The Courage to be Disliked, quote on freedom

PHILOSOPHER: Yes, it is one’s instinctive desires, one’s impulsive desires. Now, if one were to say that living like a stone tumbling downhill and allowing such inclinations or desires or impulses to take one wherever they will is “freedom,” one would be incorrect. To live in such a way is only to be a slave to one’s desires and impulses. Real freedom is an attitude akin to pushing up one’s tumbling self from below.

YOUTH: Pushing oneself up from below?

PHILOSOPHER: A stone is powerless. Once it has begun to roll downhill, it will continue to roll until released from the natural laws of gravity and inertia. But we are not stones. We are beings who are capable of resisting inclination. We can stop our tumbling selves and climb uphill. The desire for recognition is probably a natural desire. So are you going to keep rolling downhill in order to receive recognition from others? Are you going to wear yourself down like a rolling stone, until everything is smoothed away? When all that is left is a little round ball, would that be “the real I”? It cannot be.

Kishimi, Ichiro. The Courage to Be Disliked: The Japanese Phenomenon That Shows You How to Change Your Life and Achieve Real Happiness (p. 143). Atria Books.

The Power of the Press, Ted Conover on the Impact of Newjack

Did my book result in any reforms in the corrections system? I like to think so, but I’m sure of only one. In Newjack I describe B-Block, the immense building where I worked. Housing six hundred inmates, it is one of the largest freestanding cellblocks in the world. Horrific and very dim inside, it seemed as if the windows hadn’t been washed in fifty years. I included that detail in the book. The wife of a B-Block inmate sent me an e-mail after visiting her husband and wrote, “My husband just wanted you to know that a month after your book came out, they washed the windows.”

So there’s the power of the press for you.

Ted Conover, on his book Newjack: Guarding Sing Sing, quote taken from Telling True Stories: A Nonfiction Writers’ Guide from the Nieman Foundation at Harvard University

R Crumb and Peggy Orenstein on Disturbing Art

Peggy Orenstein: When I was about nine or ten, my brother used to collect Zapp comics. And when I saw those, they really, deeply, deeply terrified me. I was deeply upset. And I look at them, and thought, on some level, *this* is adulthood? This is what adult women are? This is what I grow up into? And it was horrifying.

Robert Crumb: Oh, my God!

Peggy Orenstein: And, I wonder if you think about the effect on people who read it, or what you’re validating for boys…

Robert Crumb: I just hope that that, somehow, revealing that truth about myself is somehow helpful. I don’t know, I just hope that it is, but I *have* to do it. Maybe I shouldn’t be allowed. Maybe I should be locked up, and have my pencils taken away from me, I just don’t know. I can’t say, you know? I can’t defend myself. It was like my daughter Sophie was watching “Goodfellas,” we got a videotape of it, and the violent part horrified her so deeply that she started getting a stomach ache, and I shut it off and wouldn’t let her watch it. Although I think it’s a great movie, a truthful movie, and I got a lot out of seeing it. But it’s obviously not for a kid. And certain harsh realities of life… you gotta, kinda, protect your kids a little bit from that. They don’t understand a lot of things yet, you know? Not everything is for children, and not everything is for everybody.

From the movie:
Crumb_
IMDB

Why Hunt Moby Dick? Starbuck and Ahab Discuss.

“Vengeance on a dumb brute!” cried Starbuck, “that simply smote thee from blindest instinct! Madness! To be enraged with a dumb thing, Captain Ahab, seems blasphemous.”

“Hark ye yet again— the little lower layer. All visible objects, man, are but as pasteboard masks. But in each event— in the living act, the undoubted deed— there, some unknown but still reasoning thing puts forth the mouldings of its features from behind the unreasoning mask. If man will strike, strike through the mask! How can the prisoner reach outside except by thrusting through the wall? To me, the white whale is that wall, shoved near to me. Sometimes I think there’s naught beyond. But ’tis enough. He tasks me; he heaps me; I see in him outrageous strength, with an inscrutable malice sinewing it. That inscrutable thing is chiefly what I hate; and be the white whale agent, or be the white whale principal, I will wreak that hate upon him. Talk not to me of blasphemy, man; I’d strike the sun if it insulted me. For could the sun do that, then could I do the other; since there is ever a sort of fair play herein, jealousy presiding over all creations. But not my master, man, is even that fair play. Who’s over me? Truth hath no confines. Take off thine eye! more intolerable than fiends’ glarings is a doltish stare! So, so; thou reddenest and palest; my heat has melted thee to anger-glow. But look ye, Starbuck, what is said in heat, that thing unsays itself. There are men from whom warm words are small indignity. I meant not to incense thee. Let it go. Look! see yonder Turkish cheeks of spotted tawn— living, breathing pictures painted by the sun.

The Pagan leopards— the unrecking and unworshipping things, that live; and seek, and give no reasons for the torrid life they feel! The crew, man, the crew! Are they not one and all with Ahab, in this matter of the whale? See Stubb! he laughs! See yonder Chilian! he snorts to think of it. Stand up amid the general hurricane, thy one tost sapling cannot, Starbuck! And what is it? Reckon it. ‘Tis but to help strike a fin; no wondrous feat for Starbuck. What is it more? From this one poor hunt, then, the best lance out of all Nantucket, surely he will not hang back, when every foremast-hand has clutched a whetstone. Ah! constrainings seize thee; I see! the billow lifts thee! Speak, but speak!— Aye, aye! thy silence, then, that voices thee. (Aside) Something shot from my dilated nostrils, he has inhaled it in his lungs. Starbuck now is mine; cannot oppose me now, without rebellion.”

