Archive for November 2013

A Letter to People Who Work @ Companies

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

Dear People who work at companies,

We write the jokes.  We write your music.  We start the companies that fail, but sometimes succeed.  We produce your reality [television].     WE are the people who take the chances.  We also in most cases have to go it alone.  We ARE the CREATIVE MINORITY.

YET– We, together, have virtually no special representation in government.   We are taxed more.  We don’t have an interest group.

We DO have power though.  We’re the ones that step out of line.  We know how to write the jokes.  We know how to effect your minds through imagery.  When we DO get together you notice things, but just like atheists, we tend to not all pray to the same god (or any god at all).  As the ones who may not even realize our powers of manipulation, those of us who do are often afraid to use them for our own purposes because we think its tacky.  We CREATE things.  Without us– nothing new.  Yes Jesus himself started out this way.

This is the Creative Minority.

So when Bill Clinton said that Obama should honor his repeated commitments to let us keep our health insurance, and mentioned the young people involved here– let me put more of a face on this issue.

In my past, I have clearly supported Barack Obama.  I worked on his 08′ campaign.  I even openly and early (when it counted because I had something to lose) warned President Obama that the people he was “paling around with” on technology were not inclusive of the best of us from that era.   This type of risk, at best made the people that circle him act weird to me, at worst, privately try to destroy the progress we genuinely tried to create.  I believe Obama when he says they didn’t tell him the website was busted– they are good at covering their tracks while not doing things, I’m only sorry that it may have just undermined the central argument of liberalism for a generation, that the government can DO things:

So My insurance was canceled.  I was incredibly happy with my plan.  I had over $200k in medical bills in February because of a ‘surfing accident'(I know its not like I had cancer) – it cost me $6000 out of pocket and I paid only $139 a month.   This was a fucking AMAZING plan.

In the new plan that’s ‘better for me’ because I was getting ripped off somehow with the old one, my premiums more than doubled.  Services I didnt think should be covered like acupuncture were(no offense to accupuncture, I’d just rather pay out of pocket, its cheaper!), other things were cut, like the size of my network of doctors.  I was willing to deal with this when I got the notice two months ago.     The Media which doesn’t really mediate anymore but follows SHINY OBJECTS didnt report on the cancellations back then.  THEY are being PLAYED right now.

I have spoken to two groups of friends in this market of which I clearly have many.   There are those of us who, like myself, are good soldiers and are willing to pay more to help other people get health care and remove the pre-existing condition even if it means we’re the ones shouldering the costs yet again.  Then there are others who rightfully are pissed off or in denial about what’s going on with them.  The website fix won’t help this, the information is actually out there for those who want to find it.  When they find it, you can’t just tell them they’re wrong.

What bothers me is not this increase.  It bothers me when they try to belittle this meager 5% of the population of several million people(we’re roughly larger than the proper populations of NYC, LOS ANGELES, CHICAGO & SF put together).  We exist.  We shoulder a lot of things and don’t complain about them, or threaten any politicians.  We don’t start campaigns to purely help ourselves.   We continue to take risks for ALL of society because that’s the way we do things.

It would be nice if they kept their word on letting us keep what we had.  We were the good ones who HAD health insurance and paid our bills. But what would be better is they didn’t openly & continually shit on us like we don’t matter as they try to get out of their self-made political problems.   It’s offensive.


Obvious Places have Obvious Faces

Thursday, November 7th, 2013

Part one in a long series on Obvious Faces and their Obvious Places.. 

I’ve been fortunate enough to have worked at some very popular, well known places– AT TIMES when they were reaching the peak of something.  Most of the time I had very little directly to do with these moments– but the truth is, most of the people around me didn’t either.

For ABC News (I’m picking on this one now its an E-Z target, but clearly Obama’s 2008 campaign was incredibly obvious, but its obvious issues are still being played out) — for my generation, I fashioned myself as someone who at least gave a fuck about the specifics of the history of that institution, with most of its mandate was derived from a Three Channel Era and nice brown hair-dos.  It came from a time & place when even in third place, they garnered recognition by default and you could not avoid knowing them.

