Search This Blog

Above: Lake Geneva, Switzerland. At Montreux.

Fodderize v.t. 1. To break down individual components; to make fungible; to disregard difference; to render one easily substituted for another 2. To impose sub-quality goods or services upon, with little recourse 3. To cap role choices, hinder access to resources regardless of merit, and so avoid competition 4. To manage perception by propaganda-spin techniques, while concealing dispositive facts 5. To manipulate, lure, exploit, deceive


Sunday, April 19, 2009

Susan Boyle, The Voice for the Lyrics. The Second Game.

Susan Boyle. A talent obscured and deferred by life; and a voice for all fodder, presumed to be less important based on packaging. Here we salute you for your performance, but also for your choice of song.

We just knew there had to be more to the lyrics, and we were right.

A. Lyrics
  • Lyrics. Songs also talk. A clue to the life referred to, and to the life performing, and - when we go back for a replay - to core issues in our lives out there. The startle. The recognition. On behalf of self or others, the "Yes, I know."
I dreamed my life would be -- so different from this hell I'm living. She is singing that? Eyes widen. But who dares look deeper. And would she say.
  • Lyrics. Go find a site with the full lyrics, not just the verses Susan Boyle included in her performance. She gets us looking up the rest by singing selectively -- not just a voice, but a message. Try this one: ://
  • Lyrics. I dreamed a dream of time gone by. I dreamed.... He took my childhood in his stride.... Life has killed the dream I dreamed.... Not all the words fit all of us, but as a divorce lawyer, I can say I have heard the gist so often.
The lyrics may touch a core in women more than men, of course. Merely chick-lyrics? Not so fast.

B. The Culture seen through the Lyrics

What aspect of the culture is reflected in those lyrics. What games get played to concentrate influence, see that a status quo is perpetuated. How does our cultural focus (obsession) with competition affect those kept out. By what techniques do we leave some with killed dreams.

1. The Game of Competition - The Women's Handicap

When men fail, they usually fail in, or fall victim to, the "competition" that men set up for themselves. They may fail because of dirty pool, but that is part of the "game." Is that so? This does not fit all cases, but most we see. Competition is the First Game, where cuts are made. FN 1


2. The Second Game. The Derailing.

Those who win, at or accept the merit of those who win the First Game, competition, then set up the Second Game. They operate on a hopeful participant who then does not even get to "competition." Or is precariously there, able to do less because of the derailing.

When women fail in, or fall victim to, something or circumstances, look to see if they had an additional "game" against them.

The Second Game.

The lyrics point up the lifetime of dichotomy, pulling at women, more than men. The two ways open, the one for my talent, the one for family, impossible choices, the self vs. the role, this but also that. The Second Game/ This even keeps many from approaching the starting gate of the First Game, the one of mere competition based on skill.

The Second Game at work: Call this Second Game "The Derailing".
  • A derailing. Are women simply derailed more often.
Somebody got to the train track controls first, and the track got switched. Or the bicycle derailleur was sabotaged. Life imposing. A deferral or prevention of autonomy. Some say Susan Boyle should see the course set for her as a Will for her life. Do your duty. Yes.

Many would see a place for that, a tradition long-standing. But duty for men is choice and honored. Duty for women is expected and exploited. Doing duty leads to a reflection on how that duty functions for women. Which others are enabled to continue on their own paths, their own autonomy, little and big glories even,and could, because she remained caring for an aging parent. Did those others exploit, because she did not protest. Each family different.

  • Are women also pulled down from the ankles by those who want them down for some gain of their own, like in Star Wars in the garbage pool and the hungry creature beneath - held there, 
 They are held, even when they bow to it willingly, by giving their lives as caretakers, being the support for the children, for the front man, for the ailing family member. Again - I lucked out in many of life's lotteries, but this is what I see professionally and personally as I look around.
    • Are women also held down by their own lack of resistance, a) in absorbing the expectation of being the underwire for others, and b) in accepting being exploited by those others; before they can try their own wings. 
     Then they find they cannot catch up. Think of the big Polyphemus moth cocoon in the empty mason jar with holes poked in the top, emerging, with only a window of time to escape and spread its wings and, let them dry in fly position, then finally fly -- before the wings take on the shape of the jar.

