Ventura on Hillman

January 14, 2012



JAMES HILLMAN (1926-2011)

Austin Chronicle – January 13, 2012

Santa Barbara is a city on the California coast that teeters over the sea and will one day be submerged. What makes California California is that one lives in cities that know they are destined to die – a James Hillmanesque thought if ever there was one.

I’d ducked out of a conference in Santa Barbara to quaff a beer at a nearby bar. In walked Hillman.  Never had I expected Hillman, with all his exquisite erudition, to step into a bar in the middle of the afternoon. Without a hello or a nod, he sat on the stool next to mine.

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Just for fun

January 4, 2012

My old HRPC partner Bob Friedman’s son Jonathan is in the final five — out of 6,000 initial contestants! — in this year’s Doritos competition. (Read about it in Bob’s email to me below.) I saw the commercial he made, and it is not only funny, it is fully professional, an amazing achievement. I don’t often do this — don’t think I’ve ever done it before, in fact — but I’ve been urging people to follow the links below and vote for him.

[From Bob:]

Sometimes it’s pretty good being a dad with some talented sons. First Matthew wins the Sundance Screenwriting Lab and now this!

I am happy to convey some wonderful news. Jonathan will be posting this on his Facebook page later today:
“Hey everyone, I have some pretty BIG NEWS–I entered the Doritos “Crash the Super Bowl” commercial competition this year and was selected as one of the top five finalists! Each of the finalists wins $25,000, goes to the Super Bowl, and has a shot at winning a million dollars. As it turns out, there were over 6,000 entries and my commercial was the only one on the entire east coast to make the top five–so it’s East Coast vs. West Coast here, people. Only two of the five ads are going to be shown during the Super Bowl though, and that’s left up to the public. So I hope you’ll take a few minutes, go to and cast your vote. My commercial
is called “Man’s Best Friend.” If you want to know more about all of this,
you can go to There are direct links to all the places you can vote there (and you can vote once a day until January 29th if you want to.) Thanks in advance if you decide to vote, and feel free to pass this post around to as many people as you want to!”

[Bob again:] HE WON! At least, he made it to the top five. He has already been flown to L.A. by the Doritos people to go over some marketing suggestions (they also give them a $20,000 budget for marketing, as the top two commercials to be shown at the Super Bowl will be determined by votes on the web page he mentions above). They also fly all the five finalists to the Super Bowl. If Jonathan’s entry gets aired at the Super Bowl, USA Today rates all the commercials, and if his is chosen the best commercial, he will win a million dollars.

Obviously, even making the top five is quite an achievement out of 6,000 entries. It’s also a fun commercial and you’ll get a real kick out of watching it.

So whatever help you can give to support him will be greatly appreciated! Vote early and often. Please go to and cast a vote for the home team. And if you want to send Jonathan’s post to all your e-mail friends, that would help it go viral.
[Me again:] So there you have it, and, as I say, it’s fun to watch.

Michael Ventura’s “Letters at 3 a.m.” column for December 30, 2011. He calls it “What’s Your Sign,” but I have chosen for a headline the best of the signs he quotes.




Austin Chronicle – Dec. 30, 2011

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