Saturday, May 11, 2013

Trust & Betrayal

An acquaintance and I recently had a conversation about trust in relationships. He has always been of the mindset that once trust is broken or betrayal is established, the relationship is irreparable. I disagree.

We both have arrived at our views from our individual experiences. He grew up in a household where there was not trust and betrayal was constant. The people who were supposed to care for him, did so intermittently and when care was present, it was only moderately so. I grew up in a different kind of household  in which care was constant and trust was rarely breached; it it was it was not intentional. Thus, his life experiences tell him that if someone fails you once at any level whether intentionally or unintentionally, they can't be trusted. My life experiences tell me something entirely different--that people who love you are fallible, but mostly trustworthy. When they fail, because the mutual love, respect, and overall history of having proven to be trustworthy, they can earn forgiveness and regain trust.

I think this is especially true in intimate relationships. There have been two experiences in particular that have most influenced my beliefs on trust and betrayal. The first and earliest came from my grandparents divorce. As a young child I had not known that they had divorced because today they are buried together and when my grandfather was diagnosed with Alzheimer's it was my grandmother who cared for him until his death. Many years later, when I was a young adult, my mother told me that they had in fact divorced when she was a young child. My grandfather filed and my grandmother felt deeply betrayed at the time telling him that if he did it that was it; she would be done with him. In time, they mended their relationship and when he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, she did not hesitate to take him in and care for him although she had previously declared that she would have nothing to do with him after the divorce.

The second experience is that of a very close friend. She and her husband were unfaithful to each other. Upon the discovery of each others infidelity, they were headed for divorce. Instead, they attended therapy for many months and remain married. I've known both of them since the beginning of their courtship and their marriage is much more solid than before the betrayal.

I will say that it takes mutual respect and understanding and most important a mutual desire to rebuild trust and work for it.

I think the difference between my acquaintance and me is that I view trust as a living component of all relationships that varies in strength at different times. He views it as an all or nothing. I choose the belief with more optimism.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

This Ain't Steve Jobs' iPhone 5

I'll be the first to admit that I was not an early adopter of the iPhone. I didn't adopt a device until 2009 when I bought a second hand 3G handset. After a couple of weeks of a learning curve (I'd been using a Samsung Blackjack which had buttons--as I'm typing, I'm thinking how old that reads.), I really began to like my device. Okay, I'll admit it, I loved it. It was everything I wanted and needed in a smart phone, but didn't know. Since then, I've obtained and still have a 3GS and an iPad 2. I'm fond of my Mac devices, but am no fangirl.
The release of the iPhone 5 has left me not only underwhelmed, but dismayed by Apple's departure from the legacy of its late leader, Steve Jobs. This brings me back to the genesis of this entry. There is an adage, "You can't miss what you never had", well some where, some how, Steve Jobs discovered the weakness in this adage and exploited it in every iteration of the iPhone he oversaw. He proved to the world, particularly late adopters like me, that you can miss what you never had. Now we have the latest version of the iPhone--the first to be released postmortem and it is as clear as the touchscreen glass of the device and yet so simple a concept that its subtlety is indeed too complex for everyone other than the most attuned visionary to grasp--the iPhone became the iPhone, because it delivered what we needed, not what we wanted. It has been intuitive by capitalizing on the best jailbreak features and integrating those into an interface that reacts like involuntary muscles.  The iPhone 5 still does all of this, but nothing more; and that's the problem. Without the notoriously harsh leadership of Jobs, Apple didn't push the limits, didn't reset the boundaries. Instead, Apple did what HTC has done, given consumers what they wanted--a larger screen and a faster processor. Meh. With Tom Tom, Apple has rid its devices of Google Maps, and that's good, but it isn't great.

Perhaps my expectations were too high, but if that is so, Apple set them there. I just wanted, after two years, to be wowed. I hoped for that new thing that I had a feeling I needed in a smartphone, but couldn't articulate. The ability to lock particular folders or applications (a jailbreak feature I love), the ability to text without entering the application, perhaps the ability to take a quicker photo from a locked device. I don't know--something I hadn't thought of because my mind isn't yet that free. I'll keep jailbreaking because this ain't Steve Jobs' iPhone.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Bobby Tillman

Today, the friends and family of 18 year old Bobby Tillman are grieving over his senseless and tragic death. I too share in the grief and can't imagine what his mother must be enduring. The AJC reports that Bobby Tillman, who had just graduated from high school, coached youth basketball and planned a career in sports management. He reminds me a great deal of my brother and his photographs and physical similarities suggest we could have most certainly shared kinship. Fair skin, small frame, gray eyes. This young man was simply engaging in an activity common among those his age. He was not at a club, he went to a house party and there in the drive-way of the home, he lost his life to a bunch of hoodlums who don't deserve to share oxygen with the rest of us.
What possessed these punks to beat another human being? What justification is there for such brutality? Why did none of the nearly 60 onlookers intervene? What kind of parents must the other boys have for their children to be so disconnected from the value of life?

