— BOOKS —
Battle of Symbols: Global Dynamics of Advertising, Entertainment and Media (Non-Fiction published by Daimon Verlag, Zurich) / Written directly after the 9/11 attacks. An examination of the symbolism of the West against the symbolism of the East and Middle East. Put together from links to news stories at the time. Assembled from hundreds of sources from the news of the period immediately after 9/11. The symbols at odds between the West and Middle East. Aspects of the two cultures that make-up the opposition symbols. Global players, rather than just merely national ones, are developing. A new force represented by the European Union and other start-ups all around the world. Masculine and feminine. The Middle East claims ownership of the equality (feminine) symbol while the West ownership of the freedom (masculine) symbols. They have a cyclic movement to them. The movements apply to advertising, entertainment and media. (Now available on Amazon)
Some Comments on Battle of Symbols
“The concept was so compelling that I will adopt it – with reference of course – to the beginning of my remarks at tomorrow’s Ohio State’s summer quarter commencement ceremony, certainly a symbol in itself.” Karen Holbrook, President,The Ohio State University
“I read Battle of Symbols with interest and was pleased with the overlap in our ideas. I wish you the very best on the book.” Joseph Nye, Jr., Dean, John F. Kennedy School of GovernmentHarvard University
“We here at the Monterey Institute of International Studies fully appreciate the centrality of symbols in communication. I will make certain a copy of Battle of Symbols goes into our library so our students may also gain from it.” Chester Haskell, Former President, Monterey Institute of International Studies
“Fraim offers us a highly readable analysis of the mass media dominated symbolic universe in which we all live. The Battle of Symbols is entertaining, but it is also profound – offering readers important insights into the role of symbols in American society and culture.” Arthur Asa Berger, Professor of Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts, San Francisco State University
“Most interesting. There are many ‘goodies’ in Fraim’s bright and exhilerating work. A fascinating and compelling commentary on ‘the battle of symbols.’ ” Donald Theall, Professor Emeritus Trent University, Former President Trent University, Author The Virtual Marshall McLuhan
“Very interesting and disturbing because I think it is right on target.” David Aaker, Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley
“It has become a cliché in modern communications theory that perception is everything. Mass media create ‘views’ of things and events, which are governed by a contest between symbols since the difference between contents is negligible … Coke and Pepsi, Chevy and Pontiac, Walmart and Sears, Harvard and Yale. John Fraim’s brilliant, witty and entertaining Battle of Symbols might, nevertheless, take the title of The Marketing of Soft Power. The emerging new paradigm of power, soft power, as John Fraim defines it, is the power of the information age, which replaces the hard power of the passing industrial era of economic growth. Fraim comes to this subject with background as the president of GreatHouse Company, a marketing and consulting firm. He is widely published in marketing and psychology journals. Fraim quotes Joseph Nye from The Economist to the effect that ‘modern power has less relationship to the reality of resources and more to the hyper-reality of images and perceptions.’ The events of 9/11 are for Fraim a prime example of the power of symbols to establish and control thought, particularly regarding the question of why America is so intensely disliked around the world. The selfless champions of freedom and democracy (symbolically at least) could not understand the severe clash of symbols set loose in their Arabic adventure into Afghanistan and Iraq. Where does this attitude come from? What does it feed on? According to Fouad Ajami, a leading US Middle East scholar, ‘The Anti-Americanism is automatic, unexamined, innate. To Islamists (America) is a defiling presence; to pan Arabists, the backer of a Zionist project to dominate the region.’ The Americans are equally biased. Harvard historian Samuel Huntington expresses the bias perfectly: ‘The underlying problem for the West is not Islamic fundamentalism. It is Islam, a different civilization whose people are convinced of the superiority of their culture and are obsessed with the inferiority of their power.’ Others agree with this view. Columnist Andrew Sullivan sees the US engaged in a religious war: ‘The religious dimension of the conflict is central to its meaning.’ Islam carries with it symbolic weights and values that abhor the decadence of American culture, or lack of it. The outcome of the West/Middle East conflict will have profound culture impact on both sides whether each side is ready for it or not. The symbolic allegiances will shift.
