Citizens of Earth,
Just read the news. Without a doubt, we’ve all got to go sometime. Mr. Mandela achieved in 95 intense and storied years what others will benefit from for centuries.
0n December 10th 1996, (the anniversary of which will take place 5 days from today) Mr. Mandela made public the South African Constitution.
The Constitution of these United States is a juggernaut of careful consideration and forethought. But South Africa’s? If you’ve never had the pleasure of reading it: brace yourself. The preamble alone is enough to warm you down to the marrow of your soul.
Read the bit below, then RUN — DO NOT WALK — to anywhere you can get your eyes on the rest.
Take a breath of life for Mr. Mandela, and get back into the fight. There’s a great deal of work still needs to be done.
We, the people of South Africa, Recognise the injustices of our past;
Honour those who suffered for justice and freedom in our land;
Respect those who have worked to build and develop our country; and Believe that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, united in our diversity.
We therefore, through our freely elected representatives, adopt this Constitution as the supreme law of the Republic so as to —
Heal the divisions of the past and establish a society based on democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights;
Lay the foundations for a democratic and open society in which government is based on the will of the people and every citizen is equally protected by law;
Improve the quality of life of all citizens and free the potential of each person;
and Build a united and democratic South Africa able to take its rightful place as a sovereign state in the family of nations.
What an intensely cool idea.
I’ve had this photo on my desktop for a really long time. I’ve seen it around and if you’ve got a lead on attribution, please let me know because they deserve a head’s up.
My favorite is the last paragraph:
But the proposal put before you by city staff is an ambush containing all those destructive consequences, packaged very sneakily with visually tiresome, unimaginative and imitative luxury project towers. How weird, and how sad, that New York, which has demonstrated successes enlightening to so much of the world, seems unable to learn lessons it needs for itself. I will make two predictions with utter confidence. 1. If you follow the community’s plan you will harvest a success. 2. If you follow the proposal before you today, you will maybe enrich a few heedless and ignorant developers, but at the cost of an ugly and intractable mistake. Even the presumed beneficiaries of this misuse of governmental powers, the developers and financiers of luxury towers, may not benefit; misused environments are not good long-term economic bets.
Come on, do the right thing. The community really does know best.
Strong, brave thinking from an amazing writer.
I found the full text of the letter on brooklynrail.org. It’s a great read.
Printed out and placed next to the iconic picture of Anna Lee Fisher [wiki article].
You say it doesn’t matter, I say it does.
Those tiny details are the only things that matter. They are the very things that people love about what you make; they are the things that they can not express in words. The details are where you put your mark on things. It’s in those tiny grooves that the people who look at your work can see what you mean. It’s how you connect people through your work.
When you walk away from a typo, you’re telling the world that their time and attention don’t have a value to you. That they shouldn’t invest any time in what you created because you don’t care. If you, the person getting paid to make something, can’t put your name on it, or if you see the work as separate from who you are then you’re not creating anything that matters.
It’s called quality. It’s called love. It is not easy, and does not come without sacrifice. Adoration is not the goal, clarity is. There is no equivocation in the work of a person who cares about their work.
Step one is always Care.
Part of the custom of visiting the DPRK is bringing a gift for your guides from your home country. I thought it would be really cool to bring my guide an iPod shuffle with music that represented America. I debated what I should put on it What would be the most valuable type of music to a DPRK guide in Pyongyang? and I ended up putting the top 100 Billboard hits. Turns out my guide has never heard any other type of music besides Korean and a little music from some of the American movies she saw. She didn’t know the titles of what she has seen, but one of them was about a “Girl who would sing and dance on top of the bar” Coyote Ugly (2000 movie)?
I spent a good part of the three hour drive to the DMZ explaining some of the genres like country, rap, and rock that were included in her mix. We shared earbuds as I blew her mind with the latest Eminem and Lady Gaga hits of 2010. I was pretty sad when she asked me to turn the volume down on multiple occasions.
Don’t play everything (or overtime). What you don’t play can be more important than what you do play.
Sums it up.
Things I’d miss about LA, if I missed LA.
Unrelated: getting back across to the New Bev with your chinese food between The Duelists and Alien on “Two By Ridley Scott Night” is hard. Just sayin’.