Adonis Diaries

Archive for July 3rd, 2009

Did you Day Dream a Utopian Project? (May 19, 2009)

 

Have you day dreamt of a utopian project?  I have so many times day dreamt of projects that were to be ideal in profitability, organization, equitability, fairness, encouraging and promoting individual creativities, and leaving plenty of free time for individual accomplishment and continuing education.  There are moments in any one of these projects where the more utopian you strive for the more variables you have to contend with.  Every detail generates its down set of variability and quickly the interactions are too many for the mind to coordinate and analyze.  Suddenly, you end it as abruptly as in happy movies.  Yes, it is complicated but everybody should be living happily ever after. 

Then you are carried by curiosity: you want to take the dreamt up project further to its ultimate glory.  The more you resolve complicated interactions among people the more your solutions revert to totalitarian solutions and the more your answers smack of a one party regime reactions to diversities.  Then I realize that, fundamentally, I am not better than any dictator who managed to amass enough power to exercise coercions at will. Utopias are dangerous exercises of the mind and they sting potently the trust in our potentials to fairness and equitability.  The only utility to dreaming up utopia is to vent up the bottled up anger of helplessness to act and change.  Utopias are far more dangerous when a restricted and select caste of elites assemble to apply and enforce their sick view of an ideal society.  Utopias are not the solution and never will improve human conditions.  Read any samples of Utopias from Plato, to Tomas Moore, and to the Zionist ideology and you will realize that the end product is a subdivision of society by caste systems where people rule and the lower strata produce and serve; the end product is a huge set of rules and regulations that can put to shame the gigantic daily constraints of the Jewish Pharisee sect. 

Study the Utopias of those who managed to horde power from Napoleon, to Bismarck, to Hitler, to Mussolini, to Lenin, to Stalin, to Mao Tse Tong, and finally to Bush/Cheney and the end product was destruction, utter humiliation of the people, hate crimes, and genocides.

There are other kinds of utopias.  You have those forecasting the future, fifty years from now, in all sorts of topics such as political systems, emergence of new superpowers, technological breakthrough, social conditions, trends of how fast people will die of famine, and the increase in social divides among the wealthy and the dregs. Sure, those forecasters inevitably claim that they are analyzing current trends if all conditions remain controlled, though they have no idea what are those conditions and how they are controlled.  Forecasting the future is another way of thinking aloud individual utopia because no one is forecasting without strong biases as to his present mind set.

So far, the only valid forecasting time line is of six months; it is adopted by the analysts of market and fashion trends of the adapters in the age category of 20 to 30 years.  There is no doubt in my mind that promotional tactics biase people in believing that they are setting the trend by surfing the internet and disseminating their interests; but that how democracy should be at work.  Democratic systems should expose programs and disseminate them and then evaluate what people selected after a period of six months of diffusion among the active population.

Cannes, the French Riviera (May 18, 2009)

 

The yearly film festival held in Cannes, the Mecca for transacting movie rights and distribution contracts, is eminently a style fashion show for the Superclass, especially women.  Producers, directors, actors, actresses, fashion designers, promoters of all kinds of products and services converge to transact audio-visual services, luxury items, and mostly young flesh.

 

Since the advent of TV the movie industry has faced frequent crisis.  Every now and then you read “Cinema is sick, dying, finished, or dead” but it keeps transforming and cutting expenses, except on promotional budgets that steadily increase. Heavy money are invested in promoting the actors and actresses in magazines, fashion, and charity events; cooked up marital problems and cheating adventures are sneaked into tabloids just to keep them in the spotlight.  The video and DVD revolution has kept families and the adults of over 35 homes but the new generation has to be out and gather in large facilities.

