a mind-blowing tweet


In this tweet, Jeremiah Red writes:

“If you worked every single day, making $5000/day, from the time Columbus sailed to America, to the time you are reading this tweet, you would still not be a billionaire, and you would still have less money than Jeff Bezos makes in a week. No one works for a billion dollars.”

Of course I had to do that math. You can google, “how many days has it been since Columbus sailed to America” and get this date: October 12, 1492. Then you can google, “how many days since October 12, 1492.” That’s 192,489.

192,489 x $5000 = $962,445,000.

On top of that, I just saw this: “[Bill] Gates added $16 billion to his net worth this year, despite giving away over $35 billion to charity, according to Bloomberg.”

I do not know any billionaires personally. But imagine. A regular Joe or Jane who has expenses, mortgage, car payments, medical bills, etc. could make $5000-$8000 a month if they are fortunate. There are certainly people who rake in $8000-$15000 per month. And more. But if Joe or Jane made $5000 + expenses per day for 192,000+ days, he or she would still not have as much money as the people on these lists of billionaires.

Billionaires include Mark Zuckerberg, Warren Buffet, the Kochs, the owners of Walmart, the owners of Chick-fil-a, the owners of Hobby Lobby, etc etc etc.

According to the internets, America has approximately 43 million people living in poverty and approximately 100 million living near poverty. I don’t place any of the people on the billionaires list as somehow more special, more talented, more ambitious than any of the million nameless people struggling to put food on the table, maintain a car, keep a job, love their children and partners, let alone struggle with their addictions or hopes to succeed or just keep on track with a calm, drama free life.

I don’t understand why we all want to live in a world where some people’s wealth far exceeds anything most people can’t fathom. The point is lost on me.

I wish everyone were as fortunate as I was growing up, to win a life lottery, to have a great family raise me, and to have a lucrative path of an amazing life, to have freedom and goodness. To share it with others. To be some lucky, and yet not remotely close to the level of financial security as those who have generated more wealth than is humanly possible to deplete.

I’m just not sure why the case for grace is so limited. Whose right is it to say the list of billionaires is more important financially than the poor? Who worked harder? Who worked longer? Who had a leg up? Who was at the right place at the right time? The lightning strikes so infrequently and so fast, and who’s there to catch it?


A chart of Media Bias

Saw this at TYKIWDBI where Stan links here for discussion.

One issue I have with the chart is that perception has been shaped by propaganda to repaint the neutral bias sources as liberal, which then shifts bullshit sites like Drudge and Breitbart to the left as if they’re viable for reputable information.

We lie in the laps of a sad, divisive media war machine in which families and friendships are destroyed over ignorant perceptions of viable “truth.”

If our addictions to blinking, screaming, “news” were exchanged for boring, matter of fact aggregates, I imagine there could be a shift back to prioritization of family and friendships over stubborn self righteousness.

A man can dream.

Michael Chabon steps down from his chairmanship of the MacDowell Colony’s Board of Directors

One of my favorite authors Michael Chabon stepped down recently as chair of the MacDowell Colony’s Board of Directors, an organization that foster the growth of artists.

His take on the current state of the world is bleak, with an essence of hope. Here’s a snip:

And what is that truth, the truth of art, that freeing blade, that slaking drink in the desert of the world? It’s this: You are not alone. I am not I; you are not you. We are we. Art bridges the lonely islands. It’s the string that hums from my tin can, over here looking out of my little window, to you over there, looking out of yours. All the world’s power over us lies in its ability to persuade us that we are powerless to understand each other, to feel and see and love each other, and that therefore it is pointless for us to try. Art knows better, which is why the world tries so hard to make art impossible, to immiserate artists, to ban their work, silence their voices, and why it’s so important for all of us to, quite simply, make art possible.

Hey, maybe that would make a good slogan.

Well, I don’t know about you, but I feel a little better than I did when I started. The hell with fascism. The hell with bigotry and paranoia. The hell with fools falling for the lies of charlatans; that’s what fools do. We’re just going to keep on doing what we do: Making and consuming art. Supporting the people who remind us that we are in this together. We are each only one poem, one painting, one song away from another mind, another heart. It’s tragic that we need so much reminding. And yet we have, in art, the power to keep reminding each other.

We need words like this right now. Why? Because the world has become overwrought by people convincing the masses that politics and religion are more important than blood. That priority should be given to “belief” over family. That apathy is more important than empathy. That justice and “truth” is determined by a side of the political spectrum and not by honest to goodness hands reaching through darkness to pull friendship out of the mire caused by ignorance and shame.

When I began working as a photographer, I had an artist mentality of purity and naivety. It has evolved into different versions of cynicism and despair, followed by times of hope and joy. It’s a tough business.

I valued these words from Chabon. They gave me pause and time to reflect.



D’uh: an important relationship requires a smidge of empathy

From the brainiac, masters of the obvious at Business Insider (emphasis mine):

Whether you’re a business owner who wants your employees to learn effective relationship building skills, or on a first date and hoping to have a second, here’s a great five-minute “likability approach” to increase your odds for success:

Let’s start from the beginning. By nature, people respond positively when another person makes them feel important, heard, and cared for.

This is why I always recommend that you start by listening to the other person’s needs and concerns. Listen with genuine curiosity and interest. Validate their experience (i.e. their feelings) and a relationship will automatically begin to grow.

You don’t necessarily have to agree with the other person’s feelings or opinions, but you must respectfully and authentically acknowledge their experience in that moment … because everyone wants to feel heard and important; it lets them know they matter to you.

It’s that simple.

The bottom line is: the more important the relationship is to you, the more important it is to demonstrate an understanding of the other person’s experience. This is how we connect with others.

It’s like an article for the mentally challenged. It seems so obvious. It’s how 99% of my friend base treats each other. It’s why Tina and I experience a successful marriage and working relationship.

But of course there is that 1% … 

Dropping the kids off in the forest …

From a story about a Dutch tradition called, “Dropping.”

The Dutch — it is fair to say — do childhood differently. Children are taught not to depend too much on adults; adults are taught to allow children to solve their own problems. Droppings distill these principles into extreme form, banking on the idea that even for children who are tired, hungry and disoriented, there is a compensatory thrill to being in charge.