Appropriately enough, the Times unearths some of Barack Obama's college poetry.
As the man says,
Wer sagt, er hasse alle Arten von Schmeicheleien, und es im Ernst sagt, der hat gewiß noch nicht alle Arten kennen gelernt, teils der Materie, teils der Form nach.
Leute von Verstand hassen allerdings die gewöhnliche Schmeichelei, weil sie sich notwendig durch die Leichtgläubigkeit erniedrigt finden müssen, die ihnen der schmeichelnde Tropf zutraut. Sie hassen also die gewöhnliche Schmeichelei bloß deswegen, weil sie für sie keine ist.
And now I find that I, who held himself so high in his own esteem with regard to such common susceptibilities, have been flattered—seduced by flattery—into taking part in some (temporally and thematically) summer mix swap. Since it has now been demonstrated that my will is weak when it comes to resisting flattery, I now embrace this newly-known aspect of my personality and flatter myself into thinking that you all might also be interested in the results. Tracklist below the fold. As you will see, I have kept to my late habit of including Scott Walker in every imaginable context, and have recycled some tracks from the last mix I posted here.
1. Ted Sirota's Rebel Souls - Chairman Fred (I Wish Fred Hampton Was Here)
2. Dodo Bird - Trades & Tariffs
3. Dana Falconberry - Leave in the Middle of the Night
4. Nicolai Dunger - Stjärnorna
5. Mark Fosson - Another Fine Day
6. Fire on Fire - Hangman
7. David Daniell - Crossing the Susquehanna River Bridge
8. Akron/Family - I'll Be on the Water
9. Sholi - Hejrat
10. U.S. Maple - Lay Lady Lay
11. Okkervil River - Plus Ones
12. Scott Walker - Time Operator
13. Califone - Burned by the Christians
14. Christopher Denny - Time
The snap answer is that I love it, but your mileage may vary a great deal. So far, it fits my needs pretty precisely. What I wanted was a laptop small enough to toss in my bag everyday, for pretty cheap because we're on a tight budget these days, and that I could surf the web on and write text documents on. And for that it's great.
The size and weight is pretty much a hardback book -- it would fit in a decent sized pocketbook, but not a small one. I hate lugging stuff around, so I'd like even lighter, but I recognize that I'm being unreasonable. The screen is tiny, but I don't mind it (I've got the 7" screen; a model with a 9" screen is out, I understand.) but if reading fine print is an issue for you, you might hate it.
The keyboard is the big issue, and here I don't know what to say. I'm a slow touchtypist: ten fingers, but if I'm doing 40 wpm on an ordinary keyboard I'm having a good day. After a couple of days on the Asus, I'm touchtyping fine without thinking about it mostly, although I'm still looking for punctuation and the backspace. But I don't think the keyboard would work for me if it were any smaller or my hands were any bigger, and I'm a woman; not a small woman, but my hands aren't unusually big. I'm not sure how to communicate handsize in words; extended, I've got an 8" span, pinkytip to thumbtip. If your hands are much bigger than that, I wouldn't buy one without really trying it out beforehand. And the cramped keyboard might be a bigger issue for a better typist.
Last note; the battery life is disappointing; I'm getting not quite three hours. That's as much as I need in a day, mostly, but if I were going somewhere with it, I'd find it a frustrating experience unless there were wall sockets freely available. Any further questions, I'll answer in comments if I know, but I don't know much.
While looking for tickets for tonight's Orioles game, I discovered that they have an all you can eat section, where you can combine your love of the game with your love of unlimited hot dogs, nachos, and ice cream. How American.
Scarlett Johansson's singing, even worse than b-dub led me to believe.
A Bill O'Reilly freakout dance mix.
And perhaps my favorite, the O'Reilly freakout, recontextualized.
via wwtdd, yglesias, and yglesias's comments, respectively
While I didn't manage to get logged on to it, my laptop purported to be aware of a free WiFi network accessible from the A-Train. The signal disappeared after 42d St., but from 14th to 42d, and maybe south of 14th, there appeared to be internet access.
