2012-09-01: Our contribution to Long Beach SoundWalk 2012 is documented here in wiki fashion: still a work in progress.
Until we manage to port the rest of this page, please use the link below to jump to the original content location.
Foreshadowed by Our SoundWalk 2011 Statement
It moved on to ccMixter fame
It spread to our blog
At “SoundWalk 2011”.
Now it’s here…
gettin’ a buzz on
As posted on 2012/08/15 by songmaster and since much amended and tweaked.
Anyone who’s spent much time working in a white collar environment has heard some of these. This is especially true in the kind of environment that encourages PowerPoint as a communication medium. The corporate choral music of the spheres: so ubiquitous, you can’t hear it.
- low-hanging fruit
- at the end of the day
- capture the benefits
- to be honest
- bottom line
- paradigm shift
- feed the network
- critical path
- resource allocation
- action item (“I’ll take that action item.”)
- task (verb: “I’ve been tasked with that.”)
- creative (noun: “Are you a creative?”)
- team player
- Hail Mary pass
- socialize (meaning “discuss”)
- cost center
- profit center
- learning curve
- he’s a man of action
- do some horse-trading
- clear the air
- level playing field
- transition the company (or any use of “transition” as a verb)
- grow the business
- shareholder value
- it’s a win-win
- tee it up
- severely impacted (or any use of “impact” as a verb)
- cardiovascular-wise (or any use of “-wise” as a suffix)
- viral marketing
- 24/7, 24/7/365
- app/killer app
- tiger team
- google that
- on the radar/below the radar
- architect (verb: “architected for robustness”)
- five nines
- six sigma
- thought pattern
- vision thing/vision
- Java-speak (or any use of “-speak” as a suffix)
- due diligence
- product lifecycle management process (or subsets thereof)
- toll gate
- swim lane
- manage expectations
- put a tack in it
- bright-light it
- risk-based decisioning
- bring to the table
- exit strategy
- on the runway
- organic growth
- outside the box
- sea change
- spin up
- survival strategy
- search engine optimization (SEO)
- invested in
- run like a business
- bake in
- ballpark figure
- basis of estimate (BOE)
- best of breed
- best practice
- bizmeth (short for “business method”)
- brand (especially as verb)
- business process outsourcing (BPO)
- business-to-business (B2B)
- business-to-consumer (B2C)
- buzzword compliant
- building capabilities
- center of excellence (COE)
- core competency
- customer-centric mindset
- drink the Kool-Aid
- early adopter
- eat your own dogfood
- event horizon
- fit and finish
- free value
- fulfillment issues
- green field
- herding cats
- holistic approach, holistic integration
- in the loop
- knowledge process outsourcing (KPO)
- long tail
- look and feel
- make it pop
- mission critical
- new economy
- next generation
- pain point
- return on investment (ROI)
- reverse fulfillment
- seamless (integration)
- share options
- SOX (Sarbanes-Oxley)
- target-rich environment
- visibility (e.g. management visibility)
- bleeding edge
- content management
- content management system (CMS)
- design pattern
- digital divide
- digital remastering
- digital rights management (DRM)
- digital signage
- document management
- enterprise content management (ECM)
- enterprise service bus (ESB)
- fuzzy logic
- information superhighway/information highway
- next generation (also “NextGen”)
- point person
- social bookmarking
- social software
- think outside the box
- user generated content
- Web 2.0
- web services
- information society
- political capital
- long pole in the tent
- key contributor
- main thrust
- shortest route
- common wisdom
- crowd sourcing
- team building
- on message
- off topic
- hot topic
- let’s get this show on the road
- the show must go on
- power through
- suck it up
- cross-functional team (CFT)
- keep your head down
- heads up
[Rewrite, depending on whether we raid Wikipedia’s list to augment our own:] But we are amateurs. For the mother lode, see Wikipedia’s List of Buzzwords.
wikiGong Spam Contract: All Your Spam are Belong to Us
Thank you for submitting your Spam to wikiGong, and thereby granting wikiGong ownership of the Spam, any related or derivative Work Product, any other assets, and (not to put too fine a point on it) your future, and the future of everything you hold dear. To assist you in fully understanding the life-changing folly you have committed, and to encourage your complete and utter submission, we encourage you to read and make a pathetic and yet touching attempt to understand this Contract.
Relax, and it won’t hurt so much.
By Spamming wikiGong, you agree to be bound by this Contract.
You also agree that all ancestors, descendants, associates, friends, relations, employees, employers, possessions, and any other entities which wikiGong may in its sole discretion determine to have any relationship with you, shall be bound by this Contract.
This Spam Contract describes wikiGong’s ownership of all unsolicited submissions (including, but not limited to, email, wiki submissions, audio uploads, handwritten notes tied to bricks, reel-to-reel tapes, and cuneiform clay tablets) which do not directly support wikiGong’s mission and projects, and the terms of the relationship between wikiGong and parties responsible for said unsolicited submissions. (This section relies on semantics explicated in “Terminology,” below.)
“When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean….” (Humpty Dumpty, in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.)
Terms used in this Contract shall be construed as follows.
“wikiGong” means wikiGong.com, its contributors and members (i.e., anyone with a wikiGong.com email address), employees, agents, heirs, and assigns, and anyone or anything else they may designate. Said designees may include, but are not limited to, other life forms, non-carbon-based life forms, artificial intelligences, abstract concepts, and inanimate objects.
This Contract may also refer to wikiGong as e.g., “Us,” “We,” or (when addressing Spammers) “Your Lord and Master,” “They Who Must Be Obeyed,” etc.
As a noun, “Spam” means unsolicited electronic submissions made to wikiGong. While “Spam” is commonly defined as commercial, much of what wikGong receives is such gibberish that its motivation is not immediately clear; and wikiGong is under no obligation to accurately determine whether or not Spam is commercial. Thus, this Contract uses the term more broadly.
“Spam” does not refer to electronic submissions intended in good faith to support the wikiGong project, as determined by wikiGong. Nor does it refer to offers of money, food, real or counterfeit love, fealty, etc.
