Posts Tagged ‘thinking

28
Jun
12

Are you freer than you were four years ago?

The Fourth of July. A time when we celebrate our independence as a nation. It is a time for us to celebrate our patriotism, our freedom from oppression, and our love of all things individual. Our freedom and our democracy with which we have been blessed are direct products of the sheer determination of our forefathers who worked to establish the United States of America as a free country.

Freedom of choice?

We have a choice to be wealthy or poor. We have the choice to live a healthy lifestyle or an unhealthy one. We have a choice to be agnostic or religious. We each have every opportunity to live our lives as we see fit. Equal opportunity does not guarantee equal outcome. Those who achieve more are vilified, unless they are in sports or the entertainment industry. If you have ever run a business and not had to fire someone, lay someone off, or get hauled to  court, I’m not sure you even showed up for work.

Are we even in the business of celebrating the individual? Seems anybody that is different than what we think, what we earn, and what we look like is the enemy. Differences have come to reflect “evil”. We are less united as a nation; partisan politics has made our common bond a distant memory.

I can remember the first time I saw the Borg on Star Trek: The Next Generation. It still scares the bejesus out of me, the thought of a huge hive where any bit of individualism has been assimilated into one collective consciousness. But as we give our individual freedoms to a collective bureaucracy, this is exactly what is happening to us.

Free to disagree?

I shied away from the debate club as a teen because I could never vehemently argue one side of an argument. I could always see the other person’s point of view. F. Scott Fitzgerald said, “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.” If you listen to the news, or read the blogs, we have no first-rate minds. And they definitely don’t want you to have a first-rate mind either. You can tell by the tone and spin in their “investigative” journalism. That’s not news, that’s entertainment.

Have a different set of morals than me? I’ll coil up and bite you by spreading venomous lies and hissing vulgarities about you. I’ll make you and your family a parody on comedy sketches so everyone can laugh at how ignorant you are. And yet we are busy wringing our hands over the escalating problem of childhood bullying, refusing to acknowledge that they are direct reflections of the adults in, or out, of their lives.

I used to love the days when I could carry on a discussion with someone who had a completely different viewpoint than myself without it degenerating into snide tones, and unsubstantiated quips. Don’t agree with me? You must be phobic, an idiot, a pathetic loser, or just a jackass. Sounds real grown up, doesn’t it?

Do we have to tolerate fools gladly?

During my time in the military, I lived in many different countries. There are governments that do not respect individual freedoms, liberties, or the basic equalities that we take for granted in America. I, like every other service member, took an oath to defend these rights against all enemies, foreign and domestic. 

With the influx of foreign nationals into our country, we see that some of these intolerances have made their way onto our soil. Some groups demand that we respect their laws and religious ideals, but refuse to respect those of others. Their way is the only way so your freedom of choice is dictated by them.  Ayaan Hirsi Ali said, “Tolerance of intolerance is cowardice.” Tolerating others’ injustices to basic human rights isn’t respecting another nation’s sovereignty or religious beliefs, it’s just wrong.

This Fourth of July remember, while we are still free to do so, that we truly must live free or die; that if we’re all thinking alike, nobody is thinking; and that suffering fools gladly is madness.

06
Jun
12

will you autograph my kindle?

As a publisher the number one question I get asked is, when books go the way of the dinosaur will I have to live in a van down by the river? What will I do with myself when books are no longer relevant; that if I don’t change my antiquated ways, I’ll wind up left on the floor like an overexposed negative, like the Kodak Corporation.

The publishing industry, like everything else on the planet, is in a constant state of flux.  But adapting to change does not mean you abandon what’s been a mainstay of civilization alongside other great inventions like fire and the wheel. The written word isn’t here just to entertain us; it’s what makes us human.

As a purveyor and publisher of the written word, I went with great anticipation, and a little bit of trepidation, to Book Expo America (BEA) held annually in NYC. If you’re a book lover, this is the closest thing to heaven on earth. Every publisher was on site along with their newest releases, their best and bestselling authors, winding lines of ecstatic fans, a kaleidoscope of colors, tons of touchable textures, tremendous and tantalizing topics; it was like a candy store for your brain!!

There were books everywhere!! And yes, I mean physical books, not virtual books. There were even hardcovers, which I had been told where a dying breed due to their size and shipping cost. But here they stood in their brilliant and gleaming dust jackets, drawing me closer and closer until I had no choice but to pick them up and look inside! There’s something about meeting the real thing in person….just ask anyone who’s ever done any Internet dating.

I publish physical books. I also have everything we publish converted to an electronic format. But the fish aren’t biting the virtual food. Our clientele like to give books away as much as they like to read them. How would you feel about parting with your Kindle or Nook after reading a book that changed your life so someone else could do the same? Don’t think that’s going to happen.

There were some digital publishers represented, the vast majority of floor space, by far, was devoted to traditional publishing houses where there were scores of people picking up the physical product. The children’s section was the most fun. Can a child get the same excitement by holding a Kindle in bed with their parent? There just aren’t enough sides to it to share, are there?

I got to read a book about sharks that had real shark teeth in it! I got to hold a book that had science fiction pop-up pictures! I even got to hold a stuffed animal that represented the main character in the book I had picked up! You see, books aren’t just for the eye to behold. There’s a whole other plethora of senses that are stimulated when you read a physical book. You can hear sounds, smell scents, touch fabric, and the coolest of all, see lenticular 3-D pictures!

And then I turned the corner and saw the beloved coffee table books, huge, glossy, gorgeous collections of galaxies, art, castles, dogs, everything under sun; the perfect accessory to any room and able to match any décor.

Think of reading a book like ordering a bowl of delicious, nutritious soup. I don’t care if you slurp it from a spoon, suck it through a straw, or gulp straight from the bowl itself. As long as you are getting fed, it’s all good, the delivery method matters not.

Books are here to stay. And book lovers are the ones who will shape and change the world as long as time exists. So let’s not argue over whether we are Kindle spirits when all that matters is that we are kindred spirits. We share a common love, a passion for reading and thinking. So if you don’t see me in a van down by the river, I’ll be poring over some transformational manuscript and evolving into a more tremendous version of me!




Tremendous Tracey


CEO Tremendous Life Books. Book Evangelist

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