The Only Constant is Change

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Technology: A Blessing or A Curse?

technology-a-blessing-or-a-curseThe cell phone rings as I flip between pages of the internet, surfing for the best price for white lace poncho shawls and an Elvis Presley wig. As I answer my phone the instant message screen pops up. The phone call is from New York; music for my show will be late. The instant message is from the costumer: she found the perfect Gold Lame suit. I buy two shawls from a woman in Ohio. Another instant message pops up, this one from my niece in Australia. She is pregnant again; it’s another girl. We “chat” for a bit as I complete my purchases and sign on to Gonzaga’s website to start online classes in Spokane. The TV drones in the background as my husband catches up on the Daily Show on DVR. A scream comes from my son’s room, “Holy, friggin’ crap!” My son has been hit by an ambush in his favorite cyber world, Halo 3, executed by his best online pal, Walla Walla. Sometimes I just want to turn it all off!

Technology has had a huge effect of the American lifestyle. The arrival of the internet, cell phones, cable, and the like has presented a mixed bag of benefits and burdens. For every advantage we receive, something is lost. Alvin Toffler coined the term “Future Shock” forecasting the emotional effect caused by the accelerated lifestyle that would leave people disconnected, and suffering from “shattering stress and disorientation” due to “information overload”. The book was written in 1970 so I guess you could call Toffler a visionary.

So, is technology a blessing or a curse? I don’t know what to say; I’m sitting on the fence on this one, and I’m no fence sitter. I take action and check a blog to find out what other people think. Blogwonks seems inviting. Felicia Benamon is worried about former Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson getting an implanted microchip under his skin. Convenient in that we can be scanned and followed in every country; dangerous because we can be scanned and followed in every country. She urges us to “Think of consequences.” That sounds good and bad. Score: pro-tech 1, anti-tech 1.
Next I check out a USA today article which says that “Technology can be great for staying in touch…”, (great, one for technology) “…but it may also create a trap that can discourage [college kids] from becoming interested in the people in their new environment. Instead of making the effort to meet new people, some students may find it easier to watch their favorite television show or play games on the Internet. Eventually, these students may find themselves alone and isolated, and that could affect their performance in school as well as their overall emotional health”. Oooo, that has to be bad.

Score, pro-tech: 2; anti-tech: 2.

I move on to The Spiritual Scientist, A Cyber Magazine for Those Who Think. That’s me. I am welcomed by a prominent quote by Max Frisch, “Technology: the knack of so arranging the world that we don’t have to experience it.” That can’t be good. But is this really an argument against technology? They’re writing this in a blog for goodness sakes!

Score: 3 for; 3 against.

I flip back to my opening news page. Euronews.net story leads with a story only 30 minutes old: “An Islamist website says it will broadcast a new video from Osama Bin Laden to coincide with the sixth anniversary of the September 11th attacks.” Amazing! But wait, is this a good thing or a bad thing? Bin Laden could call for another Jihad. But he has a right to be heard; freedom of speech and all that rot. I’m going to guess the U.S. doesn’t like it. What about the Middle East? Should we allow this? Noam Chomsky says “If you’re really in favor of free speech, then you’re in favor of freedom of speech for precisely for views you despise. Otherwise, you’re not in favor of free speech.” It seems the internet gives us a forum for authentic freedom of speech, but it opens us to all sorts of “dangerous” information and potential activity. Again, the blessing and the curse. Score?

Pro-tech 4, anti-tech 4.

The score seems terminally tied so I turns to Marshal McLuhan for guidance. “Every extension of mankind, especially technological extensions, have the effect of amputating or modifying some other extension,” he says. He suggested that while mankind is quick to embrace and praise the extensions, they are reluctant to consider the amputations. This is really the issue, isn’t it? Can we responsibly create technology, with respect to the repercussions of our creations? McLuhan suggests we can, and give us a simple four question guideline to use when facing a new technology.

“What does it (the medium or technology) extend?”
“What does it make obsolete?”
“What is retrieved?”
“What does the technology reverse into if it is over-extended?”

This is simple. Simple is a good idea for this complex question. I think of the KISS anagram: Keep it Simple Stupid! (She smiles warmly.)

So, is technology a blessing or a curse? I’ve come full circle, or better still, full spiral, on the issue. There is no easy, black and white answer to be marked neatly in a multiple question test. This is an essay question. And it’s answer is sure to be media rich.