“Spam” does not include proposals or bids soliciting wikiGong’s use of legal jurisdictions for adjudicating this Contract; see “Jurisdiction.”
As a verb, “to Spam” means to directly or indirectly cause Spam.
A “Spammer” is an entity whose actions result in Spam.
This Contract may also refer to Spammer by terms including, but not limited to, “You,” “Him,” “Motherless Scum,” “Parthenogenetic, Single-Helix Mutoid,” “Waste of Human Protein,” “Dung Eater,” “Mother-Raper,” “Fly Speck in the Dustbin of History,” “Nutless Wonder,” “Tin-Eared Suckfish,” and “Our Bitch.”
For convenience, this Contract may sometimes imply that Spammer is human, and even male. However, Spammer may or may not be male, human, carbon-based, sentient, animate, terrestrial, three-dimensional, composed of matter, concrete or abstract, conceivable by humans, existing in this or any other universe; at any time, or not in time.
This Contract’s use of terms referring to Spammer’s mother and Spammer’s relationship with or conduct toward Spammer’s mother shall not be construed as weakening this Contract, irrespective of whether Spammer actually has a mother, or belongs to any larger set (e.g. species, operating system) in which motherhood is an operative concept.
wikiGong’s description of its own relationship with or conduct toward Spammer’s mother, in this Contract or elsewhere, shall likewise not be construed as weakening this Contract.
Similarly, this Contract’s use of terms referring to reproduction, species identity, mechanics of double-helix DNA, terrestrial phylogenetics, etc. shall not be construed as weakening the Contract when the terms cannot literally apply to Spammer; nor shall absence of directly applicable terms from this contract restrain wikiGong from inventing and using terms not identified by the Contract, as appropriate to the exigencies of the individual case.
For example, if Spammer were identified as a photosynthesizing and filter-feeding asexual organism floating in the upper reaches of a giant gas planet’s atmosphere and reproducing by fission, wikiGong might refer to Spammer as “Fermented Colostomy Bag,” “Sack o’ Farts,” and “Wannabe Hindenburg.”
”Work Product” means any Spam, together with all other work developed in whole or in part by Spammer, or by any other entity, in connection with the Spam, e.g. an abstract forming part thereof, any subsequent errata, and any works, ideas, discoveries, inventions, patents, products, tables, figures, graphs, movies, other multimedia files, scrimshaw, whittling, plaster casts, block prints, Gantt charts, databases, software applications, and all supplemental materials or other information.
wikiGong typically regards Spammer with contempt. On a good day, this may be mixed with pity.
wikiGong does not consider Spammer to be an employee. As such, wikiGong is not required to provide benefits, including insurance, paid vacation, or sick leave, to Spammer.
wikiGong does consider Spammer to be a menace to all that is good and true, whose craven, zero-sum approach to gratifying crass, self-justified “needs” further retards the progress of civilization, if any, and corrupts language, culture, and other aspects of our shared commons.
wikiGong considers Spammer to be the enemy of all that is holy.
wikiGong considers Spammers existence as profaning all things and abstractions with which Spammer may have any relationship, including, but not limited to, anything that Spammer may touch; any words or sounds Spammer may utter; any concepts Spammer may utilize, reason over, or attempt to communicate; the air Spammer breathes; Spammer’s constituent atoms; the soil Spammer treads on (or any fluid medium or circuit through which Spammer may move); and any letters, numerals, characters, or other symbols which may identify Spammer.
wikiGong, at its sole discretion, and at any time during the Contract Term, may revise its relationship to Spammer.
For example, wikiGong may elect to take ownership of Spammer, any of Spammer’s ancestors and descendants, Spammer’s pets or livestock, etc.; or to consume them as food, use them for recreational or sexual purposes, etc.
Spammer is responsible for any insurance required by applicable state, federal, and other laws, such as disability and/or automobile insurance. Spammer further agrees to waive any right to hold wikiGong responsible for any injuries. In fact, Spammer shall encourage wikiGong to further injure Him.
This Contract begins no later than wikiGong’s receipt of Spam.
At any time, and at its sole discretion, wikiGong may define the beginning date to be any earlier date, from its receipt of Spam, to the earliest conjectured beginning of this, or any other universe.
This Contract continues until the end of time.
At any time, and at its sole discretion, wikiGong may define the ending date to be after the end of time. While it is less likely, wikiGong reserves the right to define the ending date to be earlier than the end of time.
At any time, and at its sole discretion, wikiGong may define the ending date to be one of several dates, directly or indirectly described. For example, wikiGong may define the ending date to be the later of the end of time, perpetuity, and forever.
wikiGong may terminate this Contract at any time it desires, for any reason, or none at all. Don’t hold your breath.
wikiGong may likewise reinstate this Contract at any time. If wikiGong alleges that Spammer had any influence on its previous Contract termination, it may impose harsher sanction on Spammer when reinstating the Contract. wikiGong may also impose harsher sanctions for reasons including, but not limited to, “just because,” “I feel like it,” and “I don’t like Mondays.”
Spammer agrees to provide wikiGong with any requested information, property, obeisance, etc., and to complete any tasks or assignments requested by wikiGong, by the date required by wikiGong, notwithstanding that this date may precede the date of wikiGong’s request. Time travel and necessary alterations to or reinterpretations of the laws of physics shall be Spammer’s responsibility.
wikiGong may revise these deadlines at its sole discretion. wikiGong need not notify Spammer of any changes.
Should Spammer fail to meet any of wikiGong’s deadlines, wikiGong may impose additional sanctions, at its sole discretion. (Of course, wikiGong may do this in any case; but We would certainly be ashamed of not doing it in this case.)
Spammer agrees to pay wikiGong any amount of money and other goods and services wikiGong requests, on any schedule.
wikiGong may also require payment from any of Spammer’s ancestors, descendants, employers, employees, pets, etc. during the Contract Term.
Spammer agrees to enforce payment of these debts in any manner required by wikiGong.
