One of my favorite New Yorker cartoons. (As evidenced by the thumbtack marks.) Spot on.
Folks attending Columbia Journo School’s first Social Media Weekend could get their social media “repaired” and even get a profile shot from a professional photog
Oh the rabbit warren that is the interwebs…
So I get this press release in my inbox, about a woman who has “was just named World’s Best Female Pick Up Artist (PUA) at PUA World Summit.” Like many bizarre press releases that find their way into my cluttered stack of emails, I am *thisclose* from zapping it away with my index finger but I’m curious… or confused (another great marketing tactic.)
Pick up artist? Like Pick up Sticks? No, doofus, like Picking up Men. Ohh…no, wait, women for men? Huh?
Apparently Marni Kinrys touts herself as: “a guy’s best female friend who can help him get the girl… the developer of the ‘Wing Girl Method’ which teaches guys how to pick up girls and also teaches them what women want.”
Ok fine, another angle on the pick-up artist - like that crazy book The Game by Neil Strauss, like the crazy VH1 show with the guy in the Mad Hatter costumes. But wait, there’s an entire “World Summit” of this crap? This I had to see.
So I google “PUA World Summit” and find an eyesore of a website: babes in bikinis plastered over a heinous color scheme of bar-stool maroon, fire-engine red and casual khaki. After briefly clicking on the featured video called “transitioning to sex,” I get bored and click on the list of speakers. I find a spate of well-gelled, former geeks-turned-dating-dynamos who have reinvented themselves and “you can too!” In sample videos, these PUA experts are seen dancing with glossy, sparkly women who fawn all over them at loud, dark nightclubs. The cool PUAs just sit back with their jack and coke, allowing it to happen.
You can believe I’m still clicking? Well I go to one Adam Lyons and then click to through to his website: Attraction Explained, where I watch one of his free tutorial videos - “Why the Game Works” and I’m mesmerized, not for the reasons you’d think, but because the guy has some pretty good advice about what it is we’re all looking for.
Pink hair, crazy Cockney accent and bad teeth aside, two minutes in Lyons talks about the fact that we need to understand what we’re attracted to before we can *be* attractive.
“There are two things that we spend our entire life lusting after or working towards. One is a relationship, the other is money. The funny thing is you’re not really attracted to money, what you’re attracted to is your own time.”
He goes on to explain, in fairly convincing examples, that it’s the effort we put into money that gives it value, not the money itself. Time is the one thing we don’t get back.
“If you were to win the lottery tonight, not a lot of money, just, maybe, a couple of grand…maybe you take your mates out for a drink down the pub, splash out on a dinner for your entire family - chances are you’d do something to splash out with this additional money that came out of nowhere.”
Ok, I’m into “splashing out.” Go on…
“But what if over the next month you worked overtime to generate the same two grand would you still be likely to phone up your mates…would you still be likely to invite everyone out for dinner? Or would you be more likely to take care of that money?… You see, it’s not the money you care about it’s the effort you put into earning it.”
Deep. I’m sure he’ll get to the point of how this makes men more attractive to women down the road, but I don’t really care. He’s convinced me that I’ve wasted enough time here.
I now keep thinking about how precious time is, thanks to Adam Lyons. Speaking of which, I probably just wasted yours. Quite sorry for that. Time to splash out.
Digging through crates of old photos, I found some shot by the late, great Mpozi Mshale Tolbert. I still really miss him. The world should miss him.
Hulkingly tall, with a big head of massive dreads and a sparkle in his eye, Mpozi was a friend, a creative colleague and an exceedingly talented photographer. He passed away in 2006 at only 34.
I met him when he was maybe 18-years-old? He shot his first cover for the Philadelphia City Paper while he was still in highschool. He worked as a photographer for City Paper for many years, and went on to work at the Indianapolis Star.
Mpozi and I spent a lot of time together covering stories for City Paper — from shows at the Trocadero, to protests or even a fashion shoot. Sometimes Mpozi was even *in* the fashion shoots: here’s a great one by Dominic Episcopo of him outside the Twistee Treat eating an ice cream cone (see above). Whenever he’d turn in a photo at CP, he’d draw these little doodles above his signature — a squirelly caricature of himself with dreads and big, almost winking eyes.
Once we drove out to do a story on Steve Garvey of the Buzzcocks (who lived in Bucks County) and Mpozi’s car ran out of gas. Kind of hilarious. (Mpozi was so on the move, he didn’t remember to fill er up). Steve Garvey actually came to help us out. Realizing the perfect shot was about to happen, Mpozi took a great photo of Steve filling his tank with gas. Of course that became part of the story.
Mpozi was up for anything —nothing was off limits to him. No wall was too high to climb to get that shot. He was one of the most open-minded people I’ve ever met. He loved everyone and treated everyone - politicians, homeless, punk rockers, regular folk - with respect. A bright, bright light. May he live on through his art.
