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Seattle Weekender: The morality of lies, E.J. Dionne and erotic art

Crosscut's guide to a culturally enriching weekend in the city. Or at least some fun.
Fremont's famed solstice parade.

Fremont's famed solstice parade. Joe Mabel/Wikimedia Commons

Dan Ariely: The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty

Still struggling to forgive Mike Daisey for using his license as an artist to drive journalistic integrity off a cliff? It may be time to put that bitterness aside, because according to behavioral economist and irrationality expert Dan Ariely, creative people like Daisey come by their dishonesty, well, honestly. "It's all about telling stories," Ariely explains in an interview with NPR. “Creative people are likely to be able to tell themselves better stories, which would allow them to cheat more on the one hand, but not feel worse about it on the other."

In his latest book, The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty, Ariely explains how cheating is all about the personal compromise in how far humans can push their morality and still feel good about themselves. It turns out we’re all cheaters — you, me, Mike Daisey, Jeff Bezos, President Obama — and our cashless economy is hardly doing global integrity any favors.

One of Ariely’s favorite experiments had participants take a timed math test, correct it themselves, shred the test (or so they thought), and report how many questions they answered right in exchange for a dollar each. They found that the majority of people would increase the number they got correct by about two — not big cheating, just little cheating. What happened when they replaced the cash for plastic tokens that the participants exchanged for cash immediately after? The amount by which people cheated doubled.

While Ariely’s talk may crush your dreams of an honest, utopian society, it will also provide you with a valid excuse next time you get caught cheating at Monopoly — hey, it’s only human!

If you go: Dan Ariely, Town Hall, Friday, June 15th, 6 - 7 p.m., $5.


We the People Power Festival

Organized by Occupy Seattle and brought to you by friends, neighbors, and organizations across Puget Sound, the festival is “a celebration of creativity, sustainable living and grassroots democracy, with hands-on fun for everyone!” An extension of this weekend’s Fremont Solstice festivities, People Power will kick-off in GasWorks Park at the culmination of the Fremont Solstice Parade. The Solstice Celebration will be keeping everyone fed, watered, and musically entertained, and more than 35 local organizations will be lending their people power to the occasion with a variety of activities—from putt putt golf with Forest Ethics to a grocery toss where you can win sustainable shopping bags.

If “roving performers,” “opinion booths” and zany Seattle summer activities like “tax loophole hula hooping” aren’t your idea of sparking social and environmental change, stick to the more practical activities. Sustainable energy and environmental organizations will be present, offering lessons on how to make your own household cleaners and construct solar cookers. The festival is all about celebrating people power, so if there’s an activity you don’t see represented, get it started. Compost wrestling? Done. A park-wide game of Capture the Flag? If you can organize the masses. A brighter future of civic engagement will only be possible if the civilians engage.

If you go: We the People Power Festival, Gasworks Park, Saturday, June 16, following the Fremont Solstice Parade, free.

 

6th Annual Iranian Festival

Along with its yearly offering of Persian music, dance, food, traditional teahouse and bazaar, Seattle Center’s annual Iranian festival boasts some interesting guests this year. Hamed Haddadi, the first and only Iranian to play in the NBA (he’s a center for the Memphis Grizzlies) will be in attendance, along with Iranian-Scottish comedian K-von. K-von, (who spells his name phonetically after he became fed-up with mispronunciation) grew up in Las Vegas with an Iranian mother and a Scottish father. His comedic material tends to alternate between the cultural clashes of his childhood and the online dating debacles of his present-day life as a single guy in LA.

Headlining this year’s festival is author Anita Amirrezvani, whose historical novels weave tales of political intrigue and love set in the palaces of 16th century Iran. Amirrezvani’s first book, The Blood of Flowers, which was longlisted for the Orange Prize, was inspired by a Persian carpet her father gave her when she was a teenager.


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