Posts Tagged ‘journalism’

North Coast Musings

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

 

I am seated at a small round table which is covered with a white table cloth, and rests in a bay window alcove. In the corner in front of me, a gas fireplace glows and fills the room with  a soft warm embrace.

To my right is a queen size bed in which my wife sleeps.

At my left through moisture streaked windows, I see the faint outline of that vast diorama which is the rugged Northern California coast. Approximately 400 feet below me, down a near sheer cliff, lies the sea, and she has come awake with new swell in the course of the night. I can hear waves crash and rumble over the jagged shore in the darkness.

We are in the “lighthouse” which is a converted tower type room consisting of three levels in a four story, old building cliff top construct in Elk, Northern California.

I have been writing on global events, which I have experienced these past several years.

We had come up to Northern California at the request of a close friend, to help a woman develop a long arc plan to preserve a large tract of land for posterity. I had enlisted the assistance of my close friend George Orbelian, who is highly skilled in such things. Our meeting only two days ago, in the beautiful hills above the coast, was memorable.

I think that what we are endeavoring might work, and that we may be able to help keep the land as it is for the principles of the Trust, who  just like the rest of us, are looking at their exit, and want all to go well for everyone associated with the land, when they pass on.

The long ago divorced couple, gets land responsibility better that most people I know. It is hard to have a frame of reference for what it means to own a large, land grant type tract of land. I have some close friends who do, down on the Gaviota Coast. We have spoken of the responsibilities often.

Those conversations helped me frame what needs to be done for this land and these people.

As a Hawaiian I get land. We embrace a tenet called Aloha Aina, which loosely translated, means the love for and of the land. It refers to the life it hosts and brings forth. In that are reverence and gratitude.

I saw those illustrated with the two people I met in Bodega. I was thoroughly charmed. It was really a great honor to be asked to help, actually.

Odd, yes.

But here I am, sitting on the most dramatic perch and telling you about it. I have always loved aeries and here is one of the most beautiful ones, which I have ever experienced.

IMG_1659

 

I say this a lot. “Life is messy, but beautiful.” This trip is more evidence of that.

A hot cup of coffee made on the cheap, in room coffee maker, so common in hotel rooms everywhere, keeps me company, as I watch the light slowly dial up outside and reveal the new day.

Today we head back down coast to Point Arena to see some friends, and then down to SF to spend some time with George, and discuss ongoing events at Fukushima. Hopefully we get to see what we refer to as our super twinkly Artist pals, Jenny and Kendall, in process.

It is going to be a busy day. Hopefully, more beautiful than messy.

Red White and You

Sunday, August 26th, 2012

Amongst my friends and colleagues, who I see as being people of sound, educated mind, and of exceptional intelligence and compassion, I have observed something.

They appear to be stuck.

Why is it, that some people prefer to confer the authority and tenets of Leadership, on Politicians?

The reason I find this perplexing is due to a recurrent result that is obvious.

By repetitively supporting a Red or Blue, Left and Right divisive philosophy, they have jettisoned their own power as individuals, who are for the most part,  in possession of  greater intelligence and connectedness,  than those leading the factions. My dear friends follow an idea they were sold by a marketer.

Ever read this?  All Marketers are Liars.  Great book. Or this one? The Tipping Point. Responsible empowering reads. If ever one wanted to own their power as an individual, these would be great books to engage.

Politicians are liars of convenience. In order for most of them to stay in office, they must be re-elected. So getting that done is job one.  Telling people what they want to hear, is frequently a good interim solution.  The short term cycle of Politics and daily Media, which feeds upon it economically, in much the same manner as American Retail does on the concept of Christmas, is designed to survive via consumerism. It needs the public to feed on it’s messages, in order to complete the advertising cycle and show profit.

Now why would it bother me that my friends would do this? Well, it does so for selfish reasons. I like my friends, and see them as high value contributors to society potentially, and it is really embarrassing to see grown, educated people, cuddling a Red or Blue blankie, asking a Politician to feed them nurturing leadership. The obvious fact is that with many Politicians, the Ethics Deficit has left their Moral Bank Account without funds and their Pantry is inhabited only by the cobwebs of desire: to succeed in Politics.

