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BS: low hanging fruit

GUEST,wordy 19 Feb 06 - 07:28 PM
gnu 19 Feb 06 - 07:32 PM
The Fooles Troupe 19 Feb 06 - 07:33 PM
michaelr 19 Feb 06 - 07:40 PM
The Fooles Troupe 19 Feb 06 - 07:45 PM
Doug Chadwick 19 Feb 06 - 07:48 PM
The Fooles Troupe 19 Feb 06 - 07:50 PM
Amos 19 Feb 06 - 07:51 PM
The Fooles Troupe 19 Feb 06 - 07:55 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 19 Feb 06 - 08:37 PM
Doug Chadwick 19 Feb 06 - 08:56 PM
JennyO 19 Feb 06 - 08:56 PM
GUEST,Q as guest 19 Feb 06 - 09:11 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 19 Feb 06 - 09:13 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 19 Feb 06 - 09:16 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 19 Feb 06 - 09:19 PM
Auggie 19 Feb 06 - 09:29 PM
Amos 19 Feb 06 - 09:50 PM
Stilly River Sage 19 Feb 06 - 09:51 PM
Amos 19 Feb 06 - 10:01 PM
Azizi 19 Feb 06 - 10:13 PM
Stilly River Sage 19 Feb 06 - 10:19 PM
Cluin 19 Feb 06 - 10:25 PM
bobad 19 Feb 06 - 10:27 PM
artbrooks 19 Feb 06 - 10:29 PM
Azizi 19 Feb 06 - 10:59 PM
Azizi 19 Feb 06 - 11:00 PM
katlaughing 19 Feb 06 - 11:31 PM
Azizi 19 Feb 06 - 11:34 PM
Stilly River Sage 20 Feb 06 - 12:27 AM
GUEST,DB 20 Feb 06 - 04:50 AM
GUEST,wordy 20 Feb 06 - 06:04 AM
Pied Piper 20 Feb 06 - 06:39 AM
JennyO 20 Feb 06 - 06:41 AM
David C. Carter 20 Feb 06 - 07:13 AM
The Fooles Troupe 20 Feb 06 - 08:13 AM
kendall 20 Feb 06 - 08:17 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 20 Feb 06 - 09:39 AM
Liz the Squeak 20 Feb 06 - 10:39 AM
Stilly River Sage 20 Feb 06 - 10:39 AM
Azizi 20 Feb 06 - 10:52 AM
Bunnahabhain 20 Feb 06 - 12:00 PM
GUEST,wordy 20 Feb 06 - 12:01 PM
artbrooks 20 Feb 06 - 03:47 PM
Stilly River Sage 20 Feb 06 - 04:12 PM
Amos 20 Feb 06 - 04:16 PM
Stilly River Sage 20 Feb 06 - 04:19 PM
Cluin 20 Feb 06 - 04:58 PM
Micca 20 Feb 06 - 05:35 PM
The Fooles Troupe 20 Feb 06 - 06:25 PM
Stilly River Sage 21 Feb 06 - 12:22 AM
Gurney 21 Feb 06 - 03:56 AM
GUEST,DB 21 Feb 06 - 10:31 AM
Stilly River Sage 21 Feb 06 - 11:21 AM
darkriver 22 Feb 06 - 02:52 AM
Liz the Squeak 22 Feb 06 - 04:26 AM
JohnInKansas 22 Feb 06 - 06:57 AM
Azizi 22 Feb 06 - 07:31 AM
GUEST,DB 22 Feb 06 - 09:37 AM
Stilly River Sage 22 Feb 06 - 11:14 AM
GUEST,Hi SRS, 22 Feb 06 - 01:37 PM
GUEST,DB 22 Feb 06 - 02:06 PM
GUEST,Whistle Stop 22 Feb 06 - 02:54 PM
Stilly River Sage 22 Feb 06 - 10:00 PM
Amos 22 Feb 06 - 10:41 PM
GUEST,DB 23 Feb 06 - 04:41 AM
The Fooles Troupe 23 Feb 06 - 07:21 AM
Stilly River Sage 23 Feb 06 - 01:19 PM
Stilly River Sage 23 Feb 06 - 01:28 PM
Amos 23 Feb 06 - 01:34 PM
Stilly River Sage 23 Feb 06 - 02:31 PM
GUEST,DB 23 Feb 06 - 05:00 PM
Amos 24 Feb 06 - 07:54 AM
Stilly River Sage 24 Feb 06 - 09:58 AM
Amos 24 Feb 06 - 10:44 AM
Stilly River Sage 24 Feb 06 - 11:04 AM
GUEST,DB 24 Feb 06 - 12:01 PM
Stilly River Sage 24 Feb 06 - 12:51 PM
Stilly River Sage 24 Feb 06 - 01:45 PM
GUEST,DB 24 Feb 06 - 05:58 PM
Amos 24 Feb 06 - 06:14 PM
Stilly River Sage 24 Feb 06 - 06:31 PM
autolycus 24 Feb 06 - 06:39 PM
Stilly River Sage 24 Feb 06 - 10:25 PM

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Subject: BS: low hanging fruit
From: GUEST,wordy
Date: 19 Feb 06 - 07:28 PM

As my name signifies I love language. However I have just read this paragraph in tomorrow's Independent newspaper;

"While there was no blueprint for road safety, there were some basic, "low hanging fruit" measures including, tough laws against speeding, enforcement of drink-driving legislation, compulsory use of seatbelts and use of car seats for small children".

