Archive for February 2013
Few beverages are as classless as orange juice. You can drink it in front of bobos without being looked down upon, but you can also drink it in front of proles without them thinking that you’re an elitist snob.
Even other fruit juices lack orange juice’s classless character. For example, pomegranate juice is bobo and grape juice is prole, even though they taste almost the same.
Only water is as classless as OJ, and even with something as ubiquitous as water there are strong class distinctions in consumption habits, with the bobos preferring bottled water and the proles drinking tap water because they think it’s stupid to pay money for water, especially when it often sells for more than soda.
NY Times op-ed writer Frank Bruni says that the Catholic Church should stop believing what it believed for the last thousand years because all the cool people, today, are having gay sex. Doesn’t the Catholic Church want to be cool like Frank Bruni?
Thanks to a reader for directing me to this real-estate report
Indie film director, writer, musician, actor and model Vincent Gallo [Vincent who? Sounds like a cheap wine.] has bought a one-bedroom condominium unit at 100 Eleventh Avenue, the New York Observer reported. Gallo purchased the apartment inside the Jean Nouvel-designed property for $2 million.
This demonstrates once again how you can become rich from doing self-actualizing work. I bet he’s glad he didn’t take the advice of some people on this forum and become a plumber or a roughneck.
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According to Wikipedia, Gallo is a Republican, and he has been seen hanging out with the Bush twins.
I really liked how this episode imagines Jessa’s father’s house. It’s old, dirty, and every room is stacked full of books. Amateur paintings, half of them unframed, hang on every wall. It’s the house of an intellectual eccentric alcoholic/drug addict loser.
Was it just a weird touch that Jessa’s father and stepmother raise and eat their own rabbits? Or is there some deeper meaning to that?
I agree with commenters that this episode has far too much about Hannah’s bodily functions.
It has been making the news today that Yahoo’s new young female pregnant CEO Marissa Mayer is cracking down on Yahoo employees who work from home.
It seems to me that senior management at a lot of big corporations think that there are too many people working from home. On the other hand, the type of people who write articles for major news sites seem to be in favor of telecommuting.
There’s an article at the University of Chicago School of Business website (h/t Gucci Little Piggy) about the “problems” faced by women who earn more than men. These women are less likely to be married, and their marriages are less happy and the chance of divorce increases by 50%.
But the big problem with this article is that it just assumes that all these problems are because men are intimidated by women who earn more money than them.
I think there’s a good chance that it’s the exact opposite that’s happening. There are many (most?) women who are only sexually attracted to men who earn more money and they look down upon men who can’t even earn as much money as a woman as losers who are unworthy husbands.
Several commenters have asked the rather dumb question, “Why would robots be unaffordable to anyone if robots are manufacturing other robots? They should be practically free!”
Why does Adobe Photoshop cost $699 when it costs Adobe absolutely nothing for you to download it? Why doe cable TV cost $700 a year when the transmission costs are only a few dollars?
Just because the marginal cost of producing something is very low, or even zero, doesn’t mean that it’s going to be cheap or affordable. There will no doubt be many inputs that are controlled by monopolies or oligopolies who will jack up the prices in order to make profits, and there will be future economists who will explain that it’s necessary in order for the companies to recover their capital investments and and to create incentives for companies to make new capital investments.
Furthermore, unlike the software example, robots are physical objects and there may be scarce resources involved in the manufacture of certain parts. For example, because of peak oil theory, the price of oil will continue to increase, even though oil company labor costs will decrease because of robotic roughnecks. There will no doubt be other natural resources vital for the manufacture of robots that will be in short supply, or controlled by monopolies or cartels.
1943 was a very important year. And no, the reason for its importance had nothing to do with the Allied invasion of Italy.
1943 was the year when Abraham Maslow published his famous paper A Theory of Human Motivation in which he wrote about self-actualization:
The need for self-actualization. — Even if all these needs are satisfied, we may still often (if not always) expect that a new discontent and restlessness will soon develop, unless the individual is doing what he is fitted for. A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately happy. What a man can be, he must be. This need we may call self-actualization.
This term, first coined by Kurt Goldstein [only a few years earlier in 1939], is being used in this paper in a much more specific and limited fashion. It refers to the desire for self-fulfillment, namely, to the tendency for him to become actualized in what he is potentially. This tendency might be phrased as the desire to become more and more what one is, to become everything that one is capable of becoming.
