Colbert Testifies Before Congress

A. Banks asks, “is this a high point or a low point for our democracy?”

A high point I say. Colbert is an artist, whose fictional character addresses fundamental real-life truths, whereas most politicians are fictional characters who tell lies masquerading as truths. Yet, we know Colbert is in character, while most political spectacle is still taken at face value. Colbert’s testimony/performance, reveals the true nature of the masquerade that is America’s political media spectacle by revealing the tattered edges of the trompe l’oeil, just as Toto revealed the man behind the curtain, unmasking the Wizard of Oz.

Joey G. asks, “Did this really happen?”

Yes, it did happen. And it didn’t happen. Just like how the Gulf War didn’t happen. Baudrillard would have a field day (or perhaps more apropos, an intellectual fête champêtre) with this, whereas I am just high on cold medicine, watching YouTube clips and ranting away one of the last summery days of the year.

Le Corbusier T-Shirt

New in the Hepnova Zazzle Store – The Le Corbusier Portrait T-Shirt

Celebrate everybody’s favorite Franco-Swiss modernist architect/designer with this shirt that is a machine for living in!

Book Review: What’s Mine Is Y(our)s: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption

Haiku synopsis:

Tech helps us to share
Old impulses, New ideas
What is mine is yours

Co-authors Rachel Botsman and Roo Rogers present a highly readable overview of the collaborative present and future of consumption as new technologies empower and amplify our basic human urge to share.  I was really excited to finally get my review copy of this book, since my masters thesis, SokoSquare, dealt with many of these issues of reclaiming and redefining community (and finding abundance) through collaboration and sharing. In particular, chapter 8, “Collaborative Design” was a particularly inspiring call to action for me as a designer to move beyond creating beautiful artifacts to creating systems and experiences that generate some sort of communal value.  The ethos of collaborative consumption doesn’t see technology and the internet as an end in itself, but instead a coordinating mechanism for enhancing robust communities.

I have also been thinking about these issues in my recent work with HelloElectric.org, a newly-launched social movement for the promotion of electric vehicles.  Widespread adoption of electric vehicles is only one part of the solving the climate and peak oil crises.  We must also change the way we own and use vehicles.  Botsman & Rogers quote Bill Ford, executive chairman of Ford:

The future of transportation will be a blend of things like Zipcar, public transportation, and private car ownership.  Not only do I not feat that, but I think it’s a great opportunity for us to participate in the changing nature of car ownership.

Amen to that.

What’s Mine Is Yours is part cultural critique, part aspirational document, and part survey of the current collaborative consumption scene.  Besides Zipcar, the book also explores the success of sites like eBay, craigslist, and CouchSurfing and offers an introduction to some interesting newcomers in the space.

If you like Clay Shirky’s Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age or Douglas Rushkoff’s Life Inc.: How the World Became a Corporation and How to Take It Back, this is the book to read next.

Hello Electric

Hello Electric is a new global movement for electric cars, dedicated to bringing people together online to take meaningful action to get these clean, new cars onto our streets faster, ending our addiction to oil and the damage it causes to the environment.

I just joined Hello Electric in an urgent campaign. BP’s CEO Tony Hayward is about to resign over the oil spill that has devastated the Gulf of Mexico, so we decided to give him a gift that will help him lead the way “Beyond Petroleum” (and never, ever have to go to a gas station again).

If 25,000 people sign the goodbye card to Tony in the next few weeks, Hello Electric will GIVE him his own electric car and demand that he help us end our global addiction to oil. Tony is appearing before UK Parliament TODAY; together we can send a huge challenge to him and the media.

Will you sign Tony’s card and ask your friends and family to do the same? It only takes a moment and could make a huge difference:
http://www.helloelectric.org

Awesome Foundation NYC September Party

This Monday, the Awesome Foundation NYC held our end-of-summer party at Tribeca Tavern, where we celebrated our recent grantees: Sub Base One by Lee Von Kraus and the Hip Hop Word Count by Tahir Hemphill.  Thanks to everyone for coming out and thanks to Grolsch Grants for the free beer!