prey on our psyches. The result is a spreading virus of prosaic but dehumanizing behavior that subtly alienates us from one another and turns daily interactions into a veiled competition for recognition and respect.

– Introduction to The Pursuit of Attention, second edition, by Charles Derber. 1979, 2000

All my stripper friends
All my ex-boyfriends
We all want the same thing
We all want the same thing
Parties in the bar, reaching for the stars
We all want the same thing

All My Stripper Friends, Tila Tequila