Leaf Nodes

Ray Ozzie reacts to Don Park’s comment that “A CEO is not likely to know about about, let alone subscribe to, a lowly QA engineer’s blog.” Ray is basically arguing that CXOs do want to know what is going on all the way down to the leaf nodes of their organizations, and many of them will use whatever available means to build the clearest possible picture. In a general sense, I agree with Ray.Not all officers crave contact with the edge, but the best ones do. I could hold up countlessexamples of SteveB or Orlando Ayaladropping in on customer meetings, or just last week BillG e-mailing Ashley Feniello about the MS Go Club, but the point here isn’t really to form a cult of personality around how “accessible” or “clueful” certain executives are. I think Ray hit the nail on the head by pointing out that CXOs have to stay involved and close to the game, or else they’ll quickly lose grip on what’s happening. It is simple common sense to me.

Which brings me to my main point of contention with Ray’s post. I can agree with him that it’s unwise to underestimate the level of interest that the CEOs have for their leaf nodes, but I am very skeptical about the degree to which blogs will be able to help here. The basic problem is this: as soon as people get the impression that their CEO is looking to blogs for insights, people will start trying to influence their CEO via their blogs. In other words, the authenticity disappears and the motives of those blogging becomes a bit more suspect. Ray is obviously smart enough that he can take these factors into account when reviewing employee blogs, but my point is that the blog itself is just one way of finding out about leaf nodes, and not necessarily the best one — especially when the leaf nodes are on to the game.

Now, some might argue that I’m being too pessimistic here, since after all “having the CEO read your blog is no different than having the CEO listen in on a customer support call, and nobody doctors their phone calls ‘just in case’ the CEO is listening”. There is a difference, though, in that things like customer support calls, bug triage meetings, and even voluntary participation in support newsgroupsallhave clear objectives: help a customer with a specific problem, prioritize the bugs, etc. Blogging, on the other hand, is agnostic to the motives of whoever is using the blog. The motives of those who blog are diverse and defy easy classification. Just as you can hire a PR firm to alert your customers of valuable new information or a product recall, you can also hire a PR firm to convince your boss that you deserve a promotion (true story). And blogging is nothing if not about personal publishing for a global audience.

. . .

And, as a leaf node, I definitely have mixed feelings about evenimmediate peers reading my blog, let alone managers. When I started blogging a few years ago, I hoped that one day many MSFT employees would be blogging. The theory (to my ENFP mind)was that people would have a better opinion of MSFT if they could see that MSFT is not a monolithic evil juggernaut,but instead is a collection of normal people who all have their own individual personalities, opinions, and so on. And for some employees who were feeling unfairly respresented by sensationalized press and software politicians with agendas, I think it helps morale to know that they can connect directly with others on a personal level and be appreciated for who they really are. All of this, of course, may be simple vanity — but the point is that I always imagined these MSFT bloggers using blogs as a way to connect on a personal level across the corporate border.

Now, you can safely assume that people outside your workplace read your blog because they are interested in getting to know more about you; more about how your workplace operates; whether or not your group would be a good place to apply for a job, and so on. But your co-workers and immediate managers already know this stuff — you work with them every day after all. Sure there are lots of good reasons for immediate colleagues and managersto read your blog, but there are good reasons for you to be nervous about it, too– especially if they don’t have or plan to have a blog themselves. I’veended up with a teamwho are either cool about it or uninterested, as have others; but not everyone is so lucky, even at MSFT. One could argue that CEO-level support for blogging would help eliminate the “luck factor” and make sure that everyone in a company felt free to blog. But as I explain below, I think the cure would be worse than the disease in this case.

