Atticus Finch Lives In All Of Us

1644927With all the fervor over Harper Lee’s latent [new] novel, Go Set a Watchman, there’s good reason to pay close attention to critical and public opinion.  In fact, I’ve paid very close attention to everything about Harper Lee for as long as I remember.

A little background:

Scout 66 is, in part, an eponymous title for my work. Until I was about 9 or 10 years old, it was rare anyone called me by my first name. Everyone called me Scout. When the movie To Kill A Mockingbird came out in 1962 I wasn’t yet in grade school, and pretty frightened by the whole thing. In retrospect rightly so.

My nickname came, in part, due to the little girl in To Kill A Mockingbird , and in part, from my childhood friend not being able to say my last name correctly. I was never thrilled about being called Scout as a child. Sounded too much like a boy’s name for my taste. But as I got older, the name came with a privilege of sorts.

Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, racism was non-existent in every day life. The Civil Rights Movement during the 1960s and into the 1970s always caught my attention, and being so young I didn’t understand the hatred, especially where children were concerned.

My father’s side of the family is from Virginia and owned a tobacco plantation during the Civil War  up to the time the southern economy was irrevocably broken. We never talked about race in our family and only one time during the turbulence of the Civil Rights Movement did it ever affect anything in our lives.

For nearly five years I’ve lived in the deep south, and have come to understand a great deal about social and cultural attitudes here. And within that time it’s as if our country has turned back history focusing not on being Americans who’ve survived the past 150 years together, but rather, on exacerbating violence and hatred. It exists under such contrived means only  the most angry, evil people defend prejudice over justice. What purpose it serves I’m sure I’ll never understand.

Now Harper (Nell) Lee’s second novel has potential to set the world ablaze though in a backhanded way I can’t imagine she would ever intend, and could never plan.

Though I’ve not yet read Go Set a Watchman, from what I’ve seen and heard on several platforms, many people who idolized the character Atticus Finch feel they’ve been betrayed to the extreme their entire lives are a lie.

Quite simply there are those who feel the fictional composite that is Atticus Finch, a literary hero who stands squarely on the ground of racial equality, is also a bigoted racist.

There are two singular facts about the character that have either been forgotten; or those who feel betrayed are reacting so strongly, it’s stirring troubled emotions that can, and likely will be manipulated to reach fever pitch 50 years after the Civil Rights Movement.

In rural Macon County, 1935,  Atticus was an iconoclastic attorney. His job in Mockingbird was to defend a man of color immediately presumed guilty of raping a trashy white woman. A woman so needy she made sexual advances toward a mild mannered man who was passing by her house – a social and moral taboo.

Atticus was cautiously hesitant in taking the case in  defending Tom Robinson because he knew he would lose to prevailing Jim Crow laws. With nobility and grace he went against the rural townsfolk doing his job to the best of his ability. This is the first singular fact apparently overlooked or forgotten about one of America’s most heroic literary characters.

Reaching for an absolute ideal in his summation to an all white jury south of the Mason Dixon Line, Atticus said,

“…there is one way in this country which all men are created equal—there is one human institution that makes a pauper the equal of a Rockefeller, the stupid man equal of an Einstein, and an ignorant man equal of any college president. That institution gentlemen, is a court. It can be the Supreme Court of the United States or the humblest J.P. court in the land, or this honorable court which you serve. Our courts are the great levelers and in our courts all men are created equal.”

As an attorney he was trying to educate the uneducated, and erase a deeply ingrained white elitist belief.

The second singular fact should be inherent, yet falls short of perfection in all families. Good parents set the best example possible for their children even under terrible, sometimes hypocritical circumstances. It’s entirely possible being an educated white man in post-Depression Alabama, the composite character, Atticus Finch, had tendencies that were a reflection of the time and his upbringing.

That didn’t mean he wanted his children to grow up with the same prejudice. In fact, he went to great lengths throughout the story to teach his children to be fair, compassionate people.

It’s possible Harper Lee romanticized the level of justice Atticus aspired to because it simply doesn’t exist. It’s supposed to exist for every person accused of a crime under the auspices of “presumed innocent until proven guilty.” She may have been saying Lady Liberty’s blindfold is intended to represent objectivity. Being color blind is subjective.

Even if Atticus had a darker side than the selfless hero we all believed him to be, Harper Lee made him very human: Bigger than life. That’s the hallmark of a great writer.