In the subway? Did anyone else know about this? Is it some freak public service thing? Or was my laptop simply losing its pearlescent mind?
I need advice on DC. My sister is up and moving there, and we're (everything in my family is a group project) trying to get a sense of the city and how much money she'll need to get by in a relatively modest lifestyle. We've looked at online cost-of-living translators, and she does seem to have her own potential Flophouse set up in Alexandria, but I guess what I'm looking for is sort of general newcomer advice: can she get by without a car? are things expensive? what are things about it which you had wished you'd known? are the only people who are young and living there surviving due to trust funds?
1. I used to think that it was toolish of people like Glenn Reynolds to go on about the greatness of the shop-vac, and maybe it was, but still, the shop-vac is pretty awesome.
2. Death to tchotchke. Especially bad: items that cannot be thrown away because of sentimental attachment.
3. Oh hey, box of undergraduate papers. Hmm what did I make of The Awakening and Quicksand?
Edna's death is not a defeat but a pyhrric victory. Though she cannot live the life she desires, she refuses the compromise of a half-hearted, submissive existence. She ultimately chooses freedom, stripping herself of the last remnants of society's control, and dissolves herself in the sea....As she escapes into freedom, the imagery moves from the harsh and oppressive to the natural and unrestrained-- from the father's voice and the chained dog to the hum of bees and odor of pinks.
Yikes, that's pretty bad. Oh noes, here's one on Virginia Woolf called "Ideologies of language and subject."
Conversely, it is Rhoda's semiotic inability that is in part responsibly for her disenfranchisement. She among all the children is most inept at manipulating symbols, the one who cannot find the answer and so remains imprisoned in the schoolhouse. Though she is clearly creative, imagining the strange transformations of ordinary objects in that same soliloquy, she cannot master the relationship with language. This renders her powerless, without access to culture...Wow the only thing that could make this any more humiliating is some gay subtext:
The orderly, less flighty Neville is left alone, robbed of his companion and symbolic phallus.
The worst part is that I paid to do this to myself.
I'd like to take this opportunity to announce my opposition to the marriage of Ellen Degeneres and Portia De Rossi.
1) I've had a crush on De Rossi for way longer than has DeGeneres, the queer.
2) They both have "De-" names. That's gay.
3) I'm the same age as De Rossi, unlike DeGeneres, a talkshow host, who is nearly half again De Rossi's age, and has consequently developed ungentlemanly supercling affection strategies.
Reading the global warming discussion we had a few days ago, I found myself thinking that one of the problems with instilling a real sense of urgency in people is that it's not impossible that people thinking "Technology will solve everything, why worry?" could end up being right. To the extent I understand it, cheap plentiful non-carbon releasing power would take care of a lot of our problems (not habitat destruction), even possibly to the point of removing carbon that's currently in the atmosphere. And there's nothing fundamentally implausible about finding a means of producing such power: someone could come up with a means of making fusion practical; a really revolutionary change in price and functionality for solar cells and batteries really would do a lot; I'm sure there are other avenues I haven't thought of by which a plausible technological advance could give us cheap, non-polluting power. There's no logical or basic science reason that power has to be expensive and polluting.
So there's a superficial plausibility to the "Don't worry, technology's always saved us in the past, it'll save us again" arguments. The problem is that none of the cheap power possibilities out there, are in the "This is basically a solved problem, we just need to work out the details" category - while there are plausible possibilities, there's absolutely nothing we can count on becoming practical when we need it, or ever. And without a whole lot of cheap clean power, things are going to get very bad.
I'm naturally inclined to the techno-optimist position, and it really can't be ruled out as impossible: the magical energy ponies could be out there. But it's really scary thinking that there are sensible people relying on them to believe that the peak-oil/global warming trouble we're in isn't going to be a real problem.
I thought this was insightful (my italics).
