Long Weekend

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Just returned from a long weekend trip to Seattle. Too tired write up much about the experience, so, instead I leave you with this shot from one of the exhibits we saw at Chihuly Garden and Glass. Highly recommended.

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Setting the Agenda

POTUS love Twitter, and ever since he moved into the office print and broadcast media report out his tweets as if they were quoting him directly. By publishing his tweets in the news section instead of the opinion section where most of them belong, the media elevate his missives from random ramblings to concrete policy. But tweeting about a personnel change at the State Department doesn’t mean an actual change can or should take place. It’s only an announcement of intention which may or may not be followed up by an established procedure. By printing or reading his tweets on air the media let him communicate on an issue as if he were addressing a press conference unchallenged by questioning journalists.

From the beginning of this administration I’ve had this problem with the media’s Twitter policy regarding the president, and then I heard this quote from John Dick, the founder and CEO of CivicScience which recast my thinking (emphasis mine):

One of the biggest fallacies in the world today is that Donald Trump uses Twitter to talk to the American people. The American people are not on Twitter. 24% of Americans at most are on Twitter. 11% of his voters give or take. He is using Twitter to talk to the media who carry his message to their little tribes of people who read it and so he doesn’t care–and it’s actually quite brilliant I have to tip my hat to the way he handles it. I mean he tweets at 3 o’clock in the morning because he knows he’s setting the media landscape. He’s telling the media what they’re going to talk about that day, and he doesn’t care what CNN says about him because his followers aren’t watching CNN anyway. People don’t trust information anymore they trust the distributors of that information, and so Donald Trump cedes his fairy dust into Twitter and those publications run it to their individual tribes of readers.

It seems so obvious now. Reaching out to Twitter followers and having them amplify his message isn’t the game. Setting the media agenda is, and that’s why the tweets come when they do, served up at the moment the morning show producers and news editors are readying their broadcasts and articles. Is it any surprise now when you fire up your browser or open your newspaper that there’s a fresh round of presidential tweets ready for consumption?

The quote from Dick comes from an interview from the Bob Lefsetz Podcast, a terrific forum for stories about the music industry I highly recommend.

Graphite Dreams

circles

You’ve no doubt heard that expression about doing at least one thing a day that scares you. Normally I avoid that advice and revel in my comfortable routine. But today was different. Today I did something I’ve never done before and took part in a drawing class. For someone like me who has trouble holding a pen and signing my own name, drawing even simple straight lines and circles in front of someone for whom that is second nature is a little unnerving. But I had nothing to lose and everything to gain by taking this intro class, and I ended up enjoying the experience.

Light classical music played throughout the studio filled with easels, challenging objects to draw, and stunning student artwork. We worked standing at easels holding our pencils like a conductor holds their baton, which is a style completely foreign to me. But as I kept at it I started to feel more comfortable toward the end of the session. The instruction was gentle and supportive, but not as plentiful as I had anticipated. As an absolute beginner I was hoping for some prescriptive instruction–how to hold the pencil properly; how much pressure to apply, etc.–but instead we launched into the drawing exercise straightaway. And even after almost two hours of trying to draw circles in this studio’s preferred method, I still have a lot of work to do. I also have to decide if I want to immerse myself in the classical drawing style this studio teaches. The named owner of the studio who met us and showed us around her space is passionate about her method and artistry, and, while I see the benefits of learning in the classical tradition, I’m not sure it’s the path I want to take. I do want to continue this challenge and take some type of drawing course, but I’m going to need to take some time to consider what my true goals and needs are before making a commitment.