So there you have the context, but what the hell are low hanging fruit measures? And what is the root of the phrase?
Can someone please elucidate?


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: gnu
Date: 19 Feb 06 - 07:32 PM

Pas moi. I am in the dark too.


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 19 Feb 06 - 07:33 PM

Sounds painful to me...

I think i'll keep my fruit hanging high for now...


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: michaelr
Date: 19 Feb 06 - 07:40 PM

"low hanging fruit" = obvious targets; easy fixes.


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 19 Feb 06 - 07:45 PM

So should I keep my loincloth tight?


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: Doug Chadwick
Date: 19 Feb 06 - 07:48 PM

Low hanging fruit can easily be seen and can be picked without much effort.

Speeding, drink driving and seat belts are obvious targets to improve road safety and who's going to argue about measures to protect children?

Don't know where the phrase comes from – it's just my guess at the meaning.


DC


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 19 Feb 06 - 07:50 PM

'Strange Fruit' indeed!


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: Amos
Date: 19 Feb 06 - 07:51 PM

The phrase is a metaphor for things which are within easy reach and which return benefit quickly; as far as I know it entered business-jargon somewhere in the early 90's or thereabouts and quickly ossified into permanence as an easy-to-use phrase that sounded like it had thought behind it when it did not in fact. These paradoxical qualifications made it a perfect candidate for MBA-talk.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 19 Feb 06 - 07:55 PM

You guys are ignoring me aren't you?


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 19 Feb 06 - 08:37 PM

Corporate business terms are great for laughs. Another great term - bluebirds.   Those are opportunities that fly-in unexpectedly.


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: Doug Chadwick
Date: 19 Feb 06 - 08:56 PM

.........However I have just read this paragraph in tomorrow's Independent newspaper;


GUEST,wordy, if you have access to tomorrow's news today, do you think you could look up Wednesday's lottery results?

I'll pay for the ticket and we can split the winnings!


DC


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: JennyO
Date: 19 Feb 06 - 08:56 PM

I suppose "white ants" would be another one - people who knock your ideas and undermine your self confidence.

Must admit I haven't heard the "low hanging fruit" one before.


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: GUEST,Q as guest
Date: 19 Feb 06 - 09:11 PM

I think the worst one is "Run it up the flagpole and see who salutes."


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 19 Feb 06 - 09:13 PM

Low nnging fruit is a term often used by companies that utilize six-sigma methodology. We used it when I worked at NBC. These were projects that had easy and clearly visible fixed - we could correct these problems without waiting for data from the measurment stage of our process.

If you really want to drive yourself crazy, pick up a six-sigma text.


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 19 Feb 06 - 09:16 PM

typo - that should have been low hanging fruit, not nnging fruit.

I think the flagpole line was used primarily by comedians, but there are a number of other cliches that are still in use. I notice that companies in California seemed to adapt these catch phrases.

In television nuts, there was one that drove me nuts. In a live newsroom situation, the director would often ask "who is playing" in the upcoming story - meaning what anchors and reporters would be on screen.


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 19 Feb 06 - 09:19 PM

Low hanging fruits are the ones that the fox walked away from because they were probably too sweet anyway.


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: Auggie
Date: 19 Feb 06 - 09:29 PM

I remember that "flagpole" line from as far back as Henry Fonda's 12 Angry Men movie (1957). Hated it then. Hate it now.


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: Amos
Date: 19 Feb 06 - 09:50 PM

The flagpole line was part of the subculture of "Madison Avenue ad men" in grey flannel suits who typified and represented the conformist mindset of the 1950's. "Toss it around and see if it makes a salad" was another similar cliché of the era. Most of these ad men were commuters who road the New York, New Haven and Hartford railroad from Rye, Greenwich, Stamford, Westport, Wilton and similar communities in suburban New York and Connecticut. These towns came to be known as "bed-room" communities. Huge swaths of farmland became "bed-room" houses throughout the 50's and 60's.


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 19 Feb 06 - 09:51 PM

Exactly! BWL has it, I think. The low hanging fruit is probably from a story in Aesop's Fables.

As to the flag pole, I suspect the "salute" was a volley of gunfire.

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: Amos
Date: 19 Feb 06 - 10:01 PM

Well it could have been any kind of salute. Many of the men who built the sub-culture of Madison Avenue were veterans of the Second World War, and well drilled in saluting the flag when it was run up in the morning, folded at the end of a day, or most hauntingly, squared and folded during funeral services. They all called for a sharp, snap-and-pop salute (of the hand to the peak of the cap).

It was not a metaphor for institutional ritual ( such a volley of gunfire) but for seeing if a given scheme or theme or concept would inspire recognition and response (as in an individual salute).

That's my SWAG o' the day, anyway.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: Azizi
Date: 19 Feb 06 - 10:13 PM

I hate to bring seriousness to this thread, but Foolestroupe, in the United States, the phrase "strange fruits" is often associated with the lynching of African Americans. I am assuming that you may not have been aware of this. Maybe that's why your comment was ignored.

Click here to read the lyrics of Lewis Allen's song Strange Fruit

This song was poularized by Blues singer Billie Holiday.


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 19 Feb 06 - 10:19 PM

I visualize it as evolving from the instance of putting a hat on a stick and lifting it to see if someone shoots it down. Running something up to find out if it will be fired at, and from which direction.