When Silence Speaks

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Where crashes resound, it’s the silence that thunders the aching divide in the community of Los Angeles at night. What’s not said is as powerful as any of the racial diatribes which abound in the movie Crash. Each of the movie’s characters is steeped in the censures and taboos of their respective tribes, and we discovers how universal our need to believe in racial superiority runs with each new scenario we encounter. What results is a fascinating unveiling of society’s deepest racial bigotries. A “spiral of silence” forces wedges between people, building mountains of resentment that erupt in sudden storms of bigotry, hatred, and injustice. The silent yearning for connection is in stark contrast to the rage that is acted out, as the unspoken resentments are displaced onto the most convenient and least understood generic “other”.
As the film’s theme song, In the Deep (written by Kathleen Bird York) says, “Life keeps tumbling your heart in circles till you let go, till you shed your pride and you climb to heaven”, seeming to suggest that our “crashes” are designed to help us learn a new and different way of communicating. The movie Crash is a compilation of scenes in which people (us) try to achieve some sort of happiness, safety and connection, only to be faced with ever increasing obstacles that unveil their (our) ugliest and most dangerous prejudices.
I happen to be reading Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann’s book, Spiral of Silence, and there are remarkable insights into the causes of the prejudices as seen through her theories. Noelle-Neumann describes the spiral of silence as “the increasing pressure people feel to conceal their views when they think they are in the minority”. She describes our “fear of isolation” as the force that “sets the spiral of silence in motion”.

Many of the characters in the film Crash have found this “silence” to be the way for them to get ahead. For instance Don Chealdle’s character of Detective Graham is a black detective who has worked his way up through the ranks. Having overcome his family circumstances, his mother is a heroine addict and brother is a criminal, he takes care of them when he can, while protecting his image on the police force. He is a successful black man living in a white man’s world, not turning his back on his family, but reeling from his shame of where he comes from. One of the most powerful scenes takes place when the DA’s publicity man, Jake Flanagan, tries to get Detective Graham to compromise on a case involving a white cop killing a black cop. The black cop is involved in drug trafficking, and the white cop has a history of shooting black “criminals” under questionable circumstances. For political reasons the DA wants to find a black man of prominence to pin a medal on, in order to neutralize a potential public relations issue. Detective Graham is the man. At first Graham refuses, willing to forfeit the honor and rewards. But when Flanagan threatens him with his brother’s incarceration from past arrests and a currently open case, he finds it too much to withstand. The isolation from his family is too great to endure and he agrees to remain silent, take the medal and co-operate with the photo op scam, and go along with the DA’s story.

Another potent “spiral” moment occurs when Cameron, the film director, is confronted by the film’s producer who insists the black actor in the film is not “black enough”. The implications are clear: if the director (Camaeron) doesn’t re-shoot the scene to reflect the “white man’s” opinion of the “black man”, his job is on the line. The moment Cameron experiences flickers across his eyes, and although it lasts only a few seconds, we are clear of his silent hatred and resentment, which is followed quickly by his well rehearsed mask of agreement. Cameron silenced his feelings to continue to enjoy the approval of the white film world he had worked so hard to break into.
Even the white man’s dilemma’s are caught in this film. Officer Hansen (played by Ryan Phillippe) approaches his supervisor for a transfer because of the racist actions of his partner (Matt Dillon’s playing Officer Ryan). Hansen’s supervisor, a black man who’s endured racism, staying silent in order to work his way up to the rank of Lieutenant, receives Hansen offer to write a report citing the racial incident the Lieutenant and responds, “That’d be great. … Because I’m anxious to understand how an obvious bigot could’ve gone undetected in this department for years. Eleven of which he was under my personal supervision. Which doesn’t speak very highly of my managerial skills”. The “spiral of silence” creates waves that continue to have unintended repercussions in its complex and corrupt agreement.
Matt Dillon’s character, Officer Ryan, is a tragic example of how hatred and prejudice can be fostered through silence, even when the source itself is not prejudice. Ryan’s father had owned and operated a janitorial service employing all black workers. His company was eventually put out of business when he lost his city contracts to minority-owned companies that got preference in city contracts in a reverse racism legislation. Although Ryan’s father never blamed the black people, it is obvious that Ryan did. Ryan clearly inherited his father’s good heart, as was eventually played out by his heroic acts in a fiery car, saving a black woman he had previously assaulted during a traffic stop. But his displaced hatred so overpowered him at times that he acted out his aggression on unrelated people who represented the black community that he held responsible for his father’s pain. Because he never processed his resentment, it was displaced and erupted in episodes of anger with innocent people.
As painful as conflict can be, and as messy as honesty is, the price we pay for staying silent is worse. Crash screenwriters Robert Moresco and Paul Haggis write, “You brush past people… People bump into you… In L.A., nobody touches you… I think we miss that touch so much that we crash into each other just so we can feel something”. So we continue living the spiral in an evolutionary quest to survive… until the next crash.