Some good memories of ‘Poz.
In between fielding phone calls, working on an article, hiring a possible editor, buying sharpies from Staples, booking a flight to Chicago and generally running my own digital content business, I watched yesterday’s TechCrunch Disrupt conference.
I took mild interest when the Women in Tech panel popped up…then I watched the descent into what the moderator dubbed “misery.”
Here’s a good round-up of the backstory on why this panel came to be, and the better parts of what was said.
In one corner was the *moderator*, TechCrunch’s Sarah Lacy; in the other corner Mediaite.com and “Change The Ratio” founder Rachel Sklar.
Lacy’s point: By focusing on tokenism, we’re suggesting we need a little nudge to get that job, or, we’re highlighting the “otherness” of ourselves. We don’t need no stinkin’ help, we’re doing just fine thank you.
Sklar’s point: By ignoring the fact that women aren’t paid nearly as much as men or don’t get naturally included in the golf game or the strip club, we’re negating a big problem.
Lacy’s other point (which contradicted her first point): Ok we all recognize there’s a problem, what are the solutions?
Yet another point made - by Leila Janah, Founder and CEO of the global poverty-focused Samasource, was that this is a “rich-people” problem and we’re missing the larger, more widespread problem that 70% of women are living in poverty across the world.
True… of course…but I’m with Sklar on this who rebutted: “Oh sure we have poverty in U.S., but it’s better than Bangladesh so we shouldn’t complain?”
Come on people.
[Break for Real Life Sexist Moment #334: California governor Jerry Brown cruising through Philly on his presidential stump, stopped by the Philadelphia City Paper and instead of shaking hands with the then Assistant Editor (me), he asked her to get him a cup of coffee.]
We can still do more to help women rise up, see great examples of other women in business/ in tech, volunteer our mentoring services (Elizabeth Spears is working with a women’s startup clinic that looks like it could use some volunteers) or speak up when we hear a random asshole say something lame.
Anyway, the TechCrunch Disrupt panel could have focused on some of these worthy topics & solutions for debate - if it wasn’t so ugly. One tweet said “the panel should have been called ‘shut up, no YOU shut up’ others called it <cringe> a “catfight.”
Ok, maybe I have to check myself when I write “ugly.” This was TechCrunch “Disrupt.” Its meant to be confrontational, as in “screw the pleasantries and politics, let’s get to the real problem at hand.” Heavan forbid the self-described #ladypanel gets harsh. If it was a panel of men would I have thought the same thing? Maybe not.
The thing is, no one ever really got to the problem at hand - mostly because the moderator would rather have been anywhere but there. Before the panel even started, Lacy laughingly chided her lagging panelists who were slow to come to the stage with, “Typical women.”
She then directed a dig at Sklar by saying “This isn’t a panel I thought we should have. I don’t like women being tokens on stage. Mike [Arrington of TechCrunch] asked me to do this… What do you want to talk about?”
Lacy repeatedly asked the audience to raise their hands to show that this wasn’t an awareness issue, that this audience knows there are more men in leadership positions than women.
“Now that it’s not an awareness problem let’s talk about what we’re going to get done today other than raise awareness”
Sadly, they never did because Lacy was too busy attacking Sklar. While I too am not a huge fan of the “women-in-xyz” groups, why reject meaningful conversation?
It’s a dangerous path to take.
Probably the most insightful comments came from Michelle Greer of SimpleSpeak Media: “If you actually look at the average player of Farmville it’s a 43-year-old female… But you look at people coming up with the [gaming & software] ideas and they’re men. I don’t necessarily think it’s men trying to keep women down. When you’re a girl you think of software development you don’t think it’s a career for you. We should change that. You’ve got mommy bloggers why cant there be mommy coders…We should ask the question, ‘Why aren’t women creating software?”
And Cyan Bannister of Zivity summarized later, “I think we should focus on being good parents… I got into computer programming because I learned Logo when I was 8.”
Outside of this panel was where the women were making things happen. Real solutions. The winner of the Techcrunk Hackathon was the picture of tech success: J’aime Ohm who happened to be a woman (even if the first time I heard her name I thought it was J’Aime Homme). Ohm won with WiseDame, an iphone app, akin to an airplane black box, that allows the people you care about to know your whearabouts over the course of an evening - should an emergency happen. More here.
“She won it because she came up with something that only a woman would come up with,” said Sklar. “…Something women think of more than men because of the reality of safety issues.”
“She won it because her application was awesome,” said Bannister.
Both are right.
The freaky Eugene Hütz sits in with the Stumblebum Brass Band to a packed sidewalk showcase at the Dumbo Arts Fest
SBB play this ferocious mix of NOLA second line funk/jazz + punk rock. When are they playing next…