I Read The News Today, Oh Boy…

Louis Ciavolella

Louis Ciavolella

The new world in which we live is a trip, isn’t it? Everything moving so fast. Information disseminated instantly. And, as we all have come to experience, it is often passed along through social media without confirmation or fact checking. We all knew that was the deal – hence the sarcastic adage “I read it on the internet, so it must be true!” But I think we’ve gotten into more dangerous waters with the spread of falsehoods for this reason: traditional news media is now REPORTING based on social media.

We used to be able to separate the tried and true newspaper journalist, TV correspondent, and professional newspersons form the masses of internet Walter Cronkite wannabes. But now the lines are getting more and more blurred. I’m a TV guy; I watch all the morning news channels (I’m a surfer). FOX, MSNBC, CNN, local news, GMA, Today…they all drive me crazy, but it gives me something to do while I have my morning coffee. Much of the time on these shows is now spent READING TWEETS AND FACEBOOK POSTS. In addition, they tend to be trending a couple/three days behind social media, reporting things that I read on my FB newsfeed days earlier. So here is the problem; recently your Facebook newsfeed and mine has been bombarded by posts of people desperately clinging to their intellectual property amidst the threat of Facebook planning to charge money to keep our information private. Many people fell for it because they saw/read  “legitimate” news channels were reporting that it was true. But where were they getting there information from? SOCIAL MEDIA!!! Or maybe not… maybe it was just posted on social media that one of the news outlets confirmed the hoax. The point is that with news stations reporting from social, it gets real muddy to discern what’s for real. This is just one example –  many times quotes are wrongly attributed to people and spread around, or reports of one’s death are greatly exaggerated.

The Good: we get real information faster than ever in the history of the world.

The Bad: we must continually sift through garbage and lies to uncover what is true and newsworthy.

The Ugly: it doesn’t seem likely to stop anytime soon.

What can we do? We as citizens can exercise great caution before posting/retweeting information. Take some time and fact check. You’re not going to win a Pulitzer Prize anyway, so take it slow.

The professional news media also can help. Stop relying on lazy journalism by just reporting what Twitter and Facebook are saying. Crack open a book or make a few phone calls. Go old school once in awhile. 

I’ll Have To Take A Look At The Film…

Louis Ciavolella

Louis Ciavolella

I have been a long-suffering Eagles fan all of my life. It’s an inheritance of sorts. My dad, who was born in Esperia, Italy and raised in Bronx, NY, became a Philadelphia sports fan because his family would vacation “down the shore” and it was quicker to go to Connie Mack Stadium than to go to Yankee Stadium, so my dad and his brother became Phillies (and eventually Eagles, Sixers, Flyers) fans. When I grew up in north Jersey, my dad would take me yearly to Yankee Stadium to watch the Eagles vs. Giants. I remember walking out as a nine year old kid with a green Eagles knit cap in 1972 as the Giants spanked the birds 62-10. “We’ll get ’em next year” dad told me. He’s been telling me that every year since.

Fast forward to yesterday. With so much hope for the Eagles under Chip Kelly, after coming close during the Andy Reid years but falling short, the loss to the Cowboys yesterday has to rank up there with one of the worst performances I have ever seen by the team. So when I heard some of the postgame pressers something struck me – the usual “I’ll have to take a look at the film” uttered by head coach Kelly and players alike, including QB Sam Bradford. I’ve heard that expression perhaps thousands of times, but yesterday it got me angry. I understand how game film shows things that are not easily apparent from a sideline or on-field vantage point, but for crying out loud, the reporters are asking you some simple questions, you must have SOME answer you can provide. You can qualify and say “the film will tell more,” but don’t use “I’ll have to look at the film” as an excuse to sidestep the question.

We all know how the drill goes – the reporter asks the question; The coach/player sidesteps with the film excuse; by the time they look at the film, the fans and reporters are already focused on the next opponent. Guys, YOU WERE AT THE GAME! You were on the field, you have to have some explanation for how the opponent kicked your butts. Man up! It’s bad enough that I have to always wait until next year, the least you guys can do is show some guts and transparency.

Next week – the Jets! I’m not off the bandwagon yet, a few teams have won the Superbowl starting 0-2, but I seriously doubt any looked as bad as the Eagles did yesterday.

The Golden Mean

Louis Ciavolella

Louis Ciavolella

Some of my old friends may have noticed a new logo for CIAVO Design last year. I decided to move toward something a bit bolder, more colorful and yet based on a design principle that has been utilized for thousands of years – “The Golden Mean” or “Golden Ratio.” I learned of this mysterious principle years ago at duCret School of Art. Airbrush teacher Kelly Parsons explained how it’s been used by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, through the Renaissance, by the great artists and architects throughout the ages, AND by nature itself! Mathematically, it’s based on the fibonacci sequence (this may sound familiar to you if you’ve read any of Dan Brown’s books) and the ratio is basically 1: 1.61803398875. Regardless of any conspiracy theories or mystical claims, it does seem to be a very special formula for creating structurally sound and aesthetically pleasing designs. I always thought it was cool. Keep your eyes open for examples of the Golden Ratio in art and nature – you’ll be surprised how often they occur!