the Bradford Group

St. Joseph of 37212: A Christmas Epiphany

In Religion, Society and Culture on December 15, 2012 at 1:10 pm

Today I went to the post office without my wallet. Stood in long line of Christmas mailers. Got it to the desk, checked my back pocket. No wallet.

Told postal clerk Joe, whom I know from frequent PO trips mailing books I sold online, “Damn, I left my wallet at home.”

Left and drove home. Came back. Line was twice as long. Joe waves me over – ” Mr. Bradford” – and I jump to the front of the line. “You shouldn’t have to wait in line twice,” he said.

This is office sainthood. And we’re in Advent and his name is Joseph… St Joseph of 37212. Anybody know a cardinal?

Truth is Beauty

In Art on June 17, 2012 at 10:03 am

We traveled to Birmingham, Alabama this past weekend to conduct a little new client research. So, what do you do in Birmingham? Well, we found this abandoned steel factory called  Sloss Furnaces that has been turned into a post-industrial park. Rather than wander among the trees, meadows, ponds and gardens of normal city parks, we wandered among slag piles, blast furnaces and macabre machinery. It was beautiful. Can’t want to go back. Here are a a few photos from the trip.

Intersection

Cathedral

Captain’s Wheel

Chutes and Ladders

Shield

Chernobyl

Resting

Stomach

Bucolic

Complement

Ghost

Closed For Good

Cannon

Power

OK Corral

Digestion

Garden

Sloss Orchard

Riveting

The Way In

City Silage

Commander

Sedona

Green Pipes

Laurel and Hardy

Font

Insulators

Destination

Three Stooges

Christmas

The Way Out

The Leg Bone Connects To The Knee Bone

Open Wound

Egyptian Door

Stitches

Cuissanart

Toy Store

Soft Power In A Hard World

In Marketing, Mythology, Philosophy, Physics, Religion, Society and Culture on May 28, 2012 at 7:08 pm

I am an student of English and philosophy who spends a large portion of his reading time with books on modern physics. One of my plans for retirement is to go back to school to learn the mathematics necessary to truly understand the physics books I am reading.

Image

Have you ever visited an Apple store that wasn’t packed?

Our PR firm works with many technology firms, and we plan to work with more of them because the technology sector is driving our economy. They make the stuff people want. Have you ever visited an Apple store that wasn’t packed?

So, we live in a world shaped by the hard sciences, rewarding those who can shape matter to our bidding. It  is largely a positivist world, where all that exists is energy and matter and all that matters is how, not why.

What is an English major to do?

We are to make sense of it. Apple understands this. It doesn’t sell technology. It sells possibilities, novelty, wonder, discovery, mastery, joy. That’s why Apple stores are always packed, and why stores that emphasize only the technology die. (Remember CompUSA? Circuit City?)

And that’s what propagandists do. We breathe the myths of our culture into the machines of our age to give them meaning and vitality. Creating this emotional connection is as important as creating the technology because it creates desire for the technology.

At the other end of this poetical/practical spectrum lies my fascination with the physics behind our technology. The unseen and probably unseeable forces that make the iPhone work are as mystical as the myths used to sell the iPhone. Physic’s latest theory postulates that that there are actually 11 dimensions and that we can only experience four of them because the other seven are “curled up.” And string theory is basically the idea that all that exists are vibrating strings of energy. Just like Einstein said, energy equals matter. This is mystical.

I understand, or at least understand the language of, the mythical end of the spectrum. That’s what literature, art, religion are about, which I’ve spent a lifetime studying. I am by no means an expert, but I understand the code well enough to “get” it – unlike my situation on the mystical end, where my unfamiliarity with mathematics prevents me from truly understanding what the priests of physics are saying.

So I hope to learn their code and close the circle that begins in mystery, proceeds through matter and ends in mythology, only to begin again in mystery. The parts of this circle that you can’t see – mystery and mythology – create and make sense of the matter you can see. The invisible is essential. The visible is ephemeral.

From mystery to matter to myth and back again.