What a dolorous and gruesome, not to say shriveled and puny, array of Topics… so glad I'm a long-serving renegade
Even better than what I was imagining 10 or so years ago, when I was playing with GIS and historical datasets
via Bruce Sterling, a gem of the obvious but unuttered: "…a vast trade in illicit goods and services: black markets run by 'deviant entrepreneurs' who see the world’s prohibitions as opportunities for extracting windfall profits… Narcotics trafficking; sex tourism; computer hacking; money laundering; stolen artworks and antiquities; illegally harvested timber, oil, and diamonds; counterfeit medicine, software, and luxury brands; and a globally networked market for human organs…"
via Jenn Lena:
(and BoingBoing too, so EVERYbody’s already seen it. Still…)
I dunno how healthy it is to read a lot of ‘dystopian’ fiction (or non-fiction, for that matter), though I guess I’m pretty much guilty of participation in that schadenfreudian excess. Stefan Raets’ review of Will McIntosh’s Soft Apocalypse catches the poignancy very well:
The real sadness of Soft Apocalypse is seeing normal people operating under the illusion that life will still go back to what it used to be. They try to hold down a job or complete a post-grad degree, and even though the world falls apart around them, the changes are too gradual for them to lose hope completely. It’s like watching rats in a maze, unaware that their paths are slowly being closed off around them and the maze is starting to catch fire at the edges. A soft apocalypse, indeed.
NB that Boston is an exception to the general pattern… and wouldn’t it be interesting to factor in data on mortgage disasters for the same decade
I remember vividly the umbrage my mother (born 1899) gathered up, expressed and projected in my direction when I [quite innocently] asked if she’d been “a flapper” back in the day. “Certainly NOT!” I think she said, but the withering tone was beyond any I think I’d ever encountered. A few minutes spent with The Flapper’s Dictionary is probably as close as one can get to understanding her animus. She was a person of considerable rectitude, inclined to take moral turpitudes Seriously: with eloquent fluttering of the eyelids she declared Sophie Tucker’s songs “suggestive” (and so they were, deliciously). Very early on, I learned which of my own realities to protect her from…
A realm in which I should play more often, if only to keep my hand in
Several times a day I encounter yet another exemplar of the decline of, well gosh, pretty much everything in civic life: Nazgul politicians, vapidity of mass media, venalities great and small, eduscams, etc. Here’s a masterful summary of the higher ed side of the malaise, via E.D. Kain’s Forbes blog. But WHAT is to be done?