Manufacturing Consent

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I first heard the term “new world order” in 1991, during the first Gulf War. I had a vague, possibly erroneous, understanding that the United States was involved in some type of clandestine world government. The term has since become a common phrase used in political speeches and informational articles. Once described as a “pursuit of justice and more secure in the quest for peace” by by GHW Bush, Noam Chomsky paints a different picture saying, “We’ll be the world’s mafia, running a global protection racket. That’s the New World Order”.

Of course this is not how “The New World Order” is portrayed in our press. Instead, according to Chomsky, a carefully planned propaganda campaign taught the domestic population to “respect the martial virtues”, and “shed the dread Vietnam syndrome” in order to overcome “our sickly inhibition against the use of military force”, so that the United States of America is able to “move toward the real New World Order, one based on the rule of force”. All sold to the American public in order to “Manufacture Consent” for the war in Iraq.
A “Propaganda model” as defined by Herman and Chomsky in “Manufacturing Consent” is “an analytical framework that attempts to explain the performance of the U.S. media in terms of the basic institutional structures and relationships within which they operate”. Rather than propaganda being blatantly thrust upon the American public, a subtle series of structural factors are maneuvered in order to maintain control of information made available in our ‘free press’ environment. Although more difficult to recognize than a system in which formal censorship by government owned media outlets takes place, “free market” propaganda is just as powerful.
The propaganda model’s structure derives from the fact that the dominant media are firmly imbedded in the market system. They are profit-seeking businesses, owned by very wealthy people and/or corporations, funded by advertisers, who are also profit-seeking entities, with the main focus of reaching as large an audience as possible to maximize profit. (Herman, 2003). The propaganda model consists of a series of “filters” described as:
First Filter: Size, ownership, and control
Second Filter: Advertising dependence
Third Filter: Sourcing of Mass-Media News
Fourth Filter: Flak and the enforcers
Fifth Filter: “anticommunism” as a control mechanism.
Acting to reinforce each other, the filters effectively constrain the information flow by choosing which information to make available to the American public. The media ownership, therefore, determines what is a “legitimate” news story is. Chomsky states, “The elite domination of the media and marginalization of dissidents that results from the operation of these filters occurs so naturally that media news people, frequently operating with complete integrity and goodwill, are able to convince themselves that they choose and interpret the news “objectively” and on the basis of professional news values”. Information is systematically and intentionally controlled in order to protect the interests of the elite. Edward Herman explains stating, “Clearly the manufacture of consent by a ‘specialized class’ that can override the short-sighted perspectives of the masses must entail media control by that class”.
According to Chomsky, as of 2002 nine major transnational conglomerates, including Disney, AOL Time Warner, Viacom and others, “own all the world’s major film studios, TV networks, and music companies and a sizable faction of the most important cable channels, cable systems, magazines, major-market TV stations, and book publishers…Another fifteen firms round out the system, meaning that two dozen firms control nearly the entirety of media experienced by most U.S. citizens”. A current Google search shows that number down to six, due to mergers and acquisitions. All of these companies and corporations have as their main focus bottom line considerations. Financial pressures on these companies forces an information filter to catch anything that may offend advertisers or consumers and threaten profits. “A country can have very high standards of protection for free expression … and still have very limited EFFECTIVE free expression, because of concentration of power over what can reach the public”.
Marketing and advertisements are major concerns for profit driven concerns. Even public broadcastings have been forced to accept advertising dollars and have therefore been forced to operate under some of the same constraints as have the other media giants. As a result there is a growing avoidance of controversial subjects that might offend powerful patrons. Although not a formal censure, the effect is the same.
News media need a steady source of reliable information sources, and with the twenty four hour news channels it is not cost effective to send cameras and crews to all locations where news could “happen”. As a result news teams are sent to high profile locations such as Washington D.C., State Capitals, police stations, etc. to gather information in volumes, thus cutting down on costs. News teams are not sent to other locations unless the news event has been deemed “newsworthy”. This limits and determines what is covered and what is not.
“Flak” refers to negative responses to a media statement or program. This can take the form of letters, phone calls, petitions, lawsuits, blogs, bills before Congress, and any other form of threat or action that is costly to the company. Corporate sponsored organizations have existed since the 1970’s to formally monitor and effect actions of corporations, media firms and politicians. The government is a major producer of flak, sometimes working hand in hand with other flak organizations to achieve their desired goals.
Ideology can also be a powerful control filter. Communism has been given a strong negative connotation, and is used to control groups that are viewed as “too soft” on social concerns. McCarthy and Red scares became potent control mechanisms for both private citizens and public entities. The 9/11 events have fostered a new “patriotism” that is used in a similar way to control anyone who speaks out against the war.
The five filters act together to effectively limit undesirable news from being offered to the American public. Since the American public can only consume news it is offered, the illusion suggests that we have an open and free information exchange and are well informed. Powerful ideology gatekeepers also influence the news that is offered, putting the desired spin on events, depending on the needs of the media owners and interests. For example “the torture of political prisoners” could be termed “terrorist detainees” with the suggestions that they are being provided all the rights available under U.S. law.
September 11, 2001 ushered in a whole new level of propaganda. Chomsky writes, “At home the population has to be in fear, has to be cowering in terror, in fear of terrible enemies about to destroy us”. American had been attacked on her own soil and we were frightened to our core and thirsty for revenge. Although there were, and to date have been no, ties to the 9/11 attacks with Iraq, we would move steadily to war against the evil dictator, Saddam Hussein, to take revenge upon Osama Bin Laden and the Al Qaeda network.