Fraim deftly reveals the powerful forces of symbolism and their covert global inter-relationships with a page turning excellence of prose style. There is also a vein of choice quotable stuff throughout the book. Battle of Symbols is an eclectic yet focused study of symbol power. Besides the witty description of Islam as a ‘cool’ medium borrowed from Marshall McLuhan and not to argue whether a religion is actually an independent medium of communication, Fraim invokes the best insights not only from McLuhan but also Arthur Kroker Edmund Carpenter, and Donald Theall et al. to add the high seriousness that the subject demands. Fraim does an excellent job of cutting through the difficulties of information overload quoting pithily from Otto Rank: ‘For the time being I gave up writing … there is already too much truth in the world … an over-production which apparently cannot be consumed.’ His analysis of the effects of the Internet is rare in its perception especially of its propagandistic role in American political life. Even the dangers in understanding are dealt with insightfully: ‘There is a great paradox involved with understanding … Understanding symbols offers the threat of reducing their power. In the same way that greater production leaves less time for observation.” The book ends on an ominous demographic note: ‘The Arab world has a large youthful population while American has a large aging population.’Fraim’s message, however, is positive and reassuring even in its deadly accurate treatment of the inadequacies of the present political and economic troubles multiplying from our lack of understanding of how vital it is to have a practical knowledge of symbolic values. I strongly recommend this excellent study to all students of communication.” Frank Zingrone, Professor Emeritus and Canadian media scholar.
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Spirit Catcher: The Life & Art of John Coltrane (Biography published by GreatHouse) / Written from the perspective of an “embedded” journalist discovering the music of Coltrane for the first time. The book written using the discography of Coltrane music listened to for the first time. I was in effect hearing the music of his life in the order he heard it, when he created it. I was an embedded fan, journalist it seemed for the time of writing the book. I was able to buy all of his albums at Berkeley’s leading used record store Leopold’s. This served as the real basis for my book Spirit Catcher. The vast collection of Coltrane was all available through Leopolds. Coltrane’s life developed into various periods. Spirit Catcher received the Best Biography of the Year from the Small Press Association.
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Point Zero Bliss (Memoir published by GreatHouse) / The true journal kept by a prisoner in a maximum security prison. The author keyed in the copy of his journal he sent him. Some editing advice and creative liberties but very few in this raw account of a year in a maximum security prison. (Now available on Amazon)
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Londonderry Farewell / (Historical novel) A young navy captain is sent to Northern Ireland in the middle of the “Troubles” period to shut down the oldest naval base in Europe. Written as co-author with the navy captain Tom McKeown. (Now available on Amazon)
— NOVELS —
New Light in Ancient Egypt / (2017) (Novel/Historical Fiction) Perhaps one of the strangest changes in religion was during the brief period during the 18th Dynasty of ancient Egypt when the polytheism of Egyptian gods was replaced by the monotheism of the Aten sun god. This period is associated with the King Akhenaten and lasted no more than 30 years. After this, with the rule of King Tut, all symbols and vestiges of the Aten were destroyed. There are theories Moses was an Egyptian (See Freud’s Moses and Monotheism) and perhaps lived around this time. What if Moses was behind the rise of the Aten cult? Like Moses, the cult was banished from Egypt into a new land. Yet the monotheism of the Aten was never destroyed. Did this strange, short-lived period of the Aten and monotheism become the basis for Christianity? The novel is set circa 1350 BC, the period of the 18th Dynasty of Ancient Egypt. It is the story of Akhenaten and his abandonment of traditional Egyptian polytheism and introduction of worship centered on the Aten or monotheism. The story is told from the point of view of Hapy, the son of the King’s key advisor and builder Hapu. From an original idea and research by Egyptologist Lynn Holden with editorial input from Marshall McLuhan’s son, Eric McLuhan. Written using screenplay structure and techniques.
Magic Light / (2016) (Novella) An exploration into the political power of Silicon Valley five months before a presidential election. John Jenkins has created a legendary advertising campaign for the person who has been the President of the United States for the past eight years. However, Jenkins has rejected the ideology the President has embraced after he was elected President. Jenkins wonders how he could have been so wrong on someone he believed in so much. Now, his ad firm’s largest account is a huge Internet search company that has close connections to the President. Jenkins’ firm and is asked to help with damage control after his client is hit by the FTC with bias towards the candidate running for President supported by the Presidents Progressive. At a meeting with the CEO of the Internet company he hears about a new virtual reality form of technology called Magic Light and asked to experience it by the CEO of the Internet company. He does and realizes it is dangerous and works to stop its release.