My one nagging question about Obama, given his Kenyan lineage and broad background in Indonesia and Hawaii as well as his Ivy League education, was how well he knew the history, passions and aspirations of African-American culture. But Obama's 20-year membership in Rev. Wright's Chicago megachurch completely reassured me on this score. First of all, sermons constitute only one small part of any congregation's rich religious and social life. Second, not for a moment do I believe -- as talk radio shows are tirelessly alleging -- that Obama's political views are secretly identical to Wright's. On the contrary, it was through listening to Wright, who was reciting a black liberationist theology that has been standard issue for a half-century, that Obama honed his desire to bridge the gap between racial and ethnic communities in the United States.
I haven't seen this point--that being close to someone so angry can both distance you from the anger, and give you particular insight into its shape and how to defuse it--made elsewhere.
Mechanical runner Oscar Pistonius has won his suit and is eligible to compete in the Olympics.
Previously discussed here.
When asking someone about their biggest annoyances in life, you might expect responses like "hunger," "being poor," or "getting shot." If you ask a white person, the most common response will likely be "people who use 'their' when they mean 'there.' Maybe comma splices, I'm not sure but it's definitely one of the two."
Another important thing to know is that when white people read magazines and books they are always looking for grammar and spelling mistakes. In fact, one of the greatest joys a white person can experience is to catch a grammar mistake in a major publication. Finding one allows a white person to believe that they are better than the writer and the publication since they would have caught the mistake. The more respected the publication, the greater the thrill. If a white person were to catch a mistake in The New Yorker, it would be a sufficient reason for a large party.
The new New Yorker has an article about a Columbia DJ with a prodigious memory. It's interesting! Here's an interesting bit, for instance:
Screamin' Jay Hawkins, an early rhythm-and-blues star, used to call Phil Schaap's mother at home and beg her to get her son to do for him what he'd done for the horn players of the Basie band.
I confess: I only really know Hawkins through "I Put a Spell on You" and his appearance in Mystery Train; I've heard another song of his, which was actually instantly identifiable as by him owing to its basic similarity to his best-known. But, as everyone knows, there are a lot of ways to introduce a figure: one could say, for instance, just "Screamin' Jay Hawkins used to call ...", the presumption being, everyone knows who he is. Or: "Screamin' Jay Hawkins, the early rhythm-and-blues star"—you know the name but you can't place the face (as it were). But to use the indefinite article—O cruel ignominy! it's as much as to assert that no one knows who Hawkins is. Can this be true? Surely not. But—
Also in this issue: SF/J opines bloodlessly about American Idol. Whoopee. Phil Ford manages to be much more interesting in much less space on the same topic.
I've used wikis before but only for making communal shopping lists, vacation planning, records of patches applied to a computer system, etc. For the first time, I've been writing an actual document using one and the experience has been a bit traumatic for a control freak like me. Do you know that ANYONE can just GO IN and CHANGE WHAT YOU WROTE???
Almost exactly five years ago (wow), I blogged this David Plotz article about his experience with the wakefulness drug modafinil (brand name Provigil), the short version of which is that it's fucking awesome, he was alert and got an incredible amount of work done, but was scared into quitting by just how awesome he found it, and the unknown long-term effects. Now, via Drum, a Johann Hari post that says almost exactly the same thing. I enjoy reading these for the descriptions of productivity. That seems very strange, but I'll bet that's why most people like them: it's productivity porn, and you can image that it's *you* getting all that work done! and man, that must feel pretty good!
Anyone tried modafinil?
Obama calls a reporter "sweetie."
Then (rightly) apologizes.
About ten minutes until we find out whether the California Supreme Court will legalize gay marriage in the state. Then, a huge fight over a ballot initiative.
And the ban has been overturned. I'm totally making Ben wear the dress.
Obama's response to Bush's appeasement charge is good, and it's also good that Obama acts as if of course Bush is talking about him, since he's top dog among Democrats now. But what stood out was this from a Bush flack.
"(The President) has said similar things before," a White House official told ABC News' Martha Raddatz. "But it is in reference to a number of people, think Carter, others who have engaged in this or suggested it."
Right, Jimmy Carter, the only American president to broker lasting peace between Israel and its neighbors--that scoundrel. They really do think that peace is losing.
