My Summer Lair featuring George Stroumboulopoulos (House of Strombo)

My Summer Lair Chapter #71: What Is More Important: What You Know Or What You Remember?

The way I work is I get an inkling of something…an idea…a pattern…a trend. It’s a vague observation…it’s not fully formed. I mean what do you enjoy more…cake batter or cake?

After this conversation I finally understood how George works: he sifts data…well pop culture for patterns…his skill set is pattern recognition. As he says his task is not curation so much as contextualizing. Oh…that’s it exactly. When he hears a new Taylor Swift song he knows where it’s been and where we are going: pattern recognition is how you build a pop culture institutional memory. That’s what makes you great. And that’s what I do to…the penny finally dropped.

In a recent X-Files episode a character said: “For the simple reasons that Orwell said. “He who controls the past controls the future.”The ability to manipulate memory creates unlimited power: political, economical, cultural. It runs the gamut from Holocaust denial to corporate product recognition. There are companies who are willing to pay anything, do anything, to have people forget that their products explode on impact or suddenly catch fire. Companies spending billions in profit to repress these memories.”

And dude is right…the ability to manipulate memory creates unlimited power. This is what Trump does well because our media is so incompetent. Newspapers have been hemorrhaging money so they fire the more expensive journalists…and hire college grads who have no depth of knowledge…they write about Trump in isolation…with no context. Donald Trump is the 45th President of the United States of America…you can align his track record with past Presidents: if you’re willing to do the work. The pace of the internet dictates speed which doesn’t allow for good journalism…Trump said this now so we respond now…it’s not asking or researching what past Presidents did.

It makes me suspect that influence belongs to those with memory. Because you don’t know what you don’t know (or in this case you don’t know what you’ve forgotten…) and the people who do remember have leverage over the forgetters. That’s incredible!

Influence is ultimately about memory: Michael Jackson continues to influence pop artists because people keep him alive. Glenn Miller died in 1944…how much influence over our pop culture does he have?

So memory is leverage which creates influence that eventually results in authority. Ho Lee Chow! Did you follow all that? This conversation was powerful.

My takeaways are punk slogans…all t-shirt worthy:
Turn Strangers Into Friends
You Can’t Just Program to What the Audience Likes
What Kind of Relationship Are We Building?
I Trust My Instincts
Not So Much As Curation as Much Contextualizing
When You Get Older People Have Less of An Appetite To Overthrow
Feed That Fight
I Like To Be In Service
I Like To Connect With People
Get Out There and Fight For Somebody
Represent Myself: Was the Conversation Authentic?
A Good Interview Feels Honest
Emotional Archaeology
The Collective Experience Isn’t As Valuable To People Anymore…
Challenge Your Own Audience
You Gotta Care About The Right Things

George Stroumboulopoulos @ W • T • F

Recorded: January 31, 2018 4:30pm (EST)

Also published on Medium.

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