Showing posts with label Innovation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Innovation. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

David Byrne is Not Racist


I am not a huge fan of what David Byrne did to Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth when they were in Talking Heads. I am pretty sure that I fall on Chris and Tina's side of things when it comes to how they experienced David's unique form of human interaction.

However, I will defend David from any charge that he is racist. I'll take up that cause any day of the week. 
Former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne has apologized for wearing black and brownface in an unearthed promotional video, calling it a "major mistake in judgement."
In the clip for the rock band's concert film 1984 "Stop Making Sense," the star is shown interviewing himself, while donning black and brown face to impersonate several non-White people.
The 68-year-old musician took to social media on Tuesday to express his regret after the vintage clip resurfaced online.
"To watch myself in the various characters, including black and brownface, I acknowledge it was a major mistake in judgment that showed a lack of real understanding," he wrote in series of posts shared on his Twitter page.

"It's like looking in a mirror and seeing someone else -- you're not, or were not, the person you thought you were."
Virtually every attempt to wear black or brown face is reprehensible and ignorant, and so I commend him for apologizing. In the context of Stop Making Sense, this was an inclusive set of songs that traversed multiple genres of music, much of it steeped in other cultures. You could criticize them for appropriating those cultures, but you'd be wrong. Talking Heads brought people onto the stage with them that would normally have been excluded.

I think what David was going for was a more inclusive, shared experience that was meant to bring people together to enjoy things they would not otherwise have been exposed to. We know from Chris's book that the band added musicians so that they could bring in a wider audience and make what started out to be four white people playing an eclectic mix of musical genres into a truly integrated and inclusive experience. There is no punching down here.

And it is true that he was and still is a person with quirks and strange ways of behaving and interacting with people. I'm not a doctor, so I'm not going to speculate on that. I know what has been written about him, and I don't think that's the way to frame this. What I think is more true is that there was no harmful intent, no desire to render another group of people as irrelevant or to make it so that they are no a part of the songs or the presentation. This seems like an awkward effort to elevate and hear other voices and not much more than that.

Now, will people forgive him for it? I sure hope they will and I know there are other artists who need to have this reckoning.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Pulling Water From the Air




This device produces water from the air itself:

Created by Arturo Vittori and his team at Architecture and Vision, the towers harvest water from rain, fog and dew. This isn’t a new idea—people have been doing this for as long as they’ve needed water, often with air wells. Often built as high-rising stone structures, air wells gather moisture from the air and funnel it into a basin for collection. The WarkaWater functions in much the same way, using mesh netting to capture moisture and direct it into hygienic holding tank accessed via a spout.

And the reason why there aren't hundreds of these in California right now helping to irrigate cropland and alleviate drought? I haven't heard that reason. Perhaps we could implement a public works program to build better dams and store water for long term needs, but, really, if water is scarce, you could do a lot worse than make use of a device like this.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

There is But One Use For Graphene




If you make an innovative, game-changing scientific advancement in anything, always remember one thing:

In addition to its potential uses in electronics, graphene might have applications in water treatment, oil spill clean-up and even in the production of thinner condoms.

It's all about whether or not your product can be commercialized for widespread use by people who just haven't found a condom thin enough for their own personal comfort.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Always Flatter the Elites




John Oliver made the sly mistake of thinking that there are elites who want to hear the truth. As a comedian, he has no obligations to flatter people or make them feel better--he has an obligation to do the thing that he believes is funny.

Condemning a vastly wealthy group of people who control a critical industry is gutsy enough; having the balls to walk into a room and tell them face to face is legendary. When Stephen Colbert spoke truth to power, they condemned him for it and he ended up reasonably successful and far more influential than any of the columnists who regularly embarrass themselves by regurgitating conventional wisdom day after day.

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Floating Plastic Gyre




I can specifically remember being told that we, as humans, needed to stop throwing shit into the oceans. That was in the 1970s, and it was not that long after a thing called Earth Day.

Apparently, we haven't been paying attention.

Someone, somewhere, needs to invent something that can go out in the ocean, suck up all of the plastic, and then turn it into magical ocean-renewing pixie dust. We need to turn loose a vast army of ships to go and clean up this mess and I can almost guarantee you, someone somewhere is smirking about how it's not really a problem and that Obama sucks! that's why.