Sorry if I make you uncomfortable.

Fear of the unknown. Fear of change. Fear of having to think.

Einstein said that  “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”
At one time, we thought the world was flat and the center of the universe. We also believed man couldn’t fly and the moon was made of cheese.

If we are going to change Dayton, if we are going to stop kicking ourselves while we’re already down, we’re going to have to change.

It won’t be easy. It won’t be fun. And, it won’t come by doing the same thing, with the same mindset.

I’m the challenger. In marketing, that’s a common position to fight from- and sometimes, it’s a superior position. Remember how Avis proudly said “We’re number 2, we try harder because we have to” I’m in the same boat- facing incumbents, with name recognition from all the press, tv, and the mailings by the City of Dayton. I don’t get included in the “Dayton Update” that is bound to hit your doorstep soon. I don’t get my own TV show weekly on cable access. Mayor McLin and Commissioner Whaley raised big money, from people outside of Dayton, yet, won’t back regionalism. Yet, they don’t offer any big ideas, new thinking or even a way to better communicate with their own community.

The ideas here, the chalk stencils on the sidewalk, the efforts to make it known that I’m not the incumbent, take time and money. I can make money do more than most, but, a lot of it requires making people think, take notice, talk.

Russ Klein, BK’s president of global marketing, strategy and innovation, says … “it’s more important to be provocative than pleasant.”

via U.S. AOY: Crispin Porter + Bogusky.

To get people talking, it almost requires making them step outside of their comfort zone. So, when you see what you think is graffiti- and that Esrati is nothing but a tagger- realize, I’m just trying to get you to think. Please note- it’s only spray chalk- see post: David Esrati is not a Tagger.

And, when I hand you a business card, instead of some fluff campaign piece, and it doesn’t have my picture on it- it’s because it’s supposed to be about the power of ideas, not of what we think is the norm.

We’ll have to think different. We’ll have to lead different, and if it takes being a bit provocative instead of pleasant- so be it.

Tell 10 friends. And, feel free to walk all over my stencils tonight at Urban Nights.

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed! If you wish to support this blog and independent journalism in Dayton, consider donating. All of the effort that goes into writing posts and creating videos comes directly out of my pocket, so any amount helps!

Leave a Reply

13 Comments on "Sorry if I make you uncomfortable."

Notify of
Drexel Dave Sparks

“Never apologize. Never explain.”
Hunter S. Thompson


DD– Though he was a brilliant writer, HST was a less than successful as a human being. 


Larkin, define “successful as a human being.” Both HST and Esrati piss people off, make them uncomfortable, and get some of them to think. Good quote, DD.


Let’s see, a self-indulgent  alcoholic drug-addicted cult figure who couldn’t maintain regular relationships with anyone and committed suicide (by gunshot) in the presence of this children and grandchildren. (Who really were children.) Just ducky. If you call that a successful human being, you must use different criteria than most. 


In the end HST became a caricture of himself.   His wife or ex wife wrote one of the best eulogies for him, where you saw the man, flawed as he was, behind the caricture.

Drexel Dave Sparks

“Less than successful human being”
Sounds like the definition of a hominoid to me.


“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro” – HST
Some advice for our prospective Commish.
Drexel Dave – are you playing out anymore? I saw you at South Park Tavern last time and it was a truly a life experience for me . Your art speaks volumes. Once I have some money coming in I want to get a shirt or an artwork. In Euros of course….. :)

In the 'burg
In the 'burg

What make makes me uncomfortable is when you stut-stutter in your headline.
Fix that, ok?

Drexel Dave Sparks

Hey Joe. Email me at: [email protected]
We’ve got a secret invite-only show in the forest coming up in October. Drexel, Billy Catfish, and Chuck and  Lisa from Wussy. Chuck is one of America’s greatest living songwriters, hands down.
I’ll send you out an invite with directions.

Drexel Dave Sparks

The sad thing is Joe, we’ve got reviews from some of the most respected music critics in the country (Robert Christgau of Rolling Stone/Blender/NPR fame is the most known), yet, we can’t get a break from any of the muckety mucks in this town who put on events with decent sized audiences.
Then they wonder why our city flounders.
Indianapolis and Cincinnati treat Dayton artists better than Dayton does. If you are the slightest bit controversial, the vanilla lameoids who run Dayton won’t touch you with a 10-ft pole.


Funny. I thought HST was Harry S Truman.

Stan Hirtle
Stan Hirtle

I finally figured out that it is possible to comment on this site by clicking on the cryuptic number in the upper right corner. It is not possible to comment on your daily campaign messages to the Dayton OS site and you have to be fairly savvy to comment on this one.
One question is what kind of public official doesn’t want any feedback from his constituents. I know you can’t really reach Obama and he had the money to have probably have someone red all of the stuff that many of us submitted. Or maybe no one read them.
Anyway the question is not whether Esrati has some occasional decent ideas. The question is what would he be like on the City Commission, and would he be a positive force or a negative one. We now have one party rule where the elected officials are nice people whose hearts are generally in the right place and face overwhelming problems, involving things like race, class, poverty and deindustrialization, with underwhelming resources. When someone does something good, as Dean Lovelace did with predatory lending, outside forces easily obliterate it. For a one party situation corruption seems to be on a pretty low level. Esrati pointed out where a judge gave a small break to a politically powerful person concerning his DUI. Fairly small in the overall scheme of thing.
Maybe some smart charismatic figure can bring new things to City government, as happens in some places.