Devil Vine / (2015) (Novella) An unpopular South American dictator in a nation producing the world’s most powerful drug (known as the Devil Vine) recruits an old alcoholic legendary Hollywood TV hero down on his luck to come to his country to help with his public image in the nation. The entire nation watches old reruns of his movies from 40 years ago and thinks the TV shows are current productions. When the old star arrives, the dictator is shocked to see he is not the young star of the TV program the nation is addicted to watching. The star gets drunk and is picked up (kidnapped?) by men who work for the great rebel in the nation, a beautiful and charismatic woman who is leader of the rebel forces fighting against the government forces. She is trying to keep the products of the Devil Vine within the little nation so that the people can benefit rather than the dictator who has become a billionaire selling drugs made from the Devil Vine to foreign investors. Based on the real “Devil Vine” Ayahuasca, commonly called yage, an entheogenic brew made out of Banisteriopsis caapi vine and the Psychotria viridis leafAyawasca.
The Lost Mission / (2015) (Novella) The daughter of Mormon billionaire becomes radicalized during her “mission” to a foreign country and returns to San Francisco with her radical boyfriend to blow up the Golden Gate Bridge. Through her wealth she has access to the most sophisticated terrorist technology and the only thing to stop her are two former San Francisco detectives forced into early retirement by modern police technology.
Londonderry Farewell / (2013) (Historical Fiction) A young navy captain that is sent to Northern Ireland in the middle of the “Troubles” period to shut down the oldest naval base in Europe. Written as co-author with the navy captain Tom McKeown. (Now published on Amazon)
Gold Coast / (2010) (Novella) For a few years, I was a good friend of the jazz saxophonist Gene Walker and started to make a documentary film on his life. This is a fictional novel based on the incredible area he grew up in during the 40s and 50s. It was a place full of jazz like no other in the nation. A story about a developer who attempts to develop this wonder “Gold Coast” of culture that Gene grew up in. This story goes with the biography we have written called Extra Large, a biographer based around the life of my late friend Gene Walker. I had started to make a film about Gene’s life but then left to move to California and gave up on the film. Gene passed away while I was in California. And now, it seems not a bad idea to recreate the story of Gene tied to the amazing area in Columbus, Ohio where Gene grew up in during the 40s – 2000s. The legendary Long Street so this is much a biography of Long Street in Columbus, Ohio as how it might have related to a fictionalized Gene Walker who was becoming the next John Coltrane in a large sense.
— BIOGRAPHIES/HISTORY —
Mr. Yellow Pages / (Biography/Historical Fiction) Loren Berry was known as the “inventor” of the Yellow Pages form of advertising. Born in 1888 in Wabash, Indiana, Berry was an only child whose father died when he was a few years old. He had to help his mother at a very early age and helped his mother with her radish business as well as created ads for various businesses of the times on unique forms of media like schedules for the giant network of interurban railroad cars at this time. They ran like buses between the various towns, much more utilized than the highways which were few and far between at the time. The industrious boy witnessed the grant lighting of Wabash by electric lighting one night. It was one of the first cities in America to have lighting illuminate the night that had been dark above cities for so many years. The story fictionally covers the early years of LM Berry based upon the real world surroundings of him living in Wabash, Indiana from the late 1880s through the 1890s to the turn of the century. The story picks up in Dayton, Ohio where he moved to in 1910 to establish a business which became the Yellow Pages. Dayton was the greatest Silicon Valley of American in 1910 and he lived all around greatest inventors of some of the greatest inventions of history. The Wright Brothers lived two doors away from the home he eventually bought in Dayton, Ohio. He was a good friend of Charles Kettering. The main story though is about this life of the boy from Wabash who came to Dayton. Here, many begin to speculate on his life as it became more and more known. But no like I (or other members of the is family) are as concerned as we are to find out who he was he and what was he like and what he wanted out of life. What he feared in life. The best we can do on our ancestors is speculate on who they might have been. (For those of us who even think back to the past.) This story is based on speculation based on facts of the period. Our thanks to the Director of the Historical Society in Wabash County for his help in this project.