    It must get out to be itself. See :// This image from Annie Dillard's American Childhood, see ://, but familiar in concept for any emerging aspect of a life.

    There is but a window of time for full flight. And for only a lucky some, a second chance.

      Do outsiders care? Watch the snickers at the single middle-aged lady on stage, not quite comfortable there, awkward, until she begins to sing. Remember that. The change.

      Then read about neighborhood bullies outside Susan Boyle's home, boys making her adult life miserable, over several years. Where were the neighborhood adults? Looking for that bio site with sad details, found only this approximation at :// Google changes its search results too fast.

      Explore that Second Game at work:

      Move from Susan Boyle for a moment, and watch the Second Game operating on others.

      Successful women, still expected, or volunteering, to support others -- even those who themselves opted out of the rough and tumble -- or otherwise did not make it, or are caught in other Systems (like jail, public assistance, addiction), with voluntary choices there. Those women still give when the needy come back again and again because they need another boost, and find that lasts for years. Derailings by chip, chip, chip. Still a choice.

      They need help? Oh, of course. And we do. Ironically, willingly. Gladly, mostly. Knowing, or sensing, that equity will not help in return, no help for the volunteer. See this idea at:// Think back to the abused clients, who then do not pay despite good results in the circumstances, and thereby pass on the abuse.

      The cycle of abuse. It is not just for families. Do it when you are not face to face. Easier.

      Expected? To a degree. Of course. Abuse was their life. They now have a chance to get somewhere. Press for fees as a business? or not, as a person. Usually, bow out and move on; repay when you can. Do they. No. Asked for it? Sure. Could have left the client at the first nonpayment of bill. That is not the point.

      The point is that there are two sides to doing something. that others may see as even faintly "noble" and "selfless." That selflessness is also negative, as an enabler. It enbles others to be self-ish. Be selfless anyway? That's foolish, say those dominated by the profit-mind. Could be. There are tigers in the night.
      • Lyrics. "I Dreamed a Dream" - read the whole, and find the old truth, now dated, from a generation back and beyond. Recall that women were then shamed, some for life, by engaging in the mere incidents of living. For men, the activity was merely taking coup. See :// Next generations, do remember.
      Most women would never complain about their lot: that support is expected of them, and that, in their era, they had to hang their heads for having loved.

      Neither will Susan complain about her choices, the faithful caretaker, while others in the family went on with their lives. Probably. "I wouldn't have it any other way," we learn to say. We just learn to move within the set channel they bred us for.

      Please be selfless, they ask, so I can be selfish.

      Put up with less pay for same work, so I can take home more, says Boss and Business. Abuse by another name.
      • Chick lyrics. Dreams killed. Negative thinking? No. This is acknowledgment of a negative reality, and is usually followed by gratitude, for other things, opportunities, riches unspeakable, found anyway.
      Susan. Thank you for choosing that song. We listened. And we looked up the whole. You also kept your own lamp going, and kicked off that bushel and we feel more human because of you. Emotional? There's a place for that. Give it room.

      Who has a nice corsage for Susan Boyle? We offer this, a work of another unknown, Delaware's artist Hermann Dahl - oils, watercolor, pastel, pen and ink, now gone, but in need of applause. A local diner has his murals on the wall, with not even a plaque or framed attribution to show he was local.

      Siren calls. We predict that people may applaud and get goosebumpy at a pre-pubescent boy singing genius belting about emotions he knows nothing about yet. But will anyone return to watch him again and again, and because a core has been touched? Or will they go once or twice, just for the entertainment, the rocket display. We vote for core contact, not the shock and awe of mere mastered technique, at any age. Lash yourself to the mast. See ://

      Ah - this is Blackburn. See ://; and //,west-lothian/photos/. And where is Susan?

