Search Results for "marketing"

Google Unveils a Digital Marketing & E-Commerce Certificate: 7 Courses Will Help Prepare Students for an Entry-Level Job in 6 Months

During the pandemic, Google launched a series of Career Certificates that will “prepare learners for an entry-level role in under six months.” Their first certificates focused on Project Management, Data Analytics, User Experience (UX) Design, IT Support and IT Automation. Now comes their latest–a certificate dedicated to Digital Marketing & E-commerce.

Offered on the Coursera platform, the Digital Marketing & E-commerce Professional Certificate consists of seven courses, all collectively designed to help students “develop digital marketing and e-commerce strategies; attract and engage customers through digital marketing channels like search and email; measure marketing analytics and share insights; build e-commerce stores, analyze e-commerce performance, and build customer loyalty.” The courses include:

In total, this program “includes over 190 hours of instruction and practice-based assessments, which simulate real-world digital marketing and e-commerce scenarios that are critical for success in the workplace.” Along the way, students will learn how to use tools and platforms like Canva, Constant Contact, Google Ads, Google Analytics, Hootsuite, HubSpot, Mailchimp, Shopify, and Twitter. You can start a 7-day free trial and explore the courses. If you continue beyond that, Google/Coursera will charge $39 USD per month. That translates to about $235 after 6 months.

If you don’t want to pay, you can audit each course for free, without ultimately receiving the certificate.

Explore the Digital Marketing & E-commerce Professional Certificate.

Note: Open Culture has a partnership with Coursera. If readers enroll in certain Coursera courses and programs, it helps support Open Culture.

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When Movies Came on Vinyl: The Early-80s Engineering Marvel and Marketing Disaster That Was RCA’s SelectaVision

Anyone over 30 remembers a time when it was impossible to imagine home video without physical media. But anyone over 50 remembers a time when it was difficult to choose which kind of media to bet on. Just as the “computer zoo” of the early 1980s forced home-computing enthusiasts to choose between Apple, IBM, Commodore, Texas Instruments, and a host of other brands, each with its own technological specifications, the market for home-video hardware presented several different alternatives. You’ve heard of Sony’s Betamax, for example, which has been a punchline ever since it lost out to JVC’s VHS. But that was just the realm of video tape; have you ever watched a movie on a vinyl record?

Four decades ago, it was difficult for most consumers to imagine home video at all. “Get records that let you have John Travolta dancing on your floor, Gene Hackman driving though your living room, the Godfather staying at your house,” booms the narrator of the television commercial above.

How, you ask? By purchasing a SelectaVision player and compatible video discs, which allow you to “see the entertainment you really want, when you want, uninterrupted.” In our age of streaming-on-demand this sounds like a laughably pedestrian claim, but at the time it represented the culmination of seventeen years and $600 million of intensive research and development at the Radio Company of America, better known as RCA.

Radio, and even more so its successor television, made RCA an enormous (and enormously profitable) conglomerate in the first half of the twentieth century. By the 1960s, it commanded the resources to work seriously on such projects as a vinyl record that could contain not just music, but full motion pictures in color and stereo. This turned out to be even harder than it sounded: after numerous delays, RCA could only bring SelectaVision to market in the spring of 1981, four years after the internal target. By that time, after the company had been commissioning content for the better part of a decade (D. A. Pennebaker shot David Bowie’s final Ziggy Stardust concert in 1973 on commission from RCA, who’d intended to make a SelectaVision disc out of it), the format faced competition from not just VHS and Betamax but the cutting-edge LaserDisc as well.

Nevertheless, the SelectaVision’s ultra-densely encoded vinyl video discs — officially known as capacitance electronic discs, or CEDs — were, in their way, marvels of engineering. You can take a deep dive into exactly what makes the system so impressive, which involves not just a breakdown of its components but a complete retelling of the history of RCA, though the five-part Technology Connections miniseries at the top of the post. True completists can also watch RCA’s video tour of its SelectaVision production facilities, as well as its live dealer-introduction broadcast hosted by Tom Brokaw and featuring a Broadway-style musical number. SelectaVision was also rolled out in the United Kingdom in 1983, thus qualifying for a hands-on examination by British retro-tech Youtuber Techmoan.