I am deeply troubled by this incident. I like to think that most people would act with integrity and stare evil in the eyes with courage and the vow to defeat it. Those boys are evil and yet it seems no one intervened. In PSYCH 310, we learned about a similar case, the case of Kitty Genovese which resulted in much research and reporting of The Bystander Effect. Of three dozen witnesses to her murder, no one intervened. In psychology, this occurs due to a transference of responsibility--the idea that someone else will intervene, someone else will act with courage and integrity. What if Malcolm, Frederick Douglas, Thomas Jefferson, and others waited or depended upon someone else to do what was necessary to defeat evil?

In the words of Edmund Burke, "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing." Sunday morning, evil triumphed and a mother is burying her son.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Taking Offense...

I find it really ironic, no actually, I find it a marvelous demonstration of hypocrisy for those who proclaim love of the Constitution and decry excessive government involvement to take such grave offense to the construction of an Islamic Cultural Center and Mosque near Ground Zero. Mike Luckovich, editorial cartoonist for the Atlanta Journal Constitution, has provided wonderful perspective on this issue in both his 8/18 illustration and his 8/13 one. This pseudo hysteria is both sad and alarming. It demonstrates the lack of integrity and rational thinking that is now pervasive within American culture. Of course a minority group within the opponents of the structure continues to say this is not about the center’s legal right to be there, but rather is about the offense of it. Yet, we all know their goal is to have their offense reign supreme and result in construction plans being canceled. In the US, we enjoy significant freedoms because we perpetually pay a tremendous personal price of respecting the freedom of others even when we find their exercise of said right an egregious offense.

In his 8/19/10 Forbes editorial, Warren Meyer writes a wonderfully objective article about the issue. I concur with him and admire his integrity. This is less about offense and more about those offended respecting both their freedom and the freedom of those by whom they allege to be offended. I am deeply offended by the sagging pants that adorn the male youth of today. I am even more offended by poor grammar, particularly by the incorrect use of reflexive pronouns, an error President Obama has committed. Yet, I would not protest outside of the White House that he should no longer be allowed to speak or that he be levied a fine. Nor would I petition state legislatures to bring forth legislation making such an offense a misdemeanor. First, it is an assault on the very freedom that I am exercising by declaring my offense. Second, it is an enormous waste of time and energy when we certainly have bigger fish to fry. The irony in it all is that the very people who want the offense to their sensibilities addressed are some of the very people who say blacks are too easily offended by matters of race. Pot is that you? It is I, Kettle!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Apple Fanboys

Apple Fanboys are the most annoying group of droids (pun intended) since Jonestown. They take any and every criticism of Apple and their dear leader, Kim Jong-il—eh em, Steve Jobs. Apple fanboys are rabid in their response to any and all criticisms of Apple products. It is utterly impossible for one of them to accept any fault in the business practices, much less the products marketed and designed by Apple (I won’t even get into the suicides at the manufacturing factory where the products are made).

First, Apple designs some great products that are visually appealing and enable the creatively inclined to bring wonders to life much more easily than a MS operating system ever has. With that said, everyone makes mistakes, just as Toyota. I have an IPhone 3G and it works well. I experience dropped calls in two areas on the same street each and every time I drive through there, but I know this is an issue with AT&T. I do not own an IPhone 4, but I’ve followed the issues with the antenna design. From the anecdotal responses by fanboys to these stories, one would believe these incidents are only isolated to four or five people even though Apple acknowledges otherwise.

I do not begrudge those who have chosen to purchase the IPhone 4 in spite of the apparent flaws with the antennae. It is a great product otherwise. I find it really sad and disappointing that Apple and its fanboys are unwilling to accept criticism and instead act like ungrateful adolescents. The truth is, it was insulting to tell customers they are holding the phone wrong; it was juvenile to later acknowledge problems only to point the finger at other smartphone makers; it is absolutely inane for fanboys to support Apple’s tacit stance of return the product for “more deserving” consumers—as one fanboy so eloquently commented on Forbes. This is an issue of operating a business with integrity which involves apologies when something—albeit beyond the control of the company—goes wrong. Apple has essentially said some people are too stupid and gullible to own or use its products. The company is right; its fanboys are too gullible to be critical and walk away if necessary from a product while perhaps not inferior by market standards, is inferior by the standards the company itself has set.

