Thursday, February 06, 2014

various things for reading

How 'When Harry Met Sally' explains increasing income inequality. When more people go to college in an economy where unskilled labor has withered on the vine or been outsourced, and when nobody wants to "marry down", so this article proposes, you get systemic income inequality.

From Ruth Graham at Slate:

http://www.slate.com/articles/life/family/2014/02/what_s_it_really_like_to_be_a_parent_please_don_t_tell_me.2.html
... But the cumulative effect of a Doocified world is that the Web is now flooded with “honest” anecdotes, and “brave” confessions about less-than-perfect parenting. Is it really “brave” when honesty is what’s getting the book deals these days?

Then there’s the fact that the parents writing these stories are, almost without exception, very capable women. These are not the “worst moms ever”; they are competent, loving parents who occasionally feel overwhelmed. They are parents who think and read and write about parenting. Almost by definition, they are doing just fine. Yet, culturally, we applaud their “bad” parenting while becoming less and less tolerant of actual bad parents. This is a country that is increasingly willing to prosecute pregnant women and young mothers for their mistakes with drugs, or for leaving their children home alone in moments of desperation. In a middle-class parenting subculture in which self-acceptance is a bedrock virtue, it’s impossible not to notice a disconnect.

How, in Hollywood accounting, Return of the Jedi made no money and why the guy who played Darth Vader never got paid for his work in it.

Staying on the arts motif and Atlantic Monthly:

http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2014/02/what-great-artists-need-solitude/283585/
... You know the cliché: You're out on the town, you're doing drugs, you're drinking, you're running on the walls, you're pissing on the fireplace. It’s a cliché. Often you run into artists who live that life—and at one point, you find out that they're not actually producing that much art. They're living the life of the artist without the work.

A polemical quote about how all writers under 40 are not writing as individual voices but as spokespersons for a collective.

One of the things I noticed some Christians seriously propose as controversy about Mark Driscoll and plagiarism emerged was to propose that intellectual property, i.e. copyright, is not a truly Christian thing.  Well, there's probably no arguing with those sorts of Christians but it's possible to propose that the application of copyright and intellectual property may have other applications than just dealing with plagiarism or fraud and (in the thinking of some) somehow being theft in and of itself.  Copyright has also been proposed as the basis from which people can mount a legally actionable case against revenge porn.   Send a naked selfie to someone who, after breaking up with you, posts it on a revenge porn site, and what are the options?  If there's no defensible thing as intellectual property then you're stuck.  Now granted the Christians who would argue against copyright altogether might also argue you're not supposed to ever take naked selfies on mobile devices (and that does sound remarkably foolhardy, personally) but haven't there been studies showing that when people fall in love parts of their brains shut down?  Anyway, thought I'd suggest that the range of applications for copyright get interesting because there are so many often conflicting directions it can go, conflicting directions that are obviously expressions of our own frequently conflicted impulses.

2 comments:

Headless Unicorn Guy said...

You know the cliché: You're out on the town, you're doing drugs, you're drinking, you're running on the walls, you're pissing on the fireplace. It’s a cliché. Often you run into artists who live that life—and at one point, you find out that they're not actually producing that much art. They're living the life of the artist without the work.

In the groups I run with, the local term for this is "Art Fag". The name has nothing to do with sexual orientation but with attitude. Too busy living the life of Ze Artiste to every produce any Art.

The Celebrity Culture and Self-Promotion of the Internet has multiplied these posers manifold. Doesn't matter if you actually produce any art, only if you can "build and maintain your brand" among your 50,000 Facebook friends. (I know of one fanboy who became "A Great Author" and "Big Name in Hollywood" that way; never produced anything, just "maintained his brand". And he has Facebook friends who jump in when he calls Jihad against anyone who calls him out on it.)

It's like the definition of Celebrity: "Someone who is Famous entirely for Being Famous."

Southwestern Discomfort said...

Maybe I should read mommy blogs more and compare them to the domestic writings of Shirley Jackson. Yes, that Shirley Jackson. In addition to writing the most chilling short stories of the 20th century (The Lottery), she also wrote humorous pieces about being a housewife and mother in post-World War II America. (These were later collected in two books, Life Among the Savages and Raising Demons.) These books were sold as part of the Scholastic Book Club in the later 1960s, which is when I first encountered them and found them laugh-out-loud funny. I got a used omnibus edition a couple of years ago and while they're not *quite* the humor mill they were to a 10 year old, there's still some amusement to be found. However, some things are jarring, such as that it was considered normal circa 1950 for people to just hand you a lighted cigarette when you came upon the sight of your oldest son who had just been in a bone-breaking accident on his bike. I totally missed THAT when I read the books as a kid, but then again, I grew up in the era of cigarettes smoking everywhere, advertisements on TV, ashtrays as part of living room decor, etc. The notion that a big pharmacy chain might not sell cigarettes would have been as unthinkable as ... mommy bloggers talking publicly to strangers about their horrible parenting.