SelectaVision lasted just three years. Its failure was perhaps overdetermined, and not just by the bad timing resulting from its troubled development. In the early 1980s, the idea of buying pre-recorded video media lacked the immediate appeal of “time-shifting” television, which had become possible only with video tape. Nor did RCA, whose marketing centered on the possibility of building a permanent home-video library in the manner of one’s music library, foresee the possibility of rental. And though CEDs were ultimately made functional, they remained cumbersome, able to hold just one hour of video per side and notoriously subject to jitters even on the first play. Yet as RCA’s ad campaigns emphasized, there really was a “magic” in being able to watch the movies you wanted at home, whenever you wanted to. In that sense, at least, we now live in a magical world indeed.

Related content:

The Story of the MiniDisc, Sony’s 1990s Audio Format That’s Gone But Not Forgotten

A Celebration of Retro Media: Vinyl, Cassettes, VHS, and Polaroid Too

The Beauty of Degraded Art: Why We Like Scratchy Vinyl, Grainy Film, Wobbly VHS & Other Analog-Media Imperfection

The Museum of Failure: A New Swedish Museum Showcases Harley-Davidson Perfume, Colgate Beef Lasagne, Google Glass & Other Failed Products

Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the Substack newsletter Books on Cities, the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.


Take 193 Free Tech and Business Courses Online at Udacity: Product Design, Programming, A.I., Marketing & More

Each of us now commands more technological power than did any human being alive in previous eras. Or rather, we potentially command it: what we can do with the technology at our fingertips — and how much money we can make with it — depends on how well we understand it. Luckily, the development of learning methods has more or less kept pace with the development of everything else we now do with computers. Take the online-education platform Udacity, which offers “nanodegree” programs in areas like programming, data science, and cybersecurity. While the nanodegrees themselves come with fees, Udacity doesn’t charge for the constituent courses: in other words, you can earn what you need to know for free.

Above you’ll find the introduction to Udacity’s Product Design course by Google (also creator of the Coursera professional-certificate programs previously featured here on Open Culture). “Designed to help you materialize your game-changing idea and transform it into a product that you can build a business around,” the course “blends theory and practice to teach you product validation, UI/UX practices, Google’s Design Sprint and the process for setting and tracking actionable metrics.”

This is a highly practical learning experience at the intersection of technology and business, as are many other of Udacity’s 193 free courses, like App MarketingApp Monetization, How to Build a Startup, and Get Your Startup Started.

If you have no particular interest in founding and running the next Google, Udacity also hosts plenty of courses that focus entirely on the workings of different branches of technology, from programming and artificial intelligence to 2D game development and 3D graphics. (In addition to the broad introductions, there are also relatively advanced courses of a much more specific focus: Developing Android Apps with Kotlin, say, or Deploying a Hadoop Cluster.) And if you’d simply like to get your foot in the door with a job in tech, consider such offerings as Refresh Your Résumé, Strengthen Your LinkedIn Network & Brand, and a variety of interview-preparation courses for jobs in data sciencemachine learning, product management, virtual-reality development, and other subfields. And however cutting-edge their work, who couldn’t another spin through good old Intro to Psychology?

Find a list of 193 Free Udacity courses here. For the next week Nanodegrees are 75% off (use code JULY75). Find more free courses in our list, 1,700 Free Online Courses from Top Universities.

Note: Open Culture has a partnership with Udacity. If readers enroll in certain Udacity courses and programs that charge a fee, it helps support Open Culture.

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Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the Substack newsletter Books on Cities, the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.


An Introduction to Consumer Neuroscience & Neuromarketing: A Free Online Course from the University of Copenhagen

Thomas Zoëga Ramsøy, a neuropsychologist at the University of Copenhagen, presents An Introduction to Consumer Neuroscience & Neuromarketing, a course that explores the following set of questions:

How do we make decisions as consumers? What do we pay attention to, and how do our initial responses predict our final choices? To what extent are these processes unconscious and cannot be reflected in overt reports? This course will provide you with an introduction to some of the most basic methods in the emerging fields of consumer neuroscience and neuromarketing. You will learn about the methods employed and what they mean. You will learn about the basic brain mechanisms in consumer choice, and how to stay updated on these topics. The course will give an overview of the current and future uses of neuroscience in business.

You can take Introduction to Consumer Neuroscience & Neuromarketing for free by selecting the audit option upon enrolling. If you want to take the course for a certificate, you will need to pay a fee.

