- Paperback: 240 pages
- Publisher: DK Melcher Media; First Printing edition (November 3, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1595910468
- ISBN-13: 978-1595910462
- Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 0.7 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,394,278 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Awearness: Inspiring Stories about How to Make a Difference Paperback – November 3, 2008
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So "Awearness" isn't REAL political activism although the cover picture suggests a heavy-duty left-leaning radical rousing a crowd. There's an anonymous speaker, back turned conveniently, fist raised, speaking into a megaphone, so a casual reader might think Kenneth Cole was some kind of serious sixties radical pushing a left-leaning agenda. Sorry, folks, this ain't serious activism. That ain't Kenneth Cole with the megaphone. The REAL Kenneth Cole is a rich guy who lives in a $14.5 million co-op in Manhattan. Rather, this book is about SELLING SHOES. Which brand? Why, the Kenneth Cole brand of course. Hey, try a pair on and see how they fit? And a woman thinking of buying a pair might say to herself, well, they're pricey but hey, the money goes for a good cause.
Or causes should I say? Because the book promotes not only Kenneth Cole's volunteering but that of numerous others, mostly celebrities. It's one celebrity (Kenneth Cole) promoting other celebrities (e.g. Jon Bon Jovi) who are, in turn, promoting various causes. Each celebrity-activist usually gets a beautiful two-page spread. On the left side, there's a picture of a smiling celebrity; on the right, a blurb from this celebrity about volunteering, contributing to a cause, and so forth. Confused? Let's review. Kenneth Cole sells SHOES by promoting CELEBRITY-ACTIVISTS who promote various CAUSES like finding a cure for disease, victims' rights, fair sentencing, clean water, and so forth.
Kenneth Cole's savvy marketing links a capitalist shoe-selling agenda with a socialist do-gooder agenda which reinforces his place in an exclusive celebrity club. He's in with famous folk. He's one of THEM. He ain't just a shoe salesman. He's in league with big shots. His phone calls to beautiful people will get returned. He can guest-star on TV shows. And, he's saving America while making famous celebrities EVEN MORE FAMOUS. Such is life.
Check out Alicia Silverstone's two-page spread, really an advertisement for Alicia, courtesy shoe salesman Kenneth Cole. There's a smiling cute-as-ever Alicia CUDDLING A COW. Her cause? Animal welfare, of course. She's morphed into a vegetarian to save the planet. She's SAVING THE LIVES OF COWS by not eating meat. How touching. She writes (or her publicist writes) -- "It occurred to me that by eating animals, I was responsible for their suffering ... I loved my dog, but I ate cows, pigs and chickens, and I realized that those animals are capable of feeling the same joy and suffering as my dog." So, Alicia prides herself on eating only plants now -- because when poor innocent plants like corn are YANKED OFF THE STALK and chewed MERCILESSLY BY ALICIA SILVERSTONE'S RAZOR SHARP TEETH the CORN DOESN'T SCREAM IN PAIN or BLEED ON HER CLOTHES or CRY FOR VENGEANCE. Corn doesn't feel pain (supposedly). Cows do. So her choice of victim is wise, and I'm figuring out her brilliant logic. Alicia (or her publicist) continues -- "I believe in my heart that we can heal the world and ourselves" and isn't this the same verbal crap characteristic of the mindless mouthings of Miss America beauty contestants? And so we have new caring-for-cow images trying to adhere to the super-image of Alicia Silverstone, movie star, celebrity, star of "Clueless", filled with so much love in her heart that she refuses to kill cows while MURDERING THE HECK OUT OF PLANTS. Every time you see Alicia Silverstone, think PLANT MURDERER.