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: Cluin
Date: 19 Feb 06 - 10:25 PM

I loved this comic strip that was in the weekend supplement yesterday.


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: bobad
Date: 19 Feb 06 - 10:27 PM

Azizi

You may know this but Lewis Allen was a pseudonym for Abel Meeropol a schoolteacher from the Bronx who also, as a bit of historical trivia, adopted the children of the Rosenbergs after they were executed for espionage.


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: artbrooks
Date: 19 Feb 06 - 10:29 PM

Interesting...I'm almost 60, have lived in the US all my life, and I can't remember ever hearing "strange fruit" used in that context. On the other hand, herself has. Maybe it's an East Coast thing. Oh well, learn something new every day...


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: Azizi
Date: 19 Feb 06 - 10:59 PM

Art, does "herself" know Billie Holiday music?

That song is very much associated with that tragic singer.

BTW: I may have "misspoke" in my last post for although Billie Holiday was portrayed in the movie "Lady Sings The Blues", she is primarily known as a jazz singer.

For more information on Billie Holiday {also known as Lady Day], click HERE

Here's an excerpt from that website:
"Billie Holiday's grandfather was one of 17 children of a black Virginia slave and a white Irish plantation owner. Her mother was only 13 when she was born.

The future "Lady Day" first heard the music of Louis Armstrong and Bessie Smith on a Victrola at Alice Dean's, the Baltimore "house of ill repute" where she ran errands and scrubbed floors as a young girl. She made her singing debut in obscure Harlem nightclubs (borrowing her professional name from screen star Billie Dove), then toured with Count Basie and Artie Shaw before going solo. Benny Goodman dragged the frightened singer to her first studio session. Between 1933 and 1944, she recorded over 200 "sides," but she never received royalties for any of them.

Despite a lack of technical training, Holiday's unique diction, inimitable phrasing and acute dramatic intensity made her the outstanding jazz singer of her day. White gardenias, worn in her hair, became her trademark.


In 1939, she introduced [the songs] "Strange Fruit" & "God Bless the Child." ...

Portrayed in the movie "Lady Sings the Blues."

In 1946, she gave a triumphant concert at Town Hall and appeared in the film "New Orleans."

Died on July 17,1959."


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: Azizi
Date: 19 Feb 06 - 11:00 PM

Thanks, bobad for that interesting information about "Lewis Allen".
I didn't know that.

I appreciate it.


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: katlaughing
Date: 19 Feb 06 - 11:31 PM

Azizi, here is an old thread (from 2001) with a lot of discussion about that song.

There is also a DT Study of it, which starts with information on Meeropol.

kat


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: Azizi
Date: 19 Feb 06 - 11:34 PM

Thanks. katlaughing

but sorry, GUEST,wordy.

I had no intention of hijacking this thread.


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 20 Feb 06 - 12:27 AM

It's surprising that you don't know that song, Art. Find a copy to listen to and I am willing to bet that the vocalizations Holiday uses will bring it into sharp focus (though you may not have been paying attention to the words, you probably heard the song).

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: GUEST,DB
Date: 20 Feb 06 - 04:50 AM

"If you really want to drive yourself crazy, pick up a six-sigma text."

I've always been interested in statistics and statistical matters (sad bastard that I am) so I once picked up a "six-sigma text", reckoning that it should be 'just up my street'. What a mistake! The first 12 chapters (out of about 15) were about how wise, wonderful and perceptive the author is - in fact he is probably the second most inspiring and enlightened being who ever walked the Earth - and is giving the first most inspiring and enlightened being a good run for his money!
I never did get to the statistical bits, at the back of the book, but quietly returned it to the bullsh.. - sorry, Management section of the company library.


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: GUEST,wordy
Date: 20 Feb 06 - 06:04 AM

yes "Tomorrow's Independent" was a bit of a slip. I read it at five minutes past midnight on the Net.
What worries me however is the fact that "the elephant in the room" might trample the "low hanging fruit."


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: Pied Piper
Date: 20 Feb 06 - 06:39 AM

"I have just read this paragraph in tomorrow's Independent newspaper"

You couldn't check tomorrow's newspaper's horseracing results and give me the result of the 3:30 York could you?

PP


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: JennyO
Date: 20 Feb 06 - 06:41 AM

Interesting - when I looked at the "Strange Fruit" thread, I noticed that in 2001, Callie was looking for the music so her group could perform it. Well they do - I have seen them sing it a number of times. It is beautifully arranged - haunting, chilling and powerful!

Jenny


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: David C. Carter
Date: 20 Feb 06 - 07:13 AM

I too,thought this was about Billie Holiday,Oh well.But,didn't she get some stick when she did this song?Not too many people thought too kindly about having to deal with the subject matter.Tough Luck!Great Lady,Great song.

Azizi:Thanks.

D


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 20 Feb 06 - 08:13 AM

Azizi

I find to my surprise that I often know more about US culture and history than many Americans do. It's no surprise though, we get swamped with more US culture and history nowadays than Aussie stuff - like we used to get swamped with British stuff 50 years ago.

'Strange Fruit' was not written by a negro, but a jewish male some time before Billie Holiday picked it up. Billie Holiday seemed to have convinced herself that it had been specially written for her. There is a wonderful documentary about it, which I suspect may be mentioned in the relevant threads.