You see,even if you keep your blogging very personal, like chatting with your neighbors, that’s not necessarily the way that a risk-averse large organization will look at it. Is HR reading your blog because they are interested in you as a person, or because they are about to add an”official blogging policy” to the company handbook? Is marketing reading your blog because they like what you have to say, or because they see blogs as a general threat to their control over your company’s image and want to shut down the blogs? Within any large organization, there are countless turf boundaries and political motivations that are completely at odds with the spirit of blogging. Large organizations are risk-averse, and to the extent that blogs are still fairly new and not well-understood, they represent risk. This is just the way large organizations work, and the smart blogger is respectful of this.

As long asyourcompany views your blogging as “you chatting with your neighbors on your personal time”, you poselittle risk. But the more thatco-workers, CEOs, and so on are on-record as being cool with blogs, the more that blogs take on the timbre of being “official”. The more “official” that blogs are, the more perceived risk the company takes on by allowing you to blog. And neither you nor your CEO is really keen to make things more complicated than they need to be. And this is why, IMO, you see most companies and employees today still dancing around the issue ofemployee blogs and seemingly settling on a “don’t ask, don’t tell, and please for the love of God don’t do anything stupid” policy.

Restaurant Review: Caspian Grill

Based on recommendation from Scoble, we decided to try the Caspian Grill Persian restaurant in Seattle’s U-District last week. Overall it was excellent, and we’ll be back.

Location: Caspian Grill ison 5517University Ave, just north of 55th St, on the west side of the street. Parking is on the street.

Food: The waiter brought out pita bread with a quarter onion to start, andwe ordered the baba gannoush appetizer to start. Every table has a big shaker of paprika, and the baba gannoush was great; not too runny, and not too dry. We didn’t order hommous, but the baba gannoush is a good indicator of how they do on hommous. For main course we ordered the lamb/beef kebab platter and the chicken fesenjan. Fesenjan is a stew with the bird slow-cooked for a long time in a sweet pomegranate broth. The meat falls right off the bone, and tasted really good. And the kebabs were perfect. Restaurants in Seattle measure how “middle eastern” they are by how much garlic they use, and kebab/tawook are all terrible at every place I’ve tried. You are much safer in general to stick with Tandoori grilled meats rather than go to a place that advertises “mediterranean”, “middle-eastern” or even “Greek” (and the “shish tawook” they serve at Cedars in U-District tastes suspiciously like tandoori chicken on a skewer). Anyway, the grilledlamb and beef at Caspian Grill are as delicious as any I’ve ever had anywhere — and by far better than any I’ve had in the Seattle area before. No room for dessert.

Ambiance: The restaurant is clean and tastefully decorated, withplenty of space between tables. The place was pretty crowded, with two big family gatherings and lots of boisterous happy conversation. It was a Friday night, and by sheer coincidence, we got there just a few minutes before the belly dancing started. The music was awesome, and the dancing was pretty cool. The dancer (Aziza) even danced with a lighted candle balanced on her head, demonstrating that her head could remain stationary while every other part of her body was moving. It’s up to the parents to explain to kids that this is not to be tried at home; and I even observed one parent instructing his son how to properly put dollar bills in the dancer’s waist band. After the dancing finished, there was a pause of about 20 minutes and then some live jazz which was very pleasant.


Last week I also made it to two blog-related social meetups. First I went to the Sam Ruby meet (with Sam Ruby cancelling at the last moment). I talked with Ted Leungfor about an hour, and then John Porcaro and Dare showed up. My date insisted on leaving before Scoble or Phipps showed up, which was a shame. Especially since one of them might have had a digital camera and snapped a picture of me, in which case I would have proof that Ted’s camera was malfunctioning and I don’t really sport a moustache or use coal-based lipstick.

Then on the following friday, I got dinner at Claim Jumper with Paolo and his wife Angela, and we did some shopping together. Paolo was showing off his hours-old Toshiba wifi PPC, and we talked about all sorts of interesting topics including XBox Live gaming, custom-written replacements for Windows Media Center, and enterprise architecture. Paolo is with Sierra Systems, asystems integratorI worked with often when I was in MSFT’s field organization. I always liked the people from Sierra since they are very pragmatic about how things arein the “real world” and they normally go in with a “hook your stuff together” play instead of a “rip and replace with the one true architecture” play. This tends to work better for MSFT (and of course better for the customers), and leads to Sierra having people with whom I can swap war stories about programming in Pick or M204.

