When did we invent salespeople?
The professional salesperson is one of those people I love to hate. They’re the people who are all about the sales and nothing about the thing they’re selling. They read books by famous salespeople, who haven’t, you know, sold anything in years except those books. They listen to motivational tapes and go to seminars where they thrust their elbows back and grunt “hee-yah!”. You can see the gears shift in their mind, and hear it in their voice, when they change sales tactics, because you aren’t responding to what they were already trying.
A salesperson I work with keeps a book on her desk, with a title something like “Customer satisfaction is irrelevant. Customer loyalty is everything.” … That’s some nasty shit, there. Ya don’t care if I’m happy. You don’t care if I got what I wanted. You only want to make sure I give you more money in the future. (Microsoft, anybody?)
But that is the life of a salesperson. There is an entire tribe of people out there who only want to take your money, over and over again.
When did we first switch from people just selling what they made or did, to hiring a professional middleman? It must have arisen, due to extremes in distance, quantity, or personality. But like most good ideas, people in general will take it as religion.
Have you ever met the people who physically assembled anything you own? In the event of a fire, I’m grabbing my cat, my laptop, and my camera. The laptop was mail-order. The camera came from the mall. And the cat came from the shelter. No connections.
I buy art at Eastern Market. I buy some crap, too. But mostly, I buy art. I’m not rich by any definition. And I don’t exactly need any more decorations. But buying art, there on the street, from the person who made it… it’s an incredibly powerful connection. There’s a person to person discussion about part of that person’s life. And you get to walk away with a little bit of it.

My cat is a fruitcake. Have I mentioned that? Apparently bored with stalking birds through the window, she took a new tack just now. I was disturbed by a loud thump as she hit the wall and fell down. It took me a minute to figure out that she was chasing the shadows the birds were casting across my apartment.

I’ve two ‘art’ projects I would love to do.
One has been rattling around in my skull for a while. It probably only makes sense if you live in a big city. But everyday people put up tons of ‘stuff’ on everything stationary on the street. Even with professional street cleaners in this city, there are still massive amounts of stickers, flyers, posters, and godknowswhat stuck to every sign, post, mailbox, and utility box.
It’s a constant little knife-dance between the cleaners who see the city as a structure — and practically ‘being’ — unto itself, and the people, who see the city as an expression of it’s occupants.
(Sorta see City Come A Walkin’ by John Shirley. )
And the visual clutter that is evidence of this conflict… it would make great material to document. From a purely visual standpoint, (since to most good designers, life seems to just be one big porn movie of visual stimulation) it offers wonderful opportunities, wether presented in a digital or printed manner. I can just see a coffee table book, with real reproductions of the stickers all over it’s cover. And like any good propaganda, the visual detritus in this city can make you laugh, think, or leave you scratching your nose.
Project number two just sort of popped into my head today. I think it was while I was looking at some of Brian Wood‘s work for inspiration. He can get heavy into the visually graphic military/police imagery.
IT left me thinking about the incredible amount of thought that goes into the visual presentation of law enforcement. The donut-munchers in this city are big on “shows-of-force”. Riot gear is the ultimate in ostentatious. The patriotic symbolism coating their vehicles seems to be universal. And the mirrored sunglasses are downright cliche.
They’re like that manipulative girlfriend who hopes that by staring you down without saying a word, you will come up with something more than they could possibly hope to get if they opened their mouth.
I swear I want to go to grad school for design just so I can do a thesis project on this.

okay… i feel stupid
As the enlightened modern man I am…
I was reading the writings of a woman in the military…. All the women get training about how to fend off … essentially rape. This pissed off the woman, because nothing was done to teach the men not to go there in the first place. i mean… duh… i would never go there in the first place, but it hadn’t ocurred to me how much responsibility we put on the woman for the whole thing.
(yes Sara, I was to lazy to retype this)

I’ll leave you with a nice little thought in this election year:
“[O]f the $100 million so far dispensed to faith-based charities by the Bush administration, not one dollar has gone to a Jewish or Muslim organization.”