So here is what I propose. Ignore them. Take the reins of your life, act right where you are. Think about what you do which makes you feel happy, engaged and fulfilled, and do that. We become what we lend attention and heart to. If you read the National Enquirer, well then, that becomes your foundational knowledge and philosophy base. Partisanship is sort of like that, and a choice.

But those of us who care about you, will really miss having you in on the conversations we are inspired to engage and the solutions which we endeavor to ferret out.

You could matter. But first it must become all about you. Once you are in place, then it can be about helping others to thrive. Let’s make it about you, rather than those waving false flags, who don’t care about humanity or your family, or you,  beyond seizing our attention when they need it.

Oh and by the way. The White? Those white stripes on the American flag? They signify liberty and equality, and some say, purity of intention.  Hint: choose White over Red or Blue. We will all be happier as a result.

Nurture and thrive.

It starts with you.

Do it.

“When I die, my epitaph, or whatever you call those signs on gravestones, is going to read: “I joked about every prominent man of my time, but I never met a man I didn’t like.” I am so proud of that, I can hardly wait to die, so it can be carved”. -Will Rogers

Talking Story

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012
Forfeiture

 

When I was very young, my Father explained to me how history was documented in Hawaii. He told me that it was passed along from Father to Son, and that if the chain was ever broken, that the family History could be lost as time passed. So I grew up with the concept of the story being a  relatively sacred thing.

As my career in imaging grew, it was based on the telling of stories in the context of my image creation. I would always, no matter how surreal the work became in expression, root the piece in  aspects of Historic Truth. The exact timbre of the truth communicated was always, by design, supposed to correspond as closely as artistically appropriate with the subject.

This week I had a fairly rare occurrence. Someone posted a video on my Facebook wall, and asked that I watch it. At the end of the half hour piece, I was heavily impacted by the message of the film. I sat in front of the monitor and pondered how I felt. The person was asking me to pass the film and it’s message along.  To both tell and verify their story by my assent to that act.

I thought awhile, and did not share it. With a sigh, I realized that something did not seem right to me. A close friend of mine, a Deputy District Attorney once took me aside after my company had experienced a couple episodes with Con men (short for confidence) in our retail stores and factory. He said that if something ever struck one as being “too good to be true” that in all likelihood it really was a lie of sorts, based on what we wanted to hear. Frequently, he said (and I found this to be very accurate in perspective over the years) that the Con man himself really believes what he is saying, or at the very least, maintains his aura of confident assertiveness in the telling of the tale.

So I began the process of vetting the truth of this film. It just seemed all too perfect, emotions manipulated neatly in a seamless combination of perfect production values, that belied great skill, a lot of time and as I know first hand, a substantial budget to cover the phases of production, post production and distribution.

That film on my Facebook wall was Kony 2012.

So for two entire days, I looked into the aspects of the history of an age old conflict in Uganda, which the story loosely and creatively chronicled, and began to look more closely at the manner in which the story was told. The closer I looked, the more appalled that I became. As I point by point dissected the film, unraveled my emotional entanglements, figured out the why, when, where, who and how of the film, I was appalled, but really not that surprised, that in essence, at it’s core, I was being conned.

As a last point of vetting, I rang a colleague up. L’s warm voice came on the line and in the background I could hear voices and commotion. “Hey L, where are you?” “In Washington at a  National Journalism Convention. How are you? What’s up?” I offered to ring him back later but L said that he had a 7 minutes, so I said simply: “Kony 2012″. L was silent for a few seconds then responded. “What do you want to know?” “Everything”

So L stepped outside the conference and used his 7 minutes to tell me what he KNEW. Not what he thought. Journalists are great that way, the real ones. The details he described showed me a methodical background check that led all the way from various NGO long term aide workers on the ground in Uganda, right to the fund raising efforts and disbursement of funds in the NGO which the film fronted and talked story for. As we rang off, L promised that he would send me a link to someone he respected who was on the ground in Uganda, so I could read firsthand, that person’s story. And we said goodbye. 6 minute phone call. The link arrived and I posted it into my vette document.

