The above link is to an Atlantic story that talks about how the social safety net actually increases the chances of taking the risk of being an entrepreneur. The evidence presented in the article seems to back this idea up. It personally seems like common sense to me. A safety net is not meant to provide someone with a comfortable middle class existence. It merely allows for survival in the face of economic hardship. If one knows they can take a risk starting their own business without facing abject poverty, it seems to me they would be more willing to take that risk.
The original version of Robocop hilariously satirizes TV news and television commercials. Sure, a movie made in the 80’s is bound to get a couple things wrong, but overall it captures the shallowness of modern culture excellently. Years on our culture still too often feels like an 80’s action movie.
One of the general plot points in the science fiction movie Robocop is that a military industrial corporation is trying to take over the police force of Detroit. Knowing now how are police have often been militarized, thanks in part to the military industrial complex, a good deal of this movie is still more relevant than one would hope it would be.
I just checked out Huffington Post to see the latest news. I think if anything Huffington Post is a good place just to check headlines as it is comprehensive, even if many of the articles themselves are not worth reading. The front page headline is about the European plane crash. 150 people died. While this is tragic and horrifying, and definitely sensational, one must keep in mind that 457 people have been killed in just the state of Texas on the highway this year. Maybe this is news, but it is not front page, top of the page news. If it is news, and I mean this in no way disrespectfully of those who might have lost loved ones in the crash, it is something that should be acknowledged for a brief amount of time and moved on from. I wish this accident hadn’t happened at all, but since it did, that it was the worst thing that we had to deal with. However, given the conflicts that are taking place around the globe, the environmental calamities that are threatening us, and the fact that so many people still exist in a constant state of poverty, let alone many other tragedies that are happening all around us on a regular basis, this is distorting our perception of the world.
One of the few popular records that I think truly merited the acclaim directed at it in recent years was Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories. It’s a record that I never tire of. The above article is a long form article from Pitchfork at the time of that album’s release. It’s hard to believe it is already almost two years since it came out. An interesting read if you are curious about the group at all. A sample:
Just as their costumes put up a physical boundary between themselves and their audience, Daft Punk enjoy a “total separation” between their private and public lives, which is precisely what they want. “We don’t talk about our private lives because they’re private,” says Bangalter with a laugh. “Plus, the public image is more fun and entertaining anyway.” Instead of desiring traditional fame and worldwide recognition, Bangalter says they’re more interested in “changing the world without anybody knowing who we are, which is a very different ego fantasy, and it seems to be the premise for much more exciting developments.”
“Usually, the 24-hour, high-maintenance celebrity lifestyle can disconnect people from reality,” he continues. “And after a band has been making records for 20 years, they’re not doing the most interesting shit because they fall into this bourgeois, successful, settled existence.”
The above article is an interesting read if you are fan of The Walking Dead, as I am. It’s an article that tries to get at why the show has such a hold on the popular imagination. It also examines the show, and zombie stories in general, for there political and cultural messages.
Wizard Ted Cruz says that global warming alarmists are the equivalent of flat-earthers. It would be easy to get angry about this, except we already know Cruz is saying this to whip people like myself into a frenzy all while appealing to his know-nothing base. I feel pretty confident that people like Ted Cruz, as harmful as they are, are the exact kind of people that are going to doom the modern Republican Party and its anti-science brigade to the history books. I’m scared about what damage they can do on the way down, but there is no doubt that Ted Cruz and his ilk represent the last gasp of a dying order. People become extreme and rabid when they feel something slipping away forever. Ted Cruz, even though he is appealing to the hoopleheads*, really represents unfettered corporate power combined with religious zealotry. Fortunately for us, in a democracy even such power needs a base to support it and that base is mostly old and white on and on the outs. What’s scary though is that we are running out of time to stave off the worst impacts of climate change. So while Ted Cruz and those he represents will not be with us for long, they just might be able to do enough damage to doom the rest of us and the descendants of the human race for a long time to come. So while I don’t think we need to worry much about Ted Cruz, I think those of us that care need to fight his ideas at every turn.
*Hooplehead: a member of the ignorant masses; an uneducated commoner; an idiot. word popularized by HBO’s Deadwood.