How did we get from Bin Laden to Hussein? Propaganda. A carefully maneuvered control of fear, focus and frenzy allowed the American people and government to be manipulated into a response which would reverberate throughout the world, turning overwhelming world support into world hatred, in a matter of years. But I assure you; it had nothing to do with oil.
To begin to understand, we must revisit the first Iraq war of 1991; Operation Desert Storm. Recall President George H.W. Bush’s speech to Congress in September of 1990 where he presented his New World Order as a “quest for peace”, ironically in a call to war:
A new partnership of nations has begun, and we stand today at a unique and extraordinary moment. The crisis in the Persian Gulf, as grave as it is, also offers a rare opportunity to move toward an historic period of cooperation. Out of these troubled times, our fifth objective—a new world order—can emerge: A new era—freer from the threat of terror, stronger in the pursuit of justice and more secure in the quest for peace. An era in which the nations of the world, east and west, north and south, can prosper and live in harmony.
Vital economic interests are at risk as well. Iraq itself controls some 10 percent of the world’s proven oil reserves. Iraq plus Kuwait controls twice that. An Iraq permitted to swallow Kuwait would have the economic and military power, as well as the arrogance, to intimidate and coerce its neighbors—neighbors who control the lion’s share of the world’s remaining oil reserves. We cannot permit a resource so vital to be dominated by one so ruthless. And we won’t.
Now well into the second Iraq war the “new world order” is firmly in place. Only its doctrine has changed. Recall that the first war clearly had as its objective, protecting oil reserves. The new Iraq war is no longer concerned with oil assets. Instead, we have become the vigilant attack dog of the world, out to conquer terror where ever it may (or may not) rear its ugly head. Here are excerpts from George W. Bush’s October 7, 2002 speech before Congress:
We know that Iraq and the al Qaeda terrorist network share a common enemy — the United States of America. We know that Iraq and al Qaeda have had high-level contacts that go back a decade. Some al Qaeda leaders who fled Afghanistan went to Iraq.
Members of the Congress of both political parties, and members of the United Nations Security Council, agree that Saddam Hussein is a threat to peace and must disarm. We agree that the Iraqi dictator must not be permitted to threaten America and the world with horrible poisons, and diseases, and gases, and atomic weapons. (IPA, 2002)
Had the oil situation suddenly disappeared? Was Iraq no longer an area that held “vital economic interests” that we need to protect? Or was the message simply different this time around? Bush II’s “Propaganda model” suggests that “oil” was not a palatable advertising slogan; “freedom is on the march” was much better. War would be a hard sell so an advertising campaign was developed, and at its core an Iwo Jima-esque photo of firemen raising an American flag amongst the rubble of Ground Zero. A new definition of patriotism emerged, with flags waving, bumper stickers abounding and everyone singing “I’m Proud to be an American where at least I know I’m free”. The message was clear; support the war or be marked as un-American.
The media marched obediently, forced to co-operate or face the brutal backlash of flak attacks and advertising boycotts. Politicians were equally paralyzed, and anyone brave enough to speak out was attacked with media campaigns such as the famous “swift boat” attack on John Kerry. Powerful corporations determined what would be reported, and there was a flag on every lawn, as a united America seemed to have no opposition to the war. The Patriot Act passed through Congress at an unprecedented rate, stripping citizens of their most basic civil rights. The New World Order was in full swing, in a unilateral march to war.
Chomsky suggests that there are “two different views of the New World Order and the Middle East” saying that “we have a choice between abuse of reality, namely what actually happens, and reality in the sophisticated sense, the illusions and fabrications of propaganda”. Part of the sophistication is the absence of protest, as private and governmental voices were eerily silent. Chomsky’s writing partner, Edward Herman explains the lack of public dialogue saying, “Because the propaganda model challenges basic premises and suggests that the media serve antidemocratic ends, it is commonly excluded from mainstream debates on media bias”.
Sadly the Iraq War is but one of many examples of the propaganda model at work. In a capitalistic economic system, a profit seeking press can not be unbiased. However, this directly opposes the concept of a free and open press. Information vital to protecting our country’s philosophical foundations must be free to be voiced in public, through the media. The propaganda model is a useful tool that can be used to analyze powerful forces at work, enlighten the public, and allow us to act in order to ensure more complete information for the public in order protect our way of life.
Critics of Chomsky are plentiful, accusing him of, “portray(ing) the United States as the rogue hegemony in an integrated world that is constantly trying to balance global economic and physical security” (Chomsky, Washington Post, November 26, 2003). In the September 24, 2001 Nation titled “Of Sin, the Left & Islamic Fascism”, Christopher Hitchens describes Chomsky as “soft on crime and soft on fascism.” Far from a doctrine of hopeless negativity, Chomsky’s propaganda model urges action. Keeping in mind that the United States of American has the form of government that best allows a free press, Chomsky warns against misreading the propaganda model, saying, “It does not suggest — in fact, it strongly denies — that the US is a totalitarian society where conformity is rigidly enforced”.
Chomsky quotes James Webb, former Reagan Aid Secretary, as describing the George W. Bush Administration as “an extremist Administration which prefers brute force to other means, which has relentlessly maneuvered the country into a neat little war and did so because they’re facing domestic problems. They have no way to deal with them. They have only one idea in their heads and that is to turn the United States into a mercenary state, Hessians”. This is the New World Order. Because the United States is the reigning Superpower, there is no deterrent. But the Propaganda Model is a powerful tool that can open our eyes to the mechanics of the media machine that have lulled us into a happy servitude. Although things look bleak, Chomsky insists things aren’t inevitable, and reminds us that “There’s no outside force that’s going to prevent it. The responsibility lies right here, obviously”.
As a footnote: this was written in 2007. It is all the more timely with the developments of the 2016 presidential election. The rise of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are a fascinating study in “Manufacturing consent”.