Linux Adult Supervision

Bruce Perens is trying really hard to say that MSFT is behind the recent SCO claims. He doesn’t exactly claim that MSFT started the ball rolling or prodded SCO into action, but heseems desperate to have you draw that conclusion on your own.

Now, it could be argued that the wholemess is a beneficial opportunityfor MSFT, but the leap from “silver lining in the clouds” to “puppetmaster” is completely illogical. Perens as much as admits that he’s trying on conspiracy theories like clothes at the mall when he says “I earlier thought the suit could be a bid to force IBM to acquire SCO at a cheaper price” Conspiracy theories are convenient like that; the tenuous attachment to reality means they can be changed at whim.

Perens also offersan overt warningto SCO, saying that SCO’s actions will cost others “loss of sales and jobs, delayed projects, canceled financing” and that SCO is inviting “retribution”.

This seems to be the general response of the Linux community. The delayed projects and canceled financing are largely caused by uncertainty and doubt as Perens points out, but this response is hardly a productive way to make people feel more confident.

If I were an affected IT manager, I would probably be looking for evidence that Linux development is instituting measures to demonstrate “due dilligence” and minimize future code pollution. I would be looking for some of the larger sponsors to step in and provide some adult supervision to the process. And I would be expecting my vendors to show some level of concern about the issue, indicatingthat they are not going to be recklessly exposing me to liability.

Instead, these guys trot out wild-eyed conspiracy theories, and threaten the victim with “retribution” for daring to report a perceived violation. I can see how this would scare anyone away from reporting such incidents in the future, and I can see how it might embolden those who would plaigarize code “for the greater good”. But it sure beats the heck out of me how this is going to dispel any of thediscomfort that enterprises might be feeling about the IP status of their Linux machines.

Yes, there is certainly some gnashing of teeth among Linux customers these days, but there is no need to blame it on everyone’s favorite monopolist. The Unix/Linux community is doing just fine on their own, this time, thank you.


Kevin Poulson in The Reg makes the astounding claim thatMatrix Reloaded is “the first major motion picture to accurately portray a hack.” This is the sort of elitist platform that hacker types thrive on, but is unfortunately untrue.

This sort of thing is appealing to hackers, since the hacker subculture is even more ego-driven and self-obsessed than the blogger culture, and hackers love pointing out to others how “such and such movie wasn’t even close to what I do in real life”. It gives the hacker a chance to brag, and shows how totally elite he is.

So how does Hollywood take advantage of this? Geeks are all about credibility, and hackers are the uber-geeks. If you want a movie to do well with the geek demographic, it has to pass the hacker credibility test. And if you mess up the hacker credibility, the movie will quickly develop a bad reputation ala “The Net” and fail with the geek crowd.

Now, the problem for Kevin’s story is that Hollywood figured out this angle at least a decade ago and has been using it effectively ever since. You see, Kevin’s memory seems to go back onlyto 2001, while mine goes back much farther — specifically to the events of Defcon III in Las Vegas (I think). Like Kevin, the elitists at the con enjoyed telling stories to one anotherabout how crappy and fakeall of the hacker movies and books were. There were not many options at the time; Wargames was the only one with any credibility. Anyway, that year Dark Tangent was excited to announce to the attendees that Lawrence Lasker (the Hollywood producer responsible for Wargames) would be hanging out with all of the hackers and taking advice on how to make hacker movies that were more accurate (in preparation for “Sneakers” if I remember correctly). The details are very fuzzy as time has passed, but Lasker even gave a talk and had some other Hollywood types around networking with attendees. In any case, it was a very solid demonstration that Hollywood at that point was taking “hacker cred” seriously.

