Mike Kueber's Blog

August 9, 2012

Dress codes and yoga

Filed under: Culture,Fitness — Mike Kueber @ 10:28 pm
Tags: ,

The year I graduated from high school (1971), a Canadian rock band called the Five Man Electrical Band had a hit song – Signs.   Although the song takes on a lot of society’s bugaboos, including materialism, snobbishness, and anti-green behavior, it includes multiple reference to dress codes, and that is what prompted me to think about it earlier this week when Lifetime Fitness decided to impose a ban on topless yoga.  It seems that some presumably-matronly women thought the sight of sweaty, shirtless men in their midst was disagreeable, and Lifetime Fitness decided to accommodate them.

Coincidentally, only a week earlier I had blogged about yoga etiquette and defended the practice of going shirtless.  But beyond the substance of this particular issue, I think that my coming-of-age in 1971 has almost hard-wired me to rebel against rules that seem to have mainstream people imposing their values unnecessarily on outliers like me.  Perhaps that is why I have always been inclined to live in an apartment community instead of a suburban development.  And why I love the slogan, “Keep Austin weird.”    

Not coincidentally, “Rebel Without a Cause” is in my Netflix queue.

September 21, 2010

Using signs in political campaigns

 Last week, the local paper published an article on the (mis)use of large signs in political campaigns.  http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/election_signs_serious_business_103220994.html.  The article wasn’t concerned with yard signs, but rather with large 4’ x 6’ signs that are plastered along major streets in San Antonio.  According to the article, these signs are like weeds in more ways than one – they spring up everywhere, especially places where the landowners don’t want them.

Earlier this year, several people criticized my congressional campaign for failing to use political signs, and I told them that my non-sign strategy was both practical and principled.  As a practical matter, signs cost a lot of money and both of my campaigning books – Winning Your Election the Wellstone Way and How to Win a Local Election – advised that signs were generally ineffective.  As a matter of principle, signs insult a voter’s intelligence because they provide no substantive information. 

I suspect, however, that my campaign books provided their advice because of principle instead of practice.  Actual experience in San Antonio suggests that signs are effective.  Because there are a multitude of low-visibility races and low-cost campaigns in which the voters are exposed to minimal substantive information, the only thing the voters may know about a contest is a name they saw on some signs.  If the signs weren’t effective, candidates would stop spending money on them. 

If I ever run for office again, I will reconsider using highway signs because they will earn some votes, but I would rather leave that campaign technique to those who try to buy an election victory.