I’ve Done My Research

“I’ve Done My Research.”

How many times have you heard that phrase?

Have many times have you heard it recently concerning current events?

How many of the people saying this phrase are people who don’t read books?

These rhetorical questions bring me to the point I want to make here which is that research requires reading, and it requires books, and if it involves medicine or science, it involves a lab with trials, and tests, and an hypothesis, and a conclusion. Actual research involves effort, and time, and work!

What passes for research by people using the phrase “I’ve done my research” is a simple Google search where the user looks at the top five results or only selects the results that they agree with. This is not research, but this is what is being conveyed as research in this day. Sharing a meme or a Facebook story or a YouTube video is not research.

Most of the people using the phrase probably don’t even know any of the research databases like Lexus Nexus or JSTOR or even Google Scholar. Most of these people probably haven’t written a paper that was anything longer than the easy 3 to 5 page double spaced requirement of high school. They haven’t done the work and they are ignorant of real resources, but they have the done the “research.”

Both the phrase and the word have been dumb downed so significantly that it has basically become meaningless. We are celebrating ignorance. Not only are we celebrating ignorance but we are rewarding it.

I am dismissing this phrase entirely when I hear it. I am demanding proof of research to even listen to you from now on.

I am curious to know how you react to hearing this phrase. What do we do about this issue so that the concept of research doesn’t get eroded to the point of nothingness? Please leave a comment.

Until next time, good reading.

History as Mystery

If you are looking at news or current events lately you have probably seen a lot of talk about history.

Everywhere you turn for news you will find ramblings of critical race theory.

You might be hearing about something called the 1619 Project.

You might be hearing about Patriotic Education.

Depending on where you get your information there will probably be a push for or against these frameworks of history. They all deal with history but in their own way. Remember all information has bias and it is up to the consumer of that information to recognize the bias. If your news or your family or your friends are completely against critical race theory there is bias in their stance, and it is in your interests to figure out the bias. The same goes for the other direction. If your news or your family or your friends are completely for critical race theory there is bias in that position as well.

As a consumer of information you should be looking at different viewpoints and then deciding for yourself. A struggle with that practice is that some people can’t or do not want to decide for themselves, but you should try. Are you tired of being told what to think and how to feel? How much do you really know about critical race theory, 1619 Project, and Patriotic Education? If you can’t expound on any of these three frameworks of history for more than a minute then maybe you don’t know enough about them and shouldn’t be repeating what your news presented to you. Maybe you should be careful reading or sharing a meme or social media post concerning these three subjects if you can’t recite their background, origins, and intent.

Here are some questions for you. Why can’t you be taught all of these perspectives of history? Why does it have to be just one? Why do some groups oppose critical race theory so strongly? Do they have anything to hide or gain from suppressing such information? Is presenting only one of these versions and not different versions just propaganda? What about freedom and choice in this country…if you have both shouldn’t you be able to get all the versions and choose for yourself?

I have questions concerning all of this because it usually seems that if there is any truth at all it usually lies somewhere in the middle. It also seems that history can be mystery. Not all accounts of historical events line up and tell the same story. Shouldn’t that make you wonder about adopting only one framework for your historical record?

I am currently reading the book pictured above, Lies My Teacher Told Me by James Loewen. It is essentially a critique on American history textbooks and what they have gotten wrong. If there are already inaccuracies in the history textbooks our schoolchildren are presented why would you want to only have one framework like Patriotic Education or 1619 Project available to them and that’s it? It seems that no one or no one group can get all of history right. History was experienced by multiple players and interests the same way the present is being experienced. For that matter there will always be different versions of what happened. The winners of events experience events different than the losers. People with power experience events much differently than people absent of power. Two people or two groups can experience the same event or moment differently.

Think about it!!

Until next time, good reading.

Poetically Versatile

Beautiful fallen word.

She may be well known for her novels but Ursula K Le Guin actually started out writing poetry and never stopped.

If you have only read her science fiction and are unfamiliar with her poetry you should do yourself a favor and locate her poetry. Her writing is beautiful and she has a real talent for weaving words together and creating some alluring poems.

She was a versatile writer. Her work is hard to classify. What she did was write and not worry about where her work would be slotted. She wrote novels, poems, letters, and even translations. She was a truly gifted and versatile author.

The book pictured above is one of her collections of poetry. She had 11 volumes in total. She spent sixty years writing so there is plenty of material from Ursula K Le Guin.

She spilled magic onto the blank page. Check out her poetry if you are interested.

Until next time, good reading.

You Choose!

Choice is a wonderful thing.

Choice is options and can be liberating, but sometimes choice is an illusion, and sometimes choice can lead to indecisiveness.

When I was a kid I used to read “Choose Your Own Adventure” books and I was fascinated with the option to choose my path in the story. Each choice lead me to imagine that I was the protagonist determining my own moves and effecting the outcome of the story. The option of choice I felt enhanced my imagination during reading.

The one drawback to these books was that sometimes your choice wouldn’t lead you very far and wasn’t that exciting and you would have to turn back and choose another option, but at least you had that freedom. You got to choose!

Those “Choose Your Own Adventure” books were trademarked but since the trademark has lapsed. Now there are other versions/brands of the “Choose Your Own Adventure” and readers have a variety of different stories. There are even versions like the one pictured above where you can be a protagonist in the story of Troy.

How many of you have read a “Choose” style book before? I am curious to know.

Have fun with your choices and until next time, good reading.

Opinion is Managed

Opinion is managed. Consent is manufactured. Deception is a way of life.