Studio V 4 Arts & Tutoring

patti13strick invitation copy.jpgHello, my name is Patricia Lynn-Strickland and I am here to tell you about “Studio V 4 Arts & Tutoring”. As you can probably relate, growing your creative skills through the arts is a great way to enhance your communication and critical thinking skills in every aspect of your life. And as a lifelong student of the arts myself, I have seen first hand the benefits of learning the arts. That is why I have created “Studio V 4 Arts & Tutoring” in Ventura CA. And now anyone, from kids, to adults, from writers to actors can come and collaborate with other inspiring artists. Studio V – Ventura’s Voice 4 Arts & Tutoring is an intergenerational arts & tutoring organization whose mission is to provide academic tutoring & experiential arts classes, performances, showcases, and festivals to people of all ages, with the focus on the transferability of critical thinking and communication skills which are necessary to compete in the creative economy of the twenty-first century.

The goal of this campaign is to reach like-minded people for collaboration, raise money in exchange for early access and rewards, and we also want to spread the word. The more people we can get excited about “Studio V 4 Arts & Tutoring” the more functional and successful it will be in the community. So this campaign will give you the basics on our efforts and progress. Beyond that we encourage you to ask us questions, donate and get involved. We developed “Studio V 4 Arts & Tutoring” for your benefit, so enjoy! We believe we are really onto an easier way to bring people together and help connect people with tutors to help them grow their skill set.

Do you ever think about dabbling in the arts but have no idea how you would start?

Do you want your child to explore the arts to see if they enjoy it but you see a lack of local options?

Are you interested in indulging in the arts with others in the community but don’t have a spot to collaborate?

If you answered, “Yes” to any of these questions, you may want to keep reading…

I feel I have successfully created a variety of programs, tutoring’s and events that solves a simple daily problem: the lack of art and outlets for expression in our day-to-day life. We exercise our analytical brain and if we are lucky we can get a work out in, but when is the last time we can really say we let our creative juices flow?

With the contribution of $50 or $100 you will receive some really cool perks; cash contributions of all sums are accepted. This is just the beginning of an awesome journey, and you are welcomed to come on board. But wait, why not let your friends in on this, share this with them through word of mouth, emails and social media and have them do the same, Studio V welcomes everyone!
Communication, connection and collaboration are fundamental skills of theatrical and media arts that can – and should – be learned by all. Studio V teaches skills that give youth an academic advantage in the classroom and adults an advantage in life. The arts and creativity are transformational, and by engaging young people, adults, and seniors in their own creative process, Studio V is helping shape a society of creative, confident and collaborative individuals.
Did you know??
With recent school cut backs across the nation, sometimes art and theatre is the first to go yet art can influence a child (or adults) entire life. And the numbers don’t lie Federal funding for the arts and humanities rolls in around $250 million a year, while the National Science Foundation is funded around the $5 billion mark. But the benefits of art are too high for us to simply roll over.

