22 Jun 2011 6 am eastern

Many Black New Yorkers Are Moving to the South – NYTimes.com

THE ECONOMIC DOWNTURN has propelled a striking demographic shift: black New Yorkers, including many who are young and college educated, are heading south.

About 17 percent of the African-Americans who moved to the South from other states in the past decade came from New York, far more than from any other state, according to census data.

Many Black New Yorkers Are Moving to the South – NYTimes.com

Filed under: cities, New York City, war, peace, and justice

Comments off.

13 Aug 2010 11 am eastern

Like a prayer

An essay in three tweets:

Morality isn’t how you think, it’s what you do about your violent carnal greedy cowardly natural impulses. #

Good religion attempts to explain our deep connection to others. Bad religion scares us out of being monkeys. #

God loves my sin more than it shames me. Ladies. #

Filed under: Existence, experience, glamorous, twitter, Unconscious, war, peace, and justice, Zeldman

Comments off.

16 Jun 2010 10 am eastern

Once Upon a Time in Afghanistan

A half-century ago, Afghan women pursued careers in medicine; men and women mingled casually at movie theaters and university campuses in Kabul; factories in the suburbs churned out textiles and other goods.

“There was a tradition of law and order, and a government capable of undertaking large national infrastructure projects, like building hydropower stations and roads, albeit with outside help. Ordinary people had a sense of hope, a belief that education could open opportunities for all, a conviction that a bright future lay ahead. All that has been destroyed by three decades of war, but it was real.”

Once Upon a Time in Afghanistan, a photo essay by Mohammad Qayoumi


Filed under: events, experience, links, photography, war, peace, and justice

Comments off.

3 Jun 2010 6 am eastern

When Ads by Google Go Wrong

19 Oct 2008 2 pm eastern

Housing Works launch

We call ourselves web designers, but sometimes we are more than that. Sometimes we get to participate, in however small a way, in something much larger and more important than ourselves.

Started in 1990 by four members of ACT UP, Housing Works helps people who are homeless and have HIV or AIDS. Housing Works not only saves lives, it restores dignity, purpose, and hope to those whom society has cast aside. Happy Cog is honored and humbled to have worked with this amazing organization and to announce the relaunch of the Housing Works website, redesigned by Happy Cog.

Our thanks to Housing Works’s Christopher Sealey and his team—we bow endlessly in your direction, sir. And my thanks and commendation to the amazing people at Happy Cog who did the work:

[tags]Housing Works, AIDS, HIV, homeless, homelessness, advocacy, hope, happycog, work[/tags]

Filed under: Advocacy, business, Community, democracy, dreams, engagement, Happy Cog™, homeownership, New York City, NYC, Philadelphia, poverty, war, peace, and justice, work

Comments off.

18 Apr 2008 11 am eastern

Breach of Peace (Freedom Riders site launch)

In the spring and summer of 1961, several hundred brave Americans—the Freedom Riders—entered Southern bus and train stations to challenge their segregated waiting rooms, lunch counters, and bathrooms.

Breach of Peace is a new book, and website, that honors their courage and attempts to tell their story—a “photo-history told in images old and new.”

Author Eric Etheridge traveled America meeting, interviewing, and photographing surviving Freedom Riders, usually in their homes. The initial result of his three years of work and research is a compelling book of portraits and stories, now available for pre-order. (I’ve read the galleys.)

A tremendous amount of material did not fit into the book. The website will document those additional facts and stories.

Presently, during its soft launch, the site is limited to a blog, but already the blog is compelling. Read Barnett to Kunstler: What If Your Daughter Married One? and you’ll see what I mean.

Although it documents some of the vilest aspects of American racism, the website is primarily a tribute to the courage of several hundred Americans, black and white, male and female, who defied the prejudice of their time, risking their freedom and lives to advance the cause of justice.

Filed under: books, poverty, war, peace, and justice

Comments off.

28 Feb 2008 8 am eastern

Night and day

Two homeless men have taken up residence in the temporary supply hut of the Chinese Embassy construction on the corner.

One man, who may be Colombian, sleeps sitting up in the hut. The other, who could be Australian, sleeps on a folding chair facing the hut, his long legs extended so that his boots just cross the hut’s threshold.

In a pretty, almost calligraphic hand, one of the men has decorated the hut with sayings such as, “Life really sucks.”

Besides the hut, the advantages of the site are a temporary roof that blocks some rain and snow, and the presence of three working Port-a-Potties.

Everyone, including the neighborhood residents, appears to have decided to treat the temporary encampment as a private residence. When the homeless men are off somewhere foraging for food or money, their possessions (mainly, blankets) sit unmolested by the supply hut.

In the morning, the Chinese construction site bosses ignore the two homeless men while inspecting the efforts of their African American construction workers.

A few blocks north, the Secretariat of the United Nations is clearly visible.