      She's gone to London to sing for the Queen.


      The Fodder Site votes.

      FN 1  Differential treatment of contestants in this Second Game.

      Why does it rankle that Mr. Potts, a former Aspirant from a few years ago, dentally challenged, was not ridiculed as a person for his appearance.

      Also the talented child. Not ridiculed as a person for his choice of display song. The judge even intervened to make his chances better, by telling the boy his choice of musical number was bad (isn't that part of the overall presentation of a talent? what they choose to do?)  He was told to do another song, and he did. Applause to the boy for his presence and ability to switch gears professionally. And he excelled in his way. However, the point remains: one treatment for those of a majority, another for a derailed minority. They were respected before they began. Not so with Susan Boyle.

      Does that mean that this Second Game truly is comprehensive in the culture, and involves judgmental and punitive actions of many kinds, from the neighborhood on up to the highest judging ladders. See people who finally manage to get on the ladder, are still obstructed - sometimes.  Sometimes they do rise above, their single foot on the rung enough to anchor their progress. Rare. What is the role of choices, and how many are freely made, and which acquisced in or to.  The person whose hold is tenuous on the ladder, they say, made their own choices in that earlier time to limit them there, so rule of tough as to a life later. Now we can stomp and better ourselves. Position, please.

      Better Yourself My Foot. The true Game of Competition. See the full Game, Prospectus available for investors, at Fear of Fog, Competition Video Game.
      Meme On the Loose.

      Thursday, April 9, 2009

      Unified media, newspaper, tv, ownership - Truth in Labeling. Single Source. Fox, MSNBC, CNBC, ABC, CBS, NBC, and Solutions to Moguls.

      Ulysses on the News Staircase. 

      Ulysses. Navigating the news bias. Wolfsberg, Austria.

      Truth in Labeling and Single Source News.

      I.  Ulysses, the Citizen, on The News Obstacle Course to Home.

      Meet our citizen, or resident (this is not an immigration piece), on the communications stairway. There is a floor, of course, then some steps. Then comes a landing where the staircase turns. And the stairs go on up.
      This is like Ulysses (Odysseus, after Troy), heading home.  Home is decision-making based on informed consent. There be pitfalls.

      The first goal is to get to the News level, the landing, where there be Information and Facts.

      Our citizen has just passed the news level, there at the landing, and is going on up. The landing there offers News Information and Facts - that is why it is so big.  The stairs turn there, and the landing is big enough to move around on, look about.

      To get there, to the NEWS, he had to get past all these:

      1. Persuaders. First step, watch your feet.  There be Persuaders. They are out to snare. Bottom feeders. They don't care what is up on the landing. They just say, follow. Stop here. Don't ask who is paying us to do this. Right this way, my pretty.

      2. Opinion-Churners. Second step, get past the Opinion-Churners. This is the Entertainment level. There be those who pit what one person thinks, about what is on the landing, against what another person thinks. Smack-down! Worst case: panels of opinion-churners. Put the Pope on the Ropes. Tin talking to tin. Nobody exempt. Also, don't ask who is paying us to do this. Yada.

      3. Opinions. Third step, get past the Opinions. There be those who tell you what they think about what is on the landing, and some may even give a preview of what is on the landing, but don't bet on its adequacy. Vet. You may even find out who is paying for this.  Hmmm.

      4.  Finally, News.  Fourth step, puff-pant, arrive at the landing where the News is - facts and information.  All the angles and ambiguities and factors that the Opinions and Opinion-Churners may not want you to see. If you got the news information first, you may not want to buy what they are selling: themselves. News level discloses who is paying for what. Aha.

      So up he goes, weighing all that he has passed, and nearing Informed Consent.  The Democracy survives. Tada.


      But wait: what is that on the side? Why, it is a slide. A smooth, handy, no-splinters slide. What an easy way to decide that climbing the stairs is hard work, and just slide on back down to the Propaganda.  And many do. See how shiny it is from all those bottoms. Some enjoy tea, others take tea and see, others believe in the tea. others never exposed themselves to anything else, like coffee. Not all on the slide are sliders, though.

