In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. and the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, we speak to Todd Purdum about the legislative and political battle to get the civil rights bill passed.
OK, astute readers of a science fiction bent will realize that this is a bit of a rip-off.
***ALERT : If you don’t like science fiction, or you like to grouse about people who read or watch or write it, stop reading right here and go do something else. Seriously, just stop now and save us both the trouble.***
One of my favorite series was Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, in which the capitalist extremist species, the Ferengi, played a decently large part. The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition were the (semi-one-sided) laws of commerce that the species had to abide by… mostly. Kind of. When it suited them.
The Ferengi are not subtle, except when it suits them. They will do anything to earn profit. Well, they’ll do some things to earn it. Most of the time they’ll find a way to wangle it away from their customers and cook the books in their favor.
According to Star Trek Memory Alpha: “The Rules of Acquisition were a numbered series of aphorisms, guidelines, and principles that provided the foundation of business philosophy in Ferengi culture. They were first written ten thousand years ago by Gint, the first Grand Nagus. In the mid-22nd century there were 173 rules, and by the 24th century there were 285. In theory, every Ferengi business transaction strictly follows all 285 rules.”
One physical characteristic of the Ferengi (you may have noticed by now) is their large ears, which lends itself to a raised level of hearing ability. A wise Ferengi, it is said, can hear profit blowing on the wind. (Rule of Acquisition 22, in fact) The one thing about them is that they are good listeners. They have to be if they are going to be good business people.
I have learned over time that God gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason. (Call it cliche and/or trite if you want to, it’s my opinion and my blog.) If people spent a good deal more time listening and less chatting, things might be a bit better for them. (Again, my opinion. Don’t like it? Stop reading it.) If you ever listen to Drake and Zeke on 98.1 The Max, you may have heard Mr. Drake opine that most people go around with a five foot radius sphere around themselves and don’t care about much that goes on outside of that sphere. Small matters make for the best chatter, I’ve found. Usually to keep the larger matters at bay or to keep the wheels moving upstairs so you won’t have to worry about the trivial stuff? Not entirely sure. I do know that there is an awful lot of chatter and not much space left for listening. Which is a tragedy in its own sense: a lot gets missed when it’s all talk. Close the mouth to open the ears and you might just be amazed. Might be a good idea to put the phone down every once in a while and just shut up. Use your ears more and your mouth less. A lot of my experiences in life have leaned towards the idea of bettering myself, and a lot of times that I should have listened more than speaking. Hard to believe that even the greedy Ferengi can teach us something in real life.
Even though the Ferengi are fictional, their rules occasionally hit on a lot of common sense.
Rule Number 9: Opportunity plus instinct equals profit. Rule Number 48: The bigger the smile, the sharper the knife. Rule Number 59: Free advice is seldom cheap. Rule Number 74: Knowledge equals profit.
I have another favorite rule that I’ve borrowed, but I’ll save that for later on. Stay tuned.
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…but the ice is slippery.