Category Archives: Psychology

Celebrity Responsibility

Do celebrities have a moral responsibility to hold themselves to a higher standard?

If you became a celebrity (maybe you already are?) do you believe you would feel compelled to treat your new found social station in a more responsible fashion? Knowing people may be both viewing you in a new light, yes, a somewhat judgemental light, but a light that shines much further than others around you, will you try harder? Try harder to be good? To present a benevolent role model? Acknowledge your power of influence and realize you could squander it or use it to make the world a little bit better?

Do such thoughts enter into the minds of celebrities? And when I say celebrity I mean anyone in the spotlight — for an extended period — media personalities, sports stars, politicians, the wealthy.

Should such people, whether they admit it or not, accept they the have a responsibility to the public? They do have this power — we all realize this. But do the balance of them accept this power and wield it ethically?

Would you?

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Logical maximum pay

I like creating simple algorithms to solve complex social issues. My 28th, 29th and 30th Amendments, FED tax schedule, college tuition, inequality tax and dividend maximums, among others, are examples.

One of the bizarre social numbers out there is CEO pay (or corporate executive pay). Generally, these numbers are incomprehensible.  Some examples (BI):

Name Company Salary
Steve Wynn Wynn Resorts $28.2 million
Leonard Schleifer Regeneron Pharmaceuticals $28.3 million
Ginni Rometty IBM $32.3 million
Jeff Bewkes Time Warner Inc. $32.6 million
Brian Roberts Comcast Corp. $33 million
Robert Kotick Activision Blizzard Inc. $33.1 million
David Zaslav Discovery Communications $37.2 million
Bob Iger Walt Disney Co. $41 million
Les Moonves CBS Corp $68.6 million
Tom Rutledge Charter Communications $98 million

What is reasonable? Certainly not $100 million a year! Some say that executive pay is necessarily high as it needs to attract the best (the best sociopaths…) who are willing to take the heat and dish out the sometimes oppressive company actions that keep a corporation healthy.

Yeah, right!

But as I asked, what is reasonable? What is a logical maximum salary? What simple algorithm could we create to deduce this? How about this. I’ll admit that someone might be:

  • twice as smart as me
  • twice as skilled as me
  • twice as educated as me
  • twice as experienced as me
  • twice as industrious as me and
  • twice as lucky as me.

(Twice being 100% better. “Me” being the average Joe.)

That’s 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 = 64 times “better” than me.

If the median household salary is $59k (US Census Bureau 2016) then:
64 x $59k = $3,776,000

That is the maximum logical pay anyone could possibly be paid based on the reasonable comparison of people’s abilities. $3.7M is a pretty hefty paycheck in my book. Plenty, I’m sure, on which to live a lavish life.

But there are 482 CEO’s of the S&P 500 paid more than this number.
(cite: https://aflcio.org/paywatch/highest-paid-ceos)

The highest, Sundar Pichai of Google fame, gets $100M. That means that he’s effectively 1694 times “better” than me.

Boy, that sure is one-hell-of-a-lot better! I’m sure he’s worth it.


Socializing: net vs f2f

RESULTS:

  • Almost None : None!
  • Somewhat: Some of the answers (2)
  • Quite a bit: Quite a bit of the answers (4)
  • Nearly All: Not nearly all (1)

A paltry turn out, but then again, expectations were low to start with. Perhaps other polls would do better, like change from 10 years ago? Or are you saddened, or elated by this shift to online socialization?


Here’s a question for everyone:

How much has internet socializing replaced your socializing face to face?

Answer the poll here:

I’ll tabulate the results and collect other sources when we’re done in a few days.


The role of a critic

Are you critical?

I hope so. Being a critic means you have an opinion. And having an opinion means you know what you like and don’t like. Which is pretty important in this day and age of myriad choice.

If you have strong — accurate — opinions, like Siskel & Ebert, you can actually build a reputation on your likes and dislikes. Siskel & Ebert never made a movie, they weren’t formally trained in film or screenwriting, they really had no more credentials in judging film than you or I. But, they had a venue and a voice and they were, well, critical. Not negative, mind you, by this I mean they could critique a film and summarize the good and bad of them in a way that made sense to you and I.

I take this to infer that one doesn’t need a graduate degree in some entertainment medium to provide a critique. It helps if you can explain why you do or don’t like something in a film, show, or novel. But, you don’t need formal training to have an opinion, an accurate valid opinion. Siskel & Ebert proved this.

I point this out so that the next time someone asks you what you think about X, Y or Z movie, TV show or NYTimes bestseller, you can feel confident in giving your honest forthright opinion on said media.

Additionally, and more to the point, the next time a friend or family member asks you to critique some work of theirs don’t placate them. Encourage them, of course; if they create something — whatever it might be — support their creativity. But don’t negate your opinion by burying your true thoughts on their effort. That would be worse that lying. They’re looking to you for your Siskel & Ebert opinion. So, give it to them.

Too often, friends and family members, who beta read or beta watch a creative piece produced by an author or videographer, lie, thinking they are being “nice” by protecting the creator’s emotional state: “She tried SO hard, I couldn’t tell her what I really thought.” Don’t do them this disservice. They really, really want your honest opinion. Only an honest opinion will help them progress.