Introduction to Consumer Neuroscience & Neuromarketing will be added to our list of Free Business Courses, a subset of our collection: 1,700 Free Online Courses from Top Universities.

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For a complete list of online courses, please visit our complete collection, 1,700 Free Online Courses from Top Universities.

For a list of online certificate programs, visit 200 Online Certificate & Microcredential Programs from Leading Universities & Companies, which features programs from our partners Coursera, Udacity, FutureLearn and edX.

And if you’re interested in Online Mini-Masters and Master’s Degrees programs from universities, see our collection: Online Degrees & Mini Degrees: Explore Masters, Mini Masters, Bachelors & Mini Bachelors from Top Universities.


100-Year-Old Music Recordings Can Now Be Heard for the First Time, Thanks to New Digital Technology

Atlas Obscura · Frieda Hempel’s “Evviva la Francia!”

If you were listening to recorded music around the turn of the twentieth century, you listened to it on cylinders. Not that anyone alive today was listening to recorded music back then, and much of it has since been lost. Invented by Alexander Graham Bell (better known for his work on an even more popular device known as the telephone), the recording cylinder marked a considerable improvement on Thomas Edison’s earlier tinfoil phonograph. Never hesitant to capitalize on an innovation — no matter who did the innovating — Edison then began marketing cylinders of his own, soon turning his own name into the format’s most popular and recognizable brand.

“Edison set up coin-operated phonograph machines that would play pre-recorded wax cylinders in train stations, hotel lobbies, and other public places throughout the United States,” writes Atlas Obscura’s Sarah Durn. They also became the medium choice for hobbyists. “One of the most famous is Lionel Mapleson,” says Jennifer Vanasco in an NPR story from earlier this month.

“He recorded his family,” but “he was also the librarian for the Metropolitan Opera. And in the early 1900s, he recorded dozens of rehearsals and performances. Listening to his work is the only way you can hear pre-World War I opera singers with a full orchestra”: German soprano Frieda Hempel, singing “Evviva la Francia!” above.

The “Mapleson Cylinders” constitute just part of the New York Public Library’s collection of about 2,700 recordings in that format. “Only a small portion of those cylinders, around 175, have ever been digitized,” writes Durn. “The vast majority of the cylinders have never even been played in the generations since the library acquired them.” Most have become too fragile to withstand the needles of traditional players. Enter Endpoint Audio Labs’ $50,000 Cylinder and Dictabelt Machine, which uses a combination of needle and laser to read and digitize even already-damaged cylinders without harm. Only seven of Endpoint’s machines exist in the world, one of them a recent acquisition of the NYPL’s, which will now be able to play many of its cylinders for the first time in more than a century.

Some of these cylinders are unlabeled, their contents unknown. Curator Jessica Wood, as Velasco says, is hoping to “hear a birthday party or something that tells us more about the social history at the time, even someone shouting their name and explaining they’re testing the machine, which is a pretty common thing to hear on these recordings.” She knows that the NYPL’s collection has “about eight cylinders from Portugal, which may be some of the oldest recordings ever made in the country,” as well as “five Argentinian cylinders that have preserved the sound of century-old tango music.” In the event, from the first cylinder she puts on for NPR’s microphone issue familiar words: “Hello, my baby. Hello, my honey. Hello, my ragtime gal.” This listening experience perhaps felt like something less than time travel. But then, were you really to go back to 1899, what song would you be more likely to hear?

via Atlas Obscura

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Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the Substack newsletter Books on Cities, the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.


Free Coloring Books from The Public Domain Review: Download & Color Works by Hokusai, Albrecht Dürer, Harry Clarke, Aubrey Beardsley & More

Did you somehow miss that the Public Domain Review has gotten in on the adult coloring book craze?

If so, don’t feel bad. There were probably a lot of other news items vying for your attention back in March of 2020, when the first volume was released “for diversion, entertainment and relaxation in times of self-isolation.”

By the time the second volume made its debut less than two months later, the first had been downloaded some 30,000 times.

Tell your scarcity mentality to stand down. You may be late to the party, but all 40 images can still be downloaded for free, “to ease and aid pleasurable focus in these oddest of times.”

It’s our belief that odd times call for odd images so we’re reproducing some of our favorites below, though be advised there are also plenty of calming botanical prints and graceful maidens for those craving a less challenging coloring experience.

Behold Saint Anthony Tormented by Demons by Martin Schongauer (c. 1470-75), above!