 

Trend adapter consultants evaluate their ideas of what the new generation (people aged 20 to 30) wants and desires. The new generation is navigating the internet and communicating their interests. The gathered information is statistically analyzed by the trend adapter researchers.   It is the new generation that will be spending money on fashions that suit their characters: fashion on display in luxury shops are already out of fashion and have generated the cow cash. Mostly profit is in luxury accessories from belt, to shoes, to necklaces, and shawls.

 

A few renowned actors/actresses are wealthy but most of them are subsidized by the industry to look rich and glamorous; the industry pay the rent of the mansions, luxury cars, hotels, cloths, and diamonds just to keep their stars in the spotlight for their fans.  Most of those who walk on the red carpet are paid pittance for many years until they pay off their dues to be set free for reconsidering initial contracts.  The same goes for directors who meet with new young promises on luxury yachts that do not belong to them.

 

Producers of movies usually wage on one successful movie out of ten failed ones to stay in the active life.  A producer read a book; he is interested in the story, sort a wonderful idea that suits a movie strikes his imagination.  If the right of authorship is available for purchase then he contacts the author and tenders the lowest offer.  Mind you that 60,000 books are published yearly just in the USA and fresh authors crave recognition; especially if their books might be screened. 

Generally, the new author who spent five years writing his “master work” is satisfied with $10,000 that the producer pay as option to reserving the rights for three years. If the book is screened then the author would be paid an additional one hundred thousands dollars plus 2% of the net benefice that never materializes because accounting in Hollywood is designed to show deficits.  The producer needs the signature of the author on the contract so that “THE STUDIO” might consider seriously extending credits for a movie.  The producer makes the round of the studios that he previously worked with.  Most of the times the producer calls up the author asking him to mail back the contract because the time for his ingenious idea has not come.  In the rare occasions that a studio gets excited for an idea then the next phase is for the producer to hire a screen writer, the cheapest ever.  Many drafted scenarios are mailed to the producer and never to the author.  All political connotations in the scenarios that might offend the conservative strata of the public are eliminated.  More love encounters and sex scenes are added; the viewers should be shedding tears, the loved one has to disappear and then be found.  What was a brilliant idea reverts to what it should have boiled down in the first place: a man loves a woman; a man loses a woman; and then a man recovers a woman.  Otherwise, the story has to compensate in more violent actions, car chases, visual, and sound effects.

            The studio has many ready projects to shoot but has to deal with distributing the ended films as widely as is feasible to movie theaters worldwide. The producer has to wait or locate an “independent” distributor.  Independent distributors make money if one out of ten movies is a hit.  In general, distributors are second order producers who decided to be front for “dirty money” investors who need to “clean” their money and generate legitimate income.  It is a costly investment to purchase chains of movie theaters around the world and those with deep pockets of “dirty money”, generated from illegal or illicit transactions, don’t mind taking calculated risks. For example, the famous actor Robert Redford turned producer and then director; he had to break the distribution roadblock by creating “Sundance Film Festival” to encourage independent directors.  Redford has failed to enter wider countries such as Europe and India.  Distributors do not invest a dime in the entire process of producing a movie and yet they make most of the profit.

            The tightly closed club of two thousand billionaires that meet once a year in Davos, Switzerland, under the name of World Economic Forum is formed of very few who acquired their wealth legitimately.  And yet, those powerful figures think that they are endowed “legitimately” to resolving world poverty and instability.

 

The French Federation of Fashion Designers is very powerful.  Not many competitors can join the Federation and powerful political contacts are needed to enter this sacro saint association.  It was established in 1868 and has registered the trade mark “Haute Couture” and fights savagely anyone who uses this expression without its consent.  There is this ceremony every six months (that is the time span of fashion) of “Premiere Vision” (First Viewing) closed to the public. This tradition lasts three weeks and starts in London, then Milan, and ends in Paris. The French Federation has the exclusivity of publishing the catalogue of the two major yearly events (ten thousands copies), of selecting the two thousands journalists and photographers, the mega buyers, and the place for the events.

Article #29, December 1st, 2005

“How objective and scientific are research?”