      II.  Is Ulysses Helped or Hindered on the Way to the News by Unified Media Ownership, Single Source. 

      Unified media ownership can expand the riser so Ulysses can't get his foot up high enough to step up; or broaden the tread so that he goes on forever before he even reaches the riser. Or keep the tread off the level, literally. Or cut back on the nails so it all shakes. This is staircase 101 - see ://

      Combining resources and PR techniques carries with it the likelihood that exposes our Ulysses to greater dangers. And where steps are open, what is to keep Evildoers from snaring our Ulysses, slurpsnatch, with those combined resources and the lure of greater profits, at the first step.

      III.  Alphabetocracy.  Recourse for our Ulysses. Labeling.

      Labeling.  Truth in labeling, just like the soup. That takes careful monitoring, but the consumer Ulysses is theoretically served, when it works. It is a start.
      • Fox "News".  Are you "news"?  Let us count the ways.  What facts and information are conveyed, and when.  Or is persuasion on the platter?  Is the aim to convince, or to inform.
      We suggest truth in labeling:  Fox Entertainment Company.  Then label what is not entertainment, but news, and do it. Keep that news information and fact available on your website so we can see what you are relying on, and what you leave out.  What is opinion, and do it. And for the other 22 hours, the entertainment, the Opinion Churners.
      • National Broadcasting Company; Columbia Broadcasting Company; American Broadcasting Company; MSNBC, CNBC. Etc.  
      Your labeling is fine. You already hold yourselves out as mere "broadcasters" or cable.  Same rules, though, apply to particular events on your channels.  Label what is news on your space, and do it.  Label what is opinion, and do it. Label when you opinion-churn. 
      • Nobody, however, gets to be the Cyclops, with a one-eyed view, unless it is labeled. No more pretending that persuasion slants are news in order to get the political view promoted, absent labeling.  The airwaves belong to Ulysses, here, and he gets the opportunity for informed consent without hindrance. Find a right to informed consent in the constitution. It must be in that penumbra somewhere.
      Labels. Warnings. Everybody gets an even chance to the landing.

      IV.  Moguls Promoting Single Source of other ways to Profit Mightily

      How do single "news" sources - combining the outlets, tv, radio, pulp, under one owner, affect what real "news" is given out for public decision.

      Single Source News: Getting Closer.

      Single Source News. Shall we ask democracy's journal surgeon general to get out a warning. A simple Ursa Alert, from what we see here. Run, little birdies, run! This bear doesn't want you to use your wings. Doesn't even want you to know you have choices.

      This issue comes to mind because the Hartford Courant and Fox 61 are combining news operations, and will share one building. See ://,0,498244.story/.

      We have long watched the paper's headlines slide from summary information about the reasonably neutral text to follow, to Agenda.

      Watch for the Methods:  Ulysses, you can do some work here.
      • Opinion is slipped in by tilted wording, where there should be just news. 
      • Where the paper likes an idea, like fostering a cultural issue on one side, it gives think tank and organizations' updates that also promote that; without the think tanks and organizations' updates on the other side. Not so wonderful.
      • We get the same news on TV and in the paper, no criticism, no other viewpoint seriously presented. 
      There is no priority to serve an educated citizen group, capable of making informed consent based on weighing fairly presented differing angles. We are getting perception management. Is this true in your area?
       The policy. Do a YouTube search for Sam Zell at the Orlando Sentinel and the Los Angeles Times for confirmation of the policy.
      Single source news. Can a democracy bear it.

      a. Fog at Fox. Back to dislosure, sponsorship.

      We went online to confirm that our Fox 61 is indeed part of Fox Broadcasting Company, at their website at ://

      The site is only a partial one, however, and in order to see more information about anything (we wanted to see the Board of Directors) you have to sign in.

