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« Pic of the Day | Main | True Art School Tales »

September 10, 2003


Friedrich --

* The imaginative and entertaining economist Tyler Cowen has caught the blogging bug bad. Good for him, and better for us. Along with co-conspirator Alex Tabarrok, he's now blogging at Marginal Revolution, here. Both Cowen and Tabarrok have hit the ground running, and Marginal Revolution is instantly one of my favorite blogs.

* Tom Ehrenfeld runs a blog about entrepreneurship, but he's begun including some observations and comments about culture too. He offers the most original movie list I've seen in a while -- nominees for the half-a-dozen best movies to inspire entrepreneurs here. Happy time-clock-puncher that I am, I've got nothing to contribute myself, but I'm eager to see the candidates more enterprising people come up with. You'll have to forgive much too kind a mention of 2Blowhards at the top of the piece. And here's a Tom posting about what entrepreneurs can learn from Monty Python.

* You probably noticed that Leni Riefenstahl has died at 101. Here's a good obit by the Guardian's Richard Falcon. Here are some thoughts of my own that I jotted down last year on the occasion of her 100th birthday. Leni's own website is here.

* Cultureblogging trailblazer (and much else) Sasha Castel has moved her blog to a new address, here. Adjust bookmarks, permalinks, etc., and then go enjoy Sasha's lively brain and writing.

* David Sucher has an amazing gift for putting all you really need to know about cities and architecture into short, sweet and easy postings. He does it again here. My favorite sentence: "It is not genius which creates cities worthy of humanity but adherence to time-tested rules."

* What David is to the discussion about cities and architecture, Mike Snider is to the conversation about poetry. For an example, check out this posting here. Fave sentence: "The L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poets, as a whole, are interested in form only as form, as they are interested in language as an abstract system of references rather than as a way human beings form community." Hard to imagine making the evo-bio/neuroscience (and anti-modernist) case for art more concisely.

* Terry Teachout explains here why there hasn't yet been a DVD of Jean Renoir's "Rules of the Game." Are there 2Blowhards visitors who haven't watched "Rules of the Game"? Tut tut.

* My thoughts about prison and imprisonment? Thanks for asking. Roughly: "We throw criminals in jail primarily to protect the rest of us, and secondly to punish them. Rehabilitation? If it happens, it happens, but it's unlikely, and hardly worth getting hung up about." I didn't realize that holding such opinions meant that I was a fascist until I moved to the Manhattan arts-and-media world, where the conventional wisdom is that no one's really responsible for his/her actions, especially criminals, and that prison ought to be a cross between a day-care center and a seven-step program. So I always find it a relief to read something like this Thomas Sowell column here.

* I don't follow film criticism the way I once did, but I was delighted to stumble across this collection of reviews by Adrian Hyland here, written for New Zealand's Onfilm magazine. Partly, of course, because I by and large agree with him -- good lord, what a fizzle that restored-footage re-release of "Apocalypse Now" was, for instance. But also because Adrian is shrewd and intelligent; he operates at a high level without losing touch with common sense. He's got an enviable verbal gift too.

* Steve Sailer reports on a study showing that an ever-greater proportion of immigrants are coming from Latin America, here. "Immigrants from Spanish-speaking Latin America accounted for more than 60 percent of the growth in the foreign-born population nationally in the 1990s," says the report. Sailer elaborates: "In the 1970 Census, the largest sending nation, Italy, accounted for 10 percent of all the foreign-born in the United States. By 1980, Mexico had taken first place with 16 percent, rising to 22 percent in 1990, and 30 percent in 2000. Spanish-speaking countries south of Mexico accounted for another 17 percent, bringing the Latin American total to 47 percent of the 31 million foreign-born residents of the United States."

* Break out the champagne: Tyler Green has been running his blog Modern Art Notes (here) for two years now. Tyler's always first-class, and his reporting and thinking about Philadelphia's trouble-plagued Barnes Foundation has been invaluable. By the way, you might enjoy this piece here by Jed Perl, which Tyler points to disapprovingly but helpfully. Perl opens fire -- with both barrels -- at Matthew Barney and Dia Beacon.

* Hard to believe, I know, but Aaron Haspel woke up the other morning full of malice and trouble. The result? A provocative posting about voting qualifications (here) that should cause more than a few jaws to drop.



posted by Michael at September 10, 2003


My goodness, Aaron is in a bad mood!

Couple thoughts: (1) Anyone who's revenue is derived from tax revenues is not allowed to vote? addition to government employees, we get rid of most of the employees of a huge number of large corporations in the country, including Boeing, Lockheed, General Motors, etc. Most PhD's too, since they work largely for public universities that get plenty of federal and local bucks, and, well, hell, why not rule out anybody who got a student loan ever from the government too? But, being unemployed doesn't help---coz if you get unemployment, you get your revenue from the government too. And small business owners who got capital from the SBA---oops, they're out too! Think you'd like the political outcome better if all 5 or 10 people left in the country voted?

(2) I think saying someone who give a bum a drink for his vote is committing fraud, while someone who gives a whole block of people money for their votes is democracy in action, is a little oversimplified. Obviously, that is where the voters want the resources employed, it's called setting priorities, and it ain't always gonna mirror your priorities. As you pointed out, it was STALIN who said killing one man is a crime, killing millions is a statistic. I repeat...STALIN. I don't think he's exactly a credible endorsement!

(3) I think a poll tax is a dumb idea. People already object to the "influence" the wealthy have on the political process (I know...this will rev up the Blowhards for sure!) and that just excacerbates it.

(4) I actually think a literacy test isn't so bad, but you'd have to employ monitors on elections, like they do in Third World countries, to make sure it isn't misapplied as it was in the South which is why it went away.

(5) Taxes went up after women got suffrage? Too bad, baby! So did the standard of living in the country, the road system, and the education system. Do they get the credit for that, or only the blame for the parts you don't like?

Posted by: annette on September 10, 2003 1:56 PM

Why, Annette, I am shocked to find us in such uncharacteristic agreement! You like literacy tests, provided they are applied disinterestedly; so do I. You dislike poll taxes; so do I. You point out that the welfare state makes it impossible to decide who is a net beneficiary of the government; so do I, which is why I propose to deny the franchise only to those who depend 100% on tax money for their living.

I have only a few nits to pick. Voters, of course, may "employ their resources" however they like; but tax money is not "their resources," it is other people's resources. Mass murder is one topic on which Stalin is an indisputable authority, and besides, what he said is true, is it not? Finally, I think you would be hard-pressed to argue that (leaving Prohibition aside, since you did) the American economy was in a better state in 1940 than it was in 1920. But if you wish to credit women with the interstate highway system and the technology that has made everyone's life much more pleasant in the last eight years, hey, knock yourself out. I'd be a little circumspect about taking credit for the state of modern education myself, but that's just me.

Posted by: Aaron Haspel on September 11, 2003 11:54 AM

Why, Aaron, wonders never cease!

Posted by: annette on September 11, 2003 3:41 PM

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