Lessons from a Tailor — directed by Galen Summer and filmed by Ed David. The inspiration for this film came directly from the man himself. When I first met Martin Greenfield at his factory, with the intention of interviewing him for a lifetime achievement award he was receiving for his efforts as an employer and business owner in Bushwick, Brooklyn, it became clear that there was more to his story than mere success in business. Here was a man who had pulled himself up from tragedy and hardship, who had survived one of the most horrific events of the 20th century, the Nazi holocaust, and yet still possessed a lightness of spirit. [more inside]
Tzvia Greenfield is the first ultra-Orthodox woman to serve in Knesset, the Israeli legislature, representing the left-wing party Meretz. Her 2001 book Hem Mefahadim ("They are afraid,") an attack on rightism and insularity among the ultra-Orthodox, drew death threats. Despite her sharp criticism of the religious community ("The big issue here is a very delicate one. That is children. Large families thirty years ago was six children; now there's 13 or 14 - from one wife. I believes the glorification of bringing as many children as possible is a definite way of ensuring women can't bring their advantages into effect - subjugation.") she still lives an observant life in the ultra-Orthodox community of Har Nof. "They disagree with my ideas but they know me as religious and halachic person. They cannot see any blemish in my practice except for one thing- we have a dog." At least one haredi denies that Greenfield is Orthodox at all. (The dog comes up.)
In the early 1990s Mark Weiser at Xerox PARC coined the term ubiquitous computing or "ubicomp" to describe the way he thought computing ought to look in the post-PC era: computers would be invisible, "in the woodwork everywhere around us." Ubicomp has been discussed here a few times before (in fact a MeFite went on to write a book about it)...but with a flood of manufacturers racing to offer up their versions of the so-called digital home, is Weiser's vision moving closer to reality?
All watched over by machines of loving grace is Adam Greenfield's take on the consequences for designers of ubicomp. Setting moral guidelines seems critical in these early days of technological encroachment-- but how long can decency hold out against the promise of profit? I was forwarded a recent email from the CEO a major bookseller that made it clear that it's possible for them to track everything I do in their stores and online, and thank goodness they choose not to take advantage. But how long will that last? And with homeland security crumbling our civil liberties, article's like Adam's that remind us about our responsibility are even more important than ever.