The Distant Hero / A biography of John Fraim, Jr., father of the author. “When I was born, his world was now in the past and he was entering a new world he never quite understood. I knew he was a hero yet his heroism was in the old military trunks and scrapbooks of his travels. The world of business never offered him anything like that time he was in the military. So many young men want to just forget that period of time in the service. Yet he never wanted to forget it.”
A Moment In Time / (Outline) A biography of Raymond Alf, one of the greatest paleontologists of all time who worked at a small school in California and a the teacher of the author. The question from one of his students: was he the great paleontologist or was he the great teacher or life coach? Outline developed with Don Lofgren, Director of the Alf Museum and Ph.D. in Paleontology (UC Berkeley). Also, with comments and input of many students of his and members of a society he established at the school based on paleontology. My co-author Don will be on Sabbatical this coming school year and we need to write a first draft of our bio on Ray. Based much around the outline I have created for Ray’s life based on a yearly chronology.
Voyage of the Kahiki / (Outline) Story of the growth of the Tiki culture in America and the founding of the Kahiki, the world’s largest Polynesian restaurant in Columbus, Ohio. Kahiki founder Lee Henry was first exposed to a Polynesian restaurant when his LA aunt took him to Don The Beachcombers in the early 1950s. It was something he would never forget. A story that explores the trend towards the south Pacific and Tiki culture of Polynesia.
Nutrition Pioneer / (Outline) The life of Dr. T. Colin Campbell. His battle against the government and FDA to limit meat and milk in the American diet. The change for him since he grew up on his families’ dairy farm. Created in with review and comments of Dr. Campbell. Story Idea: Based roughly on the life of Dr. Campbell, perhaps the greatest crusader for healthier food in America, as well as the modern world’s pioneering nutritionist. He is author of the legendary China Study, the largest health survey ever conducted, his main battle has been changing the American diet away from animal based food (dairy and meat) to plant food. I first encountered China Study on the bedside table of the guest room of my parent’s Palm Desert, California home. Many years later, I established a correspondence with Dr. Campbell and we created this outline together.
A dramatized, fictional story based roughly around key events in Dr. Campbell’s life. His grand opponents and allies in this battle. His victories and defeats. Discovery of a conspiracy to keep the nation unhealthy? The politics of the food industry, specifically meat and dairy industry in America. In an alliance with the medical and pharmaceutical industries, working with the food industry. The FDA and behind them, the great “elephant in the room” is the greatest lobby ever created in DC. No one goes against themA thriller/detective story where Dr. Campbell’s character (the Hero of the story) becomes a detective about food. What he finds out, is dangerous to his health. But vastly healthy for the nation.
Palm Desert History – (Outline) A history of Palm Desert, California, one of the fastest growing cities in America during the 50s and 60s. Unlike most cities founded by an individual, Palm desert was founded at the intersection of the dynamics of two brothers: Clifford and Randall Henderson. Clifford was the great developer of the desert while his brother Randall was the great conservationist of the desert. Written with the help of the resources of the Palm Desert Historical Society which I was a member of for a few years.
Ghost Mountain Family / (Outline) Historical fiction based on the book The Ghost Mountain Chronicles by my friend Diana Lindsay, the foremost authority on California’s Anza-Borrego Desert. As Diana writes in the book’s Introduction, “For 17 years, from 1930 to 1947, poet, artist, and author Marshal South and his family lived on Ghost Mountain – a remote, waterless mountaintop that is today within California’s Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Over a period of nine of those years, South chronicled his family’s controversial primitive lifestyle through popular monthly articles written for Desert Magazine. The articles reflected his passion for the desert while praising its early inhabitants and their lifestyle. Drawing on his poetic skills, South wrote vivid word pictures about the desert – its beauty and natural history – as well as their daily life at Yaquitepec, creating both a very loyal and supportive readership and naysayers who objected to his philosophy and lifestyle. After years of silence Rider South, the eldest of the three children who were raised on Ghost Mountain, and his wife Lucile feel it is time to tell the story and to set the record straight. The book includes their own memories plus all of Marshal South’s Desert Magazine articles and many never-before-published photographs of the family.”
