Like the jungles of Africa?
-New York Times actual in print coverage of Ferguson
-New York Times actual in print coverage of Ferguson
Just finished Flash Boys. It was pretty f*king motivational.
The weakness being exploited:
Why it’s so pervasive:
The most worrying thing is that banks and HFTs are incentivized to make the problem worse. The more they can skim from your trade, the more a bank’s knowledge of your trade is worth. The more volatile the market is, the more prices will fluctuate and HFTs can run arbitrage.
Just finished “The New Jim Crow” (audiobook). Scale of the issue:
Overall reasons for massive discrimination and incarceration:
Violent crime, often gang-related, is a real problem in ghetto communities. Some view the drug war as a just response to that crime and to gangster-culture, but it is also a cause. When that many people can’t get a job, can’t vote, and must bear the stigma of being a felon, some of them will inevitably go that route.
I see a strong parallel to Gaza. Some think along the lines of, ‘if Gazans put an end to terrorism, then Israel could stop killing them and end the blockade.’ This is the exact same logical fallacy, since Israel’s retaliation is a cause of, not just a response to, the violence.
Josh showed us this great article about Seinfeld. It’s insightful but I think it misses the role the show plays in our lives.
A part of our brain argues for severing impractical friendships, being lazy, self-serving, and exploiting each-other as much as possible. In Seinfeld, characters voice and validate those arguments.
Humor is (often) about realizing how much we suck. This is healthy because we need to adjust our actions accordingly. If we have too much faith in ourselves we forget that there’s a little George Costanza in all of us.
More than that, the show hits on our awareness of our own evils, our tolerance for them, and often conscious decision not to change, even though we know better. The episode with the bizarro friend group is a great example.
I think it’s this depth (as well as how realistic and close-to-home the characters are) that bothers Klosterman, but I think he’s assuming that the show’s message is self-validating. I think the nature of the humor was self-undermining. When you name something accurately, you change it.
Been reading Ali Allawi’s book on the occupation of Iraq.
We had two conflicting ideals: a democratic Iraq and a secular Iraq. The Iraqi people wanted religious rule and we couldn’t accept that. All Iraqi institutions were associated with the Ba’ath party, with Islam, various tribes, or were formed in exile by Iraqis who hadn’t been in Iraq for decades. Since we didn’t have anyone to transfer power to, we wound up empowering many former Ba’athists (we didn’t have any records of who was Ba’athist and who wasn’t) as well as corrupt and incompetent brown-nosers. We also dragged on the occupation and refused to transfer authority.
As far as basic standards of living are concerned, things went south in the war and especially in the early days of the occupation, there was a long period of inactivity, then we threw billions of dollars at private contractors who didn’t get anything done. It was many years before basic services returned to the quality they were at under Saddam.
What striking arrogance by the neo-conservatives to believe a successful occupation would arise without any detailed planning, solely on the strength of the ideals of liberty, democracy, and a free market, ideals we weren’t even prepared to adhere to.
Just a brief thought about whether healthcare is an inherent human right. It occurs to me that there is a strong position that all children, up to a certain age, are entitled to a certain amount of health care, no matter the means of their parents. There’s the idea of equal opportunity, that they can’t be held responsible for supporting themselves, and all those instincts to care for children. Plus I think people hate marring a blank slate.
This position changes dramatically as people get older. There’s a strong belief in independence in ‘Murica. This goes hand in hand with supporting yourself and in freedom from any imposition by the government. A millionaire should be entitled to spend his money on his own care, and the government should only be willing to tax everyone to a certain extent to help out the others. If you don’t want to spend any money on health insurance, then you should be allowed to take your chances.
Obviously it’s a grey area at what stage kids stop being kids, entitled to equal opportunity, and start being adults, required to support themselves at least to some extent.
I also think that the belief in everyone supporting themselves is out of date in the modern economy, and has more to do with a farming economy than a service economy, particularly when the might of the US government secures so much of the wealth for those who have it.
I guess I believe that the entitlement children obviously have to receive healthcare does not disappear with age. That people of all ages are entitled to some level of care, though I think the extent of that care must be limited for practical reasons.
Hamlet’s drive for self improvement is uniquely appealing. I think it lets the reader feel the path to enlightenment through purity of heart and mind, and makes you feel loss when Hamlet is reduced to dealing with the world around him. How Shakespeare develops all this is interesting. Why is it such a loss for Hamlet to, like everyone else, devote himself to the troubles of the world. Why did he come so close to transcendence.
He is both a believer and a man capable of action, an altruist and a strong man. He has the potential in heart and power to set everything right. This is only so unique in Shakespeare though. One can create a character who is both good and strong, and yet not touch on what distinguishes Hamlet.
Hamlet is also a genius. His lines are inspiring and lay bare everything around him, like a playwright trapped in his own play. No other character is directly inspiring, though one may draw lessons from observing them. It’s Hamlet’s power to draw us with him to enlightenment through his speech that I think is what draws us in so entirely. If he were a real person I would gladly support him in a life of contemplation just that I might hear the words he would invent. It is therefore a tragedy to me to lose his words to silence as he becomes consumed by his world.
Still not at it yet, but getting tired. I write this late at nigt.
I’ve always mulled a lot on Hamlet, and feel like I understand it pretty well. Saw a play of it last night, which inspired me to start start going through it in writing.
Common theme to Hamlet and Lear. It’s mixed with the themes of being a good person and being a strong person, and the relationship between the two, but I’ll get to these later in order to talk about the very slightly different theme of potential now.
Two types of potential:
-‘personal’: an inward struggle with faults and self-improvement, realize potential in the sense of being self-actualized, altruism which is tied up with religion in Hamlet.
-‘outward’: he also sees through much of the duplicity and games around him, and has seemingly limitless potential to influence and plot a way through the messy, ambitious world. Plotting is similar to being a playwright (Hamlet as a playwright).
The more he realizes his personal potential, the stronger (more outward potential) he can eventually be. Moreover, being a better person should be the ultimate goal, not strength.
However, the need to take action requires strength, (in response to a trauma for example). This requires that he stop improving his character, because in Shakespeare one can do one or the other but not both. I’ll go into this more later, it gets into the whole action vs inaction thing that needs more room.
So the need to deal with immediate problems, such as one’s dad being murdered by one’s uncle, one’s throne being usurped, and one’s mom bedding her husband’s murderer, requires sacrificing working on inner improvement. He is therefore not as capable as he one day could be if he first worked through all his short-comings. He also risks cementing those flaws in his character he has not yet worked through.
I think the unique thing about Hamlet, as opposed to the other Shakespearean tragedies, is that Hamlet is keenly aware of and tortured by this dilemma. This is what makes it the most honest and direct look at Shakespeare himself, who must have reacted to his world through the lens of the same philosophy as his character.