Category Archives: culture

Geography as journalistic destiny

Since I was writing recently about the Bay Area’s unique creative culture, it’s interesting (to me at least) to note that Ready Made magazine is moving from Berkeley to Des Moines, Iowa.  There was a thoughtful dissection of what that might mean for the magazine in last Sunday’s San Francisco Chronicle.

“The move raises the question of how the change will affect Ready Made’s hip editorial sensibilites,” says the Chronicle’s Joe Garofoli.

Garofoli also notes that none of the magazine’s six staff have chosen to go with the magazine to Des Moines.  I think that pretty much answers his question.

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Why should social networks want to make money?

In a guest column today over at VentureBeat, Amuso co-founder Barak Rabinowitz writes about the failure of social networking websites to turn their phenomenal popularity into phenomenal profits.

“There’s an elephant in the room of online advertising,” he suggests.  “An elephant in the shape of 400 million social networkers creating and consuming content, clustering around shared interests and activities — all who have yet to be tapped in any major way by web marketers.”

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Finding the time to think

That’s the biggest challenge facing Americans today, writes Andrew Razeghi in a recent and thought-provoking San Francisco Chronicle editorial.

American lifestyles — and workstyles — allow for little but specialization at work and few interests, sports, hobbies or pastimes outside of it, he argues.

Partly, Razeghi wants to highlight the productive value of having ‘amateurs’ engage with a problem and seeing it from an entirely new angle. But he also points to the price we pay as a society in seeing narrow educational achievement and the 70 hour work week as badges of honor.

This week, in a not-so-veiled reference to the spectacular flame out of New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, David Brooks makes clear the personal toll that a life spent as a ‘workaholic-specialist’ can exact. And there’s a cost to families, as well, as any child of over-worked parents will tell you.

It’s all a new spin on the ‘rat-race’ critique, of course. And it ties in closely with contemporary appeals to live life ‘slow‘ and with environmental critiques of capitalist consumer culture.

But what’s interesting — and new — is that Razeghi makes his appeal in terms of innovation. Great ideas, as much as cool gadgets and killer apps., he points out, tend to come out of left field. If American lifestyles barely let people get out onto the grass, let alone wander, that’s a problem for the future economic (not to mention political and psychic) health of the nation.

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