For the next couple of years, I payed keen attention to Hollywood representations of hackers,hoping to understand the diffusion of knowledgebetween thetwo communities. “The Net” was admittedly terrible, and there was a bit of bad taste left in the mouths of the community at what was perceived as an attempt to “buy credibility” when Emmanuel Goldstein (of 2600) accepted a cameo in “Hackers”. But despite the embarrassing “hack the planet!” scenes, the movie was full of all sorts of insider references to bleeding edge exploitsthat even the casual security hobbyists missed. Since then, I’ve noticed obvious hackerinsider references in mainstream(non-hacker)movies, but don’t pay much attention. Time keeps marching on; I’ll be thirty in a couple of years, and I don’t have the time or interest for hacker movies anymore. I just assume that everyone by now realizes that Hollywood “gets it”.

But every generation likes to figure things out on their own, I guess.


Herb Alpert queues up in media player just as I am wrapping up the latest round of changes to one of my specs. I swear I’ll write an exposé some day about the specification process at MSFT, but not today — I’m too exhausted. You wouldn’t believe if I told you anyhow.

Meanwhile, life continues on around me. Don has tipped his hand, and we see his conspiracy to revive CDF. Dare Carnegieis undercutting innovation and capitalism by copying features and giving them away for free in open source. And Douglas “The Beast” Purdy is getting more work done on paternity leave than he did before. Sleep for a week, and these guys will leave you in the dust.

This week, I have been mostly enjoying the good weather and getting my gardens in order. I bought some dracocephala for a few spots in the landscape; it doesn’t tolerate sun, though, sothat limits the places I can use it.Thenandinahas been annoying me for well over a year, so I’m entertaining ideas for good sun-tolerant replacements. My vivax has already taken off this year with frightening vigor, and could easily replace the nandina. But it is difficult to control the spread of vivax, and I am not sure the feng shui is right (I prefer to put red colors with sharp, spiking leaves in the front). I am having some more work done to the grove of nigra terraced in the back; by next summer it should be filling in quite nicely. Other than bamboo, I have been planting trilliums and as many varieties of saxifrage as I can get my hands on. Also planted two lilac trees. The greenbelt behind my place has been populated with a veritable botanical garden of evergreen varieties, including some beatiful oriental spruce in different shades and textures of green and yellow, so I spent some time trimming back the other vegetation to give these trees room to breathe and grow. I’ve had my eye on some weeping cedar at Molbak’s, but can’t find an excuse to put it in, since it doesn’t really match anything else. Probably I’ll end up getting another Japanesemaple instead. I’ve been holding off, curious if I’ll see any honey locust around here. I miss them from Michigan, but I am getting the impression that they don’t grow too well in Seattle.

One thing that always amazes me about Seattle gardening is the amount of mileage you can get from grass. From feathery sedges tomonster yuccas and everything between, you can build a garden that covers the whole range of vertical dimensions, colors, and textures. I sometimes take the extra walk from my building at MSFT (35) to the building 33 cafeteria, because they have such a beautiful landscape design which makes use mostly of grass. On the other hand, I am pretty happy with my building, too. The building was landscaped new last year, and seems to be one of the few places on campuswhere they made extensive use of bamboo. The landscape outside my window was planted with nuda scattered all among the sedges, shrubs and trees. I predicted on my blog last year that the nuda would spread. I am happy to report that the bamboo is spreading already, and sending out new shoots much farther than I ever expected it would by the first year. Some shoots have already tried to escape across the top of the sidewalk. I really doubt that the landscapers expected this, since within two years it’s going to completely pulverize anything else in the area (including the expensive shrubs and flowers they planted). But I am certainly not complaining, however tragic for the shrubs it may be. I am crossing my fingers that they simply let it go, since it’s going to be a beautiful grove if they do.

