DEPROGRAMMING 101 is one person’s attempt to encourage others to open their minds and challenge the status quo. I do not pretend I have all the answers nor do I want you to take my positions as gospel. The blogs on each topic are presented as food for thought and stimuli. Each ends with the tagline, “For what it’s worth,” which in some cases may be zero. The ultimate goal is not to find RIGHT answers, it is to promote the asking of BETTER questions.

Dr. ESP/October 28, 2015

John W. Gardner - WikipediaGo into any bookstore.  There are shelves upon shelves of volumes in the “Self Help” section encouraging individuals to “reinvent themselves.”  My personal favorite is Self-Renewal by John W. Gardner, founder of Common Cause and former secretary of Health, Education and Welfare under Lyndon Johnson.  The main thesis centers on the impact of change on individuals and societies.  Gardner observes, throughout history, failure to recognize and respond to natural and man-made metamorphoses has led to the decline and fall of great civilizations, but such outcomes are not inevitable.

However, there is an alternative route to survival in difficult times.  I became aware of this option as the result of a marketing exercise I began in 2012 to find potential clients for The ImagineIt Project, a company I joined in 2005 and took over as CEO in 2011.  I Googled the term “reinvent” in corporate annual reports and in CEO presentations to stockholders.  While this research identified several potential targets, the source documents contained another equally intriguing phrase.  “We need to go back to our entrepreneurial roots.”  In other words, what did we do at the outset which made us successful?  And where might we have gone astray?

Which is why I began this post with the first words I ever wrote about the philosophy and mission associated with this endeavor.  But more importantly, I wanted to assess whether I had violated them, spending more time trying to explain what was happening rather than looking for “better questions” which would encourage others to join in the search for new knowledge and enlightenment.  Therefore, on the the occasion of this milestone, post #600, I decided to circle back to the roots of Deprogramming101 and present a series of questions which deserve more thought and new perspectives.

  1. Why do politicians and the people who vote for them have such short memories?  Example : In a monologue about mascots, comedian Costaki Economopoulos (real name) reminds us, “The Republicans have the elephant, who never forgets.  But Republicans can’t seem to remember what a bad idea supply side economics is.”
  2. Why do Catholics who represent 22 percent of the U.S. population currently hold five out of nine seats on the Supreme Court, soon to be six?  One would think white Evangelicals, who are the most loyal Republican voters beginning with Ronald Reagan, might ask, “When are you going to appoint one of us?”
  3. If the 1962 Supreme Court decision in Baker v. Carr affirmed the concept of one-person-one-vote, why shouldn’t that apply to the election of the president?  Prior to the decision, states could apportion seats in their legislature’s upper chamber based on geo-political boundaries (i.e. counties) which gave undue power to voters in rural, less populated jurisdictions.  You know, the equivalent of Wyoming having one electoral vote per 195,000 residents while Florida has one electoral vote per 741,000 residents.
  4. Why is there still no available ala carte cable or streaming television service?  A related question:  Why don’t the major broadcast networks and their affiliates stream programming for free since their main source of revenue, advertising fees, increases based on the number of viewers?
  5. What if black lung disease prevents COVID-19 related fatalities?  West Virginia ranks 44th among the states and Washington, D.C. in number of COVID-19 deaths (Reuters) although residents have the highest rates of obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure in the United States (AP News/December 18, 2018).
  6. Why was only one American (Kareem Serageldin) sentenced to prison for his role in the 2008 financial crisis?  According to the Financial Times, 47 bank employees and directors worldwide received jail terms, led by Iceland with 25 convictions.  Serageldin was sentenced in 2013 to a term of two years and six months. In 2011, Oklahoman Patricia Spottedcrow was sentenced to 12 years in prison for selling $31 worth of cannabis (Source: Tulsa World).  Justice may be blind, but she has not lost her sense of smell.
  7. Why does a single Ace pocket comb at Walmart cost $2.22 and the 2-pack costs $6.98?  Perhaps this is a means of assessing the quality of math instruction in K-12 education.
  8. Why do successful young golfers feel the urge to change their swing when the old one is still working?  Cases in point, Jordan Spieth and Ricky Fowler.
  9. Why would director Gus Van Sant and Universal Pictures think Americans would pay to see Anne Heche instead of Janet Leigh in the shower scene in the 1998 remake of Psycho The same goes for updated versions of The In-Laws, The Out-of-Towners, King Kong (1976), Death Wish and Footloose.
  10. And finally, a question raised by the late Glenn Brenner, sportscaster on WTOP television in Washington, D.C from 1977 to 1991.  Why do squirrels risk getting run over to gather acorns on the other side of the street when there are just as many on the side where they already are?

This list is far from exhaustive.  I encourage readers to add their own.  Who knows?  Maybe some of them will be  topics of the next 600 posts on this site.

Thank you for being there for the past five years.  For what it’s worth.