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: kendall
Date: 20 Feb 06 - 08:17 AM

The book "Strange Fruit" was required reading in my college history class.


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 20 Feb 06 - 09:39 AM

"I never did get to the statistical bits, at the back of the book, but quietly returned it to the bullsh.. - sorry, Management section of the company library."

You did yourself a favor! You could have done your company a favor and dropped it into the garbage!

Six-sigma is almost "cult-like" in it's approach. The training, the green and black belts, the methodology, etc.    It may be great for some companies, but managment loves buzz words and feels that it will work for all applications. It doesn't, or at least - I never saw it implemented correctly.

One thing that I will say in its favor - it does teach you to look at all the steps in operations and find potential opportunities for error. Most of it is purely common sense, and the process does give people a chance to sit back and look at what they have been doing. The problem that I found is that it tends to dry up all the resources in collecting data and studying that data, and the changes never happen.


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 20 Feb 06 - 10:39 AM

Going back to the original question - it's the sort of goalpost that most money collecting agencies (repo men, Tax collectors, Child Support Agencies, etc) go for... pick the easy targets, those you know you can reach and the results will boost your ratings. If you go for 10 easy targets at £100 each, rather than 1 big one at £1,000, your success rate will more likely be 90% rather than nothing. That is what gives the impression that tax collectors etc, pick on the little guy and let the big corporations get away with things.

LTS


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 20 Feb 06 - 10:39 AM

Foolestroupe, I wish Americans could return the favor, but the education system here has such blinders on that I daresay most Americans couldn't at this moment name the leaders of other nations on the same continent.

I think Holiday was able to perform that song without interference. She certainly did make it her own.

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: Azizi
Date: 20 Feb 06 - 10:52 AM

What???!!! Are there other nations on the same continent that the good ole USA is on? [snark]


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: Bunnahabhain
Date: 20 Feb 06 - 12:00 PM

My guess is that 'Low hanging fruit' probabaly comes from the phrase easy pickings.

And I'm very glad it wasn't Liz who started this thread.


And SRS. you fell into BWL's deliberate mis-quote. The fable is that of some fruit the fox couldn't reach, and decided was probably sour anyway.


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: GUEST,wordy
Date: 20 Feb 06 - 12:01 PM

I's like to nominate this thread as having the most extreme thread drift so far this year!


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: artbrooks
Date: 20 Feb 06 - 03:47 PM

The leaders of other nations on the same continent? Let's see...that would be Premier Fox of Canada and President Harper of Mexico? No...wait...that doesn't sound quite right....Prime Minister Bush of Australia and President Howard of the US? No...give me time...I'll figure it out...


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 20 Feb 06 - 04:12 PM

No, I knew about the sour grapes story, and that WASN'T low hanging fruit, which is part of the point of that story. That's not what I was thinking of. I pulled out the book for a quick skim through but didn't find what I was looking for. Aesop's Fables is compiled from a bunch of ancient fragments (from the time of Sappho, they come from next island over from Lesbos), these stories are much older than the christian bible, and they serve as the culture very well.

One robin does not a spring make.
You're judged by the company you keep.
Dog in the manger.
Sour grapes.

Etc.
link (history of Aesop is at the bottom of the page)

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: Amos
Date: 20 Feb 06 - 04:16 PM

Thanks for that comic strip -- cracked me up!!!


A


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 20 Feb 06 - 04:19 PM

Opps, didn't finish that thought. These stories with their pithy morals serve modern European (at least) cultures very well. These are embedded in the language, along with cultural religious idioms (to tip a nod to another thread's discussion over the weekend).

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: Cluin
Date: 20 Feb 06 - 04:58 PM

That's where the fun is, wordy.

The education too.


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: Micca
Date: 20 Feb 06 - 05:35 PM

Does your Fruit hang low?
can you swing em to and fro
can you tie 'em in a Knot?
can you tie 'em in a bow?
do you get a funny feeling
when you crack 'em on the Ceiling?
You'll never be a sailor
'till your fruit hang low


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 20 Feb 06 - 06:25 PM

So you finally read the third and fifth posts Micca?

Jump on the Bandwaggon!

:-)


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 21 Feb 06 - 12:22 AM

I thought there was a line in that song about a "continental soldier."


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: Gurney
Date: 21 Feb 06 - 03:56 AM

So, is 'low hanging fruit' liable to suffer from 'the tall poppy syndrome?'

When my son was at college, they used to send missives teling of their plans. I couldn't understand them. That cartoon was transparent by comparison.
Yes, they were in English, but not as we know it, Horatio.

Joe could cut-and-paste a lot of this thread into the other one.


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: GUEST,DB
Date: 21 Feb 06 - 10:31 AM

I've just finished reading a book by the British journalist, Francis Wheen, called 'How Mumbo Jumbo Conquered the World'. It's, basically, about all the crap that we've had to put up with in the last few decades: Free Market Economics, Post-Modernism, Religious Fundamentalism, New-Age Quackery and, of course, Management-Speak (source of the 'low hanging fruit' phrase). I recommend this book highly - although I suspect that it won't stop us all drowning in the never-ending tsunami of bullshit!


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 21 Feb 06 - 11:21 AM

Scholars of the Post-modernism, also known in some circles as post-structuralism, generally use the language articulately and efficiently (though a few are noted for their ponderous tomes). I can't imagine why it would be included with your list of other suspects. It sounds like the author is a generalist who is lumping everything together. Too bad.

