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King Lear and The King's Men - Lessons on the Slippery Art of Family Governance

King Lear: The History Revealed by Fintan O'Toole, reviewed in The New York Review of Books.

Family Governance for Governing Families. The role of the artist, under a patron. The role of the King's Man. Support, absorb, refactor, and subvert, for the greater good. More power than a Wise Counselor in the traditional Courtier mode. More power than Parliament. Only an all licensed Fool could do more. Were I a wise man I would join Wise Counsel, giving sage advice to families as powerful as our former Monarchs, before we broke from English rule. 

The Wise make good use of literature, as of everything else. If they were wiser yet, they would be Fools. And perhaps The Happy Tutor could show them how. He is a Secular Priest, or actually a real priest, educated at Oxford as a cleric, since under Primogeniture (how our august predecessors beat the proverb, ashes to ashes, and rags to rags), he had to go into the army, become a judge, or be a priest and scholar, with a parish, or a school, or if lazy, as Tutor is, and a drunkard, and carouser, he could set up as a Morals Tutor to his noble neighbor's brats. Mentoring the Heirs, as we now say. The Happy Tutor is also the Lord of Misrule. So are our Wise Counsel, today, if by Misrule we mean the rule of the richest forever. Fool is one thing, Coxcomb, or Villain is another.

In Lear, do we pity the pauper at the base of Fortune's wheel as it turns, or the King at the top who must inevitably fall? When the highest and lowest trade places, 'handy dandy' who goes in ermine, and who in rags? Change places, and who is the thief, and who is the justice? Who is the sighted one? Who is blind?  Who is sane and who mad? Riddle me that, Wise Counsel. But more importantly, can we like Shakespeare, speak truth in riddles to power, and still be awarded our four yards of red cloth to wear the King's livery at court? So far Tutor, buck naked in a Dumpster, must await future delivery. Advantage Wise Counsel.

If I were to write my own Book on Wealth and the Will of God, I would add the epigraph: "Wiser are the Children of Darkness." And believe me, I have learned that to my own cost. Let it be a lesson to us all. Is Much Improved

Congrats to Ben Rattray on the relaunch of The new site features the hum of conversation about causes, driven by blogger/editors hired for the purpose.  The currency of giving is relationships, community, passion, and identity. In that matrix money moves as the collection plate moves in a covenanted congregation, or as gifts move among family and friends. The model of the atomized donor "investing" in results by pulling out a credit card, reviewing a pitch, and hitting send is pretty sterile.  Ben, I think, has an editorial formula now that will build conversation, community, consciousness, commitment, gifts, and social change.

By the way, is hiring editors in additional issue areas.

The New Paradigm of Philanthropy

"The Coming Paradigm Shift in Philanthropy: It is not About the Money," by Dr. Susan Raymond.  The most perceptive, balanced, and thoughtful piece I have seen on the engaged philanthropy, aka "social investing. " Snip:

...the loyalty in the new paradigm is not between the giver and the receiver (let us use these terms for now; they are amended below), the loyalty is to the problem.  The philanthropist focuses not on the nonprofit receiving resources, but on the problem being solved.  If nonprofit A cannot demonstrate that it can solve the problem, nonprofit B is just as likely to be supported.  The question then is not “do you do good work?” but “can you demonstrate that you can fix the problem?”

...the new paradigm does not think of resource transfer as a matter of gifts.  The new paradigm uses an investment model, either in fact or by analogy.  In its most innovative forms, the new paradigm seeks to flow resources to problems in ways that create sustained institutional capability and force accountability to the funder.

Government failed, God died, traditional giving failed; fortunately, we have business minded social investors. We may not be accountable to much of anything, but at least we can be accountable to them. I myself am thinking of chastening my tone, and getting on board the new gravy train. Why mock it and when you consult to it? The problem, say, is social injustice. The solution is to be accountable to the rich, not that I am complaining, boss.

Asian Philanthropy Forum

Our goal is to enhance the knowledge of donors and funders and improve our collective understanding of Asia and its needs.  We believe this can be achieved by calling attention to innovative, local, small scale programs and organizations working in the region.  In addition, we hope to grow a network of experts that donors can turn to for credible information; a place where leaders can share successes and best practices.

Why, though, am I always identified as, "Phil Cubeta, self-described Morals Tutor to America's wealthiest families"?  I have always said my work is nonconsensual and pro bono. On that basis my track record speaks for itself.

Inspired Legacy Men's Auxiliary

Ilhats1Here we are in Houston last weekend. Transforming philanthropy, civil society, ourselves and the world, while wearing reasonably funny hats. I am in the back row in the blue shirt, one of two token males in the Emergent Matriarchy that will dominate our collective future. You know it could be that unregenerate white males are often too busy running the world we have to take time out to create the world we want. It does raise the question, though, as to whether philanthropy is gendered female. Maybe that would explain why so many tough guy entrepreneurs talk instead about "venture philanthropy" and "social investing." They don't want to join the Men's Philanthropic Auxiliary? A key topic at the meeting was leadership. How can we engineer a shift not only in money but in power, so that the historically subordinate get their voices heard? Oddly enough, the historically subordinate groups include wealthy philanthropic women who have wealth by marriage (or divorce) or though inheritance.  (I speak subject to correction.)

Civic Mind

Wendy Lewis blogs here. She has also put up CivicMind, a dictionary and resource for "civic-minded, service-oriented, socially-responsible, and philanthropically-inclined people." These include, along with philanthropists:

  • Nonprofit leaders and volunteers
  • Social entrepreneurs
  • National service participants
  • Service-learning educators and college students
  • Corporate responsibility directors
  • Foundation officers and philanthropists
  • Everyday citizens improving their communities

Here is her definition of "Social Justice," under S in her dictionary:

an individual's concern for the needs of society as a whole and not simply those of oneself or one's family; recognition that caring about, and being responsive to, the needs of others is a moral obligation and an integral part of the practice of citizenship.

What a fine writer she is. What a fine public spirited person shines through work. I only wish every teenager in America, let alone every adult, were schooled in her "dictionary" and committed to service as a citizen, in whatever way complements and completes their lives as consumer, voter, and employee. 

Who is on The Bus? Who is in the Dumpster? And Who Makes The Rules? was named the #1 site covering the social Web. We track news about Facebook and other social networks and Web 2.0 sites. This site is operated by JD Lasica, a social media strategist and:
• co-founder of Ourmedia
• an evangelist for Outhink
• president of the Social Media Group
• author of Darknet, a book about the personal media revolution
• a CNET Top 100 Media Blogger
• a podcaster and videoblogger

Here is a great video post by J.D. Lasica on "who is on the bus"  with political candidates, and who is not. Do bloggers have to tell politicians that they are bloggers when the pol talks informally? Should bloggers be expected to observe the obsequious decorum of journalists who, in return for being on the bus, play back the political line? (Which is how we got into Iraq.)

In philanthropy, as in political coverage, the Citizen Morals Tutors like me desperately want access to those with Wealth and Power. Otherwise we can't rise in our profession, make a good living, or change the world one little flattery, one polite silence, at a time. So, in return, we tend to be nice, putting aside our proven nonconsensual morals training techniques, like spanking, lashing, the lancet and the purgative. I am afraid, in return for access, we spare the rod and spoil the philanthropist.  Should I tell philanthropists that I am a Dungeon Master to the Stars, or consort with such? I wonder. It might not be good for bidnis. No one likes an insubordinate menial.

Are we allowed to write like this? Or, is it taboo? (Query pending with my boss, and generous patron, she who rules us all.)