And below, the 13-year-old Michelangelo’s reproduction in tempera on a wood panel. Biographers Giorgio Vasari and Ascanio Condivi both told how the young artist visited the fish market, seeking inspiration for the demons’ scales. Perhaps you will be inspired by the barely teenaged High Renaissance master’s palette, though it’s YOUR coloring page, so you do you.

In “Filling in the Blanks: A Prehistory of the Adult Coloring Craze“, historians Melissa N. Morris and Zach Carmichael recount how publisher Robert Sayer’s illustrated book, The Florist, “for the use & amusement of Gentlemen and Ladies” was published with the explicit understanding that readers were meant to color in its botanically semi-inaccurate images:

Comprised of pictures of various flowers, the author gives his (presumably) adult readers detailed instructions for paint mixing and color choice (including the delightful sounding “gall-stone brown”).

Perhaps you will bring some of Sayer’s suggested colors to bear on the above image from Parisian bookseller Richard Breton’s Les songes drolatiques de Pantagruel (1565), a collection of 120 grotesque woodcut figures intended as a tribute to the bawdy writer (and priest!) François Rabelais, or a possibly just a canny marketing ploy.

Next, let’s color this perky fellow from Giovanni Battista Nazari’s famous alchemical treatise on metallic transmutation, Della tramutatione metallica sogni tre from 1599. 

The “winged pig in the world” by Dutch engraver and mapmaker Cornelis Anthonisz doesn’t look very cheerful, does he? He’s on top of the imperial orb, but he’s also an allegory of the corrupt world. Hopefully, this will get sorted by the time pigs fly.

As to Ambroise Paré’s 1598 rendering of a “camphur” … well, let’s just say THIS is what a proper unicorn should look like.

According to an annotated checklist that accompanied the Metropolitan Museum’s Cloisters’ 75th Anniversary exhibition Search for the Unicorn, Paré, a pioneering French barber surgeon, claimed that it live(d) in the Arabian Desert, and that its horn can cure various maladies, especially poisoning.”

There’s a lot to unpack there. Think about it as you color.

Hokusai, Albrecht Dürer, and Aubrey Beardsley, are among the artists whose work you’ll encounter, “arranged in vague order of difficulty — from a simple 17th-century kimono pattern to an intricate thousand-flowered illustration.”

Download Volume 1 of the Public Domain Review Coloring book in US Letter or A4 format.

And here is Volume 2 in US Letter or A4 format.

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The Drolatic Dreams of Pantagruel: 120 Woodcuts Envision the Grotesque Inhabitants of Rabelais’ World (1565)

Ayun Halliday is the Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine and author, most recently, of Creative, Not Famous: The Small Potato Manifesto.  Follow her @AyunHalliday.


The Drolatic Dreams of Pantagruel: 120 Woodcuts Envision the Grotesque Inhabitants of Rabelais’ World (1565)

George Orwell lives on, to varying degrees of aptness, in the form of the word Orwellian. David Lynch has, within his lifetime, made necessary the term Lynchian. Though few of us will leave such adjectival legacies of our own, we should at least aspire to do so, and that task requires looking back to the original master: François Rabelais. Merriam-Webster defines Rabelaisian as “marked by gross robust humor, extravagance of caricature, or bold naturalism.” Rabelais expressed this sensibility at great length in La vie de Gargantua et de Pantagruel, a pentalogy of elaborate satirical novels published from the 1530s to the 1560s — and more recently endorsed by Harold Bloom, Joseph Brodsky, Henry Miller, and Marilyn Monroe.

Rabelais died in the 1550s, hence the still-unresolved questions about the authorship of the fifth and final Gargantua and Pantagruel book: was it completed from his notes? Was it, in fact, a fabrication by another writer?

Such was the public’s hunger for the Rabelaisian that multiple different “fifth books” were published. The satisfaction of that same insatiable demand seems also to have motivated the publication of Les Songes Drolatiques de Pantagruel ou sont contenues plusieurs figures de l’invention de maitre François Rabelais. This slim volume, writes the Public Domain Review’s Adam Green, “is made up entirely of images — 120 woodcuts depicting a series of fantastically bizarre and grotesque figures, reminiscent of some of the more inventive and twisted creations of Brueghel or Bosch.”