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: darkriver
Date: 22 Feb 06 - 02:52 AM

As others have already mentioned, it's biz buzzwords.

Another chiller I've heard where I work (in addition to 'low-hanging fruit') is 'he drank the Kool-aid'.

Meaning, he bought into it totally. But the derivation of it is pretty disgusting....


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 22 Feb 06 - 04:26 AM

The scariest one has to be 'the seagull'. This is a person employed specifically to go to an area and fire people. Taken from the habits of various gulls who fly into an area, eat all the food, sleep with all the members of the opposite sex, then crap over everything and leave. You can always tell a 'seagull', they never ever go to the pub with you, they don't make an effort to fit in and they make it their business to know everything they can about you so they know if you do the work or if you are ready for the cull.

LTS


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 22 Feb 06 - 06:57 AM

Although it's not as common recently as it once was, the term "low hanging fruit" refers to the "easy to get" product, but also carries a bit more meaning/connotation.

One who will "pick the low hanging fruit" is, by implication one who is looking for easy results without expending the effort appropriate to the task.

Especially when used in refering to a political action, the connotation is that a "fix" that looks like it's an answer, may not actually have the intended result, or in fact any observable effect; but it's likely to "placate" the voters.

"More severe penalties for criminals" is the "low hanging fruit" that evades the need for appropriate rehabilitation resources, improved police budgets, adequate manpower for parole administration, better support staff for the courts, etc. But it makes the voters happy and keeps the politician in office.

"Lower the speed limits and raise the fines for speeding" is the "low hanging fruit" that evades the need to repair the roads, improve signal devices to control traffic, built adequate access ramps on the freeways etc. But it makes the voters happy and keeps the politician in office.

In other words, "picking the low hanging fruit" carries the strong connotation that the job is inadequately or inappropriately done.

At least in my part of farmland where people actually used to pick their fruit.

The term has been used by some "efficiency experts" in their explanation that you should do the easy things first, but in more traditional usage there is nearly always the implication, and expectation, that the rest of the job won't get done.

As used by most such idiots "experts" it's usually to distract the customer from recognizing that they don't know how to do anything that will actually help solve the real problems in the organization, so they'll run out their contract talking up the "low hangers."

John


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: Azizi
Date: 22 Feb 06 - 07:31 AM

darkriver,

Now there's a name I haven't seen here before.

If you're new, Welcome to Mudcat.

If you aren't new, Welcome anyway from me!

****

Speaking of "drinking the kool aid" I have seen it refer mostly to those people who unwavering follow the person and positions of George Bush, Jr.

The term comes from the mass suicide that occurred on November 18, 1978 in norhern Guyana at a ccommune called the Peoples Temple. The charasmatic religious leader of that commune, was a former California man named Jim Jones. On that evening, Jones ordered more than 900 of his followers to drink cyanide-poisoned grape punch.
He also told guards to shoot anyone who refused or tried to escape. Among the dead: more than 270 children. I believe that the official story is that Jones also died because he drank the koolaid.*

* Koolaid is a brand name for powdered [usually sweeted] non-alcoholic drink mixes Some Black people [and other people I'm sure] poke gentle fun at the supposedly frequent use by African Americans of the grape favored version of this powered drink by listing it as the beverage of choice with soul food meals.

But to this day I still won't drink grape koolaid because it reminds me of Jonestown.

For more on the Jonestown suicide/mass murder, click HERE


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: GUEST,DB
Date: 22 Feb 06 - 09:37 AM

Dear Stilly River Sage,

I've now gone back and re-read the chapter on post-modernism/structuralism in Francis Wheen's book - 'How Mumbo Jumbo Conquered the World' (Harper Perennial, 2004) and it seems like a pretty convincing demolition to me - but then, as you would no doubt agree, everything is relative and it is impossible to determine the true worth of Wheen's book. Maybe you could read it, deconstruct the text and let me know what it signifies ... ?

By the way, what comes after 'post-modernism'? 'Post-post-modernism' ... and after that 'post-post-post ... ?

DB


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 22 Feb 06 - 11:14 AM

Post the citation for the book and chapter, please. I'd like to take a look at it.

I've wondered myself what comes post post modern. Many consider scholarship to be still in that zone, others are convinced that Modernism is still viable. There's a handy little book with lots of short pity essays on the subject: The Truth About the Truth: De-confusing and Re-constructing the Postmodern World edited by Walter Truett Anderson. I have lots of bigger longer deeper essays, but this does a good job of taking the work of a lot of postmodernists and defining their positions. Eco, Derrida, Foucault, Baudrillard, Kuhn, hooks, Rorty, and others.

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: GUEST,Hi SRS,
Date: 22 Feb 06 - 01:37 PM


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: GUEST,DB
Date: 22 Feb 06 - 02:06 PM

Sorry, SRS - don't know what happened there! Well I do - I let my thoughts get ahead of my fingers!

The book is 'How Mumbo-Jumbo Conquered The World' by Francis Wheen, Harper Perennial, 2004 (ISBN: 0-00-714097-5). The relevant chapter is 4: 'the demolition merchants of reality' ps 78 - 116.

Wheen quotes an unidentified academic "sympathetic to Derrida" who admitted that "deconstruction, which began as a heresy, soon turned into a dogma, and hardened into a theology, sustained by a network of evangelists and high priests and inquisitors" (p 81).

