“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”
George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) was awarded a Nobel Prize in Literature in 1925 for his playwrighting. Over the course of his career, the Dublin-born Irish writer composed more than 60 theatrical works and also worked as a critic. He was a committed and outspoken socialist. One of his most famous plays was Pygmalion, which was turned into a film for which he received an Academy Award for his script; it also served as the basis for “My Fair Lady” on Broadway. Among his other celebrated works are Man and Superman, Major Barbara, Androcles and the Lion, and Saint Joan.
There is a major sociological trend in the United States today, a preference for individual adults to live, work, and love as single entities. The number of single men and women in the U.S. now amounts to 107 million people–or 45% of all citizens over 18. Single women outnumber their male counterparts, 53% to 47%. Also: the age of marriage has grown later in life: 27 years for women and 29 for men, which compares to 20 and 22, respectively, in 1960. The age at which women have a first child also has increased: today it is 26.3 years while in 1970 it was 21.4 years. More people are also living together outside of marriage. As one study put it, “the number of cohabiting, unmarried partners increased by 88% from 1990 to 2007.” While 48% of adult Americans were married when a 2011 study was undertaken, this figure is down dramatically from 1950 when 78% were hitched. A new book by Rebecca Traister examines the drive toward singlehood by women and provides historical and contemporary data explaining and analyzing this phenomenon. Traister’s 2016 feminist work–All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation–was praised by The New York Times Book Review as “a well-researched, deeply informative examination of women’s bids for independence, spanning centuries…. This is an informative and thought-provoking book for anyone —not just the single ladies—who wants to gain a greater understanding of this pivotal moment in the history of the United States.”
Ohio Governor John Kasich, in his Don Quixote-like drive for the GOP nomination for president visited NYC on April 12. The Republican primary was but one week away in delegate-rich New York, and Kasich attempted to gain some votes by visiting a Hasidic community in Brooklyn, and more specifically a matzo factory. What he did was advertise his Midwestern provincialism and his ignorance of history and culture outside of his own small world. He mentioned, for example “the Passover,” a joyous liberation commemoration of the end of slavery for Jews in Egypt, that’s in process as I write. Would Kasich appreciate a Jew, Muslim or Buddhist speaking of “the Easter” or “the Christmas?” John, it’s just Passover. To his ultra-Orthodox Jewish hosts, he felt compelled to provide this comment: “The great link between the blood that was put above the lamppost, the blood of the lamb, is Jesus Christ is known as the Lamb of God and the great link is, it was the blood of the lamb that saved the Jewish people, and in Christianity, it was the blood of the Lamb of God that saves all of us. It’s a wonderful, wonderful holiday for our friends in the Jewish community, the Passover.” This is wrong and insensitive on so many levels that it becomes comedy. The next time Kasich gets a yen to discuss Passover, first I suggest that he watch the 1956 Cecil B. DeMille film, The Ten Commandments, in which Charlton Heston became a superstar portraying Moses.
RICH, RICH, RICH
For your daydreaming pleasure, here are some consumer activities that are only to be enjoyed by the very wealthy 1%. Politics: Seats at the head table of a Los Angeles Democratic fundraiser featuring George Clooney and his wife Amal sold for $353,400. Autos: Buy one of the most expensive cars in the world–a Bentley Azure Convertible Mulliner–for $376,485. Real Estate: Purchase a 12-room home in Brookline, MA (Boston)–complete with a pond and Zen garden–for $13.5 million (asking price $18 million). Boat: The November 2015 issue of Yachting Magazine features an ad by Monocle Yachting that cites these figures: the cost of a new yacht, $3,500,000; the amount of money required for four-week annual use, $300,000; the “actual weekly cost of owning such an investment,” $116,000. To celebrate purchasing your new boat, Yachting recommends such gifts as a custom knife handle ($30,000-$100,000) and/or platinum or gold earphones ($25,000+). Toast your privileged status with wine selling for about $100 per bottle.
Technology investor Dave McClure says, “Design is more important than technology in most consumer applications.” This week I had to get a new Comcast cable box and remote control. Both are poorly designed. Where my prior box contained a useful and easy to read clock, this cable hub is completely featureless and appears to be some anonymous server in a human-free zone. The remote is mat black with tiny keys and indecipherable text set in six-point white type that you need to hold up to your nose to read. Television remotes were introduced in 1956 and since then have remained hideously designed–an after thought. After 59 years you would think that someone would have realized that varying the size of the buttons, using lighting, increasing the size of the remote itself, or all of the above would make for happier consumers. But remotes remain the poor, deprived orphans of consumer electronics.
Some wit once said, “There is no dress rehearsal for life.” What you perceive with your senses is what you get. To reinforce this message, I’ve created a new note card. The headline is: BE HERE NOW. It is 5 x 7, four-pages, and features my original art. The card’s printed on semi-gloss stock on a high-end digital press. It is available at my shop on Etsy.com, comes with a mailing envelope, and sells for $3.50.
The Points of Color blog by Ken Handel appears occasionally. Please send comments/suggestions to email@example.com. To subscribe, please send the message, “Please send Points of Color to my e-mail [__Please Insert Your E-mail Here_________________________] whenever it is distributed.”
TAGS: Technology quotes, U.S. demographics, single women, marriage rate, child-bearing age, John Kasich, high-end consumerism, wealth, technology, design, phenomenology.