These three short sentences might not be comforting but they summarize what happens with you as a consumer of information with the media on a daily basis. We think we see real debate and neutral information on “our” news but we are deceived. News, whether it is Fox, MSNBC, CNN, or any news media outlet for that matter is more entertainment than information. And, remember, not only is it entertainment but it is a business.

Your” news channel is a business that generates revenue and profit not from bringing you information but by bringing you to the advertisements.

Today’s media aside from selling advertising space serves the purpose of safe-guarding your already held beliefs. “Your news channel doesn’t want to challenge your already formed ideology. It wants to be your comfort zone and keep you within an allotted mental parameter. Dissent is not allowed on “your” news and when you do think you see it with a certain guest it is more theater than challenge as the guests are hand picked to almost always be weaker in argument than the pundit of the network. This is carefully crafted deception. Public opinion is manufactured through the illusion of debate and confirmation bias and cherry-picking that passes for journalism.

Don’t take my word for it as this is just a blog but do your own questioning and watch the news with a critical mind.

Rachel Maddow is doing the same thing her audience believes Fox News does. Dinesh D’Souza is guilty of all of the same things in his film making as Michael Moore. Maybe your side is not right about everything. Maybe deception is cooked into more things then you realize. Maybe your opinion is not really your opinion but just the borrowed talking point of a business that earns money by selling advertising. How much do you really know about the opinion you have on a any subject? Maybe self-interest is the primary motivation for not only politics but news and business as well.

This post was written after reading books like Hate Inc., Into the Buzzsaw and authors like Ben Shapiro, Alan Dershowitz, Michael Parenti, and David Horowitz.

Until next time, good reading.

Variety and Resilience

The internet and social media have reshaped how consumers interact with content as well as the kinds of content they choose to consume. It might seem that digital content is in battle with traditional print media but both seem to be coexisting in the marketplace.

Readers still love their physical, tangible books. Some readers even prefer a printed book to it’s digital counterpart. Another area of the industry where this is still true is with magazines. Magazines are still going. Some users prefer traditional print magazines to their new digital alternative.

According to statista.com there are 7,357 magazines in the U.S and “data on magazine readership by format shows that U.S. consumers still prefer print magazines to digital.” The fastest growing genre of magazine in the United States currently is cannabis.

There seems to be a magazine for everything. If you are into cannabis there are plenty of magazines to choose from. If you are into walking there is a magazine for that. What some of these magazines are devoted to may seem absurd or silly but people are reading them.

Magazines are resilient. They are holding their own in this digital age. There is a variety of genres as well.

I still find them enjoyable and something I like to read in between books.

Until next time, good reading.

Inconspicuous Wealth

Have you ever wondered about wealth in America? Who has wealth? How do you get wealth?

If you have then you need to seek out the books by Thomas J. Stanley. His books are the result of legitimate research done on millionaires. He shows you who they are and how they earned their wealth. His books are data based. In doing so he debunks most of the misconceptions the average person holds about what a millionaire is and what a millionaire consumes.

He shows you that there is a difference between high income and wealth. A person who earns a lot of money every year is not necessary wealthy. His research also shows you that people who don’t earn a lot of money every year but consistently save through discipline can and do become wealthy.

I am excited by be reading his latest book which is co-authored with his daughter and builds upon even more data than the original. It is called The Next Millionaire Next Door.

We are all consumers and consumption is a major part of the book. If you are interested in personal finance, money, or consumer behavior then this is a read for you. Millionaires are usually people who practice frugality over hyper-consumption. You will discover that the consumer behavior of the average millionaire is extremely disciplined and far from flamboyant. In other words most self-made millionaires are inconspicuous instead of conspicuous.

These are go to books if wealth is anywhere on your radar. They will teach you valuable lessons to apply in your own life. I hope you enjoying discovering these lessons and learning of millionaire behaviors.

Until next time, good reading.

Personal Finances Keep it Simple

Well, it is a new year and there are changes going on so it’s time to update and modify my personal finances.

Now might be a good time for you to take a look at your finances.

I like to keep things simple.

Live on less than you earn, save the difference, and don’t go into debt.

Beyond that simple rule I like to read books that have a good reputation among the personal finance industry. For my yearly personal finance adjustments I like to stick to The Wall Street Journal Personal Finance Workbook by Jeff D. Opdyke. This great book covers all the basics and provides all of the worksheets you could possibly need to manage and track your finances. It is wonderful resource.

When it comes to your finances try and keep it simple, avoid the authors who promise things or try to sell you courses and seminars, and always do the math.

Until next time, good reading.

Orwell is buzzing again

In the end the Party would announce that two and two made five, and you would have to believe it.”

The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears.”

In the light of recent events in this country the term “Orwellian” is being cast around with intense fervor. Book sales for 1984 are up again.

The issue once again with the buzz around Orwell is that many of the people using the term “Orwellian” are using the term incorrectly. For people who have actually read Orwell they can usually identify this inaccuracy but sadly, there are too many people who have not read Orwell and can’t identify this ignorant speculation.

The remedy for this is to read 1984.

The quote “In the end the Party would announce that two and two made five, and you would have to believe it” is a nice example to use as a guage to determine if “Orwellian” is being used honestly and wisely.

Read the book!

Read the book. Don’t just Google the book or listen to what someone else says about the work. Read it!

The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears.”1984

What you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what is happening.” – Donald J. Trump

Read the book!

Think, think, think.

Until next time, good reading.

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