Take a look:

New brain research shows that not only does music improve skills in math and reading, but also it promotes creativity, social development, personality adjustment, and self-worth.
Students who study art are 4 times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement and 3 times more likely to be awarded for school attendance.
Arts and music education programs are mandatory in countries that rank consistently among the highest for math and science test scores, like Japan, Hungary, and the Netherlands.
And no my fellow adults, I did not forget about you…. Take a peak…
The Arts excel at improving intangible skills (e.g. communication, self-expression, creative and critical thinking) in adults who continue to engage
We can also prepare you for the growing job markets in media arts. The internet has created an explosion of opportunity for digital designers and multimedia artists

So as you can see the benefits of Studio V in our community would be endless for everyone. And we are making sure we have a little something for everyone!

To know where someone is going you must know where he or she has been…

So let me tell you the story of how I got here. I am a theatre person. I have worked in the theatre my whole life – did my first play when I was five. Theatre and music saved my life. I moved 17 times by the time I was 13 and was incredibly shy… except on stage… except when I was with music. I was also a pretty good student – I attribute that to my work in the arts.

I went to acting school, American Academy of Dramatic Arts 3 years. Then worked in the theatre (and many day jobs trust me). I was artistic director for 8 years, directing, producing and acting and have worked with actors of all ages. And then I had my son – born 3 months early. It changed my life. I focused on being a mom for awhile – focused on keeping him alive, then on helping him thrive. Then when he was five I was looking at schools and this is the first time I realized THE ARTS WERE PRACTICALLY NON-EXISTENT IN THE SCHOOLS. This was unacceptable to me.

I found two private schools next door to each other; a K-8 and a high school. I took a job to teach music at the K-8 and Drama/Music at the high school. What I really did was create two performing arts programs. I resigned as artistic director at the theatre and devoted my life to educational theatre. I went back to school, finished my BS in Interdisciplinary Studies, My Masters in Communication & Leadership and wrote my thesis on Arts Across the Curriculum. I became a bit of an expert on exactly why arts are so vital to our nation’s success and viability in the 21st century. And through all my experience and experiments, I learned that people create and learn best when we mingle together as a tribe – and NOT WHEN WE ARE BATCHED BY DATE OF MANUFACTURE. I believe in creating art – intergenerational, collaborative arts.

So that is my story and now I humbly ask for your support. Many of you know me. You know my work, I have taught your kids, and your kids’ kids. I have worked with you and for you. I have directed over 150 plays, taught I don’t know how many classes, and spoken on panels and worked for the community at the Boys & Girls Club, Casa Pacifica, YMCA, and CSUCI’s Inspire Her. I have created projects with organizations throughout our city including Angel Heart Foundation, The City of Ventura, Citizens for Peaceful Resolution, CLUE, Gull Wings Children’s Museum, VCMC NICU Family Fund and The Ray Bradbury Theatre and Film Foundation and more.
For me to bring the “Studio V 4 Arts & Tutoring” to life, I need your support!
Your generous funding will help me get things started in order to realize my concept. It will assist me with the cost of further development, leasing of the location, supplies marketing and other costs of starting a program of this magnitude. More importantly you get the chance to be one of the first visitors of the “Studio V 4 Arts & Tutoring”. I will also use the funding to test concepts to make my program better. I am committed to continuous improvement so I will always be giving people the best possible solutions for their artists and theatrical needs and passions. I want Studio V to be a place of pure inspiration.
The “Studio V 4 Arts & Tutoring” needs pledging but above all it needs your attention and interest! If you love this product as much as we do then please take a moment to click on one of our social media buttons (Facebook, Twitter and YouTube at the bottom of the page). Help us spread the word and get things started!
For me to bring my vision to life, I need your support!
If you aren’t able to make a monetary donation, but would like to contribute to the campaign mission, there are plenty of other ways to help!
Volunteer
I will be looking for people to help out once we get up and running. I want the community involved in any capacity.
Teach someone else about the benefits of art
At its core, this campaign is about helping people grow and thrive using art and theatre. If you’re in a position to teach someone else how to better view the world of art – do it! You are contributing to this campaign by passing on the awareness.
Spread the word
You can contribute your popularity by telling your friends and family about this campaign. The success of this campaign is directly correlated with the number of people who view this page. If you can increase that number, you are making a tangible contribution to the mission.
I encourage everyone to reach out and contact me if you have any ideas, thoughts or concerns. The success of this project is so important to me, and I cannot do it without your help. You are an essential part of this campaign, so please use my contact information below!