Falun Fad

This Sunday, thedim-sum place was packed. We waited nearly 40 minutes for a table. While standing outside, a woman scurried about thrusting pamphlets into people’s hands. Big bold letters announced to me to the all-too-familiar cause du jour of west-coast activists: why is this peaceful meditation practice being persecuted?

I was immediately reminded of Jianshuo’s recent post. He doesn’t post about Falun Gong in particular, but laments the black eye that China is being given over SARS. Jianshuo is in MSFT Shanghai office andmaintains some of the best SARS-related news from China available on the web(Adam Morris also has a good SARS-related blog he maintains from Beijing or nearbyTianjin). Now, I am more pessimistic than ever before about SARS. The disease is basically out of control in spreading now, has been mutating rapidly, and now has a 15% death rate. I am convinced that SARS is something we will all have to learn to deal with. But I also would not be too quick to criticize China about the spread of the disease. I have a feeling things will be much worse in the U.S. when SARS catches hold with full force here, if only for the reason that it’s practically impossible in the U.S. to quarantine 1000 people at a time.

Anyway, the point is that I have never really understood theFalun activists, and always have this uncomfortable feeling that they are simply serving (at least in the west) as a focal point for attracting anti-China activists — many of the same anti-China activists who populate the “free Tibet” movement. Both issues are rather similar, and puzzling to me for the same reasons. The people attracted to both causes are typically the same people who will fight most strongly against school prayers in the west, but they are supporting religious monarchy (in the case of Tibet) and a massive religious cult (in the case of Falun) over an athiest government.I’m not saying that Tibetan Buddhism or Falun Gong are necessarily bad belief systems; just that I have a bit of trouble understandingthe motives of their western supporters. When Indiafunnels money to the “free Tibet” movement,the reasons are obvious –but there seems something deeply incongruous about the stance of the typical birkenstock-clad college kid who claims to be a supporter of Tibet or Falun Gong.

Now, I am admittedly ignorant about Falun Gong. But I have formed some impressions:

They claim to not have an organization, but their .org is as slick and masterful as any Sun Myung Moon or Church of Scientology site. They have an 800 number and a line of merchandise. Driving around Vancouver, B.C., I see massive Berlin-1933 style posters, and I have seen what appear to be apartment complexes taken over entirely by practitioners. They send blue-eyed Canadian college kids to do stupid things and get arrested in Tiananmen, with newspaper cameramen ready. And they market themselves even more fiercely than Hare Krishnas (when was the last time you had Hare Krishnas soliciting at your restaurant?). They claim they do not have an organization, but I have learned far more than I wanted to about their founder and spiritual leader. Every web page or pamphlet heaps adulation on the founder, andthe lack of detractors within Falun Gong wouldmake even the Pope envious. I have formed the impression that if their founder said “jump”, they would all jump. They make me nervous.

By the same token, there are plenty of Buddhists, Christians, Jews, Muslims and others within China who manage to avoid systematic persecution.Admittedly, it’s not as if China makes life easy for these other religions, but Falun Gong has done a very poor job of maintaining a low profile. Massive public displays of solidarity to non-communist causes and sneaking in offoreign activists to stage protests are textbook examples of how to freak out the communist party. Does the Zhuan Falun require that practitioners deliberately poke a stick in the eye of the communist party? I highly doubt it.

So do you have any theories why the Falun Gong insists on being so highly visible and provocative toward the Chinese leadership? Mytheory is that it’s a two-pronged way to generate membership.In China, being perceived as “everybody is doing it” is a great way to attract more customers. And in the U.S., getting persecuted by the Chinese government is a great way to gain mystique and credibility among the seeker-activists (Richard Gere, Tom Cruise)and patterns the “Free Tibet” movement. And the two trends feed off of one another (Westerners figure it is “authentic” if lots of Chinese people do it; Chinese people figure it must be good since everyone including foreigners is doing it).