There is no main text, just a preface wherein publisher Richard Breton writes that “the great familiarity I had with the late François Rabelais has moved and even compelled me to bring to light the last of his work, the drolatic dreams of the very excellent and wonderful Pantagruel.” Yet, as Green explains, “the book’s wonderful images are very unlikely to be the work of Rabelais himself — the attribution probably a clever marketing ploy.” You can view these amusing and grotesque images at the Public Domain Review, and in the context of the book as preserved at the Internet Archive. “Be warned,” says Intriguing History, the artist “seems to enjoy the use of a lot of phallic imagery, along with frogs, fish and elephants.” But who is the artist?

“The creator of the prints is now widely thought to be François Desprez,” writes Green, “a French engraver and illustrator” who published a couple of similarly imaginative sets of images with Breton in 1567. Whoever made them, these Rabelaisian woodcuts remained surreal enough through the centuries to catch the eye of none other than Salvador Dalí, who in 1973 paid tribute to them with a set of lithographs of his own. (You can see more examples at the Lockport St. Gallery.) As far as the title, an exegesis at Poemas del río Wang offers a clarification: “Drolatic is an adjective of dream,” and so “we must ask what kind of dream is this. It is certainly the dream of reason, as it gives birth to monsters” — monsters, as a satirist like Rabelais well understood, not altogether unlike ourselves.

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Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the Substack newsletter Books on Cities, the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.


The Psychology of Messiness & Creativity: Study Shows How a Messy Desk and Creative Work Go Hand in Hand

Image via Wikimedia Commons

You may have come into contact at some point with Tracey Emin’s My Bed, an art installation that reproduces her private space during a time when she spent four days as a shut-in in 1998, “heartbroken”: the bed’s unmade, the bedside strewn with cigarettes, moccasins, a bottle of booze, food, and “what appears to be a sixteen year old condom”…. If you were savvy enough to be Tracey Emin in 1998—and none of us were—you would have sold that messy room for over four million dollars last year at a Christie’s auction. I doubt another buyer of that caliber will come along for a knock-off, but this doesn’t mean the messes we make while slobbing around our own homes are without their own, intangible, value.

Those messes, in fact, may be seedbeds of creativity, confirming a cliché as persistent as the one about doctors’ handwriting, and perhaps as accurate. It seems a messy desk, room, or studio may genuinely be a mark of genius at work. Albert Einstein for example, writes Elite Daily, had a desk that “looked like a spiteful ex-girlfriend had a mission to destroy his workspace.” Einstein responded to criticism of his work habits by asking, “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, then what are we to think of an empty desk?”

Mark Twain also had a messy desk, “perhaps even more cluttered than that of Albert Einstein.” To find out whether the messiness trait’s relation to creativity is simply an “urban legend” or not, Kathleen Vohs (a researcher at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management) and her colleagues conducted a series of experiments in both tidy and unruly spaces with 188 adults given tasks to choose from.

Vohs describes her findings in the New York Times, concluding that messiness and creativity are at least very strongly correlated, and that “while cleaning up certainly has its benefits, clean spaces might be too conventional to let inspiration flow.” But there are trade-offs. Read about them in Vohs’ paper—“Physical Order Produces Healthy Choices, Generosity, and Conventionality, Whereas Disorder Produces Creativity.” And just above, see Vohs’ co-author Joe Redden, Assistant Professor of Marketing at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management, discuss the team’s fascinating results. If conducting such an experiment on yourself, it might be best to do so in a space that’s all your own, though, like the rest of us, you’re too late to creatively turn the mess you make into lucrative conceptual art.

Below, as a bonus, you can watch Tracey Emin talk about the dark emotional place from which My Bed emerged.

Note: An earlier version of this post appeared on our site in 2015.

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness


How Insulated Glass Changed Architecture: An Introduction to the Technological Breakthrough That Changed How We Live and How Our Buildings Work

When we think of a “midcentury modern” home, we think of glass walls. In part, this has to do with the post-World War II decades’ promotion of the southern California-style indoor-outdoor suburban lifestyle. But business and culture are downstream of technology, and, in this specific case, the technology known as insulated glass. Its development solved the problem of glass windows that had dogged architecture since at least the second century: they let in light, but even more so cold and heat. Only in the 1930s did a refrigeration engineer figure out how to make windows with not one but two panes of glass and an insulating layer of air between them. Its trade name: Thermopane.

