Paul Newman on common human charity

December 3, 2009

A man with no enemies is a man with no character.I’d like to be remembered as a guy who tried — tried to be part of his times, tried to help people communicate with one another, tried to find some decency in his own life, tried to extend himself as a human being. Someone who isn’t complacent, who doesn’t cop out.

I am confounded at the stinginess of some institutions and some people. I’m bewildered by it. You can only put away so much stuff in your closet. In 1987, the average CEO against someone who was working in his factory was 70 times. It’s now 410 times.

Paul Newman, 1925 – 2008

On his love for food.

When I realized I was going to have to be a whore, to put my face on the label, I decided that the only way I could do it was to give away all the money we make. Over the years, that ethical stance has given us a 30 per cent boost. One in three customers buys my products because all the profits go to good causes and the rest buy the stuff because it is good.

The embarrassing thing is that my salad dressing is out-grossing my films.

It’s all been a bad joke that just ran out of control. I got into food for fun but the business got a mind of its own. Now — my good Lord — look where it has gotten me. My products are on supermarket shelves, in cinemas, in the theater. And they say show business is odd.

Over $280 million has been generated for charity since 1982.

Newman’s Own

Franchise Bankers are on the Autobahn to Perdition

January 10, 2009


As I promised, more thought-provoking ideas from Saul‘s, The Doubter’s Companion.

BANKERS Pillars of society who are going to hell if there is a God and He has been accurately quoted.

All three Western religions have always forbidden the collection of interest on loans. When Samuel Johnson defined the banker in the eighteenth century his status was clear: “One that trafficks in money.” Their venal sin of usury [excessive interest] continues to sit high on lists of scriptural wrongdoing, which raise the question of why bankers – the money-market sort excluded – tend to be frequent church goers. The respect in which they have increasingly been held over the last two centuries has paralleled the growth of economics based on long-term debt, which spread into every corner of society, from governments and corporations to the poor. The more money owed, the more the lender is respected, so long as the borrower intends to pay it back.

But what effect does this have on the moral position of bank employees? Few modern bankers are owners. Except through their salaries they do not profit from interest payments. Are they or are they not among the damned? Perhaps they should themselves be seen as victims of usury, having little choice but to lend their lives to the usurious process in order to feed their families. Yet for the borrower, these employees are the human face of usury.

The clearest situation for bankers would be if God didn’t exist. They would then be morally home-free and could go to church in a more relaxed frame of mind. See: DEBT.

Margaret Atwood observes lately that Christianity is based primarily on debt: Jesus came and redeemed man, opened the gates of heaven and paid off all past and future debt. The Aramaic words for debt and sin are the same. In the Lord’s Prayer, believers are directed to forgive trespasses (debts, offences) and it appears She does only as much as you forgive others their debts.

  • One of my lawn sprinkler customers retired after 35 years with the Royal Bank of Canada in 2009. She looks 10 years younger in 4 months and attributes it not having to lie to her neighbours anymore about what the bank did to them.

A recurring theme is that debt is a form of death, is life-taking. You make your own hell by losing your soul now, let alone the everlasting damnation bit (perdition). autobahn

The Road to Perdition, 2002 movie with Tom Hanks, Paul Newman and Jude Law.

Language within Culture: A Failure to Communicate

December 6, 2008

frye1Franchisees and franchisors talk as if they are from another planet.

Language is one very important element of culture. Franchisees and franchisors have a much, much different worldview or culture.

  • I know this because after 10 years, viewed in a cultural or race sense, I should be defending franchisors not franchisees.
  • That the industry elite perceives me to be a Traitor to my own Class is why I cause some unease, over and above my willingness to share information.
  • I speak Franchising fluently, recognize that there are 2 founding languages that are totally intertwined and interdependent.
  • To reasonable participants on both “sides”, I am a credible translator and proven bilingual witness.

Outsiders must be quite confused when they survey the almost total of understanding from one side to another. In fact, they’re both alike in one key aspect:

  1. Franchisees do not understand franchisors (lack life skills that are trainable) and
  2. franchisors do not understand franchisees (no need to bother, until recently).

In this 37 second clip from the 1967 movie Cool Hand Luke demonstrates, the urgency of understanding both sides usually falls to the party in chains.

Every society whether ordered on merit, race or class, always (and I repeat, always) has an intellectual class: their teachers, scribes, writers, clerics.

  • Franchisors have the franchise bar.
  • Franchisees haven’t had anyone (until recently).

Therefore what we should be working toward is:

a sustainable economic model for the development and maintenance of an independent, international franchisee-oriented intellectual capability.

Note: The word “intellectual” should not be considered a “put down” and is not intended that way at all.  Any serious students of history know, however, that there are leaders and followers; early adopters all the way through to laggards, etc. But everyone must do their part, in their own sets of skills.

To me, franchisees must try to re-kindle their imaginations: What they really believe in.

And then they may start to gather together into small groups.

The fundamental job of the imagination in ordinary life, then, is to produce, out of the society we have to live in, a vision of the society we want to live in.  Northrop Frye

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