Chinese Thinking Skills

It is a sad day for journalism. Read this piece by Emily Eakin in the New York Times, and ask yourself if they imbue all of their reporting with the same level of journalistic integrity. When you understand what a shameful piece of tripe Emily’s article is, how will you ever trust their integrity again?

“Mr. Hannas blames the writing systems of China, Japan and Korea for what he says is East Asia’s failure to make significant scientific and technological breakthroughs compared to Western nations … Mr. Hannas’s logic goes like this: because East Asian writing systems lack the abstract features of alphabets, they hamper the kind of analytical and abstract thought necessary for scientific creativity.”

Essentially, the guy is a crackpot racistwith an axe to grind, and New York Times feels compelled to give him a few inches of paper. Let’s deconstruct:

For starters, the basic facts are wrong. The way that Japanese hiragana and katakanaare used to “sound out” words is not so different from the way that western alphabets are used. They contain almost the same number of “letters” as western alphabets, and very often multiple “letters” combine into a single syllable. Japanese often use katakana tophonetically approximate western words, and many words have come into common use this way. And written Korean is phonetic as far as I can tell. The article quotes his publisher as saying that Hannas is an undisputed expert on languages, but his expertise sure seems disputable.

Next, let’s examine his premise that east asians are less capable of scientific and technological breakthroughs. Last I knew, something like 80% of all advanced math degrees in the U.S. are granted to Chinese students. Chinese dominate the ranks of mathematics and biotech researchers in the U.S., far beyond their representation in the overall population.One would have to be an idiot to not notice this trend taking place in research all across the west. From where I sit, it looks likethe scientific and technological breakthroughs of the west are being made by Chinese in larger proportion than ever before. The most interesting point here is that Hannas tries to make the claim that Chinese researchers in the west do so well precisely because they have learned a western alphabet (late in life as it may be). If so many Chinese people are able to pick up western alphabets, but so few westerners pick up Chinese, by Hannas twisted logic this would mean that Chinese language is superior because it more easily leads to a superset of knowledge. And in any case, it seems awfully superstitious to say that learning an alphabet late in life could suddenly transform an ignorant villager into a brilliant researcher. And if alphabet alone is so magical, how come Hannas is such an idiot — he apparently knows at least one alphabet?

The solution he proposes, switching to an alphabet, is hardly novel. It is an idea that has long been debated in countries like China, where using a computer keyboard can be a daunting task and people increasingly fall back on Pinyin, the Romanized Chinese script, for data entry.

Hannas reallyloses it here. What the hell else besides Pinyin would you be typing with a normal computer keyboard? Mr. Hannas has now come to the stunning conclusion that computer keyboards were designed to type letters!

On the other hand, pen-based input devices can recognize Chinese characters with far greater accuracy than western alphapets, and the overall speed of input for pen-based Chinese can be much faster than keyboard-based entry of western text. Would Hannas claim that western alphabets inhibit creativity, since “using a pen-pad can be daunting and slowfor entering western text, so many people are forced to used clunky and slowkeyboards that don’t fit in their pockets”?

The article dedicates a full five paragraphs; nearly half of the text; to the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. Sapir-Whorf is completely discredited at this point in time, and should not have even borne mention; but certainly has the same stinky stench as Hannas. It seems popular among east-coast intellectuals to demonstrate cultural sensitivity by stereotypingan ethnicgroup in an arguably positive way rather than negative — “Blacks are very musical people”, or “Asians are very obedient — both cases with an implied self-righteous “I’m not a racist, I know lots of hispanic people. How many hispanics do you know?”Sapir-Whorf panders to this sort of “ethnic window-shopping” mentality by reinforcing stereotypes while pretending to be scientific and respectful of diversity. The basic theory was “Chinese cannot think abstractly, so they live cheerfully in the moment.” Unfortunately the theory was based on lies about the languages studied, and the research was repeatedly proven to have been falsified (or at best conducted by incompetents). In memoriam, it became evident that Sapir-Whorf and its proponents were speculating out of ignorance, and had never developed an appreciation for weiqi, perhaps the most challenging game of abstractions known to man.

