"The OWS people are genuinely angry. They cannot comprehend why America cannot seem to create more jobs, or provide affordable health care for its citizenry, or even deal effectively with wave after wave of property value declines and foreclosures while those at the top of the economic pyramid seem to keep doing better every year."
The Hidden Similarity Between Occupy Wall Street and The Tea Party - And What It Reveals About The Way Forward
Possibly 30+ years of pedophilia, carried out by a trusted football coach named Jerry Sandusky, who set up a charity to lure his victims. The coach enabled and protected by Penn State's church of football, with the Pope-like figure of Joe Paterno at the helm. Eight victims so far and more are coming forward.
Now at Syracuse University, associate head basketball coach Bernie Fine (pedophiles know all religions and no religion) has been placed on leave after two alleged victims have stepped forward. The police have opened an investigation regarding allegations of sexual abuse by him spanning from the 1970s to the 1990s.
Back to Penn State. The image of a helpless ten-year-old boy being raped by a powerful and trusted community figure, observed but not protected by a 30-year-old man who could have intervened but inexplicably failed to physically intervene, is so horrifying that there literally are no adequate words. At CNN, Bill Bennett says it's the "worst scandal in the history of college football." The New York Times' Michael Bérubé calls it "the worst scandal in the history of college athletics."
Bennett and Bérubé aren't going far enough. Penn State is the worst child abuse scandal in the history of the United States. It is going to be remembered as the turning point for children's rights in this country. The Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Street, and now the beginning of the Children's Rights Movement. We are bearing witness to moment when this movement will take root in a serious way.Sociologically speaking, this scandal is so bad because the culture's dominant groups are affected:
- Gender: Sexual abuse of girls is rampant and 25% of American women take psychiatric drugs for a "mental disorder." Can it be a coincidence that 15-25% of women are estimated to have been sexually abused as children? But it seems that the abuse of boys, coming now out of the closet, is somehow seen as worse.
- Class and race: Penn State students were 75% Caucasian as of Fall 2010 and costs about $45,000 a year for out-of-state dorm students. While the victims' identities are unknown, the alleged perpetrators and those who covered for them were (previously) considered "the very best" of what America had to offer. (Obviously this is classist, racist and ridiculous.) As one commenter put it, referring to Penn State months before the scandal broke: "To these Universities, to their turned-up-nose administration teams, and to the their majority of smug living-in-a-bubble, highly tenured, untouchable professors...to THEM may we send out a collective, very heart-felt C' MON MAN !!"
Because of Penn State, Generation Y - which was, after all, raised by Generation X "helicopter parents" - is going to become the most suspicious generation of parents ever. And they are well-equipped with social organizing skills, social media technology, and the willingness to use both.
For brands this is going to mean:
1. The end of Penn State as a brand. Even though the academic side was not involved, they are permanently tarnished. If the school does not close down, it will have to change its name.
2. The end of athletics as the basis of a college brand - schools will have to focus on education first
3. When athletic programs are used as selling points, they will have to emphasize diversity, inclusion, respect, fairness, transparency, and accountability.4. We will likely see a national brand of daycare facilities that are built into the workplace in a modular fashion - offered as an "ingredient brand" benefit by top employers. (Conversely, telecommuting will go even more mainstream.)
5. An opportunity to capitalize on the growing integration of children in adult life, first through daycare facilities at work, then through homeschooling and unpaid internships accepted for high school credit
6. The mainstreaming of homeschooling - with issues of sexual abuse and bullying at the forefront today, and the advent of distance learning technology, homeschooling will go from being "weird" and "non-credible" to being "standard" and even a sign of prestige, showing that children are self-directed achievers (we are already seeing this to some extent)
7. The growth of part-time teachers, childcare workers, etc. as people who seek such low-pay, low-prestige positions full-time not only face more stringent background checks and increased licensing requirements, but become socially stigmatized as possible pedophiles
8. Police or private security forces specifically dedicated to child welfare at school, not just metal detectors
9. The standardization of self-defense training for children in the public schools
10. An "Angie's List" type social network dedicated specifically to discussing people who work with and care for children
11. A colored bracelet or symbol for speaking out against child sexual abuse, together with a national 1-800 number for reporting suspected abuse12. The end of "feminism" and the beginning of "humanism" as recognition grows that power-abusers are equal-opportunity; but a simultaneous emphasis on the male experience of abuse; a "Dr. Oz"-like figure who writes a pop-culture book and is anointed as an authoritative source on male recovery from sexual abuse
13. A brand of surveillance technologies for children - e.g. wrist monitors, pen cameras, cameras in shoes, jackets, hats, etc.