I maintain that history teaches us that all such dogmas are dangerous and should be opposed. The pity is that deconstruction is probably a useful idea (of limited application?) - turning it into a dogma is not.

I would urge you to read all of Wheen's book - for me it has great explanatory power. Personally, I have found much that has happened in the last 2 or 3 decades dismaying and unsettling. Wheen attempts to explain how we got to where we are now - and it's not a pretty picture!


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: GUEST,Whistle Stop
Date: 22 Feb 06 - 02:54 PM

I'm intrigued by that book, and may pick it up. I suspect that I will agree with many of the author's points -- and there are few things as enjoyable as reading well-articulated opinions that match one's own.

However, I happen to think that the phrase "low hanging fruit" is useful shorthand, and seomthing that a lot of people would recognize in context. I don't like a lot of management-speak, but I will confess that I've used this one a number of times, and don't have a problem with it.


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 22 Feb 06 - 10:00 PM

There was typo in my last post--I meant "Pithy" not "pity."

We're out of the range of "low hanging fruit" when we start trading Derrida and Foucault, I hope you realize that. :)

My approach to postmodern theory is through literary criticism. The Formalists, those who tended to read a text and assign a "correct" interpretation of it came before, and there were a lot of problems with that approach. It certainly (probably unintentionally) went a long way to keeping non-mainstream students out of the field. I agree with the postmodern view that ties in with semiotics that says each reader brings their own meanings and experiences to a text. It depends on what cultural baggage you're carrying around in your language.

You see the word "tree." A picture pops into your mind. Your tree picture is not the same as mine. Right there we have a different interpretation of the text. Even if we're more specific as to species, maple tree or live oak tree, we still have different pictures, though we are both seeing a tree. We each write from our cultural center, and those around us tend to understand the things in the way we intend them. Those in the margins understand something different. I specialized in American Indian literature in graduate school, and it was quickly clear that Indian writers were centering their texts differently, not for the mainstream. You have to work to understand these books because they're not written to you. If you're a white middle class mainstream American reader you're in the margin when it comes to these stories.

Derrida wrote a marvelous essay that I used in my thesis. "Structure, sign and play in the discourse of the human sciences." This essay has appeared in numerous collections, and in several translations. In the first instance where I read it the editor, David Lodge, notes
    "'Structure, Sign and Play' marks the moment at which 'post-structuralism; as a movement begins, opposing itself to classical structuralism as well as to traditional humanism and empiricism: the moment, as Derrida himself puts it, when 'the structurality of structure had to begin to be thought'. Classical structuralism based on Saussure's linguistics, held out the hope of achieving a 'scientific' account of culture by identifying the system that underlies the infinite manifestations of any form of cultural production. The structural anthropology of Claude Levi-Strauss tried to do this for myth. But, says Derrida, all such analyses imply that they are based upon some secure ground, a 'centre' or 'transcendental signified', that is outside the system under investigation and guarantees its intelligibility. There is, however, no such secure ground, according to Derrida--it is a philosophical fiction." (Modern Criticism and Theory, 107)


SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: Amos
Date: 22 Feb 06 - 10:41 PM

I would hazard that the unit of such ground of meaninng is the small incremental experiential agreements that are made in the ebb and flow of communication. These agreements are what build a vocabulary in the first place -- settling on tokens to cross-represent experience. In the final analysis it is based not an any absolute frame but on a series of transactions which are brought forward on the strength of trust and a sense of the probability that commonality is within sufficient limits.

Perceptions in time, without that parallel timestream of agreements, may breed a different sort of genius, but the ribs and stays of the culture are agreements. Obviously different cultures have their own pool of agreements for individual morphemic bits, and the degree of intersection is reflected in likeness of cultures, language and genes.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: GUEST,DB
Date: 23 Feb 06 - 04:41 AM

SRS,

I'm hanging in there - but only just. You still haven't answered my point about structuralism changing from a useful (?) method for analysing texts into a "theology" and a "dogma".
And, surely, Derrida's lack of "secure ground" renders the method useless? As a scientist I am used to establishing baselines and in comparing things with controls - without such baselines and controls you can't really measure (or analyse) anything.
Nevertheless, lack of secure ground doesn't seem to have stopped the structuralists from commenting on scientific matters; Wheen cites the French Structuralist, Luce Irigay, who 'denounced' Einstein's famous E = mc^2 as a "sexed equation" ...


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 23 Feb 06 - 07:21 AM

I think you are comparing low hanging apples and oranges...


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 23 Feb 06 - 01:19 PM

DB, I can't answer the part about the shift to dogma because I haven't seen it, at least not to that degree. The point of the reference to Derrida is simple, though. He simply wanted people to examine the priviledged positions from which many cultural enterprises operate. It's the "fish recognizing the water it's swimming in" example I gave somewhere else last week.

We're not talking about math and hard science shifting their role in understanding the world, though we are shifting the priviledge we grant to science to always have all of the answers, to work without question. Let me give you an example that I think shows how a postmodern (post-structuralist) view that gazed at the "structure" found it wanting and corrected a basic problem.

