Posts tagged “american”

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • Japanese cultural norms – asking about weight – Insightful little culture-clash story; an American working in Japan isn't sure how to deal with blunt (especially from the Japanese!) questions about his increasing weight
  • Clive Thomson on Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, renowned for his use of mathematical game theory models for prediction – Those who have watched Bueno de Mesquita in action call him an extremely astute observer of people. He needs to be: when conducting his fact-gathering interviews, he must detect when the experts know what they’re talking about and when they don’t. “His ability to pick up on body language, to pick up on vocal intonation, to remember what people said and challenge them in nonthreatening ways — he’s a master at it,” says Rose McDermott, a political-science professor at Brown who has watched Bueno de Mesquita conduct interviews. She says she thinks his emotional intelligence, along with his ability to listen, is his true gift, not his mathematical smarts. “The thing is, he doesn’t think that’s his gift,” McDermott says. “He thinks it’s the model. I think the model is, I’m sure, brilliant. But lots of other people are good at math. His gift is in interviewing. I’ve said that flat out to him, and he’s said, ‘Well, anyone can do interviews.’ But they can’t.”
  • New York Times Magazine on the Beatles’ Rock Band videogame – This is a fantastic article that spans many big issues: gaming, music, performance, art, history, culture, product development, authenticity, creativity, entertainment, technology. It's a must-read.
  • Brian Dettmer turns books into sculptural pieces – Contemporary visual artists see opportunity in what many bemoan as the twilight of the age of the book. John Latham (1921-2006), Hubertus Gojowczyk, Doug Beube and others have treated books as sculptural stuff. But no one whose work I have seen tops that of Atlanta artist Brian Dettmer at Toomey Tourell.

Harnessing the marketing power of the Obama brand

This NYT article about the prevalence of President Obama’s image as an artistic subject reminded me of two pictures I took recently in Amsterdam:

Obama Burger, Amsterdam, May 2009

Yes Weed Can, Amsterdam, May 2009

The first poster mashes up J. Howard Miller’s iconic Rosie the Riveter (We Can Do It!) image with Obama (Yes We Can!), in order to sell a burger. The second puns on that Obama slogan in order to sell a t-shirt referencing a supposedly common tourist activity in Amsterdam.

More collisions between brands of leaders and brands of products and services, previously

Imelda Marcos – brand name for new fashion line
Hitler’s Final Days
Dictator Kitsch
Limits to Dictator Kitsch?

Croatia probes Hitler likeness, jokes on sugar packets
Backlash against Citroen Mao ad
Target pulls marketing campaign featuring Che Guevara

More pictures from our travels in Amsterdam are here.

Archives of American Ephemera

I recently discovered the Prelinger Archives of American Ephemera-
an amazing collection of advertising, educational, industrial, and
amateur films.

For anyone into these types of artifacts, this is a veritable buffet.

Design fans, I heartily recommend checking out American Look:
a lovely piece of Chevrolet-sponsored cultural self-definition from 1958:

American Look Part One

American Look Part Two

American Look Part Three

National Post

According to a study of national personalities

which found that this time-honoured perception of our oh-so-unique Canadian psyche — and other cultures’ stereotypes of themselves — are in fact just so much hooey.

‘These stereotypes are as Canadians see themselves and Americans as they see themselves,’ said Robert McCrae of the U.S. National Institute on Aging, a principal investigator of the study on national personalities around the world.

‘Canadians think they’re extremely agreeable; the Americans think they’re very disagreeable,’ he said. ‘Canadians believe that they’re very calm and not irritable, very even-tempered, whereas Americans think they’re more anxious and hostile.

‘The fact is Canadians and Americans have almost identical average personality traits.’

In a measure of five main areas of personality, covering a total of 30 traits, Canadians and their U.S. cousins fell roughly in the middle. Not only that, but they weren’t all that different from other cultures around the globe, researchers found.

The study, published in the latest issue of Science, collected data through personality questionnaires given to thousands of people living in 49 countries.


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