First of all, let's welcome the new Roundtable logo. That's me on the left in the picture above, (not the soap bar). Now that we've got that out of the way, I'd like to let you know that Sereena has posted for this week's Roundtable. She's taking applications for people who she should listen to... in 50 words or less. (She's a busy woman.) So head on over to her blog and tell her and the rest of the world why you should be listened to.
I'm sure this guy is being talked about all over the press, on the internet, and especially on blogs, but as a fellow Indian American, it's my turn. People tend to focus on this seemingly nice guy's singing abilities and on how deserving he is to still be on the show. His singing talent is arguable. I'm no expert, but I find him to have a nice smooth voice and he stays on tune quite well, but he just doesn't have the stage presence to be the winner of American Idol. He totally reminds me of Michael Jackson and at least some girls love him. But his significance in pop culture is more important to his ethnic group than it is to mainstream Americans.
Sanjaya is the first Indian guy in the U.S. that has become a household name since Mahatma Gandhi. It's sad but true in a way, yet it gives me hope. He is showing that "a brown guy" can be respected and considered just like any other American. I was growing tired of the dichotomy of stereotypes that we were associated with. On one hand, Indians are among the most educated and wealthiest of ethnicities, yet on TV, we're usually portrayed as soft bumbling idiots who can only speak English with a heavy Indian accent. This never made sense to me.
Much to my delight, while I was watching Saturday Night Live last Saturday, one of their regular cast members was portraying Sanjaya, just like anybody else would be mimicked. When was the last time you saw a real Indian person being portrayed on a major American television show? I cannot remember and I'm guessing you can't either.
Regardless of possible voter manipulation that has kept Sanjaya on the show, perhaps America has learned a lesson. His ethnicity in fact seems almost transparent as we seem to have collectively learned that those of Indian ethnicity are just like whites, Latinos, or African Americans. We're also a part of the fabric of American culture. Some of us sing, some of us speak perfect English, some of us make girls cry, but all of us Indian-Americans deserve to be considered as part of the mainstream.
<<< I've decided to add a new feature. I will occasionally post "Quick Questions" which will be similar to Quick Quotes in their randomness, but these will be lines you'll be more likely to want to comment on. I'm starting with two questions, one philosphically heavy, the other somewhat goofy. >>>
"Is it possible to love God but dislike religion?"
"Are you really as good a driver as you think you are?"
Building on RW's Roundtable post from last week, I went from thinking about what makes somebody want to listen to you to what makes them think you're worthy of helping, working with, or hanging out with. We give away first impressions that are either favorable or unfavorable (depending on the moment as well as the person), but in addition to the first impression, what makes you think that a person is worth respecting? Is it somebody showing up on time for an appointment, designer label clothes, a firm handshake, a British accent?
Some of these attributes present themselves quickly while others take a long time to develop, but I think we all have our hot-buttons for respect. For me, they are genuineness, kindness, somebody who does what they say they will, being relatively well-spoken, (but not too well-spoken), not questioning my name, not being too serious and many others. Height doesn't matter to me, knowing that the person has money doesn't buy my admiration.
So I ask guests and the esteemed members of the Roundtable, what makes you respect a person, (perhaps to the point of even listening to them)?
I'm a son of packrats. I admit it, and they don't. (See note at the bottom about the picture to the left.) Sometimes I wonder why I've taken on some of the same tendencies, although I am getting better at fighting these habits. Paper stuff is the worst for me but thanks to e-mails, I have managed to minimize my stacks. I collect things like 1:18 scale car models, CD's, and car brochures. Some people find these collections to be ridiculous, especially when they're helping me move. Of course, I find these collections to be a part of who I am, an expression of my interests and a source of pleasure.
But where does one draw the line? Of course the people you see featured on talkshows who collect things to the point that they don't have room to take a shower are going a bit overboard. But there has to be some guiding principle as to when collecting becomes too much. I haven't Googled it or checked Wikipedia so I don't know the real answer. I'd rather provide my own.
I think that collecting stuff is excessive when it gets in the way of normal life. If you can't find things you need because things you collect get in the way, then you have too much. If you don't remember most of the things you have, then you have too much. If your rooms are impassible and don't serve any function other than for storage, then you have too much stuff. Creating more space for stuff, (beyond a reasonable level), is also a sign that you hoard. Adding lots of shelves or containers or buying a new house for more stuff are bad signs. Perhaps hardware stores and places like Organized Living are "enablers" to such behavior. So then we must ask, why do some of us hold on to too much?
I say it has to do with your childhood and how much you had in the household. If you grew up relatively poor, then any stuff is more valuable at a subconscious level and it's only natural to hold on to things. At the other extreme are people who toss everything out. These are probably people who grew up with too much. They had parents who coincidentally never yelled at them to turn off the light when they left the room. (By the way, by my estimates, these people are responsible for 0.25% of the global warming)
So I wonder what you the reader feel is the line between collecting and hoarding. I also would like to hear what you have to say about what causes people to "over-collect."
As I looked for a suitable image for the post, I found the picture shown above and this nice link courtesy of Fairfax county Virginia...
RW, a veteran to Roundtabling is taking his turn this week and in his post, he wants to talk, but he wants you to shut up. Actually, he's talking generally. Why do we each think our opinions are worth expressing? Why should others listen? Why don't we listen to others? Head on over to RW's blog, Chasing Vincenzo, ponder these questions and read others' thoughts before you give some comments of your own. Remember, listen then talk, or as the case may be read, then write.
Deni has finally up to do his first Roundtable blogpost and he's stirred up some controversy, mainly with his terminology. What he's wondering is who really sells themselves out, and is it ok to do. Perhaps we all do it, not in the way that practitioners of the world's oldest profession do, but in a more legal and socially acceptable way. Have a visit to his blog and comment away.
If I were a spammer, I would do it so much better. Spam doesn't fool me the least bit anymore and I have a feeling it's not working for the spammers and their miserable careers. I've thought about it and created a guide for myself in case times turn rough and I have to resort to spamming. (Just kidding). I thought it would be fun to put these words of advice together anyway.
Make your email addresses seem like real people even if the domains are shady. Most of the time when I get a spam email, the email address is complet jibberish. Use proper spelling and grammar. This is an obvious tip off to people who have any command over the English language. We don't trust those who can't write well enough to make us believe they finished 8th grade. Use sentences that make sense. Where did you get that idea to use weird poetic almost biblical sounding text strings and do you think that it makes people think you're selling anything. Are you? I'm not sure this is not good marketing. Try a different kind of subject line. I already bought enough Viagra and bought all the stocks you suggested. I'm looking for something else to make my life more complete. To be fair though, some spammers have resorted to news headline type subject lines. These almost fooled me, actually made me open the email, but I'm not the only one who has caught on in two clicks. Create some truly funny emails or links to video clips. My friends send me enough jokes and most of them aren't very funny. Entertain me for real and I might just forward your spam and so will others. Well done joke emails might even make people think your company is legitimate. Try the "sex sells" approach. Just paste the picture of some very attractive men or women in the email and you might get some more responses. It works for marketers from "real" companies. Just ask GoDaddy.com.
As a marketer, I truly believe some of my tactics would work. I just know that if I was a spammer, I would be one of the best. Too bad my ethics get in the way. And for those of you who might criticize me for helping spammers, I don't think they have time to read my blog so don't worry.