December 23rd, 2009


Tiger Woods, Star Trek and Ghandi: Basil White Weighs In On the Tiger Woods Sex Scandal

Before the National Enquirer scooped the mainstream news with reports of Tiger's infidelity, I used Tiger as an allegory for race relations. When people would ask me about racism, I'd say "In 500 years we will all be Tiger Woods." So in 17 years we'll all be bored, millionaire horndogs? No, I meant that I expect the genomes of first-world countries to continue to melt, and few if any people will identify themselves by one genetic culture group.

Then, racism won't work effectively, and we'll have to invent new ways to arbitrarily disenfranchise people.

So if, in the future, genetic culture won't matter, I can live my life as if genetic culture doesn't matter now. Once I started acting as if I already lived in a racially-unidentifiable society, that society formed around me like a cloud and followed me everywhere I went.

Then I realized that I could change all kinds of rules about gender relations and attitudes about body size and shape and ideological tolerance. All I had to do to live in a more evolved world was to relate to the world as if it had already evolved.

Caveat: I'm a 6'1" 280lb. hyperactive extrovert, so results may vary.

This "go as if" approach to social change reminds me of the science-fiction ethic to express your desire to live in the future by, well, living in the future. I'm also reminded of Ghandi's message to "be the change we wish to see in the world." I think Ghandi would have been a hardcore fan of Star Trek.

I like to think of Ghandi as a peace geek who hacked the culture by behaving as if he lived in the culture he imagined.

Go and do likewise, brave imagineer. Peace on earth.


How to choose who gets a Christmas card: It's nothing personal, you just aren't that into me

I'm learning even more lessons this year about letting other people share the initiative for interacting with me.

As I picked which people would receive Christmas cards, I realized that I hadn't spoken to some of them in years. I decided to send cards based on who had taken the initiative to contact me in the last year or two.

That narrowed the field quite well. Some people I love just aren't that into me, and I seem to have started accepting that.

For example, a childhood friend who lived across the street from my grandma called to ask for my cousin's phone number. Then she asked me what I've been doing, and I told her, "mostly I've been waiting by the phone to give phone numbers of the people the callers actually want to talk to."

Ask me for help, you play by my rules.