Friday, December 16, 2011
© 2011, the Institute for Applied Common Sense
Recently we took a trip into the little box to experience a movie starring Jeffrey Donovan, more popularly known as Michael Weston on USA’s Burn Notice. In Changeling, he plays a Los Angeles police captain in charge of a kidnapping case. When we entered the story, Donovan was ecstatic since he had returned the missing 9 year old boy to his Mother (Angelina Jolie).
While not trying to rain on the Good Captain’s parade during a press conference, Jolie’s character does not share the same level of enthusiasm – because she does not recognize the kid as hers.
To placate the captain, she takes the kid home and entertains the possibility that he underwent a major transformation during his 5 month absence. But once she checks his “manhood” to determine whether it was circumcised, she is absolutely certain. However, when she returns to the Captain the next day, he questions her sanity. Not long thereafter, he has her involuntarily committed.
To achieve box office success, a film can either flirt delicately with the implausible, or charge head-on into fantasy land. It cannot occupy the middle. We asked ourselves how the director of Changeling could spend so much time and energy on a film with such a ludicrous story line. We later found out that it was based on real-life events in 1928.
We live in an era where we are not quite sure what to believe. A large number of citizens have met success through bold face lies. We once heard a fellow say that if his wife ever found him in bed with another woman, he would simply respond, “What woman?”
Politicians have joined the ranks of policemen, priests, used-car salesmen, assistant coaches, and philandering spouses. They have figured out that they can lie to the public about job creation and people will believe them.
A few peanut gallery thoughts:
1. While a direct cause and effect relationship can be relatively easily proven in the physical universe involving physical objects, it is far more difficult (if not impossible) to prove such a relationship in the human / emotional universe. In the realm of human / emotional concepts, of which "job creation" and “job pursuits” are subsets, we distance ourselves from potential solutions, and complicate the search, when we politicize the discussion.
2. The history of technology is a relatively recent concept. A professor at Georgia Tech during the 1970s and 1980s, Melvin Kranzberg, Ph.D., was known as the "Father of the History of Technology." It is a subject taught in the "social science" arena.
3. Job creation is about technology. Technology is about creativity, innovation, and invention. Inventors do not stop to think one minute about any of the factors mentioned by politicians. They innovate and invent because that's who they are and that's what drives them spiritually and emotionally, sometimes to the exclusion of other things that drive other folks.
4. When you have a society where a sufficient number (critical mass) of your citizens are inventors, scientists, and engineers, new technologies result. New technologies create new businesses, and new businesses create jobs. Check out the number of scientists and engineers being produced by our universities as compared to past years.
5. Most good, profitable businesses have savvy people at their helm who figure out a way to make more money, no matter what the environment in which they find themselves. They also work 80-90 hours per week, not 40. They are not of the mindset that they let the crap spewed by politicians influence their pursuit of profit.
6. Technology waves occur in cycles. Non-politicians in the technology arena claim that "what the world needs now" is another earth-shattering, significant invention which advances the interests of all humankind, no matter the socio-economic status or geographic location: things along the order of the automobile, the airplane, the locomotive, the computer, the personal computer, the Internet. We have not had something of this magnitude in a very long time.
7. We are obsessed with sound-bites, the superficial, athletes, entertainers, and media talking heads. Some months ago, we published Does Any One Have a Real Job in America Any More. In our transition from a manufacturing to a service economy, the product (i.e. inventions and technology) production was shifted off shore for profit reasons (which some deem treasonous), and we were left with ad men, salespeople, fast food dispensers, and folks to collect your money.
8. We need more scientists, engineers and inventors to start the process of creating jobs. The cover story on Newsweek some weeks ago recounted some of our earlier successes, and noted how we are killing ourselves from a scientific perspective.
9. The Chinese are producing kids eager to pursue scientific and engineering careers (in massive numbers). We're about to get our butts kicked by the sheer numbers alone, unless we wake up and stop the partisan bickering over non-issues.
10. We need someone to admit to Angelina that the kid is not hers.
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