14. More broadly, the growth of interest-based coalitions as opposed to large institutional authorities, which will find themselves at the center of growing distrust and even disrespect
15. Even more broadly, with the death of trust in social institutions and an extremely challenging economy, the growth of self-help culture in every respect - from education, to work, to home repair, self-protection and community policing. (I call it "Lifehacker" culture, for the website Lifehacker.com.)
All of these developments center on a single question that continues to lack a satisfactory answer: "Why didn't anybody tell (when it happened)?"The answer is, back in the "olden days," people perceived that their survival depended on not telling. They would be shunned, stigmatized, removed from their positions. "You just can't tell Jerry (Sandusky) no," one Penn State victim said. Even today, it is still very difficult for a victim to speak out: Just ask the women who alleged misconduct against Herman Cain what it feels like to have your entire reputation smeared against the wall.
In the future, survival will depend precisely on telling. The more vocal, transparent and organized you are, the larger your trust-based network, the higher your credibility and the better your chance of getting anything done. And so the revelations at this school and the reaction by the public mark a turning point in history.
At this point, from a branding/PR perspective, all organizations would be wise to take heed. What happened in Pennsylvania is going to have a domino effect on the rest of the country. Silence is no longer golden, either for perpetrators or their protectors. The victims have had it - and they are going to speak up.
"With “The Protestant Ethic,” Weber seems to have discovered his calling: the study of rationality....In Weber’s view, modern Western society is the product of increasingly rational forms of organization. Its institutions are governed by “systematic” rules and “impersonal” procedures, rather than by custom or religious obligation, and this sets it apart from virtually all other world cultures."
- "Formal hierarchy"
- "Management by rules"
- "Organization by functional specialty"
- "An 'up-focused' or 'in-focused' mission" (the organization serves either another organization or its own employees rather than the public)
- "Purposely impersonal"
- "Employment based on technical qualifications"
"Well, I think we have to start wth the premise that if you really believe in what you are doing, the idea better not be crap. Secondly, making something go viral is a canard, so let's do away with that. There, tossed. Thirdly, social media is about relationship management, relationship discovery and relationship reality. It is not about pushing out an idea for people to consume and then when they shit, they shit out golden coupons which they use to buy your product. This is an idea that I think was generated because advertising seemed to work."
"...."ask" the consumer what he wants, not by offering it first, but by asking the consumer, how do you feel, what do you want done for you, what needs to happen in your life. and then the social media enthusiast needs to bust ass to help that person do that thing.
"If you think that sounds like something you are willing to do, then I say, get off your ass and start doing that. Or, hire me, and I will do that for you."
This morning C-Span’s Book TV featured an Oct. 27 talk by Gilad Sharon, son of the former Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon. The former was in Boston at Suffolk University to talk about authoring his father's biography, Sharon: The Life of a Leader.Following the lecture, Sharon participated in a Q&A with a mostly hostile audience. It was not surprising; the Middle East is a polarizing topic and Sharon is equally a polarizing figure. Despite this, and despite his personal stake in portraying his father well, Sharon handled the questions impressively. His handling of the situation left me with some important communication lessons about a key topic - because on-camera or not, all of us have to deal with hostile questions at one time or another:
- Be an expert in the subject matter, not just “well-prepared.” Sharon effortlessly reached back into decades of history to respond to every question fully, putting them into historical context. Lesson learned: If you don’t know what you’re talking about, don’t talk.
- Stay calm. The hostile question is designed to provoke you to lose control. When you fall into that trap you lack credibility no matter how accurate your answer is. The viewer/listener is saying to themselves, “If this person were right, they wouldn’t be so upset.”
- Show respect for the questioner. Even if you disagree or are offended, never trivialize what the person is saying. Being larger than the conflict shows the audience that you must be in the right, or again, you wouldn’t be so composed.
- Humanize your side of the story. When asked about Israel’s security measures, Sharon responded (paraphrasing), “You are young, you probably don’t have kids yet. But our children are being attacked in their yellow schoolbuses. We have to protect our chidren.”
- Know when to stand your ground. Where historical fact was at issue, Sharon simply said, “that is not true.” Period.
- Know when to agree to disagree. There was a point where a questioner accused Ariel Sharon of saying something outrageous, claiming that it was reported on Israeli radio. His son said flat-out, my father did not say that. They went back and forth a couple of times, then dropped it.
- Admit mistakes. Gilad Sharon said that Israel had made mistakes in the past and of course would do so again. He did not pretend that the country was perfect. Nobody is perfect.
- Be open to all questions. Sharon did not try to censor anyone. He simply answered.
- Ask questions of your own. At times, Sharon confronted people with questions of his own, questions that revealed logical inconsistencies in what they were saying. You have a microphone; use it.
- Know when to stop talking. Sharon did not try to dominate the microphone. He simply answered the question, then let it go.