I searched hard to find genuine activists in the crowd, and I suspect they're in there somewhere -- real people who care who are trying to make a difference -- but they're hard to spot among pseudo-activist celebrities like Magic Johnson. Is he a REAL ACTIVIST? Isn't the real story that Magic Johnson is a basketball star (correct answer) who made millions and who misused his celebrity to sleep with dozens of women (hundreds? thousands?) with unprotected sex, contracted HIV, kept spreading HIV virus to EVEN MORE DOZENS OF WOMEN, learned he had AIDS (surprise), hopefully stopped sleeping with dozens more women (or bought condoms by the truckload -- imagine the Fedex truck pulling up) and was forced to admit his illness publicly before the paparazzi found out. Then and only then did Magic Johnson became an activist. His cause? Ending black AIDS, of course. Isn't he more accurately a CAUSER OF AIDS?
Please don't get me wrong. It's good for public figures to use their celebrity to promote good causes like AIDS prevention, but can you see why I'm scratching my head? We all feel for Magic Johnson and his dozens of victims. We hope nobody dies from AIDS. And we all make mistakes. But perhaps Kenneth Cole wasn't choosy enough when picking his list? Perhaps he wasn't "awear" of what he was doing?
Look again at Alicia Silverstone (plant murderer)? Is she a real bona fide genuine down-to-earth ACTIVIST? Or is she using her supposed activism to FURTHER PROMOTE HER CELEBRITY (ding ding ding ding ding you got the correct answer -- come down and claim your prize!) This, my dear readers, is unfortunately what America is about these days. And, it isn't all bad, and perhaps one can argue that at least some form of activism is better than none at all, and maybe we should be genuinely thankful that selfless good-hearted millionaires like Kenneth Cole and Alicia Silverstone and Magic Johnson (virus sharer) are trying to help.
The book's suggestion that readers can "make a difference" by volunteering is illusory, because for the most part Americans (remember us? the real people? hello? is the microphone on?) are practically powerless to cause change. We're scrunched by layoffs, foreclosures, taxes, painful gas prices, high shoe prices. Us common everyday folk have neither time nor money to help out since we're busy doing something called TRYING TO SURVIVE. Real activism is practically impossible unless you're a celebrity, or famous, or rich, because then you have a voice -- you can attend a meeting and get press coverage, you can make an offhand remark and have it splashed across television sets from coast to coast. That's why this book features ONLY celebrities. The rest of us don't exist. We have no voice. Kenneth Cole didn't feature me with a two-page spread. We're like a carpet which celebrities walk on. We're non-people, in the shadows, who occasionally write a review like this one which nobody reads. And these pseudo-activist celebrity types are wholly unqualified to do real thinking since their skillset is not mental but rather based on projecting pretty images. And so this leads to mindless fodder from brain-dead humans like Alicia Silverstone (P.M.) about saving cows.
Can you see what's going on here? In the absence of real political debate in America, of a real public sphere in which issues are taken seriously and in which real thinking happens about important matters -- marketing junk like "Awearness" oozes in. It gives the illusion of activism, of caring, of a vibrant political sphere, of megaphone-bearing thinkers urging crowds to think and protest; but it's just marketing. The public sphere is dead. There is no real debate in America. We live in an America which worships images and measures celebrities by inane counts of basketballs dunked, not character, not ideas, not reason.
Worse, real thinking doesn't happen because it's drowned out in the incessant marketing of shoes and celebrities. Too bad, for America was a great nation, and today it's in serious trouble, and intelligent voices calling for serious non-partisan reform like mine are lost in the maelstrom of junk like "Awearness". My serious controversial strategy to prevent terrorism which might possibly save the lives of Kenneth Cole and Alicia Silverstone and Magic Johnson and millions of others; however, it's shunted to the side, ignored while people worship shopping and pretty faces and celebrity crap. America needs to hear tough thinkers like me, but it isn't listening because it's fascinated with empty crap from shoe salesmen. And sooner or later, America will run into a fast moving train called REALITY which won't care whether we're pretty people like Kenneth Cole in $14.5 million co-op penthouses or nobodies like me, but we'll all get whacked hard when reality comes rumbling down the rails.
Thomas W. Sulcer
Author of "The Second Constitution of the United States"
(free on web; google title + Sulcer)