For example, wikiGong may require Spammer’s puppy to deliver half a metric ton of gold to a designated address. If the puppy is unable to fulfill the requirement, wikiGong may require Spammer to dismember the puppy with a meat cleaver.
wikiGong may revise Payment terms at any time.
Spammer understands that entering into this Contract with wikiGong means that wikiGong will possibly come into contact with and/or learn about privileged information pertaining to Spammer.
Spammer agrees to divulge any other information requested by wikiGong, including complete summaries of available information, to wikiGong, on any schedule wikiGong may require, and in any medium. For example, wikiGong may request IDs, passwords, authorizations, and other information necessary to give wikiGong access to all of Spammer’s financial assets, yesterday, inscribed on a preserved sample of Spammer’s flesh.
Spammer further agrees that wikiGong may impose any additional penalty for failure to deliver any requested information. wikiGong will determine whether Spammer has failed in this manner.
wikiGong agrees to divulge, disclose, or communicate in any manner, either directly or indirectly, any of this information to any third party, at its sole discretion. Failure to publish such information to any interested party could result in some regret on wikiGong’s part, and shall at least be an incentive to interpret the balance of this Contract more harshly.
This provision shall continue to be effective after the termination of this Agreement, if any. wikiGong may return to Spammer any records, notes, documentation and other items that were used, created, or controlled by wikiGong, in any form, and at any time, if wikiGong determines that said return will result in its amusement, or in additional insult or harm to, or humiliation of, Spammer.
Ownership and Copyright of Spam (and Everything Else)
Spammer assigns to wikiGong all copyright in and to the Spam and Work Product, and all rights therein, including but not limited to the right to publish, republish, transmit, sell, distribute and otherwise use the Spam and Work Product, in whole or in part in electronic, print, or any other media, and in derivative works, throughout this and any other universes (e.g., as postulated by the alternate worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics), and throughout known and unknown domains which may be regarded as being outside or apart from any universe (e.g., Heaven, Purgatory, the Elysian Fields), in all languages and in all media of expression once used but later forgotten, now known, or later developed, and to license or permit others to do so, for the length of this Contract, subject to Spammer Rights.
Upon wikiGong’s request, Spammer shall sign all documents necessary to confirm or perfect the exclusive ownership of wikiGong to the Work Product. wikiGong may require these documents to be executed in any medium (e.g. written on the stretched and scraped hide of an ox, in Spammer’s blood) and in characters of any dimensions (e.g. carved in the trunk of the ash tree at the center of the universe, in letters as deep as a spear is long).
Spammer agrees that any other works created by Spammer, and any copyrights, patents in any process, procedure or article of manufacture described in the Work Product, and any other intellectual property pertaining to the Work Product, shall belong to wikiGong.
Spammer agrees that any other copyrights, patents in any process, procedure or article of manufacture, and any other intellectual property in which Spammer has an interest shall belong to wikiGong.
Spammer agrees to transfer ownership of any other property to wikiGong, at wikiGong’s request.
Spammer agrees that Spammer’s soul, if any, shall belong to wikiGong.
Spammer agrees that Spammer’s hopes and dreams, if any, shall belong to wikiGong, to be crushed at wikiGong’s sole discretion.
Spammer shall retain the following rights:
- All proprietary rights to Work Product and all other property, other than outright ownership, copyright, patent in any process, procedure or article of manufacture described in the Work Product, trade or service mark, ownership of physical media, right to license, and anything else omitted because We just didn’t think of it at the moment. Oops! Nothing. Sorry, this clause looked more promising when we started it.
- The nonexclusive right to ask wikiGong for permission to republish Spam or excerpts therefrom in the form of electric or traditional branding irons, for use on Spammer. wikiGong shall own all rights to Spammer’s branded flesh and all derivative works.
- The nonexclusive right to ask wikiGong for permission to republish Spam or excerpts therefrom in the form appropriate to posting on stocks restraining Spammer for public humiliation and abuse, or on placard attached to chains binding Spammer for public display, whether stationary or paraded along sidewalks or streets. Spam or Spam excerpts shall be preceded by clearly legible text: “I SPAMMED WIKIGONG,” or the linguistically appropriate equivalent. wikiGong shall own all rights to this placard and any other works derived from Spammer’s punishment. These rights shall include, but are not limited to, the right to use all or part of the placard, with or without revision or modification, and any derivative works, on the wikiGong.com home page, and the right to make copies of all or part of the placard, with or without revision or modification, and any derivative works, for educational or research purposes, or for any other reasons alleged by wikiGong.
- The right to ask wikiGong for permission to post and update the Spam or excerpts therefrom on free-access e-print servers as long as files prepared and/or formatted by wikiGong or its vendors for that purpose, and including a full account of Spammer’s offenses against decency, are used. Any such posting made or updated during the Contract term shall include a link to the online description of Spammer’s moral, physical, and mental deficiencies on the wikiGong website. If Spammer wishes the wikiGong-prepared version to be used for an online posting other than on the Spammer’s website, wikiGong permission is required; if permission is granted, wikiGong will provide the prepared and/or formatted file, and use will be subject to wikiGong terms and conditions.
- The right to make, and hold copyright in, works derived from the Work Product, as long as all of the following conditions are met:
- at least one author of the derived work is an author of the Work Product;
- the derived work includes at least ten (10) percent of new material not covered by wikiGong’s rights to the Work Product;
- the derived work includes no more than fifty (50) percent of the text (including equations) of the Work Product; and
- flying monkeys simultaneously emerge from the butts of all wikiGong members and type the complete works of Shakespeare (Folger Library editions) with an error rate not exceeding three (3) percent, while tap-dancing.
If these conditions are met, copyright in the derived work rests with the authors of that work, and wikiGong (and its successors and assigns), if sufficiently inattentive, will make no claim on that copyright. If these conditions are not met, explicit wikiGong permission must be obtained. Nothing in this Section shall prevent wikiGong (and its successors and assigns) from exercising its rights in the Work Product.