The immediately preceding post was posted using the New York State Supreme Court's courtesy WiFi, on my new Asus Eee. This is a much better way to spend time waiting for my case to be called than what I used to do: working out anagrams for the "In God We Trust" sign at the front of state courtrooms. But if I ever write a memoir of state court practice, the title of this post is what I'm calling it, and the cover will have an orange dog shaking itself dry.
(Full review of the Asus in a week or two. I'm still getting used to it.)
I've been kind of bothered by all the focus on how awful Clinton has been on race issues. (Which she has been, don't get me wrong.) One of the reasons I wish people would just let her burn herself out and disappear without too much more dissection of her sins is that, while it doesn't excuse the uses she's made of race, I can empathize thoroughly with what led her there.
Five months ago, before any of the primaries had happened, I was rooting for the white guy. And I was rooting for him for good solid progressive policy-based reasons: I don't feel at all self-conscious, on the racism/sexism front, about having favored Edwards over Obama or Clinton. Where I do feel self-conscious, and start sympathizing with Hillary, is in the tactical thinking I was doing about whether Edwards was likely to win.
It seemed likely to me, and probably to most other people thinking about it, that Edwards would do better, through no fault of his own, the more racist and sexist the Democratic electorate was: if they were just uncomfortable with a black man or any woman as president, Edwards was their only other option. And I really thought he was head and shoulders preferable to the other two. Which left me in the disturbing position of really strongly hoping something would happen, an Edwards victory, which would likely mean that Democratic voters were really messed up on racial and gender issues. I don't think I slipped over the line into actually hoping that the racist/sexist vote would come out strongly in the Iowa caucuses, but I was very aware of the possibility of falling into that way of thinking. And I can't vouch for how I would have felt if Edwards had hung on for a five-month nailbiter of a campaign where he was always behind but in striking distance.
Hillary's been in that spot all spring - through (initially) no fault of her own, one of the major forces that could have helped her win would have been an electorate that was too racist to elect a black man. And it's not unlikely that that should have been the case - I've been surprised and proud at how little racism has actually seemed to hurt Obama with the voters. Given what she's got riding on this election, the temptation first to hope that voters would be racist, then to engage in wishful thinking about how racist the voters actually were, and finally to encourage it, must have been overwhelming.
She was tempted, and she behaved very badly as a result. This doesn't excuse the racial tactics her campaign used, but it does make me want to avert my eyes, thinking "Under the same pressures, that could have been me," rather than wallow in what a terrible person she is. She's lost, and for me that's enough.
Can you please start selling swimsuits with enough material to cover my boobs again? Seriously, stuff like this (which is pretty much all there is this season) might look cute if you're a size A or B and perky as a 16 year old but beyond that it isn't just risqué, it's hideous.
And while you're at it, please apply the same principle to sundresses.
It'll be interesting to see how people react now that Obama has to appeal to general election voters. It's a pretty sure thing that he'll be talking a lot more about God, and he'll have to up the pander on Israel, if only to keep the manufactured outrage to a minimum. No doubt there'll be plenty of Democrats who'll remind us that they just knew he'd be a sell-out.
Your facts for the day:
(Larger testes mean larger numbers of sperm.) Chimpanzees -- a species in which females are fantastically promiscuous -- have enormous testes. Gorillas -- a species where they're not -- have tiny testes. Humans are in between, albeit closer to gorillas than to chimps -- which is consistent with a moderate, but not huge, risk of sperm competition in the past.
Men -- even those with vanishingly low sperm counts -- ejaculate more healthy sperm if they masturbate while watching sexual videos than if they do it while staring at the ceiling. And the effect doesn't stop there. Men shown explicit pictures of a woman with two men (potential rivals) produce a higher proportion of swimming sperm than men shown explicit pictures of three women.
This is the plain and simple truth: the gin and tonic is a good drink and all, but it's really a shame that it's driven the poor tom collins near to extinction.
A tom collins would go pretty well with this, especially if you do as I have done and figure that, since you have half again as much lamb as is called for, you should triple the amount of ginger, use two green garlic bulbs and a lot of the stalk, bump the turmeric a bit, and interpret "a sufficient amount of genuinely hot green chilis" to mean seven serranos, one jalapeno, and one habanero, since in that case it will be rather hot.