I would not be posting that video on my Facebook wall, but I would talk a little about the value of correct Philosophy in storytelling.

There is an age old saying about the past and it’s documentation, which illustrates the importance of not just good intentions, but purity of heart. “History is always written by the winners”

Ethically, without an embrace of the truth in a matter, there is no real purity of heart, and that story telling experience which ensues, well, that can alter History, and affect the manner in which a culture moves forward to great negative affect.

Storytellers therefore, have a somewhat sacred trust to maintain and abide by.

I have seen a lot of subtle lies in film and media. Sometimes they are blatant, as in Stop Kony. Frequently they are more subtle, as in the rewriting of MOH Michael Monsoor’s death account to suit the storyline, in the recently released film, the doco turned feature “Act of Valor”. The lure of a “good story” is always there to tempt the storyteller to bend or weave truth, according the their own reality.

EVERYONE struggles with the truth, in media and content development. Myself included.So many voices exist, telling so many tales and frequently something that sounds reasonable gets passed on and becomes a part of a bigger work. That is the architecture of deceit. This is how it comes and creates a reality that can deceive many. It is true, that saying: “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions”.

I know a lot of Film Makers, Directors, Writers and various Creatives. The bulk of the ones with professional standing have a high bar for Truth, especially the ones whose careers burgeon under the label of being an “artist” .

 

So maybe as Social Media accelerates rapidly forward, we ought to hold people accountable a little more often. What you see or read or hear may be a lie. Everything you read is NOT true, but may be someone’s version of a lie wrapped in the guise of Truth. It is not all grey out there. Really. Truth matters.

Each one of the images in this blog tells a story. Each tale is rather pure. I like the fact that life is often much stranger and more beautiful than fiction.

I am outraged by the insult that film maker issued with Stop Kony. I want to simply type these words as my message to him.

      Fuck You

But here is the deal. No one wins in that. Not really. Because outrage must transform into education, and forward progress, or my own story telling itself, will become darker, and filled with less light.

So I will refrain from a long diatribe and simply ask people to think about what they are being told. Is it sounding too good to be true? If so, just do a little something. Turn the light on. Our Society and Culture need that.

Then go tell your own story. I am sure it will be wonderful.

Lastly, here is a fantastic piece about Jeff Skoll, on storytelling, in one of my favorite reads, Daily Good.

A Patriot’s Recompense

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009
Sgt. Myers return. Photo courtesy defenselink.mil. Thanks to: Shawn Alladio

Sgt. Myers return. Photo courtesy defenselink.mil. Thanks to: Shawn Alladio

Today is a special day. One many may not realize the portent of. Today marks the return of America being able to recognize and honor the sacrifice of it’s military. Phillip A. Myers, a staff sergeant in the U.S. Air Force, body was returned to US soil last night and the American press corp covered it. The image of his flag draped coffin marked the end to a news blackout that The Bush Administration fostered so that the American people could be better manipulated for political purposes. If there is a special place in Hell for evil men, Mr. Bush will surely occupy it one day.  Cnn’s coverage is here.

The thing that makes this germane to us, the working shmoes, is that when one sees a body, it personalizes the sacrifice. That stars and stripes covered box is someone’s Father, Mother, Brother, Sister, Son or Daughter who believed enough to sacrifice all for the right of me to scribe this blog and journalists everywhere to report, that yes, Philllip Myers life and sacrifice fucking mattered.

My girlfriend Donna, who has no idea I am writing this just blurted out from the other room:

“Hey honey, we have a black President. “  Yes we do, and he is a Constitutional Attorney. Our country is coming back to us. One body at a time. And now we will see what there is to see. We should have all along. Welcome home Sgt Myers.

Known as America’s poet laureate, a tribute from Canadian born Leonard Cohen is here.  I love my friends, thanks again to Shawn Alladio for sending this.

A fantastic tribute to the fallen Marines at Makin Island is here.

One flag for each that died, The 911 memorial at Pepperdine a fraction of our military loss.

One flag for each that died, The 911 memorial at Pepperdine a fraction of our military loss.

© 2009 David Pu'u. All rights reserved.

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