Extra Large / (Biography) Columbus, Ohio native and jazz saxophonist Gene Walker toured with the Beatles and played with many leading jazz musicians of his period. The story of his life growing up in the famouis Long Street area of Columbus in the 1940s and 1950s.
Qutb in America / (Story Concept) Sayid Qutb is recognized as the originator of modern radical Islamism and spent a year in America during the late 1940s. What part did his visit to America play in his radical politics and his writing of the most revolutionary book of radical Islamism titled Milestones? A fictionalized account of his year in America using leading historical sources: Sayyid Qutb and the Origins of Radical Islamism by John Calvert and Pulitzer Prize winner The Looming Tower by Lawrence Wright.
— COMMUNICATION & MEDIA —
FREE:NATION/ American was founded at the paradoxical intersection between the symbols of Freedom and Equality. They have correspondence to the two political parties of Republicans and Democrats and political ideology of Conservative and Liberal, Progressive.
Screenwriting & Political Narratives / Modern political narratives might vastly increase their power if they learn how to apply screenwriting structure, technique and theory in constructing these narratives.
Symbolism of Place: The Hidden Context of Communication / (450 pages) The common perception of symbols is that they represent objects. But symbols also represent places (context) that contain objects (content). Drama can be viewed as the movement between opposition objects at the beginning and ending of a story, it can also be viewed as the movement between opposition contexts or places.
Symbolism of Popular Culture / (350 pages) Application of the theories of Symbolism of Place to broad fashions, trends and movements in popular culture such as product brands, celebrities, media, entertainment and sales. One of the areas examined are the cycles of prime time television in America.
Media Nations/ (150 pages) In the modern world, nations are better defined by mixes of particular media rather than by traditional ways such as borders, languages and culture. Media represents broad political philosophies based on division of all media into broadcast (one-way media such as newspapers, magazines, network TV and radio) or interactive (two-way media of telephones and Internet). Broadcast media support totalitarian nations and socialist economies while interactive media support democracies and capitalistic economies. A comparative theory of “media nations” is developed and applied using The World Factbook published by the CIA. Based on the “hot” and “cool” media theories of Marshall McLuhan.
Sequence / A comparison of sequence cycles in individual lives, religion, mythology, psychology and steps in screenplays. Is there a universal unity of steps in sequence and content of these steps? Based in part on Erich Neumann’s The Origins and History of Consciousness.
Script Symbology / The application of the principles of symbols and symbolism to screenplays. Collected articles by John Fraim that first appeared in Script Magazine, the world’s largest screenwriting magazine.
The Jung Page / Some of the articles written for The Jung Page.
Visionary Rumors & The Symbolism of the Psychoanalytic Movement (Article) Originally appeared in Psychological Perspectives:A Quarterly Journal of Jungian Thought, Volume 31, 1995, Issue 1) “The work of historians might be viewed as providing pinpricks of light in a great sea of darkness. The areas of light are those past events and periods of time that are well-understood and where other historians have travelled before.”
Hollywood Safari: Navigating Screenwriting Books & Theories / From the earliest days of films, screenplays have developed into an important literary form. Yet there is continuing debate on aspects of this form evident in the large number of screenwriting books available. To help screenwriters understand the various screenwriting theories today, Desert Screenwriters Group founder John Fraim has written Hollywood Safari. The book is still in progress. This is not another book on screenwriting. Rather, it is a book about the books on screenwriting. There are a lot of them out there. And many more each year. There is no denying the fact that books on screenwriting education has become a substantial “cottage” industry today. A means of “navigating” around them is needed and Hollywood Safari fulfills this need.
Cool Scripts: Creating Participation & Popularity / In Understanding Media, Marshall McLuhan observed “Francis Bacon never tired of contrasting hot and cool prose. Writing in ‘methods’ or complete packages, he contrasted with writing in aphorisms, or single observations such as ‘Revenge is a kind of wild justice.’ The passive consumer wants packages, but those, he suggested, who are concerned in pursuing knowledge and in seeking causes will resort to aphorisms, just because they are incomplete and require participation in depth.” An update of Bacon’s and McLuhan’s ideas of “cool” or participatory media that invite reader participation rather than observation. Is this a key to popularity of literary texts?