So I've been reading Heads In The Sand by one Matthew Yglesias (in stores now!) and a lot of the book is about the liberal case for intervention in places like Bosnia, which got me thinking: why hasn't the case been made for the UN invading Myanmar? If there's one place where I think people would be greeting us with cheers and flowers in the street as liberators, that would be it. It might not be genocide, per se, but the evil going on there rises to that level. (I was just floating this idea by Armsmasher and he astutely said "there ought to be a word for genocide by negligence", an idea with which I totally agree.)
So why not? And how much, I'm wondering, is because America no longer has the moral authority to support this after Katrina?
Perhaps not all of you have seen this clip of Bill O'Reilly and his anger management issues back when he was on Inside Edition.
Definitely a man committed to open dialogue.
Bonus different anchor dropping the F-bomb (as we hipsters call it) below the fold.
Some U.S. Christians are not reconciled to McCain's candidacy but instead regard the prospective presidency of Barack Obama in the nature of a biblical plague visited upon a sinful people.
One experienced, credible activist in Christian politics who would not let his name be used told me that Huckabee, in personal conversation with him, had embraced the concept that an Obama presidency might be what the American people deserve. That fits what has largely been a fringe position among evangelicals: that the pain of an Obama presidency is in keeping with the Bible's prophecy.
Doesn't this kid look like he should be doing something like shuffling his feet and silently mouthing words in the back row of the school choir?
The murder began when Orlewicz lured his friend Daniel Sorensen to a Canton home on Nov. 7. Once they entered the garage, Orlewicz slit Sorensen's throat from behind and stabbed him 12 more times. He then beheaded Sorensen with a hacksaw and burned his fingertips with a blowtorch.
The defense argued, naturally, that it was all done in self-defense. I'm pretty sure they didn't mention the kid's MySpace page: http://www.myspace.com/skullsmakemesmile
Oh noes! They're banning clove cigarettes! How can the powerful Theater Geek and Goth Kid lobbies let this happen?
Michelin makes condoms, right?
Possible PR problem: Bibendum's name might suggest that the company endorses getting women drunk to take advantage of them.
What the hell, people? Cyclones? Earthquakes? Maybe Obama is the Antichrist.
The much-linked Walkscore is a neat idea--you type in an address and it tells you how walkable the neighborhood is--except that it doesn't really gauge walkability at all, but falls back on proximity to shops, which really isn't the same thing.
We'll be the first to admit that Walk Score is just an approximation of walkability. There are a number of factors that contribute to walkability that are not part of our algorithm:
* Street width and block length: Narrow streets slow down traffic. Short blocks make it easier to navigate the grid.
* Safety: How much crime is in the neighborhood? How many traffic accidents are there? Are crosswalks well marked and streets well lit?
* Pedestrian-friendly design: Are there walking paths? Are buildings close to the sidewalk with parking in back? Are sidewalks shaded by trees?
* Topography: Hills can make walking difficult, especially if you're carrying groceries.
* Public transit: Good public transit is important for walkable neighborhoods.
* Freeways and bodies of water: Freeways can divide neighborhoods. Swimming is harder than walking.
* Weather: In some places it's just too hot or cold to walk regularly.
Sometimes "first to admit" doesn't exhaust the requirements of intellectual honesty, folks. What you've got here is google maps with a misleading numerical score attached. Just as veryfying anecdata, I popped in my mom's address, and they have things included in the walk area that only a very fast, very fit, somewhat suicidal person would ever try to walk to.
Edward Luttwak, as outsiders to a faith often do, mistakes naive doctrinal purity for the "truth" of a religion. And gets it published in the New York Times.
As the son of the Muslim father, Senator Obama was born a Muslim under Muslim law as it is universally understood. It makes no difference that, as Senator Obama has written, his father said he renounced his religion. Likewise, under Muslim law based on the Koran his mother's Christian background is irrelevant.
Of course, as most Americans understand it, Senator Obama is not a Muslim. He chose to become a Christian, and indeed has written convincingly to explain how he arrived at his choice and how important his Christian faith is to him.