If I visit my favorite five star restaurant and during this visit receive sea bass that is less than perfection and even worse, over-cooked, I would be appalled if the owner responds to my concern with “I ate the fish wrong.” Further, such a response would make me wonder if the five star reputation is well earned. For fanboys to defend such uncouth behavior is disconcerting to say the least. It is setting the stage for Apple to become the next Microsoft—heaping inferior products onto the market simply because idiot consumers don’t know they hold the power in a capitalist economy.

Apple demonstrates American arrogance and hypocrisy--unwilling to be criticized because of prior triumphs in excellence and unfortunately taking on the persona of those whom they previously criticized and defeated for acts of tyranny. When Toyota was the center of media attention for alleged sticking accelerators, the company president was contrite and pledged to resolve the issue the issue following an investigation. It is apparently a cultural thing, and this is one culture that has no shame.

A smartphone that doesn’t work well as a phone isn’t very smart.

A Moment of Silence

This entire Shirley Sherrod snafu demonstrates live and in living color how true my grandfather’s words were: “The less you say, the less you have to take back.” Now this is applicable to all parties involved, but is most applicable to President Obama. If I could only get this man to close his mouth. I so tire of seeing his or Press Secretary Gibbs daily press conferences. I don’t need to see you to know that you are doing your job. Whatever happened to no comment? President Obama could certainly learn from his predecessor in answering only what he deems necessary and nothing else. By responding to any and everyone’s criticisms, he is rendering himself not only unlikeable, but also impotent.

For the three of you who may be unfamiliar with this situation, an edited You Tube video (that’s right, everyone knows how credible You Tube is) suggested that former USDA official, Shirley Sherrod, discriminated against a white farmer. Ms. Sherrod defended herself against the video and claims of pundit, Bill O’Reilly and it was later revealed, along with the rest of the video, that she was sharing an experience that taught her the value of integrity. Within the video going “viral” and the truth of the matter, Ms. Sherrod was forced to resign, allegedly at the request of the White House.

The irony in all of this is that Bill O’Reilly, who was the first person to publicly scold Ms. Sherrod and call for her termination, has remained relatively unscathed though he is just as culpable in this hoopla as is the president. Nevertheless, I find error in the fact that President Obama has even dignified any of this insanity with a response. Why he insists upon responding to attacks and fake outrage is beyond me. The nation remains as polarized as it was in 1996. Attempting to appease both sides only adds rocket fuel laced with hydrogen to the fire. Mr. President, please for the sake of all of us who simply want to keep it moving, be quiet.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

King James The Abolitionist

Much has been said about Lebron James' decision to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat. The media would like to make more of the way in which his decision was broadcast a much larger issue than it really is. Even the NBA commissioner David Stern has called Lebron James' "The Decision", "ill conceived."

I for one (of millions) find Jesse Jackson unnerving, opportunistic, and a supercilious, obnoxious, idiot; but am inclined, much to my surprise, to agree with him on Dan Gilbert's response to Lebron James' departure. This is, in fact, no different than Katie Couric leaving the Today Show or Meredith Viera leaving the View. However, in culture, in the understood relationship of athlete and team owner, it is very different. Lebron has usurped control from Dan Gilbert and David Stern. He has stepped forward as a man and stood for his freedom and Dan Gilbert responded like a slave master or perhaps a jilted lover. Hell hath no fury and the hunt knows no better hunter than a slave owner scorned.

Upon reading the initial response of David Stern, I was at first hopeful because he iterated that Mr. James had fulfilled his contractual obligations. As I continued to read, Stern also demonstrated slave master mentality or at the very least hypocrisy in saying that Mr. James' broadcast of "The Decision" was ill conceived. So in essence, he is saying that this man, making a manly decision and making some of the money, to donate to the Boys & Girls Club no less, that would have otherwise been retained by ESPN and the NBA solely, was ill conceived. What hypocrisy! Each year, David Stern, and the NBA broadcasts their decisions of whom to draft to what team. How is this any different? Other than it being the slave, eh em, player taking control of the situation and assuming the role of the NBA, there is none.

I applaud Mr. James, that is right, Mr. James for such a business minded and philanthropic move. It was courageous and very respectable. Other players are more content to be pawns and mockeries than to step forward as men. Mr. James decided he would no longer be just Lebron or the so-called "self-proclaimed king." He demonstrated that he has truly earned that name and commanded respect obviously not truly bestowed upon him by Dan Gilbert (a man who has made his fortune through sub-prime lending as owner of Quicken Loans). Get over yourself Dan Gilbert, there are still plenty of other slaves on your plantation and many more who would jump at the opportunity to be one of your slaves. Mr. James chooses greener pastures and perhaps he'll be allowed in the house this time.