Renaissances / Written by my late friend Eric McLuhan, son on Marshal McLuhan. This was to have been a joint project of ours but Eric tragically passed away in 2018. Eric asked at the beginning of this paper, “Why are there no studies of re-naissance as a phenomenon? We in the West have now endured a sufficient number of them that we ought, in hindsight, to be able to enunciate at least a few general principles. Such at least will be one aim of these remarks. I do not know that any study has ever been made of renaissances in general. Every study that I have seen concerns this renaissance or that renaissance in particular; occasionally, two renaissances are looked at simultaneously for contrast or comparison. But there are no book-length studies, nor is there even a single article, concerning renaissances as a phenomenon.”
Propaganda / The inventors of the science of persuasion and key propaganda documents.
The Physics of Culture: Predicting Success of Screenplays / In his book, Great Flicks: Scientific Studies of Cinematic Creativity and Aesthetics, professor Dean Keith Simonton demonstrates statistically how an Oscar-winning screenplay has the highest correlated factor (=r.63) to positive critical evaluations than any other element: directing, acting, picture, song, etc. In other words, scripts have an inherent predictive value. The film industry relies on outdated and error-prone methodology when considering scripts. In 2012 in the United States, a total of 677 movies were released in theaters (MPAA 2013). That figure compares to–using the best guess of industry insiders–the yearly “25,000 to 40,000 of scripts that filter through the studio acquisition system.” (Scott Meyers 2012) The predominant method of acquiring a script involves literary agencies; they in turn employ story analysts to read scripts and make recommendations in what is known as “coverage.” Scripts with positive coverage are then forwarded to the film studio or production company for consideration. Whether a script should be pursued starts with a subjective decision based on the story-analyst’s personal preferences. Some high-potential scripts never make the cut, while others (which will eventually bomb at the box office) are recommended.
Milestones / Besides from being a legendary jazz album by Miles Davis, Milestones is also the the most influential book on radical Islam. first published in 1964, is a short (12 chapters, 160 pages) book by Egyptian Islamist and author Sayyid Qutb in which he lays out a plan and makes a call to action to re-create the Muslim world on strictly Quranic grounds, casting off what Qutb calls Jahiliyyah. Ma’alim fi al-Tariq has been called one of the most influential works in Arabic of the last half century. It is probably Qutb’s most famous and influential work and one of the most influential Islamist tracts written. Why has the book inspired so many? Does it use symbolism and mythology to inspire? If so, how does it do this?
Alternative Narratives of the Virus / Right after 9/11, I began collecting news articles off the Internet. The data was assembled into a book titled Battle of Symbols: Global Dynamics of Advertising, Entertainment and Media. In 2003, the book was published by Daimon Verlag (Zurich). Largely it discussed clashing global symbolism in communication media after 9/11. On March 17, about two weeks into the lockdown brought about by the pandemic, I again begin collecting news articles from the Internet about the great pandemic sweeping the world. I was still interested in communication media during the pandemic but now the focus was on what I termed “alternative narratives” about the virus.
The Invisible Rainbow & 5G / The great pandemic of 2020 has generated many alternative theories have sprung up all over the place. From the middle of March to the middle of April 2020, I put together a document titled Alternative Narratives that collected many narratives outside those of the national media and the administration on the virus. (Write me at email@example.com for a PDF of this document) Of course all narratives outside the news we are fed 24/7 are never given more validation than being simply a “theory” and a “conspiracy theory” at that. In the alternative narratives I collected during the month period, I heard more and more talk about the relationship of the Covid-19 virus to the introduction of 5G technology in China. A recent republication of the 2017 book The Invisible Rainbow by Arthur Firstenberg (Chelsea Green Publishing, Vermont) adds much information to the 5G conspiracy theory.
— STORIES/ARTICLES/ESSAYS —
See our articles on symbolism posted on the Jung Page.
Murphy / (Story) A mother and daughter who fight a legendary businessman to save their small town.
Confrontation-OriginalStory / (Story) Inspired by a true story in Navy Times about LSD use on a nuclear aircraft carrier. The original story appeared in Navy Times.
