Poetry For A Moment In “The Witness”

The Veteran, by Dorothy Parker:

Plaid

Image: Calsidyrose via Flickr

When I was young and bold and strong,
Oh, right was right, and wrong was wrong!
My plume on high, my flag unfurled,
I rode away to right the world.
‘Come out, you dogs, and fight!’ said I,
And wept there was but once to die.

But I am old; and good and bad
Are woven in a crazy plaid.

From the collection Complete Poems

This poem appeared at the end of a fascinating portrait of Michelle Lyons, formerly of the Texas prison system, who witnessed hundreds of executions in her role as head of public information. It’s part of a well-assembled character sketch titled, “The Witness” by Pamela Colloff for Texas Monthly that gives a unique look into some of the nuances of this position. After reading this multi-layered, compelling story (discovered at Longreads), this poem seemed a wholly appropriate inclusion at its end. Check out the entire story here:

The Witness by Pamela Colloff for Texas Monthly

What do you think? Are you a fan of Dorothy Parker’s work? Do you ever enjoy #longreads? What are your thoughts on how time or responsibilities can change a person? Let us hear from you in the comments.

UPDATE: comment from Author Pamela Colloff

Outstanding Modern Surrealism

Check out the inspiring creations of these seven modern surreal artists working in collage and photomontage

As a photomontage artist myself, I’m constantly scanning Flickr, Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram and other sites for examples of inspiring work. Every so often, the work of a certain artist consistently demonstrates extraordinary talent and style — in a way that appeals to my fondness for surrealism. I’m a fan of a certain kind of art, and these creators absolutely blow me away with what they regularly produce. Have a look at their websites, seek them out on your favorite image-sharing network, buy their prints, and get inspired by their talent.

Dariusz Klimczak

Dariusz Klimczak - Timer

Website | Flickr

Antonio Mora

Antonio Mora - Beauty

Website | Pinterest

Sylvia Grav

Sylvia Grav - Universe Project

Website | Flickr

Tommy Ingberg

Tommy Ingberg - Will

Website | Tumblr

Sammy Slabbinck

Sammy Slabbinck - Do you remember

Website | Flickr

Bob May

Bob May - Triangulated

Website | Flickr

Jarek Kubicki

Jarek Kubicki - 60612

WebsiteFacebook

What do you think? Do you enjoy a certain kind of art? Are there visual artists you’ve discovered online or elsewhere that you’ve come to follow? Where do you go for visual inspiration? Let us hear from you in the comments.

UPDATE: The artists speak!

dariusz

Three Great Videos From About 10 Years Ago

Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Maps

Franz Ferdinand – Take Me Out

Modest Mouse – Float On

That’s Not What I’m Here To Discuss

Also known as “No Comment”

nocommentHere’s some PR analysis from Matt Wilson at Ragan.com on a recent interview with former Israeli ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren. As reported at Mediaite, after MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell posed a question about spying, Oren’s earpiece (conveniently?) had “technical issues.” Coincidence?

Another approach could have been to state, “Sorry, but I’m not going to offer you any insight there…” then steer the discussion back to his message: “what I can tell you is…” and then: key talking points.

Other phrases useful in this situation:

  • “I’m not going to speak to that, but…”
  • “I understand your question, but we’re here today to talk about…”
  • “This has been addressed elsewhere (only if so), but right now…”

The lesson here is to acknowledge the inquiry directly and politely, but not offer any additional information — then promptly get the conversation back on message. It can be tricky in the heat of the moment, especially on a controversial issue, but this can also be a more honest approach in the direction of getting PR right. It’s more likely to help ensure an interviewee’s points are heard, and is far friendlier than a blunt “no comment.”

Check out these additional options offered by Ragan’s PR Daily: Alternatives to “No Comment,” and see this video of awkwardness compiled by Huffington Post of politicians dodging reporters.

What do you think? Have you ever been asked something where your only answer was “no comment?” Do any examples of question-dodging come to mind? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Is Kodak the Next PBR?

Could a flavor for the vintage be a win for Kodak?

Kodak-PBR LogoFull disclosure: my first camera was a Kodak, both in film and digital. And their business allegory is one for the ages in terms of a Shakespearean rise to dominance and a spectacular fall from greatness. So it was with keen interest I noted this story at Marketplace on modern film directors wanting to shore up Kodak film for motion picture production. Similar to the way Pabst Blue Ribbon is a long-standing brand that has developed a retro-cred cachet, or the way General Motors is evolving the Cadillac brand — an iconic namesake being reworked for modern relevance — the thought is that there’s enough of a desire for “the way things used to be” to make this happen for Kodak. As one with an active creative pursuit involving photography and image-making, as well as an understanding of corporate communication and PR, I think this could happen, but only, as Marketplace notes, if investment indeed goes toward innovation, rather than propping up the status quo: Personally, I have great nostalgic fondness for brands like Kodak, and have to respect the call of talented creators like Quentin Tarantino and J.J. Abrams furthering this cause. Good on those guys, who, like me, have appreciation for the past and feel that some things are worth keeping around, especially in the name of art.

What do you think? Do you have a preference for anything being done “the old-fashioned way?” Are there any brands you immediately think of as nostalgic yet still with us? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Stuart

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This is Stuart, the neighborhood cat. He technically lives (i.e. gets food) a couple of houses down, but really, he lives where he, himself, lives; does his thing where he gets it done; and sleeps where he sleeps – in this case, my porch, which happens to be in his territorial patrol. He always has a friendly word and is amenable to a quick head scratching. And then he’s on his way again – sometimes back on patrol, sometimes to cat dreamland.

I think he sets a good PR example: do your own thing, in harmony with your environment and community, in a non-overbearing way that’s confident and content yet friendly. That’s something we all can aspire toward.

What do you think? Ever learned or observed a broader concept from an animal or pet of your own? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Tomatoes, I Have Never Understood You

Nor you me…

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But I am enjoying these heirloom summer babies pretty much on the regular lately. All shots here produced via Hipstamatic.