Let ’em have it. Thumbs up or thumbs down.

(Substantiated of course, but be brutal, really.)

 

 


Informed, piqued, challenged

But not entertained.

Not fully. Not in the robust sense of being entertained, of enjoying entertainment.

To what am I referring? To everything you will read on the web during the day; during your arduous slog through your social, business and informational treading of life’s daily data toil.

Like this post for instance. I don’t overtly wish to entertain you. I do intend to swipe at your subconscious; bat around your interests; toy with your beliefs, assumptions and predilections. But I’m not setting out here to entertain you. I’d rather stick a wet finger in your ear.

And that’s what all the web, during the day, during my reading of news and articles and tidbits, should do. Inform me. Fill me with awe and admiration of the data you’ve compiled and arranged and elucidated — upon the behalf of your argument.

But don’t spend hundreds of words poetically couching your argument in narrative. I don’t want to be intentionally entertained by you while you write to me about the genome, or Mars, or why bluefin tuna are dying out, or how hard it is to build a Javascript library that lasts the tests of time.

No. Just give me the facts, ma’am! Don’t try to be a story teller. Just get to the bloody point.

I will get my expanded narrative entertainment reading what are presented and acknowledged to be actual entertainment focused articles, stories and novels. When I want to be entertained through the written word I’ll pick up a novel.

Therefore, if information transmission is the primary intent of your writing (and most daily web writing is these days) — don’t fluff it up. Don’t beautify it.

Like I tell the doctor with bad news, “Just give it to me straight.”


My Five Stars

Are we the same?

Of course not. So, why would my preferences have any influence over your choices in life? They shouldn’t. Unless of course, we’ve established some sort of commonality between us.

When we see this somewhere on the web:

FiveStars

We think to ourselves, “hey, it must be good!” right? But, who are those people who liked that thing, whatever it might be (book, movie, electronic device, candy bar, restaurant, car, etc.) Are they like you or like me? Doubtful. What if everybody who really liked “X” were all penthouse-owing, world-tripping, elitist oligarchs, a bunch of self-declared aristocrats? Or what if they were all children in an Icelandic grade school? How much do you have in common with either of these? (You might, I don’t know, but that’s not the point. Or rather, that IS the point.)

Or what if you see some sad item for review with no stars. Some poor, dejected thing which nobody liked, everybody hated:

NoFiveStars

Again, who were these people to have rejected, outright, the efforts of whomever created or offered this item for review? Maybe it was wicked great, but reviewed by a whole slew of folks who had NOTHING in common with the creator. Nor did they have ANYTHING in common with you. Maybe YOU would love whatever that thing is.

And maybe you’d HATE that thing the kids in the Iceland school loved.

My point here is that reviews are treated as omniscient, but in reality they should be treated, organized in such a way that when you examine a reviewed item you see the reviews of ONLY those people who are as similar to you as contextually possible.

Who are these people? See, that’s the problem. That’s the golden prize at the end of all of this sociality. If you had a tribe of cultivated, curated people around you, people who held similar tastes in a high percentage of topics and ideals, you could trust those people’s reviews, their opinions would come much closer to yours.

This is what’s missing from facebook, twitter, google, linkedin, instagram, snapchat, et al. These “friends” or associates you have gathered in your time online, they do NOT represent a reflection of you. They’re a hodgepodge of people you’ve collected over time with vastly disparate views and morals, likes and dislikes.

Five stars? Zero stars? They mean nothing without knowing WHO rated them; without knowing if those people were anything like you.

Solve this problem, and you create a truly successful social experience.


Courteous Email Habits

If someone you know well, a close friend or family member, sends you an email do you reply? Answer truthfully now.

Do you reply every time? When to you shine them on? Do you ever ignore requests?

“Hey Reginald, could you read this bit and tell me what you think? I’m curious about this website, what do you think? I’m asking all my close associates, what do you think about me moving to New Zealand? Do you have any recommendations for the type of car I should buy?”

What I’m referring to are questions which might be solicitations for your opinion, or recommendations. Or just broad questions regarding what you may or may not know anything about.

Do you answer them?

Me? I always reply. Even if that reply is a “Received — will take a look and reply if I can contribute.”

Others? Well, that’s the prompt for this essay. I’ve been looking for beta readers for various writings of mine. Recently, when I’ve offered the pieces to those I’m sure would be courteous enough to at least reply — nothing. Silence.

What is wrong with you people? Has the world taken the concept of email and turned it into junkmail? Just because email has the word MAIL in it doesn’t automatically mean you treat receipts as trash if you don’t care for the subject matter.

Email is more like a single duplex communication channel. You know, a Walkie-Talkie.

“Reginald, come in Reginald. Over.”

“……”

“WTF Reggie! I know you’re there. I know your radio is turned on. Why won’t you reply? You’re still my brother, cousin, close friend aren’t you?”

Do you treat email like a discard-able communication medium? Like, most email, even from friends and relatives, is junk, trash you can cast into the rubbish bin?