- The right to output copies of the Spam or excerpts therefrom on reasonably bulky physical media for Spammer’s use in suppository form, as long as files prepared and/or formatted by wikiGong or its vendors for that purpose, and including a full account of Spammer’s offenses against decency, are used.
- If the Work Product was prepared under a U.S. Government contract, the government shall have the rights under the copyright to the extent required by the contract; but wikiGong shall inform representatives of the press and (however regretfully) the TEA Party. All copies of part or all of the Work Product made under any of the Author Rights shall include the appropriate bibliographic citation and notice of the wikiGong copyright.
Spammer represents and warrants that the original Spam and all Work Product are original with the Spammer and do not infringe any copyright or violate any other right of any third parties, and that the Spam and Work Product will not be published elsewhere, and are not being considered for publication elsewhere in any form, except as provided herein. Spammer represents that he enters into this Contract as authorized agent for and on behalf of all authors who have the legal right to transfer copyright and that this Contract and authorization is made on behalf of the same. Spammer also represents and warrants that he has the full power to enter into this Contract and to make the grants contained herein. Spammer further represents and warrants that any errors in Spammer’s aforementioned representations and warrantees shall be the sole liability of Spammer.
Spammer agrees to indemnify and hold wikiGong harmless from all claims, losses, expenses, fees including attorney fees, costs, and judgments that may be asserted against wikiGong that result from the acts or omissions of Spammer, Spammer’s employees or employers, if any, and Spammer’s agents.
wikiGong is responsible for determining all terms, penalties and punishments. Spammer will correct any deficiencies in its fulfillment of these terms, penalties and punishments, and recommend additional sanctions whenever they can be imagined.
Neither the Entire Nor Sole Contract
This Contract contains as much of the entire agreement of the parties as wikiGong chooses to reveal at this time. This Contract may include additional terms, which wikiGong may choose to reveal at any time.
At its sole discretion, and at any time, wikiGong may modify this Contract, and may make other promises and impose other conditions in any other, additional agreement, whether published or secret, oral or written, developed in some deliberative process or expressed extemporaneously.
You are Our Bitch. Read it and weep.
If any provision of this Agreement shall be held to be invalid or unenforceable for any reason, the remaining provisions shall continue to be valid and enforceable. If a court finds that any provision of this Agreement is invalid or unenforceable, but that by limiting such provision it would become valid and enforceable, then such provision shall be deemed to be written, construed, and enforced as so limited.
In other words, the harshest legally permissible subset of this Contract shall apply. Good luck.
This Contract is subject to and enforced under the laws of any jurisdiction selected by wikiGong.
Selection criteria may include, but are not limited to, wikiGong’s convenience, and greatest damage to spammer.
For example, wikiGong may select a temporary state declared onboard a vessel outside the territorial waters of the United States, in which Spamming is punishable by keelhauling Spammer until Spammer is dead.
Should other factors constrain wikiGong’s selection of jurisdiction, this Contract is subject to and enforced under any applicable federal laws and regulations, and falls under the jurisdiction of the county of Santa Clara, in the state of California.
We Beseech Thee, O Lord Cthulhu, Accept Our Offering
wikiGong may invite third parties to submit proposals and bids for wikiGong’s use of their jurisdictions, in a formal request for proposal process.
wikiGong may accept unsolicited proposals and bids for use of jurisdictions.
wikiGong may select any of these jurisdictions at its sole discretion. Selection criteria may include, but are not limited to, likelihood of greatest prejudice against Spammer, most grievous judgments offered against Spammer (e.g. the possibility of offering Spammer to eldritch gods from the darkness between the stars, for complete and utter corporeal and spiritual destruction), financial or other rewards offered to wikiGong, which jurisdictional names are most easily employed in amusing rhymes, assistance with logistical issues (e.g., extradition, translation), and sheer whimsy.
Additional Candidate Material
See also http://media.wiley.com/assets/1540/86/ctaaglobal.pdf, which includes:
PERMITTED USES BY CONTRIBUTOR
- Submitted Version. Wiley-Blackwell licenses back the following rights to the Contributor in the version of the Contribution as originally submitted for publication:
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- The right to transmit, print and share copies with colleagues.
- Accepted Version. Re-use of the accepted and peer-reviewed (but not final) version of the Contribution shall be by separate agreement with WileyBlackwell. Wiley-Blackwell has agreements with certain funding agencies governing reuse of this version. The details of those relationships, and other offerings allowing open web use, are set forth at the following website: http://www.wiley.com/go/funderstatement. NIH grantees should check the box at the bottom of this document.
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- Re-use in other publications. The right to re-use the final Contribution or parts thereof for any publication authored or edited by the Contributor (excluding journal articles) where such re-used material constitutes less than half of the total material in such publication. In such case, any modifications should be accurately noted.
- Teaching duties. The right to include the Contribution in teaching or training duties at the Contributor’s institution/place of employment including in course packs, e-reserves, presentation at professional conferences, in-house training, or distance learning. The Contribution may not be used in seminars outside of normal teaching obligations (e.g. commercial seminars). Electronic posting of the final published version in connection with teaching/training at the Contributor’s institution/place of employment is permitted subject to the implementation of reasonable access control mechanisms, such as user name and password. Posting the final published version on the open Internet is not permitted.
- Oral presentations. The right to make oral presentations based on the Contribution.
- Article Abstracts, Figures, Tables, Data Sets, Artwork and Selected Text (up to 250 words).
- Contributors may re-use unmodified abstracts for any non-commercial purpose. For on-line uses of the abstracts, Wiley-Blackwell encourages but does not require linking back to the final published versions.
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- Nothing herein shall permit dual publication in violation of journal ethical practices.
- Submitted Version. Wiley-Blackwell licenses back the following rights to the Contributor in the version of the Contribution as originally submitted for publication:
The story I tell you now means to be true, but it cannot be.
This story churns pieces of truth, carries them for awhile, tumbling in its current, knocks off sharp corners, polishes scarred surfaces, and drops them again.
