Follow me into the wayback machine: The year is 1850, but the scenario is oddly familiar. The federal government is fractured. The Mexican border is a hotbed of tension, with new conflicts erupting daily. Minority groups are rebelling against unjust treatment. And — the cherry on top — California is antagonizing Washington, demanding exemptions and charting a more radical course for the Western states.
Enter Henry Clay, known to history as the Great Compromiser. Clay, a senator from Kentucky, had his faults, but he realized that progress is erratic, and nations, like people, often advance by taking two steps forward and one step back. Clay brokered a number of deals to keep the fledgling union intact. Ten years later, Abraham Lincoln would remark that if he’d had a single Henry Clay-type in his senate, slavery could have been abolished without a civil war.
Alright, let’s leap back to the present, where empathy is in short supply and hardliners on all sides take perverse pleasure in emphasizing differences and divisions. This week’s Geekly is devoted to examples — some brilliant, some misbegotten — of compromise in action, because whether you’re a designer, a TV host, or the President, compromise needs to be in your vocabulary.
Marshall Walker Lee
“Love is at the root of everything, all learning, all relationships — love or the lack of it,” said Fred Rogers. For decades Rogers was one of the world’s leading advocates for compassion, tolerance, joy, and compromise. This new documentary by Morgan Neville floored audiences at the SXSW Film Festival by presenting a simple, honest portrait of America’s most beloved neighbor.
Compromise isn’t always pretty. This November, Californians will have an opportunity to vote on a dramatic (but not unprecedented) proposal to split the Golden State into three separate entities.
This month, Target is launching Made By Design, a line of 750 basic household objects ranging from bath towels to yoga mats, replicating the minimalist sensibilities of luxury goods, but at Ikea prices. But what compromises does a design team have to make when they’re challenged to create high-end products that cost next to nothing?