Would you please give me a minute to set the foundations first? Friend, allow me just a side explanation on experimentation.  Psychologists, sociologists and marketing graduates are trained to apply various experimentation methods and not just cause and effects designs.  There are many statistical packages oriented to providing dimensions and models to the set of data dumped into the experiment so that a preliminary understanding of the system behavior is comprehended qualitatively.

Every applied science has gone through many qualitative models or schemas, using various qualitative methods, before attempting to quantify their models. However, many chairmen of engineering departments, especially those who have no understanding of the disciple of Human Factors or were never exposed to designing experiments, have a conception that this field is mostly qualitative in nature and would ask me to concentrate in my courses on the quantitative aspects such as the environmental factors of lighting, noise, heat and any topic that requires computation or has well defined physics equations.

We have three concepts in the title: objectivity, scientific and research that are related in people’s mind as connoting the same concept.  However, the opposite meanings for these concepts are hard to come by without philosophical divergences or assumptions.  If we define science as a set of historical paradigms, a set of concepts, truths, facts and methods that most of them keep changing as new technologies and new methodologies enlarge the boundaries of knowledge then you might be more inclined to discuss notions with a freer mind.

Could subjectivity be accepted as the opposite of objectivity without agreeing on a number of axioms and assumptions that are not tenable in many cases?  Any agreement in the meanings of objectivity in scientific research procedures and results are basically consensual among the professionals in a discipline, for a period, until the advent of a new paradigm that changes the meaning or orientation of the previous consensus among the professionals.

Could opinions, personal experiences, recalled facts or events not be accepted in the domain of research even if they could be found in written documents but not thoroughly investigated by a researcher?  So what if you refer to an accredited research article and then it turned out that the article was fraught with errors, misleading facts with borderline results and untenable interpretations?  Would the research be thrown in the dust bin as unscientific or non objective and thus not worth further investigations?

Research in Physics, Chemistry and engineering deal with objects and are related to studying the behavior of the physical nature; these kind of research can arrive to well establish mathematical models because the factors are countable, could be well controlled in experimental settings and the variability in errors are connected to the technology of the measuring instruments once the procedure is well defined and established according to experimental standards.  It is when research has to deal with the variability in the human nature such as in psychology, psychometric, sociology, marketing, business management and econometrics that the notions of objectivity, research and science become complex and confusing.

The main problem is to boldly discriminate among research and admit that not every research is necessarily scientific or objective and that a research has an intrinsic value if the investigator is candid about the purpose and nature of his research.  We need to admit that every research is subjective in nature because it is the responsibility of the investigator to select his topic, his intentions, his structured theory, references, fund providers, the hypotheses, the design, the methodology, the sample size, the populations, the data collection techniques, the statistical package, emphasis on either error type I or error type II, the interpretation of results and so on. 

By admitting prior subjective environment to a research endeavor then we can proffer the qualitative term of objectivity to the research only and only when the investigators provide full rationales to every subjective choices in the research process.

Every step in the research process is a variation on an accepted paradigm at one point in the history of science and the mixing of paradigms with no conscious realization of the mixing process should set a warning alarm on the validity of the research and the many pitfalls it is running through.  

Acknowledging the role of subjectivity in the methodology, the data and its interpretation could open the way for more accurate and flexible judgments as to the extent of objectivity and scientific tendencies of the research.

I learned*

 

1.   I learned from Life that

Assuming is but the intention to work less.

You know the drill: 

No work, no sweat, no gain.

 

2.   I learned from Life that

Expecting but not acting on a plan

Is a day dreaming wish.

You know the drill:  No work, no sweat, no gain.

 

3.   I learned from Life that

Acting but not expecting success is

A long journey

      To sweatshop misery.

 

4.   I learned from Life

The best drill of all:

Plan, act and expect success.

Success is on hand, and more.

Success comes in drove,

In different shapes and forms.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

July 2009
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