His conversion, however, was a crime in Muslim eyes; it is "irtidad" or "ridda," usually translated from the Arabic as "apostasy," but with connotations of rebellion and treason. Indeed, it is the worst of all crimes that a Muslim can commit, worse than murder (which the victim's family may choose to forgive).
(Sprinkling a few foreign words in these bulls on other people's religion is also a common strategy for appearing credible.) So we have Obama's Muslim-by-birth-atheist-in-practice father giving birth, by an American Christian, to a son who is in every sense a Christian, but Luttwak is sure that to real Muslims, Obama remains forever a Muslim. After some fear-mongering about those crazy Muslims and their wacky laws, he says this.
Because no government is likely to allow the prosecution of a President Obama -- not even those of Iran and Saudi Arabia, the only two countries where Islamic religious courts dominate over secular law -- another provision of Muslim law is perhaps more relevant: it prohibits punishment for any Muslim who kills any apostate, and effectively prohibits interference with such a killing.
At the very least, that would complicate the security planning of state visits by President Obama to Muslim countries, because the very act of protecting him would be sinful for Islamic security guards. More broadly, most citizens of the Islamic world would be horrified by the fact of Senator Obama's conversion to Christianity once it became widely known -- as it would, no doubt, should he win the White House. This would compromise the ability of governments in Muslim nations to cooperate with the United States in the fight against terrorism, as well as American efforts to export democracy and human rights abroad.
After that, this "to be sure" bit is just insulting.
That an Obama presidency would cause such complications in our dealings with the Islamic world is not likely to be a major factor with American voters, and the implication is not that it should be.
I wonder if it would have been too much to have an actual Muslim cleric opine on the status of Barack Obama's soul in Muslim eyes. But, as I keep telling my serially outraged mother: get used to it, we've got several months like this, and much worse, to go.
I should send Berube a check.
My free-floating hate is now directed at Holy Joe, who said,
But the fact that the spokesperson for Hamas would say they would welcome the election of Senator Obama really does raise the question, "Why?"
And it suggests the difference between these two candidates.
So we have a few months of this to look forward to, with McCain telling us he's not going to engage in negative campaigning, only to let the erstwhile Democrat sling slime.
Long have I wanted to be able to embed videos locally, because I often find funny and otherwise safe for work stuff on not safe for work sites. Now, thanks to Flowplayer and some troubleshooting help from the W-lfs-n, I do believe I can do just that. I inaugurate my newfound powers with a bit of harmless fun.
From West Virginia.
Recent opinion polls indicate that Mrs Clinton would narrowly beat Mr McCain in the state but Mr Obama would lose by nearly 20 percentage points.
They give reasons.
"I heard that Obama is a Muslim and his wife's an atheist," said Mr Simpson
Josh Fry, a 24-year-old ambulance driver from Williamson, insisted he was not racist but said he would feel more comfortable with Mr McCain, the 71-year-old Vietnam war hero, in the White House. "I want someone who is a full-blooded American as president," he said.
And Bill Clinton gets way down with the gente.
He told them his wife represented "people like you, in places like this", and urged voters to turn out in record numbers on Tuesday to send a message to the "higher-type people" who were trying to force her out of the race.
I know, I know, the race is over and this doesn't matter, but there it is.
Don't read today's Mother's Day Modern Love, about a woman trying to plan her wedding after the loss of her mother, if you don't want to get a little misty. Or maybe you'll be fine and it really sucks and I'm just a pushover for stories like this.
I'll admit that that's my soft spot -- I really enjoy my life right now and don't feel a huge rush to settle down. My only fear about the decisions I've made is that something will happen that will mean that people I care about won't be around to share important events in my life. I know if I ever brought it up with my parents or grandparents, they'd surely reply that they'd rather see me happy and living the life I want but that doesn't stop me from worrying about memories or pictures I might never have.