The way people got jobs there when I started there about 10 years ago this month, was not often based on talent, but because either they knew someone or were related to someone or they interned there, based on being known by someone, coming from a really known place or being related to someone known– the obvious ivy league was big then(I dont think its a place those obvious graduates would bother much with anymore).  This employment process and particularly the process for advancing your career at that place produced the results we see today of an institution that even when they put all their smoke together all at the same time has a hard time making a cloud anyone would notice on their own block.

ABC News, in its time, was an obvious place.  A household name of all household names!  In certain parlance an OMGAA place!

It was easy to find.  A Paul Rand Logo to boot!  It wasn’t where you would really find anything interesting going on.  And normally, once a place is that obvious there really isn’t much further upwards it can go (google sounds like this to me, in some cases its worse because of the implied expectations for greatness, at the end of the day, even people @ ABC in its day knew they were often “SSTM” or “Shoveling Shit to Mules”). Obvious places attract obvious faces.  They have great PR departments because they are the ones who can obviously afford them.  And the faces they attract, if they had less obvious things to do, they still wouldn’t go to those places because those dark things are scary.  A lot of an obvious person’s self worth, whether it be from society, nature or nurture, is tied into being OBVIOUS.

This is all well and good and the obvious people wouldn’t be a problem if they didn’t enforce the OBVIOUS so hard core and in doing so, prevent more obvious places from being created out of obscurity so they can have more places to work at, defend, be proud of and utterly ruin(thus the cycle of life and capitalistic economic concerns).

They can also really become a problem when their obvious place is really obviously wrong, such as the SS during World War II(oh but they didn’t know it was so bad @ the time).  By nature, the obvious faces tend to make it harder to see the truth at all costs.  They’re so well invested in these places, they’ll ignore just about anything to keep things obvious!

We’ll go into this further about what happens at a COOL PLACE, when the obvious people show up (well there isn’t much further to go into there, its time for you to leave!).  Obvi.!


I’m back

Thursday, November 7th, 2013

It seems appropo that the last posting here was about my “death experience” as I like to call it.  This blog in many ways needs to be brought back to life, and so do the intentions of the Schmooru community.

Schmooru was established at a time when creative people were being taken advantage of by things much bigger than them, through contests that pitted us against each other, while these powerful forces were able to shirk any responsibility for the RISK of creating off people lugging around digicams trying to make it in this world on their own.

Fortunately, in many respects quality reigned supreme, and those contests mostly fell by the wayside as the seemingly never ending supply of talent gave way to reality that ‘vaster wastelands’ of shitty content didn’t help to sell your soda company.  Beyond that, there were cheaper easier mediums to exploit where you didn’t even need to have the contest or pay anyone anything for anything.

That’s the world we live in now.  I will bring up the age of obscurity often in this resurgence.  We live in obscure times,  where the information we think we’re getting is not what it seems, not always manipulated by the people in between(as it once was), making the all powerful (an increasingly smaller set) almost completely unaccountable for what they do to manipulate us.  For instance, as a creative community, mostly of filmakers I woud like to dispell a myth that there’s anything democratic or quality oriented about how your videos you make for these private entities (youtube-googleplex, vimeo, etcs..) are reaching your audiences.  They are highly censored by powerful people who know virtually nothing about content or the love of the craft (yes its worse than the reptile network execs from the 50-90s, at least YOU knew who they were and THEY knew who they were!).

I will add this caveat.  The views expressed here are my own– and brought forward through my role as the moderator of THIS creative community.  My ulterior motive here is having enough STUFF to fill and complete my PHD work at the European Graduate School.  My primary motive is, I get to see a lot things where I sit in the Cole Valley in San Francisco.  There is a bad, greedy air in this city over the mountain and its killing what made this place give birth to the idea that magic boxes at the end of the content could do amazing things.

Please be critical of me.  That’s welcome here.

-Daniel P Beckmann, Cole Valley – 11/6/2013 

P.S.  This will be spelled wrong.  The word order may be complicated.   Despite everything you say or ask for I refuse to put this new resurgence through a filter of any kind.  Good luck out there.  I don’t need a large audience.  For my conscious I need to express the antidote to the obscurities of our times and for my PHD, I need things in writing.

P. S. S.  The rules of RETRO <a href=”></a> certainly apply here.  We will avoid the Zero-Sum-GAIN, you may not like it– but something new will ALWAYS greet you here.