[tags]homelessness, chineseembassy, nyc, newyorkcity[/tags]

Filed under: experience, family, glamorous, poverty, war, peace, and justice

Comments off.

12 Oct 2007 3 pm eastern

Congrats, Al

Thank you, Al Gore. I thank you, my wife thanks you. One day our daughter, who is now three, will thank you. And so will her children, whose existence you will have helped make possible. Thank you and bless you.

[tags]algore, gore, aninconvenienttruth, planet, globalwarming, nobel, prize, nobelpeaceprize[/tags]

Filed under: planet, war, peace, and justice

Comments off.

12 Sep 2007 10 am eastern

September 12

A gloomy, rainy September 11th in New York City. An eye doctor visit in the morning left my eyes dilated. For hours, I was overly sensitive to light. It was a perfect way to experience this city on that day.

In my apartment building, a woman boarded the elevator going down. About 60 years old, carrying someone else’s clothes to the laundry room. We were the only two passengers.

“Wet Tuesday,” she said. “Hot day, six years ago. Six years ago, my daughter was on TV, running for her life.”

In the doctor’s office, with dilated eyes, I siphoned bandwidth from an unsecured wireless network and read The New York Times on my iPhone, holding the handset close to my face. An article about Gen. David H. Petraeus’s testimony generated hundreds of comments. At least four of them were rational.

At 1:00 I braved a sudden monsoon in Curry Hill to meet a friend who was traveling in from Brooklyn. He told me he’d been somewhat concerned about coming into Manhattan on September 11.

At 3:30 I was home, hanging wet clothes from the shower rod and thinking about Iraq. I cannot stop thinking about it.

At 2:00 am I woke up. In my dream I had been trying to bring the soldiers home.

[tags]9/11, september11, nyc[/tags]

Filed under: cities, glamorous, war, peace, and justice, Zeldman

Comments off.

17 Aug 2007 11 am eastern

What is Art Direction (No. 9)

Alive Day Memories - Home From Iraq

This outdoor ad, newly posted on a phone kiosk, arrested me as I strolled down Lexington Avenue last night. Its explicit content can be summarized as follows:

A young woman, facing the viewer, holds what appears to be a prosthetic arm—her own prosthetic arm, one infers. The young woman is casually dressed in a sweater and jeans. Her expression borders on neutral. Where her right arm should be, the sweater has been pinned back. The poster also contains words advertising a new HBO documentary, executive-produced by James Gandolfini, concerning the difficulties faced by a new generation of American war veterans returning home from Iraq.

That is a pictorial inventory, but the poster contains more content than I have listed. Most of that content is externally located. For this poster has been framed and shot, and its subject styled and posed, almost exactly like an American Gap ad.

Consciously or unconsciously, an American viewer will almost certainly make an uncomfortable connection between the disfigurement and sacrifice portrayed in this ad, and the upbeat quality of the Gap’s long-running, highly successful clothing slash lifestyle campaign.

That connection is content. And the non-verbal information that triggers that content in the viewer’s mind is art direction.

Wordless and full of meaning

What is the art direction saying? What is it adding to the content that is already there? Surely the sight of an attractive young woman who has lost her arm fighting in Iraq is loaded enough as an image. Surely a non-combatant, far from Iraq, safe at home, already feels plenty of complex emotions when confronted with this one veteran and at least some of the visual evidence of her sacrifice. What additional statement is being made by the art director’s decision to style this poster like a Gap ad?

Here is a possible reading:

While many Americans are well aware that their country is at war, many others are doing their best to blot that thought out of their minds. In this effort at collective amnesia they are abetted by many retail advertisers and TV programmers, including not a few TV news programmers. Ratings-wise, the war is a bummer. Sales-wise, it is a drag. America wants to shop and move on. (Interestingly, the fashion industry is the one segment of America’s consumer culture that is paying attention. The 691 pages of the new September Vogue are filled with skirts, shoes, dresses, and jackets that obviously resemble armor or in other ways clearly invoke awareness of war and warriors.)

In conceiving the way this poster would be shot and styled, the art director was not holding the Gap responsible for the war in Iraq. Nor was he or she blaming the viewer. But by carefully echoing the imagery of an ad that epitomizes our comfortably shallow consumer lifestyle, the art director does indict the complacent among us and challenge us to think about something besides our next new sweater or iPod.

The placement of type ensures that the words are the last thing we see on the poster. We absorb and are discomfited by the rich, non-verbal text for several beats before our eyes take in the explicit, written content announcing a documentary.

That is art direction. It is not art. It is not design. It is something else. It makes us feel. It makes us think. It holds up the mirror to our desires, our regrets, ourselves.

[tags]artdirection, whatisartdirection, alivedaymemories, iraq, gap, veterans, advertising, iraqwar, wariniraq, posters, thesis, antithesis, synthesis [/tags]

Filed under: business, democracy, Design, war, peace, and justice

Comments off.