If you wish to contact me:

Website: http://www.studiov4arts.com

Social Media Connections:

gofundme:

Twitter: https://twitter.com@patti13strick
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/patricias3
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdGTxyC91U2hHk3nwEQJZpQ/videos

Contact Information
Name: Patricia Lynn-Strickland
Phone Number: 805-443-5783
E Mail: studiov4arts.com
patti13strick@gmail.com

I feel so grateful to everyone who has taken the time to read my campaign and for those who contributed what they could to make a difference and helping me spread the word. I have spent the last few months working hard to bring my vision to life in this campaign and it was worth every minute thanks to all my generous supporters. Please know your efforts, even the smallest, don’t go unnoticed. I will continue to keep you posted on what your donation helped me achieve. You are now part of the search for a solution. Be proud of yourself, today you made a choice that could effect generations to come.

If you cannot donate but you are interested in helping, please contact me so I can set you up with a referral program!
Ok so I could not decide which headers to use so I made two for you and you can use whichever you like ☺
I tried to stick to your color scheme as well

The Ties That Bind

I want to have one of those families that get together every holiday and write on Facebook how

I want to have one of those families that get together every holiday and write on Facebook how “lucky they we to have such a loving and supportive family”, posted next to an impromptu group selfie of bright shining smiles. I want to have special memories of togetherness and love that sustain me until our next jubilant family gathering. I want to be that sister that can listen to problems and reach a reassuring hand to make everything better. I want to have that family, but I don’t.
We are one of those dysfunctional families. We do battle at every gathering. We drudge up the past, thrust and parry with our words, and brandish our swords of self righteousness, reaching past each other, while simultaneously aching to undo the years of hurt. We pull on our instinctual armor, protecting ourselves from the inevitable battle that will erupt as a result of two or more of us entering the same space. Our bonds bind. They bind our hearts and smother our hope. Our bonds are brutal. And we struggle blindly attempting to reconcile the years of disconnect, like the bridge between our hearts has been ruined. emoji: sad face.

polar bear broken heart

Priorities: A New Economic Pyramid

economy pyramidPriorities. We’ve got to change the Pyramid – one block at a time.

We have lots of pyramids to guide our actions. The food pyramid, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (stay with me now, they are only words), Bloom’s Taxonomy and many more. Basically we put the ingredients of success in a foundational order from most important to least or from most consumed to least. We use pictures so we can all understand – educated or not. And voila! We can all blissfully and blindly follow it to success. But the pyramid is only as good as the information it represents.

For instance, Bloom’s taxonomy is interesting to look at right now. It guides education and teaching methods, and it has made some pretty profound changes in the past ten years or so. Previously it was believed that we should focus from knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis and to the all important “evalutation”, at the top of the pyramid. The words are nouns representing knowledge as unmoving, predetermined, concrete facts. And at the top is Evaluation. In other words if we do everything right, we will get a good test result.

But today we know that teaching to a “test result” isn’t a good goal, for many reasons, but mostly because it is not effective. We are educating generations of students who know how to find the “right answer”. They have no idea what to do with the idea, but they are good at finding it, preferably out of a text book, written by someone else, with an arrow pointing to what the right answer is. This is a great way to educate for the mechanical era of yesterday, but not much use today, in the conceptual age of creation.

So Bloom’s adapted. First, and significantly, they moved from nouns to verbs, inferring that knowledge is active, and therefore not a concrete thing to be grasped, boxed, rewarded, and shelved. The verbs are fluid, moving, in action, suggesting an elastic and growing dynamic, which the education process must be in order to adapt to the 21st Century Conceptual Age. So, knowing, understanding, applying, analyzing, evaluating, and CREATING are the new pyramid sections. That is a huge change. Creating is at the top! Evaluating is simply a tool to get to creating. If we do everything correctly at the foundation, we are looking for the creation of new things – NOT GOOD TEST TAKERS.

So we’ve been, in all good intentions, teaching in the wrong direction. And it is difficult to change direction, especially when the education system is HUGE, like the Titanic. And it, the education system, is heading directly towards the iceberg. And we know it, and most are metaphorically running for the life boats or stubbornly staying the course. But like the Titanic, it is difficult to turn this monstrous machine in a different direction, especially with everyone running about yelling conflicting orders and jumping ship. At best, we have to go through channels, and by the time we argue for a solution, the ship will already have hit the proverbial fan-berg.

