In the January - February 2008 issue of Spirituality & Health magazine, in a review of Kara Walker's Staring Down the Shadow, she's quoted as saying

I think the whole problem with racism and its continuing legacy in this country is that we simply love it. Who would we be without the struggle?
When I consider this in micro terms, as opposed to societal terms, I wonder about those of us (self included) who are brought up to seek love through victimhood. As if it is our weakness that allows us to receive love. (Perhaps shaped by only receiving parental affection when we are hurt, in pain, or otherwise crying?) And, conversely, our strength acts as a love repellent, and thus, we're afraid that if we are not weak, we are not lovable.

(See also: rooting for the underdog.)

I wonder how this might be related to the different races clinging to their racial identity in what may actually be a construct. It is safe, these roles. It provides a definition.

I don't know, but I do know that if, as a society, we are to integrate, we need to (at the leadership level) have frank discussions about where we want to be. Because, to Walker's point, maybe we do love it too much to let it go.

Fireworks after the parade of lights


Jodie Foster drops it.

Step one? You gotta recognize. Awareness of that which sullies your pipes has to happen before you can own 'em.

From an article in the September 2007 issue of W:
When pressed, however, she will admit there are "tons of neurotic things I bring from my childhood." There's something stunting, for instance, about receiving more attention for the things you do than the person you are. "If there's one thing you have to figure out in therapy," she says, "it's how to have a sense of yourself if all you've known is applause for being charming and applause for being beautiful. How do you have any appreciation for yourself without that?" Ever precocious, she says she had this conundrum mostly sorted out by the time she turned 30: "At that point, for some reason, all the big things in life that I was struggling with kind of disappeared. I wasn't so hard on myself. I realized I didn't have to have everybody else's career. I was like, I get it! I don't have to be Kim Basinger."
How do you define yourself? Is it through external accolades or material goods?

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Bringing your whole self to work

Sounds like the CEO of UPS owns his pipes.

From mars2venus in pinkmagazine:

For generations, American businessmen lived double lives: the corporate side, which was all business, and the personal side, which mixed with business only in the form of polite small talk or pictures of family on one's desk.

Today, women are pushing to blend the two. And frankly, the notion of a holistic approach to work is an idea that's long overdue. This concept goes beyond the usual tenets of time management. It means giving yourself time to nurture the parts of you -- professional and personal -- that make you uniquely valuable to your organization.

Every week I set aside time for self-renewal. That means doing things that aren't naturally part of my job: volunteering in the community, reading for enjoyment, exercise, sitting on the boards of other organizations, attending seminars and learning new ways of doing things from a diverse group of activity that eventually leads to better problem-solving and innovation. In short, I have a life outside of the office, and those activities make me better at what I do.

Self-renewal also reinforces the balance that is essential to good leadership. But you have to add renewal to your to-do list -- and use it wisely. If you don't, it will be lost in the chaos of the workday or, worse, become more of a distraction than a strength.

Mike Eskew is chairman and CEO of UPS, the world's largest package delivery company.
I'm not sure if I necessarily agree that it's women that are behind the push to blend corporate and personal -- I subscribe to the possibly wacky idea that we are all achieving a higher consciousness of the power of the integrated whole -- but I applaud Eskew for getting it, and bringing it to a wider audience on the pages of pink.

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Stock-tracking widget

I just downloaded an Apple widget that will make monitoring my pipe-related stocks that much easier.

Curiously, the default equities for this widget contained exactly the same stocks that are in my current equity portfolio (which is distinct from my 401k and IRA allocations):
  • Apple (AAPL)
  • eBay (EBAY)
  • Google (GOOG)
  • News Corporation (NWS)
Of course, now I can't remember if I've got Amazon or Yahoo! in there. Either way, eBay's about to go and be replaced by a company that's allegedly going public this November.

If you're investing in and/or watching a stock that meshes neatly with the Own The Pipes approach, do tell.

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Dear Vince: please clarify

Delegating self-assessment to others <> personal pipe ownership.

Printed on a miniature football given out by clickbooth at AdTech this year:
We will be judged by only one thing -- the result.
Vince Lombardi
Unlike so many effective online ads, this quotation was not contextual; I've no idea when or where Vince said this. Perhaps it was in opposition to "It's how you play the game."

But if he's talking about a life well-lived, let me just say:
  • Who is doing the judging?
  • What are the metrics upon which 'the result' is based?
  • Who are we?
Me? I'm more on the Cervantes tip -- "The road is always better than the inn." Which is not to say that I would agree with, "The loss is better than the win." But there are lessons to be learned about life and about self that cannot be found in a stream of blue ribbons.

Considering this, perhaps I could agree with ole Vince if the result were that which we have learned from any given experience.

Somehow, I don't think that's what he had in mind.

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Does this life sound fulfilling to you?

This is what not owning your pipes looks like.

I read an interview with Nancy Knowlton, CEO of Smart Technologies, in Gordon Pitts' At The Top column in Toronto's 10/29/2007 issue of The Globe and Mail. As a basketball player, the article title ("Former basketball star sticks to the team approach") drew me in, but it boomeranged me right out when I read the following:
What is your personal future?
I don't want to get off this treadmill any time soon. I am 54 and my husband is 58 and we still work 70 to 90 hours a week. I like being agitated, I like being paranoid, I like being worried about what's happening.
Yikes. No mention of children in the article (personal and private choice, sure, but also no mention of philanthropy or community involvement), no actual mention of anything team-related, and frankly, in the picture that accompanied the article her hair looks brittle, her skin rough, and there are bags under her eyes. Not to mention: her pullover looked rather cheap. You're working miserable hours at the age of 54 and you can't even buy yourself a nice suit jacket?

Really? This is what we consider "at the top"?

Does this sound compelling to any of you?

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The cult of victimhood

You cannot own your pipes if you are busy blaming external sources for your woes.

From John Ibbitson's America column in the 10/31/2007 issue of Toronto's The Globe and Mail:
Comedian Bill Cosby and Harvard psychiatry professor Alvin Poussaint have co-authored a most controversial new book. Come On People: On the Path from Victims to Victors argues that many aspects of black culture, from music to language to attitudes toward education, contribute to black poverty and crime.

The authors maintain that more black men and women -- but especially men -- have to start taking responsibility for their own lives.
In my mind, letting yourself fall prey to the cult of victimhood essentially turns over the ownership of you -- hands over the keys to your pipes -- to your supposed oppressor. And that prevents you from ever fully realizing your potential. I'm not saying that there aren't real forces that conspire to keep us down -- and by us, I mean all humans, not just blacks. My point is that letting this victimhood mentality take hold amplifies the already detrimental effects of whatever it is that's blocking our path to true success to begin with.

I'm reminded of a letter that I wrote to the Editor of Black Enterprise that was ultimately printed in their November 2006 issue:
One reader's letter to the editor regarding the tequila ad in the May 2006 issue troubled me. She wrote, "Your advertising department needs to take a better look at the statistics concerning how fast food and alcohol affect the black community." The writer's underlying assumption is that members of the black community are more likely than non-blacks to be helpless victims of an onslaught of predatory fast food and alcohol advertisements, as if they lack the agency and ability to determine for themselves the course of their own lives and the products they decide to consume.

Is the writer's opinion reflective of the majority of black Americans? White Americans? Americans who vote? If so, what, exactly, would be the corrective course of action? To only allow advertising to reach those who have checked the "Yes, mommy, I'm a grown up" box on a federal form?
I'd be interested to hear what other folks out there think on this issue.

And perhaps I should disclose that I am libertarian-ish and of mixed ethnic origin (non-black). Seems that these kinds of data points matter to some folks.

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