Design Matters 17

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13.04.11 I 6.00 pm I SS 11 I K1.01 I design matters 17 (English)

The little red book that swept France; etc.

John Lichfield on Stéphane Hessel’s “Time for Outrage!”


John Lichfield on Stéphane Hessel’s “Time For Outrage!”

The little red book that swept France
UK, Monday, 3 January 2011

Are we looking for a new message – or a new Messiah?
UK, Friday, 7 January 2011

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The provocative title of a small, unassuming booklet, written by a little known 93-year-old Frenchman, Stéphane Hessel, who was active during the French Resistance, survived the concentration camps and helped to draft the UN’s “Universal Declaration of Human Rights” makes us curious.

“Time for Outrage!”
“Empört euch!”

We are in good company. 
Since its publication 2010, the book has smashed all publishing records in France 
and been translated into several languages, – despite its lack of fine rhetoric
or a startlingly original message, as John Lichfield reports in the “Independent”.

How come?

Mr. Hessels has evidently struck a national, and international nerve,
at a time of market tyranny, bankers’ bonuses and budget threats to the survival
of the post-war welfare state with a message, that calls for action:

“I want you, each and every one of you, to have a reason to be outraged. 
This is precious. When something outrages you, as Nazism did me,
that is when you become a militant, strong and engaged.”

“To the young, I say: Look around you, and you will find things that vindicate
your outrage – … You will see concrete situations to provoke you to act as a
real citizen. Seek, and ye shall find!”

Easier said than done.
Critics, therefore, fault the lack of any coherent new response.
We are left with questions.

What should I be outraged by?
What kind of action should I take, to affect change?
What is possible, what utopian?

Since, as designers, we play an important role in the shaping
of our world, it is never too early to ask yourselves about the motives
that drive your personal decision-making and professional practice.

So, what is it that outrages you?


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