Donna Haraway wrote a book called Primate Visions that examines the patriarchal world of science. In the essay "Jeanne Altmann: Time-Energy Budgets of Dual Career Mothering" Altmann, who was a mathematician, got involved in primate studies and put the whole field on its head. Why? Because (simply put) the historically male anthropologists had a set of behaviors they expected in primates, and they observed them until the behaviors happened and then wrote about the dominant male primates and how they behaved with their harems, ignoring all of the rest of what was going on. The field was based upon what everyone ASSUMED were solid scientific and behavioral presumptions. Altmann thought the methods and sampling was all wrong. "The embarrassing truth was that many of the regularly cited field studies especially before the mid-1970s both gathered and analyzed data in a way that did not justify the conclusions reached" (107). Early scientists had been watching for the dramatic events such as males asserting dominance in breeding situations and ignoring all of the ordinary feeding, child rearing, social interactions as of no consequence. Altmann's approach was to watch EVERYTHING that happened in a group, what every individual was doing, over a set period of time, and count it all as important.

    Jeanne Altmann was among those who began to argue that primatologists had vastly overrated differential success rates in males and vastly underrated them in females. At least part of the problem was the preference for high drama, embodied in such things as faulty data collection practices paying too much attention to murder, sex, and mayhem. Nonetheless, data had accumulated that males change status relatively rapidly, and most males move through many relations to opportunities to breed in their lifetimes, so that a thin time slice into baboon life would not show the large degree of evening out of chances over the years. Neither would a tin time slice show the kinds of differences and their pervasive consequences among females. By lowering the temperature and thickening the time slice, females were recast as generators of diversity in evolutionary terms. The basic plot and cultural form were given by the constraints of Darwinian theory, but the scientist-dramtatist constructed who counts as an actor, a privileged status in western mythic, philosophical, political, and scientific narrative (312-313).


I was working on a second masters in environmental philosophy when I put things on hold after a health problem (since resolved) interrupted my work. The book above was one I used in that context, but I found much of the philosophy material very helpful in the English work I was doing simultaneously. The upshot of a postmodern world view is to understand that Western society isn't really so "Enlightened" as it thinks, and the force-feeding of Western attitudes and beliefs on the rest of the world is a mistake. There have been a lot of examples through the years of individuals who understood this. Thoreau is a prime example. Aldo Leopold. Many literary figures.

Does this help, or confuse things more?

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 23 Feb 06 - 01:28 PM

"thin" not "tin" time slice.


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: Amos
Date: 23 Feb 06 - 01:34 PM

the force-feeding of Western attitudes and beliefs on the rest of the world is a mistake.

That assertion is itself, surely, low-hanging fruit, easily taken down and passed around without much understanding of the tree. Errors in anthropology, cultural blindness in observations, and the innate bias of assumptions when trying to be scientific about a set one is simultaneously a member of, are factors as much at play in any other culture as they are in the West. I applaud anyone's efforts to expand such a field of observation, and include data to which others have been blind as in the somewhat feminist description given above.

But I don't see that these flaws are any more dramatic than those found in the "anthropology" of Lao-Tze, Levi-Strausse, Wittgenstein, or Charlotte Bronte.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 23 Feb 06 - 02:31 PM

I am acknowledging that water I swim in, Amos. I grew up with history (Christopher Columbus et al) and social studies classes that portrayed America showing the world the way to true civilization and understanding of the scientific world. In the biology context that portrayed males as dominant in most all of the animal world (except for hyenas, but they were considered so nasty that male researchers didn't mind giving them to the females, eh?) The position from which I view this modernist/post-modern discussion is one in which I have had to rethink the foundations that were taught as etched-in-stone in my formative years. I am a feminist product of my times.

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: GUEST,DB
Date: 23 Feb 06 - 05:00 PM

SRS,

It seems perfectly reasonable and valid, to me, to question various types of bias in such fields as Anthropology and Zoology - as long as one is not replacing one type of bias with another ('post modern') type, of course! But can, or should, one be applying such analyses to such fields as Physics or Mathematics?


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: Amos
Date: 24 Feb 06 - 07:54 AM

There is comparable blindness in some parts of those fields; but they tend to get worn down because of the embedded principles of replicability and measureability, which at least in early anthropological efforts was not really applied; in that sense there is something of the unscientific about the observations of tribes and species, in that not even gorillas will stand still for being kept in a Petri dish.

:D


A


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 24 Feb 06 - 09:58 AM

DB,

Yes. Ask physicist Thomas Kuhn. When they happen they're called pardigm shifts.

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: Amos
Date: 24 Feb 06 - 10:44 AM

...a phrase which has seen so much abuse by MBAs and ad-men since he coined it in the 70's that it can scarcely be recognized anymore. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions was a very telling work, but it happened to become wildly popular amongst the burgeoning and maturing Yuppy generation who were coming of age and desperate to go down in history as having done something -- anything at all -- of historical note.

So a lot of wild-ass claims about paradigm shifts became the order of the day, most of which were not even paradigmatic in nature, and shifted very little except some revenue here and there.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 24 Feb 06 - 11:04 AM

True, but that doesn't make the original idea any less valid. One simply has to look past the bottom feeders who latched onto a catchy phrase. I encountered Kuhn in an Environmental Philosophy context, right where he belongs.

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: GUEST,DB
Date: 24 Feb 06 - 12:01 PM

SRS,

Hhhhmmm!! Good debating point - but is there really a link between Kuhn's paradigm shifts and structuralism/post-modernism (which was originally about literary criticism, after all)? As I sit here, noodling on this keyboard, I can begin to convince myself that there may be ... perhaps?
At the end of the day it is probably 'rebel' physical scientists who generate the paradigm shifts in the physical sciences - and not literary critics and social scientists. I would be fascinated to learn of any examples which prove me wrong.


