It’s so easy today to get swept up in celebrity fixation and materialism and searching for some validation outside of yourself when we know it’s really found within and through meaningful connections with other people. —Geoffrey S. Fletcher
My body didn’t want to get out of bed this morning. This week has seen more disappointments than I care to enumerate. Searching for even a moment’s rest has too often proven futile. I don’t like much that has happened this week. Neither do I care for most of the reactions to what has happened this week. I expect better from the world and that just hasn’t happened.
Every morning I wake up and start searching all available media sources to see what if I missed anything important while trying to sleep. I fear that one day I might wake up and find half the world has been blown away and, somehow, I managed to sleep through it. As I read through the headlines, I wonder what their long-term effect might be. I see a world changing around me and, at times, wonder if we are dooming ourselves.
Searching this morning, I desperately wanted to see something good, something that didn’t involve anyone getting killed, something that doesn’t reak of humanitarian or financial disaster. I found three things that I think are worth sharing. I consider them good. You, perhaps, may not because they each have the potential to change your world. If they do, though, that change is for the better. We need something good in our lives. Perhaps one of these stories works for you.
Changing The Common Language
Pronouns. If you went to public school in the United States, you were probably taught what they are and how to use them in the first grade. When referring to boys, we use the pronoun “he.” When referring to girls, we use the pronoun “she.” When referring to more than one person, we use the pronoun “they.” We’re all comfortable with that, aren’t we? Perhaps not for much longer.
You see, the pronouns “he” and “she” are problematic at times because they inherently assign a certain gender. We assume that the person we see who dresses masculine is a “he.” We assume that the person who dresses and styles themselves effeminately is a “she.” Chances are high that we don’t realize how often we are wrong.
A couple of the nation’s leading newspapers, the San Francisco Examiner and the Washington Post, have adopted use of the singular “they.” In the case of the Examiner, they have instructed their reporters to ask a subject whether they prefer to be referred to as “he,” “she,” or, “they.” Reporters are to make no assumptions and give the individual the right to be identified by whichever gender, or no gender, with which they are most comfortable.
Michael Howerton writes for the Examiner:
Our intention is to celebrate, dignify and respect the affirmations people make about their identities. We want to honor the identities of those we write about, not enforce gender binary language or diminish anyone’s right to their own.
As we are searching for ways to be more inclusive in our daily involvement with people, using the singular “they” might be a start. The challenge: getting English teachers and school curriculum to go along. What we learn first is what sticks with us the longest.
See-Now Buy-Now Might Be Working
The early numbers are in for Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren, Rebecca Minkoff and Burberry and other designers are going to want to take notice: the new see-now, buy-now strategy seems to have worked. Looking at sales figures, especially online sales, for merchandise purchased immediately after a runway presentation and the labels involved are reporting some of their highest sales ever. According to an article on Business of Fashion this morning, Tom Ford reported their biggest sales day of the year. Burberry has already sold out of three items. The Rebecca Minkoff flagship store in New York reported its best day ever by more than 25 percent despite only being open half the day.
None of the labels reported a downturn and most department stores, such as Bergdorf Goodman and the Neiman Marcus Group, all reported significant increases in sales around the labels that had just shown their lines. What may be even more interesting is what people are buying. As of the article’s writing this morning, Ralph Lauren only had one remaining SKU for it’s $15,000 “Houston” overcoat. Burberry’s $5,249 Cavalry jacket — a deep red wool jacket with military-style braided stylings, was the brand’s top seller, surprising even chief creative officer Christopher Bailey.
The time to declare complete victory for the marketing shift is still several months away. If there are not new pieces coming into stores, if brands are unable to replenish looks that sell out early, then sales may not hold and could potentially lead to a downturn in lagging months. The fact that we’re going into the holiday season helps, though, and even if January sales are not stellar, chance are pretty strong we’ll see more labels switching to this approach next year.
We Really Are Family
We’ve known for some time that all humans migrated from Africa. What has been more of a mystery has been the timeline for that migration. While paleontologists have claimed to find skulls, skeletons, and tools scattered across Europe and Asia dating back over 100,000 years, it has been difficult to establish enough evidence to support the concept of any migration that old. While there is evidence of group splintering and separation within the African continent and the development of language as much as 200,000 years ago, there has not been a DNA study that supported a specific migration period. Until now.
Actually, what we’re looking at is three separate studies from three different sets of universities, that all came to roughly the same conclusion: We all left Africa about the same time, some 50-,000 to 80,000 years ago. Changes in climate and the search for food seem to be the primary reason for the exodus. What’s interesting, though, is that everyone, including aboriginal populations once thought to have migrated separately, left Africa at the same time.
Center to this hypothesis is the testing of indigenous groups of people around the world, something that had not happened before. Prior to these three studies, most DNA sampling had occurred among Africans and Europeans. Researchers expected that studying indigenous people would provide deeper insight into migration patterns. What they didn’t expect was evidence that everyone pretty much up and left at about the same time.
This research also shows that we are even more interconnected as a species than we ever thought. We are one race. We all descended from one people. We are all part of a family. We left Africa together and scattered ourselves across the globe in search for the resources we need to live and to grow. From there, we simply adapted to our environments. There is no race that we have not concocted of our own doing. We are one.
Searching For Something Good
Our searching this morning came up with some very interesting topics for discussion. They are good topics, I believe. We are improving how we treat each other, how we do things, and how we view the world. Despite frequent evidence to the contrary, on the whole we are moving in a positive direction.
It’s Friday. Take this information into the weekend with you and continue searching. There are good things out there. Embrace them. Enjoy them. Learn something.