Ah, disingenuousness, desperation, and a dollop of stupidity. Obama clearly only misspoke, and meant forty-seven, not fifty-seven. If the folks at the linked page have an agenda beyond advancing the cause of stupidity, or taking cheap shots at Obama, it's to lay the ground for excusing McCain's flubs, past and to come. But McCain's flubs haven't been instances of misspeaking, they've been either truth-telling gaffes ("100 years") or revealed genuine ignorance (who are we arming, anyway?)
Here's a pretty short and very interesting piece by Clay Shirky with the catchy thesis that television watching over the past few decades in America has hoarded a lot of mental energy that could have been expended more productively and this "cognitive surplus" is just now being tapped by the advent of interactive technologies. It's short enough that you can read it for yourself and decide what you think. NickS sent me the link and his thoughts are posted below.
1) Part of what's entertaining is that it's a slightly different version of techno-optimism. It obviously belongs to the "the march of progress frees people from toil" camp but it's different enough that it doesn't necessarily provoke the same reaction. It doesn't claim that society has problems and that they will be solved, it claims that society has already solved enough problems to move into a new stage. Either way, it's a reaction, of sorts, to the sort of "hell in a hand basket" message of the sort that was present in the bottled water thread.
2) It argues that social change makes lots of people stressed and unhappy, whether that change is positive or negative, I am entertained by the idea that "[seeing] the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness . . ." may just be a symptom of a society in flux, rather than a society specifically moving in a negative direction.
3) I am skeptical of the basic thesis for two reasons:
a: It ignores the "two income trap" and the rise in the amount of collective energy consumed by the paid economy. My parents, and the people of their generation seem like they had more cognitive surplus when they were my age. Part of what he's talking about is that CMC (computer mediated communication) makes it easier to aggregate that surplus, compared to people just building model rockets in their backyard or what have you.
b: It doesn't make sense to me that there is less "Future Shock" in society now than there was 30 years ago. If you remember "Generation X", it was premised on the idea that the children of boomers would have lives that involved more change and were less within their own control than the boomers did, and society seems to be continuing to shift in that direction.
This second objection, however, leads to an idea that seems potentially very interesting in that piece. It is possible that Future Shock operates differently at the level of society than the level of the individual. It is entirely conceivable that the average person today has more "future shock" in their life, but that social mores and standards have adapted so that the sense of society-wide disruption is much less. I don't know whether I believe that, but it's interesting to think about.
A friend of my mother's thought the movie of Starting Out in the Evening was kind of hard on the graduate student; I, having read the book, concur, mutato medio. Of course there are such trivial (one gets the distinct impression that the origin of her interest in Schiller's books is held against her by the narrator, and Casey's somewhat analogous interest in his third book, when he rereads it, is small comfort) and self-obsessed (constantly looking at herself from the outside, even her big realization at the end is an attempt to bestow on her a status only appropriately bestowed by another, as she acknowledges) persons, but it seems churlish to dwell on it.
I found this bit on p 229 kind of bemusing. Casey's 15yo son has a bow tie:
"Is that to make you look like Louis Farrakhan," Casey said, "or to make you look like Arthur Schlesinger Jr.?"
Stupid attempt at a joke, Casey thought. He's probably never heard of Arthur Schlesinger Jr. Don't make jokes that require reasearch.
"You really sold me a woof ticket," William said. Casey didn't know what this meant, and that was the point: his sone was showing him taht he too could command an incomprehensible dialect, if that was Casey's game.
The reason for my bemusement: "woof ticket" isn't exactly new slang. (I only know it from Tom Waits' "Trouble's Braids", from his fine 1983 album Swordfishtrombones, though evidently he's also used it in a song from 1975—Starting Out in the Evening is from 1998). Urban Dictionary cites a newspaper article from 1992 describing it as "dated"; judging from its popularity online, that's probably not the best descriptor (unless, of course, its modern-day invocations are in the spirit of a self-conscious anachronism, which is quite possible), but it's certainly distinguished. So I'm not certain what the point of this passage is: Casey's been out of touch with african-american culture his whole life long? Well—not so implausible. Is William deliberately using older slang to mock his father for invoking those outdated figures? Doesn't seem in character. The entire episode sounds kind of off to me.