As humans we’re not perfect. We all know our character flaws and generally keep them to ourselves. If Go Set a Watchman was written before Mockingbird it’s easy to see how a flawed man could redeem himself within the series of two works of fiction.  If I understand this entire situation correctly, the irony in reversing the sequence of Harper Lee’s work is as unjust as the bigotry we must erase.

What we really need is to be reminded Atticus Finch lives in all of us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Loose Hinges Head East to Sevierville and Black Mountain

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 East Nashville Meets East Tennessee and East Asheville

The Loose Hinges Kick Off Tour in Support of Nothing’s Permanent

Nashville, Tenn. (May 9, 2015) The Loose Hinges, a popular duo in East Nashville’s music scene heads east May 15 and May 16 to gigs in Sevierville, Tenn., and Black Mountain, N.C.  the first in a lineup in support of their sophomore release, Nothing’s Permanent slated for release Aug. 21.

 Bloomin’ BBQ & Bluegrass Festival in Sevierville was just added to their tour schedule and The Loose Hinges appear on the GoTeez Clothing Company stage at 8 p.m. Fri. May 15.  Saturday night, May 16, they appear at 8 p.m. at The Town Pump in Black Mountain. Both events are free.

The Loose Hinges are American singer-songwriters based on the upper west side of Nashville in the rural town of Joelton, Tenn. Eliot Houser and Kris McCarthy-Houser are roots-based in their approach to the songs they write, record, and perform;  yet they don’t  adhere to a genre-specific format.  

Nothing’s Permanent is their second full-length recording following an eponymous debut, a recording met with high esteem from critics.  Music Emissions wrote, “… a delightful mix of styles and influences without a hodge-podge of indecision and inconsistency… rock with a difference, rock with a classy edge.” 

From The Muse’s Muse, “The Strength of The Loose Hinges is the impressive song-for-song musical exuberance that keeps coming at you,” and Skope Magazine said, “Ranging from vampy swagger to deconstructed Blues, this duo eludes pigeonholing in true Indie fashion….[the] sky’s the limit for this duo…”

For more information please visit: 

http://theloosehinges.com

https://twitter.com/theloosehinges

https://twitter.com/theloosehinges

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yiuX8MWXkYY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-TQGyORxRic

Media Contact: Janet Hansen

Scout 66 PR

Email: Scout66PR@gmail.com

# # #

 

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How Much …

If you are knee deep in the dust of the new music frontier, you have probably heard this statement more than a few times from artists who are essentially running their own record label.

“It is so expensive to be in the music business. It all just costs too much. What other business expects you to pay these kinds of fees up front?”

Well, yes. Yes, it is expensive to be in the music business. It’s always been expensive to be in the music business and essentially why the big labels cannot give a contract to every confident songwriter and performer. It costs a great deal of money to develop name recognition to the point it becomes a household name.

A few years ago, in a Music Row business meeting I learned just one record label was spending a million dollars a year on marketing, and that million didn’t include salaries. A million dollars a year on marketing was the price they were paying to keep household names in front of the public.

Do you have a household name in music? If not, it’s likely because you are spending more money on production, and very little on marketing. Even if you had a million dollars to spend on marketing, do you think you would? Most people haven’t any idea how to spend a million bucks on marketing.

If a record label is spending that much, how much ought you spend to be competitive ? If only five percent of performing and recording artists are represented in mainstream marketing, you’d need to spend a lot of money to be competitive.

But instead of spending money, you might think about doing things differently than everyone else. Here are a few examples:

Many performing artists still spend money on posters even though it’s a very dated notion, and much like advertising, it’s a passive form of marketing. But it’s traditional and I suppose many feel like they need to honor traditions even if they are ineffective.

Maybe try this instead. Most people are performing in clubs rather than traditional venues. What if you found a company to make drink coasters with whatever information you want on the back and front of the coaster? What if you made the coaster content very compelling? And what if you gave the coasters to the club 2 weeks before the date you were appearing there?

If you gave the club 500 coasters, you’d likely have a captive audience of 500 people who knew exactly when you’d be at the very club  they were sitting in that very moment. If you put on one side of the coaster there’d be no cover charge by returning with the coaster the night of your performance you’d likely have a much larger turnout than taping up a poster of your band in the club’s front window.