This story meanders across a flood plain of possibility, between bluffs of improbability. Whenever it is told, its course shifts ever so slightly. I believe that one, original course is objectively true. I also believe this course, in its entirety, will never be repeated.
This story follows the deepest channel as it is at this moment.
Narrative: The Architects
Once there were two architects looking for work in bustling Los Angeles.
That is, there was one architect, who’d found work: [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sumner_Hunt Sumner Hunt]. There was also a draftsman, who worked in Hunt’s office: [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Wyman George Wyman].
A few years older than his boss, and with no other options, Wyman was an easy target for any scheme for advancing his own prospects—or for reshaping the entire status quo. Like millions of others, he’d read Looking Backward. The book’s utopian vision had seduced him, and ripened in his mind as he drew. Polishing Hunt’s commissions, Wyman urged his much-sharpened lead across the paper as fast and as precisely as it would go. Only this white-knuckled focus kept Wyman’s visions of a luminous future in check.
Narrative: The Developer
Once there was a man named “Lewis L. Bradbury.”
Leaving the Civil War to others, Bradbury traveled from Bangor, Maine, to Rosario, Sinaloa, Mexico. There he pursued both a controlling interest in one of Mexico’s large gold and silver mines, the Minas del Tajo; and his young maid, Simona Martinez. He married her in 1867. He got control of the mines in 1873.
Bradbury’s miners followed a rich vein of andesite a thousand feet into the earth. They used tons of cyanide to extract metal from the shattered pieces.
Bradbury had money. Lots of money.
Bradbury was old, and he felt old.
Bradbury wanted a monument.
A dream client!
Historical Re-Creation Part 1: Bradbury and Hunt
Hunt is a young architect, with a young practice. His clients tend to be similar: nearer the beginning of their careers than the end, with little margin for error, and worried about doing the wrong thing, or being taken advantage of. Or they are older and more experienced, and yet not lucrative enough to hold the attention of established firms. Both cost and risk can obsess them. Hunt finds it best to soothe them, projecting certainty he cannot know. In fact, Hunt believes it’s often better to not let prospective clients get a word in edgewise, than to allow them to hear their an echo of their own fears. Many of these are also on fire with new ideas and ways of doing things. Hunt must convince them that he is one of them, one of the young men who went west.
Bradbury is—need it be said?—not this client. He is at the end of his life, and ridiculously wealthy. Most improbably, his Yankee ingenuity and gumption have made him Pharaoh, or Montezuma. While constitutionally incapable of making a deliberately bad business decision, business is not his first concern today. He’s looking for immortality, if he can find it; and if he can’t, he’ll settle for a monument.
Bradbury: I’m looking for an architect, and your references are sterling.
Hunt: Why, thank you, Mr., ahhh, Bradbury. Thank you very much, indeed. You see, my firm works assiduously to meet its clients’ needs, and I personally am very pleased to hear…
Bradbury: I have a building in mind. An office buil-
Hunt: Ah, a building! Of course! What wonderful news! I can assure you, Mr. Breadberry–
Hunt: Of course! Of course! Mr. Bradbury! Exactly what I was just telling myself! Please, accept my—I am sorry! Now, where was I? Oh, yes: we’re all about buildings here, Mr….Sir. And office buildings most of all, sir. Not to slight the others! Perhaps I should say that our office buildings are first among equals? Our humble firm’s profit center, as it were; although you’ll find us a very good value…. And I believe, sir, that the field of office design is now experiencing a paradigm shift, as we leverage learning curves and the latest fire safety and structural technologies to capture benefits with a heretofore unknown synergy…
Bradbury: Yes, “Bradbury.” It shall have my name on it. In stone. In fact, I wish it to be a kind of monu-
Hunt: Your name! In stone! Excellent idea, Mr. Redfairy! In stone, or in any of a plethora of modern materials which I shall muster, by your leave, at your command! In serried ranks, as it were! Half a league, half a league, half a league onward, as it were! But I beg your pardon, sir! This is no “Valley of Death,” but an unprecedented opportunity to build shareholder value! Here, sir, let me make a note of that…[scribbles]…for this is just the first of many F2Fs we shall have as we strategize and document your requirements, help you grow your business…. In our little firm, we’re orientated toward customer focus, which has driven robust increases in value…
Bradbury: You shall employ nothing but the finest materials. In addition, I desire the highest standard of crafts–
Hunt: Of course, sir! Of course! You might say our core competency is integration with the logistics and state of the art supplier network necessary to rightsource the materials which quite properly concern you! Leave it to us! You need have no worries on that score. And as I was saying, we’re all about process orientation here. One of many things we bring to the table! Our tiger team shall systematically socialize your thought patterns as part of a disciplined life cycle management process. Deliverables will of course include a critical path, with a progression of gates and milestones. But let’s review the value proposition! Our analytics show that a mashup of drivers are combining to expand the Southern California real estate meme beyond the early adopters and prosumers to an event horizon. Yes, it’s going viral! You, sir, are a stakeholder on the bleeding edge of this sea change. Perception is reality, as they say! And that means eyeballs! And eyeballs mean growth! Monetized growth! We’re looking at a new economy, and you can’t make a better resource allocation decision than that. We have adopted the best practices and the most impactful workflow to put our clients on the ground floor of this convergence…
Bradbury: As you are no doubt aware, sir, few have invested more than I in your “value proposition.” I should like to discuss my buil–
Hunt: And you’ve picked the best possible place for that, Mr. Batjerry! Between our holistic, value-added, enterprise approach, and our recognized ability to take ownership of a concept and make the visuals pop…
Bradbury: I bid you good day, Mr. Hint.
Hunt: Thank you, sir! I’ll have my people telegraph your people! I think you’ll be impressed by how proactive our team is, Mr. Gladhairy. We’ll tee it up. It’s a real win-win, sir!
Bradbury: See that they do, Mr. Bunt.
Narrative: Failure to Communicate
Hunt’s drawings didn’t answer the needs of a man whose minions tore gold from stone and who had established himself in Southern California by buying a rancho, a vast expanse of land granted by a dead Spanish king; and really, thought Bradbury, the most efficient way to get the point across was to do it himself. He’d invested time in this already, and no number of messages passed back and forth through agents would give Hunt the shock Bradbury knew he needed.