So, while we argue about Common Core, Teaching to the Test, Funding cuts, Vouchers, and getting rid of the Department of Education – ironically as The Every Student Succeeds Act sailed through both houses of Congress this month, the world keeps turning, information keeps growing and changing, and other countries in the world – granted usually smaller and therefore more adaptable – are making changes to enable better education. What are we doing? We cut funding to education while criticizing teachers, and work to put text books on iPads instead of realizing knowledge changes so rapidly that text books are, in some cases, obsolete by the time it goes to press – hard back or virtual! The pedagogy or philosophy of why we do what we do and what outcomes we might expect need to be considered. What about just using the ipad to do independent research, in well designed projects, that ask high quality questions, that the students will find answers to, and create more high quality questions, which they will be hungry to solve? Makes me want to go back to school! After all the information is out there – just not chosen by one text book company that decides what “truth” is carefully wrapped in a predetermined answer – which may be obsolete.

PS: Also, I realize there are security issues accompanying unleashed iPads, but let’s be honest, there are already security issues because the kids all own smart phones.

What is the answer?

That brings me to another pyramid. One we haven’t actually created or talked about straight out, because that would create an uncomfortable question and could lead to a paradigm change in the pyramid. It is the economic pyramid, and at the top sits PROFIT that is most likely at the cruxt of the education problem. If we do everything right we get profit. We can compromise anything – as long as we honor profit. The bottom layers matter, like life, and work, and education, and low taxes, we must keep in mind that the ingredients that determine success are shareholder interest – but most of all Profits. They are the king, at the top, and  so will determine what ingredients go into making what we, as capitalists, consider success – whatever we list at the top of the pyramid , in this case Profit – the golden calf so to speak.

The pyramid could also include ingredients like “slave labor” or below market wages (our economic system is dependent on slave labor, but that’s another conversation), labor, education, laws, trade, but at the very top of the pyramid would still be PROFIT. If we do everything right in America, we end up with profit – lots of it. Am I repeating myself? The more profit you have, the bigger winner you are, like monopoly. Not necessarily profit for all, but profit for whoever makes it, with the accompanying inference that they deserve it. We worship those with profit, the golden gods. This, as a Capitalistic Nation is undeniable and unquestionable, like God, or the Constitution.

What would happen if we made one tiny change? What if, instead of “profit” on the top of the pyramid we replaced it with “healthy communities”? Theoretically that is what a democratic capitalistic nation intends isn’t it? The pursuit of happiness? How do we pursue happiness if an entire segment of the population believes it is admirable and ethical to hoard massive amounts of profit, at the expense of all the others. If they were instead hoarding newspapers like they do money, we would call them hoarders and create a reality show and film them as freaks of nature.

I know profit is important. But should it be the final goal? Should we admire people and “corporate people” (who are people now) that hoard massive amounts of wealth while humanity decays? Or should we consider that profit is simply a tool to get us to healthy communities and use it to create opportunities for communities and people to thrive?

The solution will not be simple; it will be complex; like nature. It will also, most likely, mimic nature, if it is operating in a healthy manner; in a symbiotic balanced dance of give and take. Our present economic system is more like a cancer tumor running out of control, eating everything in its path to grow bigger and bigger. Financial hoarding is the parellel of cancer growth. It’s great for the tumor, but sucks for the rest of healthy human existance.

With the tragedy of cancer, we use everything in our power to fight cancer (which ironically makes lots and lots of money for the drug and medical companies, but that is another discussion). But we admire the “tumorous hoarding” of money in our economic system. We honor those who hoard; we want to be them. “Just a lotto ticket away from being a millionaire”; the American Dream. That’s an odd place for the United States of America to find itself.

So, we have a decaying education system and we are looking to a cancerous economic system to solve it. How will we create solutions to change both of these problems? Problems are opportunities, and we are rich with opportunities right now. Nature would start at the local level. Nature would reach out and find the symbiotic resources nearby and reach out, allowing the symbiosis to lay new, more beneficial foundations to flourish.

I suggest we put “healthy communities” as our top priority, and let profit serve that. Profit is a tool, not a goal. Let’s build the new pyramid, realign our thinking, and thrive, one person at a time. Let’s really put Healthy Communities at the top of our pyramid! We will compromise whatever we need to – even profit – to create healthy communities.

Let’s call hoarding of money what it is – hoarding; and let’s stop worshipping profit as the end all goal. Lets us profit as a tool and invest in worthwhile local projects. Let’s allow America to be great again.

see: http://www.mintpressnews.com/slavery-alive-well-america-fueled-need-cheap-labor/199686/

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