Let’s say you want to learn how to do publicity. Plenty of people tell me that. Maybe I could teach them they say. Here’s a good idea that will cost you time, but nothing else. And like all things you’ll get as much out of it as the energy you expend in the process.

Instead of asking to be taught how to do PR, why not offer to work as an intern with a publicist on someone else’s campaign. You’ll learn the ropes by doing, and the emotional investment isn’t the same as if you were working on your own campaign. It’s easier to absorb the rejection for someone else, and you learn what works and what doesn’t subjectively.

The only things you need to bring to the table are free:

Commitment

Follow through

Show up, and show up on time, each and every time for the length of time you committed to be involved.

When you consider the monetary investment the music business requires, there are some tricks of the trade you’ll learn by working with professionals who know their stuff, have learned the ropes and, all the good ones always call a spade a spade.

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Rank and File: Where Do You Fit In?

So about thirteen percent of the way into Seth Godin’s course on freelancing hosted at udemy.com this is my fourth writing assignment for public consumption. While you read along, answer the questions for yourself, about yourself, to see if you get any value from it. I’m sure you’ll find something.

The next set of questions is not for the faint of heart. Seth asks each participant to rank themselves and put it out there for all the world to see. Assuming this is on a scale of 1 to 10, here we go:

Reputation – 8

Knowledge – 9

Expertise – 10

Tools – 4

Handiness – 5

 

Which will I invest in developing to a perfect score he asks? To be honest, I will invest in each and every one except tools. Everything in marketing and PR is digital these days, and frankly old school methods get noticed and work better for me.

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Top 10 List: What Do You Deliver to Clients

Seth Godin’s third writing assignment which must be, by the way, posted in a public forum is to create a list of 10 things provided to clients.

In my best David Letterman voice, “Paul, drumroll please. Here is the Top 10 List of Things Scout Delivers to Clients”

Number 10: For full campaigns, a marketing plan that specifies what client goals will be met; the methods and strategies implemented to meet said goals.

Number 9: A timeline to make sure goals are met provided the client has materials ready to go and allows 8-10 weeks prior to launch of CD or tours to begin.

Number 8: A long list of requested materials or information only the client can provide.

Number 7: Research. Hours and hours of research to match the goals with information the client provides; and when possible  goals and strategies dovetail current events.

Number 6: Well-written press releases….plural. There’s no such thing as a one trick pony.

Number 7: As many meetings and/or conversations as the client needs to have.

Number 6: Requests for conversations and meetings with clients who abandon the project while standing by waiting for outcome.

Number 5: Updates on what media outlets have to say unless it’s too negative. In such situations, the client will not be updated. Like when the television show in an important target market to the client declined to invite the client back because said client’s body odor was too offensive. Trust me, fact is often stranger than fiction, and I don’t have time to make this stuff up.

Number 4: When media isn’t responding to the project [aka the media just isn’t that into the music], proposals for Plan B will be put into effect immediately.

Number 3: Continuous re-writes of collateral materials days or even weeks after client initially approved.

Number 2: Know full well who the client’s material is being sent to; know who will be reading what has been written; and expect a yes or no answer from them.

And the Number 1 Thing Scout provides clients: Excellent strategy for the best possible outcome in launching a tour or project. This has been proven on a large scale many, many times.

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What People Want

In the second part of Seth Godin’s course about freelancing he’s asking a couple more questions that need to be answered. Before I do that, let me explain that Seth’s course on Udemy.com is not as pedestrian as the title. There is absolutely nothing I can think of that is pedestrian about Seth.

The word freelancer isn’t quite what you might think….but for the sake of letting readers know, that is the title of this course.

The second set of questions begin this way:

What do people buy when they buy something from me [sic]

In many ways people buy information from me. Since I’ve been around the music scene for thirty plus years this historical evolution of what I’ve been involved with provides me a very unique perspective in how people fit into the business of music.

Basically, however, what people buy from me becomes a diluted variation on a theme everyone wants but doesn’t have the time or the know how to accomplish themselves. To be fair, very few people can do marketing and PR for themselves.

Eventually what happens is clients convince me they really don’t want to be as good as the words they tell me that prove they are uniquely outstanding in their field. They want boiled down words on paper that must sound very much like the last guy and the next guy in line. It is this part of the process that is horribly misunderstood, overrated, and bears no fruit for anyone.