Not that Bradbury believed that the only way to get something done right was to do it one’s self. To get what he had, he’d grown out of that. Bradbury hired good men and delegated. He’d hired a manager for the Minas del Tajo, who made sure the armed guards left the mines with each month’s production, on schedule. Two nights before, a car full of ore had crushed a miner’s leg. In spite of the surgeon’s efforts, he succumbed to gangrene and lockjaw; and last night, the mine manager had duly recorded the death in his journal. Bradbury might not receive word for several days, if ever. The affair had been handled.
Thing was, Hunt’s soothing assurances that Bradbury was making a good investment, and that Hunt would help him to navigate the sharp practices of Los Angeles real estate and construction, may have been what most clients needed to hear, but meant little to Bradbury. Hunt somehow did not grasp Bradbury’s need. Bradbury had always been able to say what needed saying in either English or Spanish, salted with Indian words older than Quetzalcoatl; but Hunt didn’t get it. And in the grand scheme of things, how long had it been, really, since men like Hunt were entombed with men like Bradbury, to serve them in the afterlife? So how could Hunt be so obtuse?
Anyway, Simona and the six children had been touring Europe for a couple of months. Simona had displayed adaptability rivaling Bradbury’s own, summoning the best tailors to foreign hotels to ensure that the entire brood was dressed appropriately for every occasion, and commissioning four statues of Carrara marble for shipment to the Bunker Hill mansion. They’d be over there for another two months. Bradbury was free to settle this to his entire satisfaction.
Fugal/Atmospheric Interlude: Belle Epoque
[Like buzz phrase piece. Employs percussion and Bellamy excerpts + headlines.]
Early in the last century the evolution was completed by the final consolidation of the entire capital of the nation. The industry and commerce of the country, ceasing to be conducted by a set of irresponsible corporations and syndicates of private persons at their caprice and for their profit, were intrusted to a single syndicate representing the people, to be conducted in the common interest for the common profit. The nation, that is to say, organized as the one great business corporation in which all other corporations were absorbed; it became the one capitalist in the place of all other capitalists, the sole employer, the final monopoly in which all previous and lesser monopolies were swallowed up, a monopoly in the profits and economies of which all citizens shared. The epoch of trusts had ended in The Great Trust. In a word, the people of the United States concluded to assume the conduct of their own business, just as one hundred odd years before they had assumed the conduct of their own government, organizing now for industrial purposes on precisely the same grounds that they had then organized for political purposes. At last, strangely late in the world’s history, the obvious fact was perceived that no business is so essentially the public business as the industry and commerce on which the people’s livelihood depends, and that to entrust it to private persons to be managed for private profit is a folly similar in kind, though vastly greater in magnitude, to that of surrendering the functions of political government to kings and nobles to be conducted for their personal glorification.
The other fact is yet more curious, consisting in a singular hallucination which those on the top of the coach generally shared, that they were not exactly like their brothers and sisters who pulled at the rope, but of finer clay, in some way belonging to a higher order of beings who might justly expect to be drawn. This seems unaccountable, but, as I once rode on this very coach and shared that very hallucination, I ought to be believed. The strangest thing about the hallucination was that those who had but just climbed up from the ground, before they had outgrown the marks of the rope upon their hands, began to fall under its influence.
Humanity, they argued, having climbed to the top round of the ladder of civilization, was about to take a header into chaos, after which it would doubtless pick itself up, turn round, and begin to climb again. Repeated experiences of this sort in historic and prehistoric times possibly accounted for the puzzling bumps on the human cranium. Human history, like all great movements, was cyclical, and returned to the point of beginning. The idea of indefinite progress in a right line was a chimera of the imagination, with no analogue in nature. The parabola of a comet was perhaps a yet better illustration of the career of humanity. Tending upward and sunward from the aphelion of barbarism, the race attained the perihelion of civilization only to plunge downward once more to its nether goal in the regions of chaos.
Moreover, the excessive individualism which then prevailed was inconsistent with much public spirit. What little wealth you had seems almost wholly to have been lavished in private luxury. Nowadays, on the contrary, there is no destination of the surplus wealth so popular as the adornment of the city, which all enjoy in equal degree.
During the last decade of the century, such small businesses as still remained were fast-failing survivals of a past epoch, or mere parasites on the great corporations, or else existed in fields too small to attract the great capitalists. Small businesses, as far as they still remained, were reduced to the condition of rats and mice, living in holes and corners, and counting on evading notice for the enjoyment of existence. The railroads had gone on combining till a few great syndicates controlled every rail in the land. In manufactories, every important staple was controlled by a syndicate. These syndicates, pools, trusts, or whatever their name, fixed prices and crushed all competition except when combinations as vast as themselves arose.
The period of industrial service is twenty-four years, beginning at the close of the course of education at twenty-one and terminating at forty-five. After forty-five, while discharged from labor, the citizen still remains liable to special calls, in case of emergencies causing a sudden great increase in the demand for labor, till he reaches the age of fifty-five, but such calls are rarely, in fact almost never, made. The fifteenth day of October of every year is what we call Muster Day, because those who have reached the age of twenty-one are then mustered into the industrial service, and at the same time those who, after twenty-four years’ service, have reached the age of forty-five, are honorably mustered out. It is the great day of the year with us, whence we reckon all other events, our Olympiad, save that it is annual.
The principle is that no man’s work ought to be, on the whole, harder for him than any other man’s for him, the workers themselves to be the judges. There are no limits to the application of this rule. If any particular occupation is in itself so arduous or so oppressive that, in order to induce volunteers, the day’s work in it had to be reduced to ten minutes, it would be done. If, even then, no man was willing to do it, it would remain undone. But of course, in point of fact, a moderate reduction in the hours of labor, or addition of other privileges, suffices to secure all needed volunteers for any occupation necessary to men.
