Rob McConnell Interviews – Howard Bloom – The Genius of the Beast

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Howard Bloom, a Visiting Scholar at New York University, is founder of the International Paleopsychology Project, executive editor of the New Paradigm book series, a founding board member of the Epic of Evolution Society, and a member of the New York Academy of Sciences, the National Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Psychological Society, the Human Behavior and Evolution Society, The International Society of Human Ethology, and the Academy of Political Science. He has been featured in every edition of Who’s Who in Science and Engineering since the publication’s inception. Bloom has taken an unusual approach to the study of mass moods and cultural convolutions. He started out normally enough, building his first Boolean algebra machine at the age of twelve, becoming a dedicated microscopist that same year, codesigning a computer which won a Westinghouse Science Award before he left grade school, and being granted a private brainstorming session with the head of the Graduate Physics Department of The State University of New York, Buffalo, at the age of thirteen. By sixteen he was a lab assistant at the world’s largest cancer research center, the Roswell Park Memorial Research Cancer Institute, where he helped plumb the mysteries of the immune system. And before his freshman year of college he designed and executed research in Skinnerian programmed learning at Rutgers University’s Graduate School of Education. Then came an act of academic heresy. After graduating magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from New York University, Bloom turned down four graduate fellowships and embarked on a 20-year-long urban anthropology expedition to penetrate what he calls “society’s myth-making machinery”–the inner sanctums of politics and the media. During his foray into “the dark underbelly of mass emotion” he edited a magazine which won two National Academy of Poets prizes, founded the leading avant-garde art studio on the East Coast, was featured on the cover of Art Direction Magazine, then gave up listening to Beethoven, Bartok, and Mozart to become editor of a rock magazine. Using correlational studies, focus groups, empirical surveys, ethnographic expeditions into suburban teen subcultures, and other scientific techniques, Bloom more than doubled the publication’s sales, and was credited by Rolling Stones’ Chet Flippo with having founded a new genre–the heavy metal magazine. Seeking still further ways to infiltrate modernity’s mass mind, Bloom formed a public relations firm in the music and film industry and won the confidence of those whose territory he’d invaded. The payoff in knowledge proved invaluable. Bloom worked with Michael Jackson, Prince, John Cougar Mellencamp, Kiss, Queen, Bette Midler, Billy Joel, Joan Jett, Diana Ross, Simon & Garfunkel, The Talking Heads, AC/DC, Billy Idol, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Run D.M.C., Simply Red, and the heads of many a media conglomerate. He was adept at spotting new subcultures, entering them, and helping their members achieve their goals…a skill which gave him an inside role in the rise of rap, disco, and punk rock. – www.howardbloom.net

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