The specific form that these needs will take will of course vary greatly from person to person. In one individual it may take the form of the desire to be an ideal mother, in another it may be expressed athletically, and in still another it may be expressed in painting pictures or in inventions. It is not necessarily a creative urge although in people who have any capacities for creation it will take this form.
Even though the term “self-actualization” may not be used very often in every-day speech (and in fact, according to the Google Ngram Viewer, usage peaked in the 1970s and has since been declining), the idea behind it has become the very essence of the beliefs of the modern-day elites. But they’ve ignored or forgotten the part about self-actualization maybe taking “the form of the desire to be an ideal mother.” If anyone reads that today, it’s just assumed to be an example of archaic and obsolete attitudes towards women that even a genius like Maslow was unable to rise above. Today, the elites understand that the whole purpose of life is to achieve self-actualization through one’s career.
What did people think was the purpose of life before the 1940s? If I had to guess, I’d say that they thought the purpose of life was to raise children who would then raise grandchildren. Working at a job was seen as an unpleasant task that had to be done in order to provide food, clothing and shelter for one’s family. That seemed to be the attitude of my middle-class grandparents. There was a reason why it was called “work” and not “fun.” (Today, the better classes of people don’t call it work, they call it a “career,” and you don’t say “I’m going to work,” you say “I’m going to the office.”)
Under the old paradigm, women had it really good. Men were drafted into the army and sent to war, and if they were lucky enough to return home alive, they got to slave away at crappy jobs their whole lives, all for the greater purpose of providing for their families. Their wives got to do the best and most important job of raising children. But things have become reversed since then. When the most important goal of life is self-actualization through one’s career, children now get in the way of self-actualization. And if women have to stay home and take care of them, that’s a punishment and not a reward. As supposedly-conservative David Brooks recently wrote in a pro-immigration op-ed, working outside the home is something that wealthier women with children are lucky enough to be able to “afford” to do, and we need immigration so more women can afford do more important stuff than staying home and taking care of kids. (But what about the poor immigrant woman who has to work as a nanny and housekeeper? Not only is she doing the crappiest work that American women don’t want to do, she’s not even able to do it for her own children.)
Because children are now seen as getting in the way of the more important value of self-actualization through one’s career, it’s hardly surprising that birth rates are plummeting. People don’t have children today unless either they are rich enough to afford a nanny, or too prole and stupid to have the option of a self-actualizing career.
Hopefully, the explanation above helps to explain the NY Times op-ed last week by history professor Stephanie Coontz complaining about the sad plight of women in modern-day America. If you accept the premise that the most important goal in life is a self-actualizing career, then Ms. Coontz is right, men do have it better than women. Although if people completely accept the premise, why do women bother to have children at all? Isn’t abortion a perfectly legal option? There must be some innate biological maternal instinct getting in the way of what women are supposed to believe, causing them to make bad life choices.
Earlier this week, there was an op-ed in Forbes telling us that there’s no need to fear the robot economy.
However, I think the op-ed is pretty poorly reasoned. It goes something like: “Technological advancement has always bettered the human condition, and there have always been better jobs for the displaced workers, so stop worrying, morons.” I tried to find more specifics in there, but that’s really all there is to it.
The robot revolution is different than the previous economic revolutions. Robots will make unskilled and semi-skilled human labor worthless. The robot economy will produce more stuff with less human labor than ever before, but because we are married to the idea that people have to have some sort of job in a free-market economy in order to deserve to right to partake of any of the goods and services produced by society, the strange result of the robot revolution will be more people living in poverty.
The author of the op-ed writes that “mass leisure will also create other kinds of jobs, such as those devoted to entertaining and informing each other,” but the problem is that the masses will be too poor to afford leisure, and the majority of people aren’t smart enough to entertain and inform better than a robot. It will be more as I previously wrote, “there will be two classes of poor: the less poor who can provide services that amuse the few super-rich, and poorer poor who have nothing valuable to contribute to the super-rich.”
Putting 12 million to 20 million of them on a “path to citizenship” won’t make them like Republicans; it will make Republicans lose.
Let’s hope that some Republicans actually read this.
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Should I mention that Ann Coulter graduated from an Ivy League school and a Top Fourteen law school?