Between the Margins of Bugs Bunny and Kim Kardashian…
XXXI. I was sitting on the light rail not paying attention to the people behind me, all while I was being watched. “I found your doppelgänger,” read the caption on the picture I received. Luckily, a friend was the photographer. Still, for a moment, I felt like an unsuspecting reality TV “star.”
XXXII. I have a new appreciation for the Kardashians. If not for a mention on Twitter, I likely wouldn’t have traversed the Kim Kardashian profile and risqué photo shoot, but a paragraph jumped out:
“If you have never seen any of the 162 episodes of Keeping Up with the Kardashians [or a spinoff], you probably assume the general plot is as follows: Family members ham their way through staged situations, reacting to artificial drama with the subtlety of Kabuki theater. The show is 85 percent that. But the other 15 percent deals with unusual (for TV) candor about marital cataclysms, transgender identity issues, cycles of substance abuse, and the effects of crippling depression on the self and the family.”
It takes a level of trust to be subversive. It takes leading an audience down a familiar path most of the way, and then going off course and seeing who follows. For their fans, the Kardashians have created a level of intimacy. They can bring up hard issues other television programs don’t touch, and do so in a serious manner.
XXXIII. There’s a cartoon, Bugs Bunny in King Arthur’s Court, that transforms Mark Twain’s book A Connecticut Yankee into Looney Tunes form. Bugs takes on King Arthur (played by Daffy Duck) and his followers, including Yosemite Sam, Elmer Fudd and Porky Pig. Despite the dismantling by Bugs, England looked better in that cartoon than it did last week. David Cameron’s own ego led him to call for a vote and now England is Brexiting the European Union.
XXXIV. What if U.S. states wanted to hold a vote with a Brexit-like name? Here were my favorite names from this list: Delaware (DelaWe’reGone) Illinois (Illinomore), Maryland (MaryLeave) and Washington (Washing-MyHandsOfThis). I enjoyed the moment when the media was waiting for David Cameron to appear and his cat walked out of his house. It feels good to finally have something worse than Donald Trump happening in the political world—thanks England.
XXXV. Political Metaphor (too ridiculous to make up): I was walking on a parkway near Green Lake when this tattered bald eagle crashed through the trees followed by another eagle trying to pin him down. The first eagle escaped and both flew off, flanked on all sides by huge black crows watching the fight. Similarly, our politicians smash into each other while the voices of regular Americans squawk in vain.
XXXVI. In America, traditional small businesses—companies looking to address a small section of the market—are forming at a declining rate. Startups—companies hoping to start small and sell for huge profits—are succeeding less often. Conglomerates like Google, Facebook and Amazon are controlling more of the space for the advancement of technology. All of this makes our economy less dynamic. When the day comes that venture capitalists become risk adverse and big companies stop gobbling up startups, where will innovation take place? (Source: MIT Technology Review)
XXXVII.Did a venture capitalist sink the Golden State Warriors? Back in March, part owner Joe Lacob said the Warriors winning ways were part of his venture capitalist owner team’s master plan. He said that the Warriors were “light-years ahead of every other team structure” and would “be a handful for the rest of the NBA to deal with for a long time.”
I may not start companies, but I do know about sports. Here’s how sports work. When you’re so sure that something is going to happen in your favor, you’re usually heartbroken.
XXXVIII. The master of storylines backfiring, Larry David, announced that he’s bringing back Curb Your Enthusiasm. This means the return of J.B. Smoove as Leon, perhaps TV’s greatest sidekick. If you’ve never seen Curb, Larry David plays himself, an egocentric Hollywood writer, and Leon is a not suitable for network TV black man who lives with Larry, gives him advice and serves as a foil (including to Michael Richards—Kramer—during the Seinfeld reunion season).
XXXIX. “I’m here strictly for the material,” Jerry said on an episode of Seinfeld where George turned purple because of a wacky healer. I feel that way a lot, especially this year. As Jerry said later in the show, “Live and Learn—at least we lived.” When I don’t know what I’m doing, I look around and try to examine what’s going on. I’m here strictly for the material.
XL. Material is a big deal. At several points in my first couple of weeks at NBBJ, I have seen architects get really excited about materials. “Imagine the possibilities if we made this out of steel or plastic or wood!” Each source of material will affect a structure in a different way—whether you’re building a bus bench, a cathedral or a newsletter.
Each week, Margins follows a narrative through the twists and turns of culture, media and society. The author, Derek Kessinger, is a writer, journalist and student at Experience Institute.