To design is to make decisions for others. Because this involves an exchange of power, however slight,
designis best understood as a moral pursuit.
Industrial and urban models were a requisite chapter in the story of human civilization advancing through the 20th century. It seems baffling to think that anyone should wish to continue into the 21st century in this same mode.
If you’re still a member, shift your thinking away from the everyone-you’ve-ever-sort-of-known to people you encounter with some regularity. At work, school, play and with proximity to your home. Map your social media network over the kind of real-world network you’d like to inhabit.
Raceis a system of humancategorization used for social engineering since ancient times. Racist ideologies need rails to run on. In my own thinking and small sphere of influence, I’m planning do my part to tear up the tracks—starting at the dinner table.
Stop cultivating deep friendships with single women if you’re not prepared to (quickly) grow that relationship as your sole jam. This will make you feel lonely. This will leave an empty place in your life. That’s by design—deal with it.
Like you, I have an imagination for Black families in Charlottesville and the surrounding counties that includes agency, equity and authority. Here, I’m using ‘authority’ to mean something like ‘the freedom to write one’s own story without coercion or interference.’ Something akin to liberty.
My own few and mostly benign encounters with police have left me fearful. By and large, they do not appear to be for me. To the extent that this is an issue of poor training, bad policy and/or the violence endemic to men’s hearts, I am a very poor source of advice. But, to the extent that this is a design problem—I have a few thoughts.
One week later, Sophie told Norman she’d filed for divorce. He’d changed and she couldn’t trust him anymore. No hard feelings, but it was over. He stood between her and the doorway, slowly shaking his head. His eyes hardened as he placed a strong hand on her shoulder. Incensed, Sophie smacked him hard across the face, her rings cutting a gash on his jaw.
I ignorantly assumed that white has its origins in preserving and advancing the interests of light-skinned people. Perhaps the entrenched networks established by and for the Anglo-Saxon colonists sent over from England. But this origin story is not a full accounting. It would be bad enough if white were rooted in a racial purity or a supremacist movement, but the truth is even more repulsive.
It was Austin in mid-March. That can only mean one thing: South by Southwest.
After an unusually rainy week, the clouds finally parted. John and I put the developers to bed and slipped out into the balmy Texas night to track down some music. Hours later, we found ourselves perched in the smoky wings of one of the countless blues bars that dot Sixth Street. The sort of place with one bathroom, folding chairs and a drain in the center of the floor. After every song, we’d fist bump and remark at the unbelievable talent in our midst. Suddenly, a man appeared at my side.
Severe in a Miles Davis kind of way, he sat much too close and stared directly at us with huge, unblinking black eyes. Not sure about John, but I assumed this man was a musician and perhaps we’d been made a part of the act. As quickly as he had materialized, the stranger produced a pad of cheap paper and a ballpoint pen. He began scrawling furiously, pausing from time to time to do cartoonishly artistic things like holding up one thumb, closing an eye, and sticking out his tongue. We were being drawn by the Pablo Picasso of the honky-tonks. He finished, and gazed approvingly at his accomplishment. Only then did his intention become clear. With dramatic flourish, he spun around the spiral-bound canvas and offered to sell me this fresh masterwork. I’m sure John and I gave him a few seconds of our tough guy routine, but I caved quickly and went along with the sales pitch. Needless to say, I’d sampled a few of Austin’s buttery bourbons and gleefully handed him a wad of bills from my pocket. I’m a patron of the arts, after all. We ordered our enterprising friend a drink and had a few laughs and he was off to find his next target as the eastern sky grew red.
Now—not even nine months later—John’s body is in the ground, stolen away by cancer. He was my friend and colleague, and in many ways, my mentor. He was, without a doubt, one of the most gracious people I’ve ever known. It’s only been a couple of weeks and I’m still adjusting to a world without him. It’s a little colder and lonelier than I’m used to. Cleaning out a drawer earlier tonight, I discovered a rolled up sketch and fresh tears sprang to my eyes. I have no idea what I paid that bar-hopping bon vivant for this portrait, but it’s suddenly worth much more.
“I never thought about dying…
The day you were born, it was already written down the day you’re gonna check out. Now, I’m not gonna throw myself under a truck, but I’m not gonna worry about when I die. I’m ready to move on when that day comes.” ∞
Long before the prefix ‘i’ on a computer or digital gadget had come to conote a certain prestige — a whole different plane of excellence — having the word ‘Shelby’ before the name of an automobile meant you were dealing with the absolute best. The Texan tinkerer is a striking figure in industrial design and automotive engineering.
Carroll Shelby was born with a bum ticker. A leaky valve in his heart kept him in bed through the age of fourteen. He was determined to catch up — and then some. He joined the Army Air Corps in World War II and developed a lifelong love of going fast. He drove Formula One cars throughout the fifties, competing in eight World Championship races. Driving in his trademark bib overalls, he set multiple land speed records and was named Sports Illustrated’s Driver of the Year in both ’56 and ’57. When his heart condition forced him to give up driving, he began constructing his own supercars to compete with the likes of Ferrari and Porsche. In a sport dominated by Italian cars, Shelby gave American steel the pole position. Beginning with a British classic — the AC Cobra — the eponymous builder produced a string of hits including Ford Daytonas and GTs. His rendition of the GT40 won the grueling 24-hour endurance race at Le Mans. Later in his career, he found mass-appeal when he helped create the Dodge Viper.
A cowboy-hat-wearing, no-nonsense visionary, Carroll Shelby is an American legend whose legacy speaks for itself. In a deep, throaty, flame-spewing snarl. RIP.