“How, then, do you avoid a revolution every pay day?” I demanded. “Has some prodigious philosopher devised a new system of calculus satisfactory to all for determining the exact and comparative value of all sorts of service, whether by brawn or brain, by hand or voice, by ear or eye? Or has human nature itself changed, so that no man looks upon his own things but ‘every man on the things of his neighbor?’ One or the other of these events must be the explanation.
A credit corresponding to his share of the annual product of the nation is given to every citizen on the public books at the beginning of each year, and a credit card issued him with which he procures at the public storehouses, found in every community, whatever he desires whenever he desires it. This arrangement, you will see, totally obviates the necessity for business transactions of any sort between individuals and consumers. Perhaps you would like to see what our credit-cards are like.
It would have been reason enough, had there been no other, for abolishing money, that its possession was no indication of rightful title to it. In the hands of the man who had stolen it or murdered for it, it was as good as in those which had earned it by industry. People nowadays interchange gifts and favors out of friendship, but buying and selling is considered absolutely inconsistent with the mutual benevolence and disinterestedness which should prevail between citizens and the sense of community of interest which supports our social system. According to our ideas, buying and selling is essentially anti-social in all its tendencies.
No man any more has any care for the morrow, either for himself or his children, for the nation guarantees the nurture, education, and comfortable maintenance of every citizen from the cradle to the grave.
“His title,” replied Dr. Leete, “is his humanity. The basis of his claim is the fact that he is a man.”
“The fact that he is a man!” I repeated, incredulously. “Do you possibly mean that all have the same share?”
The readers of this book never having practically known any other arrangement, or perhaps very carefully considered the historical accounts of former epochs in which a very different system prevailed, cannot be expected to appreciate the stupor of amazement into which Dr. Leete’s simple statement plunged me.
At this moment our talk was charmingly interrupted by the emergence upon the aerial platform where we sat of Edith Leete. She was dressed for the street, and had come to speak to her father about some commission she was to do for him.
There was nothing in the exterior aspect of the edifice to suggest a store to a representative of the nineteenth century. There was no display of goods in the great windows, or any device to advertise wares, or attract custom. Nor was there any sort of sign or legend on the front of the building to indicate the character of the business carried on there; but instead, above the portal, standing out from the front of the building, a majestic life-size group of statuary, the central figure of which was a female ideal of Plenty, with her cornucopia.
It was the first interior of a twentieth-century public building that I had ever beheld, and the spectacle naturally impressed me deeply. I was in a vast hall full of light, received not alone from the windows on all sides, but from the dome, the point of which was a hundred feet above. Beneath it, in the centre of the hall, a magnificent fountain played, cooling the atmosphere to a delicious freshness with its spray. The walls and ceiling were frescoed in mellow tints, calculated to soften without absorbing the light which flooded the interior. Around the fountain was a space occupied with chairs and sofas, on which many persons were seated conversing. Legends on the walls all about the hall indicated to what classes of commodities the counters below were devoted.
With the exception of this fundamental law, which is, indeed, merely a codification of the law of nature–the edict of Eden–by which it is made equal in its pressure on men, our system depends in no particular upon legislation, but is entirely voluntary, the logical outcome of the operation of human nature under rational conditions. This question of inheritance illustrates just that point. The fact that the nation is the sole capitalist and land-owner of course restricts the individual’s possessions to his annual credit, and what personal and household belongings he may have procured with it. His credit, like an annuity in your day, ceases on his death, with the allowance of a fixed sum for funeral expenses. His other possessions he leaves as he pleases.
A man able to do duty, and persistently refusing, is sentenced to solitary imprisonment on bread and water till he consents.
“Who is capable of self-support?” he demanded. “There is no such thing in a civilized society as self-support. In a state of society so barbarous as not even to know family coöperation, each individual may possibly support himself, though even then for a part of his life only; but from the moment that men begin to live together, and constitute even the rudest sort of society, self-support becomes impossible. As men grow more civilized, and the subdivision of occupations and services is carried out, a complex mutual dependence becomes the universal rule. Every man, however solitary may seem his occupation, is a member of a vast industrial partnership, as large as the nation, as large as humanity. The necessity of mutual dependence should imply the duty and guarantee of mutual support; and that it did not in your day constituted the essential cruelty and unreason of your system.”
The worker is not a citizen because he works, but works because he is a citizen. As you recognize the duty of the strong to fight for the weak, we, now that fighting is gone by, recognize his duty to work for him.
As to imbecile persons, it is deemed best that each nation should be responsible for its own, and the emigration of such must be under full guarantees of support by his own nation.
However new and astonishing one’s surroundings, the tendency is to become a part of them so soon that almost from the first the power to see them objectively and fully measure their strangeness, is lost.
One can look back a thousand years easier than forward fifty. A century is not so very long a retrospect.
It is like a gigantic mill, into the hopper of which goods are being constantly poured by the train-load and ship-load, to issue at the other end in packages of pounds and ounces, yards and inches, pints and gallons, corresponding to the infinitely complex personal needs of half a million people.
A government, or a majority, which should undertake to tell the people, or a minority, what they were to eat, drink, or wear, as I believe governments in America did in your day, would be regarded as a curious anachronism indeed. Possibly you had reasons for tolerating these infringements of personal independence, but we should not think them endurable.
Corporate Headlines 2012
Jeffrey Toobin’s recent exposé in the New Yorker takes aim at the Roberts Supreme Court for its controversial decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which struck down the key provisions of the McCain-Feingold Act prohibiting “corporations from running television commercials for or against Presidential candidates for thirty days before primaries.”
City council runs out of time to discuss shorter meetings
To Toobin, Citizens United was the Supreme Court’s illicit gift to corporations; it recalls the worst excesses of the “Gilded Age,” a time when, Toobin claims (falsely), the Supreme Court “barred most attempts by the government to ameliorate the harsh effects of market forces.”
Army vehicle disappears—an Australian army vehicle worth $74,000 has gone missing after being painted with camouflage
To Toobin, one unfortunate byproduct of the nineteenth-century Court’s worldview was its 1886 decision in Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad, which held that corporations—railroads, no less—were “persons.”