Next is this jewel: “Richard E. Nisbett, a psychologist at the University of Michigan … chalks up the “relatively slight accomplishments of Japanese science” to the “Confucian respect for elders””

Confucius wasn’t Japanese, and it’s highly debatable whether Japanese truly “respect elders” any more than intellectuals like Nisbett or Hannas do, but let’s not dispose of a perfectly good sweeping generalization if it helps make the racist argument. And like a true east-coast “enlightened racist”, Nisbett goes on to explain that he’s not criticizing the Japanese, just pointing out that they are merely different in a completely complimentary way. I see: greedy, unimaginative, and incapable of logical thought – goes well with sushi.

Mind Mapping on a Tablet

Sascha is testing MindManager for Tablet PC. I bought MindManager 2002 Pro (forPC, nottablet)awhile ago and am really happy with it. It’s nice for organizing your thoughts and taking notes, both of which are good fits for the “think in ink” pitch of Tablet PC. It seems like the perfect app for showing the value of a tablet. Now I just need a tablet…


Check out the linkbar on the left. We now have more than 60 confirmed bloggers who happen to work at MSFT! Amazing progress in just a few years.


[via FNC] Northwest said it wants to start service from Detroit because the southwest Michigan area has the highest population of Iraqis in the United States.

It is an act of aggression to force anyone to fly Northwest out of DTW. I don’t care what airline horror stories you have; they are nothing if you’ve not been subjected to Northwest’s Detroit treatment.

So Much Religion

Anearly review of theLonghorn UI, and all three comments are from Mac advocates saying “OS X already does this!”.Obviously they haven’t seen the product. Just wait until they actually see Longhorn UI, and their jawsdrop permanently agape. Longhorn UI is the coolest freekin’ thing to happen to Windows UI since Windows 3.0, and it will inspire you.

The demos are cool, but theymerely demonstrate the raw power available to the UI. The work being done to rethink the shell to take advantage of this raw power is what’s coolest. Longhorn is going to change the rules of the game for GUI access to code and data, and I think it’s going to be remarkably soon after the first Longhorn GUI betas that today’s GUIs start to look old and clumsy.

Behind the Retro Curve

Why do the anti-war, anti-Bush protesters have such a hard time getting anything to stick?

In my opinion, they fail because they have failed to recognize the diminishing subliminal effectiveness of 60’s and 70’s pop-culture messages, and the Bush team has effectively marshalled 80’s pop-culture engrams to appeal to today’s young adults.

First, watch any video footage of George W. Bush walking — notice how his chest rises and hisarms hang a bit away from his sides when he walks, as if he has just been pumping iron and has too much muscle for his arms to fit flush to his sides. Notice how his shoulders never move independently of one another, like a plastic action hero. Now look at the pictures below, and tell me the resemblence is not deliberate and calculated. Today’s young adults don’t see anything wrong with the fact that Saddam and Bin Laden haven’t yet turned up dead. If He-Man hadever killed Skeletor for good, what would we do for the next episode? You see, a good He-Man always wins, but he doesn’t need no stinkin’ DNA to prove it!

Now notice how the old-school counter-culture hackers get so flustered when Rumsfeld crows and preens at the news conferences. They can’t understand how a guy can be happy (gasp!) while talking about war. It’s unthinkable to them that someone can be so insensitive without committing political suicide. But Rumsfeld’s star continues to rise.You need only listen to this audio clipto see why so many twenty-somethings feel right when Rummy crows. It’s like a subconscious train ride back to 10 years-old, drinking Tang and playing A-Team.

Yes, I am joking. But only partly. The more you pay attention, the more uncanny it becomes, and the more hopelessly behind the retro curve the protesters start to seem. The counter-culture rebels reallyneed to get with the 80’s if they want to escape obsolescence.