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 24 Feb 06 - 12:51 PM

These things don't happen in isolation. For example (I seem to have a lot of them!) I had a graduate school class about the work of Aldo Leopold a number of years ago with environmental philosopher and Leopold scholar J. Baird Callicott. Over the years he'd worked to publish Leopold's early essays and trace how he evolved from Forester and Wildlife manager into the philosopher he is recognized as today.

Callicott is a philosopher, not a literary scholar, but in various of his classes I took I would frequently bring literature in as examples of how people were thinking about events of the day and philosophical topics. In this particular class we were about four sessions into it when during our discussion I remarked "he sure quotes from Babbitt a lot." There was a nod of acceptance, if not understanding, from Callicott, but as we worked through the next few hours I saw his head pop up each time another Sinclair Lewis reference came in.

If you haven't read Babbitt, you've missed the classic illustration of a man who is a consumer who is keeping up with the Joneses and who is a Booster with a capital "B." And Leopold drew on this example (and also from Main Street) again and again. The literature showed exactly what he was concerned about in political and scientific decisions that were made to do with communities and public land management. When we decided on paper topics I had a couple of them that interested me, so I let Callicott decide which one he wanted to see. Without hesitation he asked me to write the Babbitt paper.

You know what? I'm certain that Sinclair Lewis and Aldo Leopold knew each other. They were only a year apart in age and were together at Yale. I think that over the years Leopold kept up with what Lewis was writing and drew on it in his own work. This kind of exchange of ideas is common in the world, in this case a serendipitous friendship between literary figure and scientist. I'd have to go to Wisconsin to read the Leopold papers to find out for sure (it isn't mentioned in the excellent biography written by Cut Meine). Leopold copiously wrote letters to his family and frequently mentioned what he was reading. I suspect contained in those letters is more information about Lewis.

Writers of any sort aren't working in a vacuum. You can find tons of examples of fiction writers reading essays and books on various science and political topics then incorporating the ideas into their fiction and poetry. It isn't difficult to understand how it gets back into the world of science and theory in the same way--scientists read novels and poetry and respond to it.

SRS (Who needs to revise that paper and send it out for publication somewhere.)


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 24 Feb 06 - 01:45 PM

OOps--that's Curt Meine.


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: GUEST,DB
Date: 24 Feb 06 - 05:58 PM

I suppose it all comes down to having a (truly) open mind - something which many people seem to find extremely difficult to achieve. Nevertheless, I would guess that if a particular scholar has devoted a lifetime to a particular theory, or theoretical framework, it must be completely dismaying when some upstart comes along and pulls the rug from underneath him/her ... I doubt whether I could cope with that!


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: Amos
Date: 24 Feb 06 - 06:14 PM

That may depend on why you were doing the work in the first place, though; good thought and good art tend to (in my experience) steer toward greater exchanges and ideas, not toward viewing them as threats.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 24 Feb 06 - 06:31 PM

You've identified a situation that was/is all too common in the sciences. As theories have evolved and been subjected to systematic observation and testing feathers have been ruffled. A classic example of that is with the whole idea of "balance" in nature. Scientist Frederic Clements had a theory about "Climax communities," in which the plant and animals would evolve to a point at which it would sustain itself at that highest level. This was a popular theory for quite a while, but it was eventually set aside. Donald Worster in Nature's Economy: A History of Ecological Ideas states
    Despite his more pragmatic admissions, Clements' doctrine of the climax as a natural ideal was by now firmly lodged in the national imagination. And Clements himself could not surrender his admiration for this long-enduring communal order, this complex super-organism nicely adjusted to the vagaries of climate. This feeling created a dliemma for both the man and the nation, not an easy one to resolve. (237)

As scientists came along and disproved his conclusions Clements didn't concede gracefully. I don't have time to reread that section of the book to spell out the events, but in the scientific world it wasn't a pretty thing to watch.

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: autolycus
Date: 24 Feb 06 - 06:39 PM

I'm not clear how fully open a mind any individual can have.

Each of us is always in a particular point in the space/time continuum; each of us is a unique organism; each has an individual life-history, store of memories and knowledge and understanding; is always at a particular point in human history, with a particular native language, in a society at its particular point in its development.

Wouldn't the only way to have a truly open mind be to know everything and be everywhere etc., clearly impossible.

Not for nothing did someone come up with the informal law,

"For every PhD, there's an equal and opposite PhD."

It's always going to happen that each next strong world-view, philosophy, however you want to put it, will be snitched in whole or part by admen, journalists, writers, politicians, carpetbaggers and so , often snitched with lack of understanding, for their own purposes.

No-one knows what will follow post-medernism - isn't that exciting, not knowing !


Re 12 Angry Men and "Let's run it up the flag-pole and see who salutes", said by adman Robert Webber, I thought that was a very funny line.

Ivor


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Subject: RE: BS: low hanging fruit
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 24 Feb 06 - 10:25 PM

It is possible to be so "open-minded" so as to end up with no convictions at all. I have met people who sway with new ideas like something blowing in the wind. To be post-modern doesn't mean you can't hold any positions, it means you recognize that you're part of the landscape.

SRS


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