Mitt Romney says ‘corporations are people’ at Iowa State Fair
They are thus entitled to the protections of the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Woman reportedly arrested for painting nails on Southwest Airline flight
A second low point of that Gilded Age, Toobin insists, was the Supreme Court’s 1905 decision in Lochner v. New York, which, by his account, held “that most attempts to regulate the private marketplace, or to protect workers, were unconstitutional.”
Suspect in Jobs heist gave iPad to clown
It’s True: Corporations Are People
What else could they be? Buildings don’t hire people. Buildings don’t design cars that run on electricity or discover drug therapies to defeat cancer.
Panel finds misconduct
The Supreme Court Still Thinks Corporations Are People
Witches and wizards no longer can offer spell or curses on eBay
Narrative: The Vision Crowds Through
Wyman leaned over his drafting table, keeping his head down; but his pencil slowed. Heavy wings beat at his temples as a wall crumbled to admit the vision:
It was the first interior of a twentieth-century public building that I had ever beheld, and the spectacle naturally impressed me deeply. I was in a vast hall full of light, received not alone from the windows on all sides, but from the dome, the point of which was a hundred feet above. Beneath it, in the centre of the hall, a magnificent fountain played, cooling the atmosphere to a delicious freshness with its spray. The walls and ceiling were frescoed in mellow tints, calculated to soften without absorbing the light which flooded the interior. Around the fountain was a space occupied with chairs and sofas, on which many persons were seated conversing.
Had anyone noticed Wyman’s lapse? He glanced past the frustrated Hunt, and Bradbury’s challenging stare froze him.
Bradbury was surprised to remember someone else was in the room, then annoyed, and finally amused. Wyman was transfixed as the old lion advanced. His just-pointed lead snapped and sprayed his drawing with a fine corona of graphite particles.
Other draftsmen dropped their heads even closer to the paper and stared transfixed at their own needle-like pencil points, as if studying fragments of the True Cross.
Hunt turned. Wyman saw fury behind Hunt’s icy mask. Tonight, Belle would cry and he would drink. Tomorrow, he’d be looking for another job.
You could have heard a pin drop.
Especially a pin made of solid Mexican gold: incorruptible blood drained from a still-beating heart, torn from the conquered rock with a flint knife.
Bradbury knew it all along, of course. Hunt figured it out by the time Bradbury held Wyman’s gaze from the other side of the drafting table. His mask took a more benign shape as he contemplated marking up Wyman’s hours at a higher rate. Then Wyman knew it, too. The watershed moment. Now the streams ran in a different direction.
Historical Re-Creation: The Spark
Bradbury: Can you do better?
Bradbury tenses, begins to turn away, dismissing this folly.
Bradbury, to audience: I’m wasting my time. Why am I here?
Wyman winces as his head throbs. He is in the throes of possession.
Bradbury pivots back toward Wyman, one eyebrow raised.
Bradbury: What did you say? Did I hear you right?
Wyman: Maybe. Maybe…yes, I think I can. Sir.
Bradbury’s lip curls up on one side in the beginning of a smirk, then stops. For a moment, he lets go of Wyman’s gaze; he studies Wyman’s hands, his drawing, his crisp lines. He looks up, seizing the draftsman’s eyes a second time, sees a reflection. It’s not his own. (In the multimillion-dollar film version, it’s a grid of light segmented by fine tracery: a monochromatic view of the Bradbury Building skylight and its cast iron trusses, seen from below.)
Wyman, emboldened by the vision, stiffens as he returns Bradbury’s stare. He sees the same thing: In Bradbury’s eyes, where it has, if anything, even less right to be.
Both, speaking to themselves: vast hall full of light
Bradbury stabs a forefinger down on Wyman’s drawing, smudging the immaculate lines. He wears a massive gold ring. Wyman stares back, not daring to flinch, but also refusing to be intimidated by the rich man.
Bradbury, grinding his fingertip into the drawing:
Do you understand that?
Wyman: Yes. Yes sir. I understand, sir.
To himself: But can I really do it? Maybe. Yes. Still. It’s a leap.
Can I not do it?
To audience: I’ll do it, all right. But not for this man. I’ll do it for mankind. For the progress of civilization. For a better future.
Bradbury, to audience: I don’t give a tinker’s damn why he does it, as long as he does it. That’s my only yardstick. I want a monument, and he seems to know what that means. When I’m gone, there it’ll be, with my name on it. In stone.
Wyman, in narrative, story-telling mode: Late that night, Belle and I got out the Ouija board, and talked with my dead brother.
and you will be
Quizzically: “Successful” was written upside-down.
Narrative: The Monument
Way over budget! No expense was spared. Glazed brick. Tile. Polished wood, even in the basement. Delicate filigrees of cast iron, from France. Fine marble, from Italy. Carved stone. Terra cotta, each piece shaped by hand. And over all, an airy span of glass.
The contractor found a spring in the basement: the closest the building came to “magnificent fountains.” Bradbury ordered steel rails from Europe to span the water and support the building.
Some say Hunt was responsible for the design, and that Wyman merely supervised construction. And indeed, Hunt is remembered for several surviving buildings.
Some say that Hunt’s completed design was ignored, and that Wyman was responsible for the second design: the one that was actually built.
Afterward, Wyman embarked on an independent career, earning his architectural credentials from a correspondence school. School taught him that architecture meant dark, massive piles, and he began a career of designing them. As he gained experience, each building became more miserable than the last. His buildings became object lessons in learning the wrong thing.
In 1905, years after Bradbury died, new technology allowed the miners to reprocess leftover material and wring more gold from it. By 1916, the miners had retreated to less than 600 feet below the surface. Each day they processed 250 tons of old fill and virgin ore blasted from former pillars as they went.
In 1917, news that a shortage of cyanide had curtailed operations came to the Bradbury Estate Company’s offices in the eponymous building. Still, the Bradbury Estate Company had many other things to do. It was finally dissolved in 1965.