Chris Rock teaches a course on ethnography

America has a tradition of interviewers who can’t really interview.  I think it may start with Johnny Carson.  It got worse with David Letterman.  It may improve with the new lot on late-night.  We shall see. Of course it’s wrong to ask comedians to interview well.  Their job is to find the funny and pitch […]

A celebrity lab by celebrities for celebrities

I read somewhere recently that Judy Greer has  a way to categorize her fans.  So when she sees them in public, she can tell who she’s dealing with. Perfect, I thought.  It’s about time celebs turned the tables.  We spent a lot of time talking about them.  They dominate TV, many magazines, and much of […]

Provocative Cadillac: rescuing the brand from bland (my latest at HBR)

Cadillac’s new spot Poolside is exploding. It shows a guy walking through his beautiful home musing on American virtues, values, and accomplishments. It debuted during the Superbowl and played again Sunday night during the Oscars. Naturally, the world went ballistic. These days, in our ideologically conflicted moment, we can’t say anything about the American experiment with provoking supporters, denigrators, […]

Period Piece

Or This is a great essay in Pacific Standard by John Gravois.  It should be read for its sheer skill and evident pleasure it brought the writer, then the reader.  But I couldn’t help looking at it anthropologically, breaking it down alphabetically, as above.  (I did the first image.  And Silky Szeto took pity on […]

The mystery of the “magic moment” in advertising

Grant McCracken and Bob Scarpelli Take a look at this recent AT&T ad.  Notice what the actress does at the 16:00 – 17:00 second mark.  That little thing she does with her hand and her eyes. Here’s a second ad for AT&T from a couple of years ago.  Watch what happens at the very end when […]

Does capitalism have thermals (aka, the evolution of Paramecium, Inc.)

A couple of months ago, I had the good fortune to have lunch with Napier Collyns.  Mr. Collyns is one of the founders of the Global Business Network and a man with a deep feeling for the rhythms and complexities of capitalism. I came home and banged out this little essay.  It’s an effort to […]

Strategies of self presentation in a digital age

Cynically speaking, the way we describe ourselves on Twitter is self aggrandizing (“self-branding” in the language of Tom Peters), but I prefer to think of it as an opportunity for endearment.  I love these people. Mike Duda ‏ @MikeDuda  Co-founder | Consigliere Brand Capital * Marketer * Investor * Rabble-rouser * Orange Fanatic * Barely […]

Minerva winner (2)

This is a second winner of the Minerva contest. Congratulations to Guy Lanoue. There is some wonderful writing here. Gue Lanoue, Département d’anthropologie, Université de Montréal Apparently, there could not be two more different women claiming to represent young, hip urban women swimming in the rapid currents of pop culture: one, a gifted actress, film […]

Impression management, Twitter style

Cynically speaking, the way we describe ourselves on Twitter is self aggrandizement. But I prefer to think of it as an opportunity for endearment.  I love these people.   Mike Duda ‏ @MikeDuda Barely lost NYC Marathon to 34,566 runners nick sherrard @nicksherrard as seen on CCTV Philippa Dunjay ‏ @PhilippaDunjay   likes short walks […]

The Good Guys

The Good Guys, the new cop comedy from Fox, is showing in my Seattle hotel room as I write this.  A month ago I argued that this show has no place in contemporary culture and therefore no hope of success.  (My assumption, unless you are have made contact with culture, your chances of making contact […]

Being Human, US and UK versions

I am a big fan of Being Human, the US version, that recently appeared on SyFy.   It’s a wonderful “what if.” What if there was a vampire, werewolf, and a ghost living in a house together?  I have to say that my initial response was puzzlement.  As in, “um, er, I don’t know. What […]

Harry’s Law: flourish or fail?

One test of our knowledge of contemporary culture: can we predict whether an innovation will flourish or fail? For the record, then, I believe Harry’s Law, the show that debuted last night on NBC, will fail. The debut suggests I may be wrong.  Harry’s Law got at 7.5 rating / 12 share, putting it ahead […]

Culture inside and outside the corporation (The two faces of of the Chief Culture Officer)

This week I took part in a #TChat on employee engagement and specifically onboarding. (Thanks to Marla Gottschalk for including me.) I found myself arguing that onboarding should introduce new hires to the deep culture of the organization, the one that is buried in assumptions and largely hidden from view. Meghan M. Biro, a founder […]

Calling all CCOs: how good is your gut?

Next week, Fox will launch a cop show called The Good Guys.  (It previews May 19th. The series starts June 7.) Outwardly, things looks fine.  The producer is Matt Nix, who recently triumphed with Burn Notice. Its stars Colin Hanks and Bradley Whitford, able actors to be sure. Plus Fox is good at making good […]

the most interesting men in the world

He wouldn’t be afraid to show his feminine side, if he had one. His mother has a tattoo that reads “son” At museums, he’s allowed to touch the art He is the most interesting man in the world! We have 3 campaigns that feature a certain kind of man.  I refer to the most interesting […]