Electric Symbols / (Article) The famous Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis posits a linguistic determinism arguing language plays a central role in creation of a worldview. In the sense that language is a product of words, one can say that a culture’s worldview is affected and influenced by the words of its particular language. Words both create and communicate worldviews. The greatest potential in history for the observation and analysis of words exists on the Internet. Indeed, the Internet can be considered history’s greatest observatory and laboratory of words. In our digital age of the Internet, words are like electric symbols and their popularity represents collective psychology of the times. Written in 2000 when I was a columnist for the leading digital magazine of the time, The Industry Standard. Sent to a new company called Google, I was invited to Google to talk to the VP of Publicity. The article appeared in the leading Internet peer-reviewed journal called First Monday in June 2002.
Villa del Sol / (Story) The humorous and bizarre events inside a gated community in a desert retirement community. The sign outside and the advertising says that same all the advertising for gated communities in the desert say. For “active adults” usually in their 50s and up. We lived in a rental apartment right off of El Paseo when we first arrived in Palm Desert from Ohio. El Paseo is like Beverly Hills all on one street in the California desert. We started looking around to move away from our crazy landlord and heard this HOA discussed a lot. The most common ad was that youngish looking couple in their very active 50s, holding tennis racquets and towels tossed over their shoulders. We are given a tour of the place in a golf cart painted all up. It is in the winter, the best time of year in Palm Desert. We buy a condo in the place. The story of the inside of a modern HOA. Could be a series really, somewhat like The Golden Girls. A story aimed at those who live within the gated communities around the nation. Palm Desert is one of the largest gated communities in the nation and leads the nation in trends. Our key consultants on this project is the Manager of the Clubhouse and world renowned photographer who also has a condo at the HOA. Both close friends of the authors. (In part, the screenplay Once & Future Cowboy, about the fictional idea of the famous movie star Hopalong Cassidy, going into one of these HOAs because he has run out of money through bad investment advice from his long time agent. William Boyd (Hoppy) did retire to Palm Desert in real life and gave out wooden nickels to the young boys he met at the time. (Registered with WGA, West). All based on the real HOA I lived in for two years so somewhat of a report on the world of HOAs.
The Black Knight / (Article) The story of Hopalong Cassidy and his retirement years in Palm Desert. In 1906, a twenty-three-year old Brooklyn City Hall clerk named Clarence Mulford wrote a western novel called Bar-20 about a cattle ranch in the Southwest. An Easterner who had never been West when he wrote Bar-20, Mulford and was a diligent researcher and eventually amassed a card file with more than 10,000 entries covering numerous aspects of Western history such as geography, language and weapons. From Mulford’s novels, the famous Hopalong Cassidy character emerged. The biographical article of follows the career of William Boyd (who played Hoppy) from his early job as a model in Hollywood and then to his role as Hoppy and his marriage to actress Lilian Marsh. It is one of the great Hollywood love stories. Hoppy was the pioneer in licensing merchandise and his lunch boxes and cowboy outfits were popular with many boys in the 50s and 60s. He retired to Palm Desert, California where I lived for a number of years and hiked the trail named after him.
The Birth of Desert Magazine / (Article) The founding of Desert Magazine by Randall Henderson. The magazine was first to contain stories about the southwestern American deserts and encouraged exploration, habitation and understanding of them. First appeared in Desert Report, the magazine of the desert Sierra Club.
Evolving Perception of the Desert in American Culture / (Article) Co-authored with Professor Stephen Rowland of the University of Nevada at Las Vegas. Created for a chapter on the American desert for an upcoming book published by University of California Press.
Online Works / (Articles & Essays) Many of our articles and essays published in various print and online magazines and websites over the years.
— DEVELOPMENT —
The Prophet / Screenplay of John Coltrane focusing on the time after he stopped using drugs that inspired his album A Love Supreme. Based on the author’s book Spirit Catcher as well as other leading biographies of Coltrane by Lewis Porter and Ben Ratliff.
OCD & Magic Rituals / Is there a relationship between anxiety, compulsive behavior and magic rituals?
Manifestos / Do the great political manifestos of history have something that units all of them? That inspires? Encourages participation in the political cause? Is it something of their literary content that creates magic words that inspire, allow for reader participation. Is there a “style” of writing manifestos? Might it be considered a particular literary or story genre? The importance of literary techniques in creating manifestos that founded large political movements or parties.