Black Crown: The Mysterious Elitism of Budweiser’s Beer Ad

Budweiser’s new “Black Crown” beer is for connoisseurs, the chic, and the style conscious. That’s the real message behind a new ad and information campaign by a brand associated with football, regular bars, and the average guy. It’s not for him. It’s for his altogether classier friend. The one that left the small town, and […]

Zen by Design: How One Spiritual Idea Informs Brands From Muji to Apple

Simplicity — in the particular sense that we’re going to be talking about — has deep roots in traditional Japanese culture, especially related to Zen Buddhism. Yet it has also become an essential aspect of contemporary life, both in the East and West, whether its tweeting in a max of 140 characters, creating a logo, […]

Conformism and Crowd Violence: When the Majority is Really a Mob

In the final weeks of the fall semester 2013 I asked the students in my “Introduction to Literary Criticism” course to read René Girard’s I See Satan Fall like Lightning (2001), which with The Scapegoat (1981) is one of the best portals to the man’s thinking.  I lectured a good deal on Girard’s text and […]

An Alternative Economy: Michael Johnson, Co-Founder of SolidarityNYC, in Interview

Do we need to radically rethink economics, in the wake of the 2008 stock market crash? Or are their already working models of how to do business more ethically; businesses that put the environment, their society, and their employees first? “Alternative economics,” “the new economy,” and the “triple bottom line” are a few terms that […]

Strength, Spirituality, and Masculinity Against Materialism

“Make your nerves strong,” said Swami Vivekananda, “What we want is muscles of iron and nerves of steel. We have wept long enough. No more weeping, but stand on your feet and be men. First of all, our young men must be strong. Religion will come afterwards.” That religion will come after — and in some sense […]

Corporate Karma: Better Values Means Bigger Rewards

corporate karma, an article on capitalism and ethics

There’s a tendency to believe that values are an obstacle to “making money.” And certainly we can all think of companies that have no problem with behaving unethically for an extra dime or two, whether it’s ripping off their consumers, taking serious advantage of their staff, or simply having no concern for society or the environment. […]

How Some Creatives are Surviving (and Growing) in the Internet Era

We recently looked at how the internet, though a serious tool for promoting the work of artists, musicians, and so on, is, at the same time, undermining the incomes of those and other creatives. Here we’re going to look briefly at some of the things that creatives are doing to get around them problem. Leaving […]

The Four Warrior Practices for Achieving: Anytime, Anywhere

We’re all human. So why can some face down even the most terrifying situations, overcoming overwhelming odds, and achieving what so many others others might believe impossible? Reading the classical commentaries on the martial arts, listening to contemporary masters, and hearing how contemporary elite military units tackle situations, tells us that there are less than […]