      Isn't the membership of the Board public information? Perhaps not. We went elsewhere: Just a lot about Murdoch and now his son is coming on board, see ://

      Rupert. Hello. Join the moguls. FN 1

      FN 1  A history of moguls. Compare Sam Zell and Andrew Carnegie.

      How do these unified media efforts in secrecy, by our moguls square with the life's work of some of our finest predecessor moguls.  Should we restrain our moguls from doing what they like in their lifetimes, regardless of the effect on the common good. Shall we just let them ensnare on the first step.

      Meet Andrew Carnegie, who was the richest man on earth, and see his philosophy - at Martin Luther's Stove, Gospel of Andrew Carnegie, Victorian Everyman.
      • Let people have their wealth and do with it as they please in life. 
      • But, at the end, their heirs cannot inherit except what is needed for defined dependents for a reasonable lifestyle for their lives. 
      • The rest, anything left in the control of the decedent when the bell tolls, goes - gasp - to the government - oh, no - 
      • So the decedent had better divest and plan before he dies.
      If Sam Zell's propaganda machine or, at the least, political mouthpiece sponsorship, be worth it to live with, so long as he could not pass it on.We would only have to put up with him until he dies.

      "Voluntary divestment". Alien, isn't it. Voluntary divestment. Why not. Encourage the descendants to go and do them likewise. No more hangers on. Property is cultural anyway.

      Shall we address the sad business of unified media ownership by being sure the estates of those who do it, and make all that money, is not passed on at death, but has to be passed on well before.  Keep the gift tax intact. On to whom would today's moguls pass their legacies, if they had to do it while alive.

      Wednesday, April 8, 2009

      Analysis: Role of National Soul, Common Good, Profit and Neshama. Norman the Dog

      The role of national soul in our democracy's decision-making.
      Neshama; and National Broadband.

      Look back at tradition when times get tough, and it need not be your own.  There are concepts in our collective ethno-religious backgrounds that may get us across that swinging, fraying rope bridge across the chasm. We are thinking of Neshama, and levels of soul in the Jewish tradition -- not mine but I am interested. That led to a story about Norman the Dog, in connection with a national soul idea. Does Norman offer a bridge of his own. Serious? Not pie in sky? Maybe just a little pie ....

      I.  Mendel the Chassid and Norman the Dog. 

      Does Norman have a soul?
      Read this right now. See ://

      A.  The Layers of the Soul

      Follow along.  There are five soul layers.  Think of a staircase,  number one rung is at the top. If you start at the bottom, like Jack and the Beanstalk, number One is your goal.

      1-2.  Chaya, Yechidah. 

      The top two soul layers, the highest attainment, starting positions numbers 1 and 2, are beyond our knowing. Those are Chaya and Yechidah. See these serious, scholarly sites: "Authentic Jewish Mysticism and Thought" at ://; and "Jewish Literacy" at ://

      3.  Neshama.  

       The middle soul layer is Neshama. Its starting position is 3, being our ability to defer instant gratification for the sake of a greater good. We are still referring to Mendel's site here. The site is not just Norman the Dog; it also includes specific forms of scholarship, attainment of understanding of texts. It is serious. We have a chance at Neshama.  It is not beyond our knowing. 
      4.  Ruach.  

       The level one up from the bottom is Ruach, at starting position 4. Ruach gives us our personal qualities, and feelings. Ruach connects the higher Neshama, our ability to defer gratification, with the lower level coming up, Nafesh, the flesh, the basic body functions for life. Ruach It looks like a conduit between Neshama and Nafesh. Ruach offers the ticket to ride. Thinking here of ruach, the breath. Look up your Hebrew.

      5.  Nefesh. 

      At the bottom is Nefesh - starting position 5 at floor level. The first stop. That is the level that keeps our metabolism and other matters humming so we continue in the land of the living. The flesh, Christians like to say with a sniff, as though "flesh" is bad (that is their traditional view, we think). We prefer Mendel's tradition. Keeping the ticker going. Necessary, but don't get hung up there.