There’s a myth that to do what I do is like tapping into a magical database of names of mystics who will add a stamp of approval for whatever music or product the client is promoting. That’s what people think they are buying. The truth of the matter is that database changes, evolves, revolves, as people leave or come onto this field of making approvals, stamping a card, and holler, “Next!”  And the field itself, expands and narrows much like the Universe.

What am I [sic] doing that is difficult?

The most difficult thing I do is concede in the process of diluting boiled down words that appease the client. Appeasing the client — shielding him or her from their true ultimate goal — is very difficult for me, when what they really want is something they haven’t prepared for. It is beyond frustrating to back away from what could be a great strategy to settling for chopped liver, making sure another square peg is whittled down until it fits into a round hole. This of course, makes the work totally unrecognizable because it blends in with all the rest, leaving a living breathing piece of art stomped into the cultural landscape with every other piece of crap that got an identical stamp of approval.

What Seth means to ask is what am I doing that is so difficult it makes a difference?

That is what I am here to try and figure out once and for all.

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Why Yes, Virginia. Everything Is Possible!

Most readers of this blog have heard me refer to Seth Godin a time or two. He’s offering courses through Udemy.com, so I signed up for a freelancer’s course to see what insights Seth has to offer.

This blog post is my first assignment, and the first questions is:

What do you want to do?

Like everyone, my first reaction is, “well duh! I want to be compensated and recognized for the work I love to do.” But that’s really not the point. It’s much deeper than that.

What I want to do is create a much more effective and efficient way for creative companies to market their work once they understand marketing is essential to their success. The only true model companies feel is valuable is when they see their name in a major publication and several writers within the ecosystem of whatever field people have planted roots. They relish being heard on radio, and potentially on television. In the music business, recording and performing artists want to see and hear their accomplishments as many times as possible when they release a new CD or have a major tour.

THAT is what success means to career musicians, even if it’s not a well-founded notion. It is the only measure of successful marketing in music and it is tired and worn out. It is predictable, instantly forgettable, and serves the musician only to fill their perceived notion of what worked in the 20th century.

Creativity is what drives my desire to assist in marketing any small business…so creativity must be included in the answer of what I want to do.

Collaboration is essential, for no [wo]man is an island, in the sense that many different levels of relationships need to exist to make this successful. For example, PR and marketing are two forks of the same branch. Advertising is also a fork in the branch; the fork no one wants to acknowledge, but is really the most creative and the most fun. These three disciplines need to come together through ways and means that are relevant to the artists and their fans.

In the current model, relevance means that writers, DJs and television hosts perceive the artist’s business as relevant instead of the end user. This is backwards, upside down, and inside out when three or four people put a stamp of approval on a business offering meant to be shared by many, many others.

It really doesn’t matter what kind of business people are in, they insist on being sheep, blending in with the flock and creating the same kind of noise the herd makes. When a business does something remarkable with their overall strategy, that is when people take notice. They create a “tune” so unique almost everyone wants to listen.

Second question in this assignment:

How much risk is there on a scale of 1 to 10?

On one hand there is tremendous risk to be thought very foolish for doing something that isn’t being done, no one wants to spend the time on, and there’s no guaranteed pay off.

On the other hand, what hasn’t been done creates a situation where the “sheep” is not lost, but stands away from the rest of the flock and therefore can be seen. If a small business does not want to spend the time or money doing the hard work of marketing their business, I can simply offer to write their press releases and they can join the club of millions who do the same thing on a daily basis. In the established music model there are no guarantees anyway, so really no one has anything to lose.

How much risk is there in this idea of creating different strokes for different folks? For me,  I see the risk as moderate if it doesn’t come to fruition; and no risk if there is just one success story.

Does this project matter enough for the risk/effort put into it; or is it even possible? Has anyone with my resources ever pulled this off? 

If the business of music is going to survive without a major infrastructure to support it, then yes, this project matters greatly.

Is it possible? Why yes, Virginia Everything is possible!

Has anyone with my resources ever pulled this off? To varying degrees singular levels of this idea have emerged, but nothing cohesive enough to make an “XYZ Band” an organic success without millions of dollars spent by a record label. If I ask three friends  who Amanda Palmer, Ariel Hyatt, or Nancy Rumbel are…my guess is the three friends may know something about one, but none will know something definitive about all three.

Within this mashup of ideas is merely a sketch as I follow the blueprint of Seth’s way of thinking.

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