First manufactured by the Libbey-Owens-Ford glass company, “Thermopane changed the possibilities for architects,” says Vox’s Phil Edwards in the video above, “How Insulated Glass Changed Architecture.” In it he speaks with architectural historian Thomas Leslie, who says that “by the 1960s, if you’re putting a big window into any residential or office building” in all but the most temperate climates, you were using insulated glass “almost by default.”

Competing glass manufacturers introduced a host of variations on and innovations in not just the technology but the marketing as well: “No home is truly modern without TWINDOW,” declared one brand’s magazine advertisement.

The associated imagery, says Leslie, was “always a sliding glass door looking out onto a very verdant landscape,” which promised “a way of connecting your inside world and your outside world” (as well as “being able to see all of your stuff”). But the new possibility of “walls of glass” made for an even more visible change in commercial architecture, being the sine qua non of the smoothly reflective skyscrapers that rise from every American downtown. Today, of course, we can see 80, 900, 100 floors of sheer glass stacked up in cities all over the world, shimmering declarations of membership among the developed nations. Those sliding glass doors, by the same token, once announced an American family’s arrival into the prosperous middle class — and now, more than half a century later, still look like the height of modernity.

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Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the Substack newsletter Books on Cities, the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.


Toni Morrison Lists the 10 Steps That Lead Countries to Fascism (1995)

Image by Angela Radulescu, via Wikimedia Commons

The term fascism gets thrown around a great deal these days, not always with high regard to consistency of meaning. Much like Orwellian, it now seems often to function primarily as a label for whichever political developments the speaker doesn’t like. Even back in the 1940s, Orwell himself took to the Tribune in an attempt to pin down what had already become a “much-abused word.” Half a century later, the question of what fascism actually is and how exactly it works was addressed by another novelist, and one of a seemingly quite different sensibility: Toni Morrison, author of The Bluest Eye and Beloved.

Fascism tends to come along with evocation of Nazi Germany. In her 1995 Charter Day address at Howard University, Morrison, too, brought out the specter of Hitler and his “final solution.” But “let us be reminded that before there is a final solution, there must be a first solution, a second one, even a third. The move toward a final solution is not a jump. It takes one step, then another, then another.” She proceeded to lay out a haunting hypothetical series of such steps as follows:

  1. Construct an internal enemy, as both focus and diversion.
  2. Isolate and demonize that enemy by unleashing and protecting the utterance of overt and coded name-calling and verbal abuse. Employ ad hominem attacks as legitimate charges against that enemy.
  3. Enlist and create sources and distributors of information who are willing to reinforce the demonizing process because it is profitable, because it grants power and because it works.
  4. Palisade all art forms; monitor, discredit or expel those that challenge or destabilize processes of demonization and deification.
  5. Subvert and malign all representatives of and sympathizers with this constructed enemy.
  6. Solicit, from among the enemy, collaborators who agree with and can sanitize the dispossession process.
  7. Pathologize the enemy in scholarly and popular mediums; recycle, for example, scientific racism and the myths of racial superiority in order to naturalize the pathology.
  8. Criminalize the enemy. Then prepare, budget for and rationalize the building of holding arenas for the enemy-especially its males and absolutely its children.
  9. Reward mindlessness and apathy with monumentalized entertainments and with little pleasures, tiny seductions, a few minutes on television, a few lines in the press, a little pseudo-success, the illusion of power and influence, a little fun, a little style, a little consequence.
  10. Maintain, at all costs, silence.

Like any good storyteller, Morrison stokes our imagination while turning us toward an examination of our own condition. Over the past quarter-century, many of the tendencies she describes have arguably become more pronounced in political and media environments around the world. A 21st-century reader may be given particular pause by step number nine. Since the 1990s, and especially in Morrison’s homeland of the United States of America, most entertainments have only grown more monumental, and most pleasures have only shrunk.

Later in her speech, Morrison foresees a time ahead “when our fears have all been serialized, our creativity censured, our ideas ‘market-placed,’ our rights sold, our intelligence sloganized, our strength downsized, our privacy auctioned; when the theatricality, the entertainment value, the marketing of life is complete.” Few of us here in 2022, whatever our political persuasion, could argue that her predictions were entirely unfounded. Fewer still have a clear answer to the question what to do when we “find ourselves living not in a nation but in a consortium of industries, and wholly unintelligible to ourselves except for what we see as through a screen darkly.”

via Kottke

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Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities and culture. His projects include the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.


Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.