Stange Tango Intro

People often either laugh or get uncomfortable when I introduce myself as a propagandist. These are the desired effects.

Radicals are in the business of making people uncomfortable. When many people think of propagandists, it conjures images of Soviet or Nazi spin masters who were trying to deceive listeners or readers into supporting these corrupt ideologies. Why would someone choose to have people think those types of terrible things about them?

For me it is about truth in advertising. Like all propagandists, i am trying to change peoples’ minds. Trying to get you to believe what i believe and more importantly, to change the way you act and think. And i feel like it is only fair to warn people, in this mildly shocking and uncomfortable way that this is what i am doing.

So what is it that i am trying to convince you of?

We can’t keep living like we are living. It is not enough to hope-vote for Obama, recycle and drive a hybrid. The system is so seriously broken that i believe (along with many others) we absolutely must do things dramatically differently. Otherwise, we will hand our heirs a failing planet. And yet…i believe we have the collective knowledge, the science, and the crazy monkey drive to survive and occasionally do so beautifully, to turn things around.
If we are going to change the world, we need to design and throw a better party. Despite the dire straits we face, an effective movement for political change needs to be creating better social opportunities and having more fun. Part of what this blog covers is theoretical and applied funology (the study of fun). How do we catalyze romance? How do we make people laugh uproariously or dance all night? How do we create successful multi-generational and cross-cultural events? How do we build social capital, and then spend it on an event we can finally all belong to: the fun party.

We have to learn to share. i am obsessed with sharing systems, both extant and theoretical ones. Since it is quite unlikely we can convince people from affluent countries to voluntarily reduce their access to resources, our only chance of dealing with peak oil/climate change like problems is to use fewer things by sharing them. If we are clever, we will design the next generation of social networking systems to serve this collective need. i want us to be clever, i want to help.

We need to design and test a new culture. i think transparency and self-expression is a cornerstone piece of building a better culture. And for me, open romantic relationships has been a powerful personal growth experience. i recently gave a class on polyamory to a frosty audience of conservative Christian freshman at East Carolina University.  However, one part resonated with the students: when i contrasted honest polyamory with monogamy and its rampant cheating.  i said, if you can lie to your lover, if you can lie to the most important relationship in your life, then you can easily lie to your boss or your shareholders or anyone else who is significant in your life or the world. And to encourage open relationships, it is clear that storytelling, not preaching, is the way to pitch things, to get what you want and need, and help others get the same.

My favorite story ends with the line “don’t take yourself too seriously” and when people laugh at me, I am reminded of this sage counsel.

Buckle up (or not)

The thing which i dont need to convince you of, which is none the less important and true is that we need to work together with talented people we care deeply for. iI have some co-conspirators in this project and a few of them who are excited about helping are: Feonix, Rabbit and Sara.  See images below. And i have some other fabulously talented, interesting, and capable allies: present and future readers of this blog, people who want to go beyond words to actions, hope to happening.

Let’s get this party started.

Sara, Bean and Nova at East Wind in front of Rock Bottom 2010

As my Ukranian friend said "i am one big ear" Feonix 2009

Prof Rabbit taking himself seriously

This is the first post of a collection of 17 to be displayed on Strange Tango.