      We probably can agree that most of us humans, living, have Nafesh working in us (fleshly interests) and also Ruach (personal motivators).  We may disagree on what decisions to make based on them, but we are alike in construction.

      II.  Concepts and situation:  
      Norman the Dog and Common Good vs. Profit

      Look at the idea of national broadband, wiring the country, as serving the larger national interest is finally getting more attention. Net neutrality is also of emerging interest, although it will likely get itself well gutted - continuing to offer equal speeds and access to any source on the net, without surcharges and fees so that the wealthy get better access; get their product or ideas loaded faster.

      The issue of common good also applies to healthcare insurance and services, both communications and medical matters now on the plate.  At issue in both is personal or corporate profit vs. common good. 


      We know what profit is and how people get it.  Sell, sell, sell. Whatever you have to say or do, sell it. Regardless of its effect on the buyer.

      Common good.  

      Common good is more difficult. In the old days, serving the common good was a matter of that old word, the soul.  A worthy life has "soul."

      So can we use the idea of soul to bridge between profit and common good. Before you laugh, read on. Meet Norman and Neshama and a discussion of "soul."


      The idea of a soul is part of most major religions, we believe, Can we put it together with human money-making and find a way forward.  Is it possible to develop the notion of a national "soul" - and arrive at actions for a common good despite reducing profits for some.
      • Investors say no.  Where there are returns, there are reapers. Net neutrality? Help our competition? No.
      • Media owners, especially the unified ones who own papers, and tv, and radio, say no.  Why give up the privilege of being the sole teacher out there? Net neutrality?  What if we were out-argued.  What if our positions lost. This idea of "soul" is an accretion anyway - all conjured. We like profit. Sanctity of life? Not really, if we examine old texts. Won't hold up. If there is, why not sanctity for all - and animals do have souls in the old texts. See an overview at Martin Luther's Stove, Sanctity of Life, Soul

      • Mendel, however, says yes. Meet Mendel the Chassid here. Mendel has something to say about soul, and its role in decision-making; and who gets bragging rights to higher levels of functioning. If anyone. Or any dog.
      The traditional idea of the soul, according to this source addressing traditional Jewish concepts, lays out our make-up this way. See Mendel the Chassid's story about Norman the Dog (trust me) at ://

      III.  Question for Times of Economic Challenge:

      A.  Who has reached Neshama - who can defer instant gratification.  That is the highest level of the soul that we can know.

      1. Huge silence in the hall.

      Especially on Wall Street, those in governing bodies getting money from those who seek to influence them, and do . The litmus test of economic recovery, the national interest, is whether we as a people can learn to defer gratification for the common good. It takes Level Three soul-folk to do it. And we haven't bred many of them.

      You theologians in that fine tradition where Mendel's stories appear, ornament and embellish as you will. But it looks from the outside that it is time for the business community, the investment houses, the financiers, the entrepreneurs Supremo, to show if they have reached Level 3, starting position 3 for the soul.

      2.  Regulation question. Who can defer instant gratification for the greater good. 

      Norman the Dog cannot.

      Still, some dogs will get into heaven, while few humans will, says Mendel's story, and his hearer, attributing the thought to James Thurber.

      Will Rogers preferred going to where the dogs are. Wherever that is. 

      Moral? none that come easy.  Deferring gratification is simply not a concept some can swallow.  Whether in healthcare, media ownership, banking. Then they need regulating. Big deal.  Makes sense for the protection of the rest of us.

      If you live with a profiteer, can that person defer for the common good? what mindset do we need, can you help at home, and how do we get there? Government: important step for the FCC, can you get over the finish line on these - Net neutrality, national broadband, regardless.

      Inhale the Ruach.

      Whose views to value most highly? When to regulate?  Mendel the Chassid and Norman the Dog join the debate.
      National Broadband and Net Neutrality vs.  Profit. Or: Who can, or should, defer gratification.  Is that a good standard for judging?