“God keep me!— keep us all!” murmured Starbuck, lowly.

Melville, Herman. Moby Dick: or, the White Whale

Welcome home: Trips abroad put San Francisco’s chaotic streets in perspective

San Franciscans who have visited other cities recently also attributed differences to higher expectations for decency and civility elsewhere. Several readers talked about visiting Japan, where cleaners with tidy uniforms and even flowers pinned to their caps whisk into bullet trains between journeys and ensure they’re immaculate. Signs are posted everywhere telling people not to litter. Public toilets are pristine.

“We counted the number of homeless people we saw in Japan. Eight,” said a co-worker who visited Tokyo and Kyoto for her two-week honeymoon in May. “I pass at least that many on my way to work.”

Heather Knight, San Francisco Chronicle
https://www.sfchronicle.com/politics/article/Welcome-home-Trips-abroad-put-San-Francisco-s-14092895.php

Four-quadrant Movie

1st quadrant
male
under 25
2nd quadrant
female
under 25
3rd quadrant
male
over 25
4th quadrant
female
over 25

In the Hollywood movie industry, a four-quadrant movie is one which appeals to all four major demographic “quadrants” of the moviegoing audience: both male and female, and both over- and under-25s. Films are generally aimed at at least two such quadrants, and most tent-pole films are four-quadrant movies. A film’s budget is often correlated to the number of quadrants the film is expected to reach, and movies are rarely produced if not focused on at least two quadrants.

Although four-quadrant movies are generally family-friendly, this is not a requirement. Some other genres meeting this may be romantic (such as Titanic and Meet the Parents) or horror films (The Exorcist), or be crowd-pleasing in nature, such as high-profile action films or adaptations of popular novels. Four-quadrant movies often have both adult and child protagonists. They are often built on a “high-concept” premise with well-delineated heroes and villains, with emotion, action and danger present in the story.

Wikipedia

HBO Disaster Drama Suggestions


If HBO’s Chernobyl was a series with a new disaster every season, what event would you like to see covered? from AskReddit

Challenger

Halifax Explosion

Bhopal. It injured a lot of people and the series of mistakes that caused it to occur is insane. Edit: this was a chemical leak that killed 2,500 people in the immediate aftermath and thousands more long term.
558,125 injuries were recorded due to it.

Triangle Shirtwaist Fire in 1911
(I feel like this is being lost in time, yet it has more historical importance than other disasters listed here: TSF is the basis of modern workplace safety, union organizing and more.)

BP Oil Spill

I recommend watching the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary on the Hillsborough stadium disaster.

THE STATE  OF THE NATION’S HOUSING 2019

CONTINUING SHORTFALL IN SUPPLY
Just as the recent housing downturn was longer and deeper than any other since the Great Depression, the residential construction rebound has been slower. Since reaching bottom in 2011 at just 633,000 new units, additions to the housing stock have grown at an average annual rate of just 10 percent. Despite these steady gains, completions and placements totaled only 1.2 million units last year—the lowest annual production, excluding 2008–2018, going back to 1982.

The sluggish construction recovery is in part a response to persistently weak household growth after the recession. On a three-year trailing basis, the number of net new households dropped below 1.0 million in 2008 and held below that mark for seven straight years, including a low of just 534,000 in 2009. By comparison, even through the three recessions and large demographic shifts that occurred between 1980 and 2007, household growth still averaged 1.3 million annually and only dipped below 1.0 million once.

With the economy finally back on track, household growth picked up to 1.2 million a year in 2016–2018, close to expected levels given the size and age composition of the population. But new construction was still depressed relative to demand, with additions to supply just keeping pace with the number of new households (Figure 1). As a result, the national vacancy rate for both owner-occupied and rental units fell again in 2018, to 4.4 percent, its lowest point since 1994.

JOINT CENTER FOR HOUSING STUDIES OF HARVARD UNIVERSITY

The Warren Commission Report as The Great American Novel

Some years ago, during a telephone interview, I finally succeeded in badgering Jim Garrison into naming the Name. For years Garrison had been telling people he had the whole case cold: he knew who gave the orders, who fired the shots and from where. Still, though he had talked a lot about the Big Guys behind the plot— intelligence agencies, the military-industrial complex and the like—he had never publicly named the name of the man he believed fired the fatal head shot from the grassy knoll.

I won’t tell you that name, because Garrison didn’t give me any evidence for singling out this person for historic infamy. On another day, I felt, he might have picked another name out of the hat Still, for one guilty moment I had the land of thrill that assassination buffs live for. I had the Name everyone else was looking for and no one else had. Of course, it wasn’t an entirely unknown name. Garrison told me the person had been questioned extensively by Warren Commission investigators, and when I looked him up in the Warren Commission testimony, I found he plays a kind of Rosencrantz-and-Guildenstern-level role in the Warren Report, that of a peripheral figure in a key place: he was a live-in manager and janitor at Jack Ruby’s sleazy strip joint, the Carousel Club. There’s no doubt that the commission investigators were interested in his story—the transcript of his testimony runs more than 200 pages—but mostly because he was a source who might shed some light on the peculiarities of Jack

Ruby’s character (investigators repeatedly pressed the Name on whether Ruby had any sexual interest in his beloved dog Sheba). Though reading the testimony didn’t give me much intimation of an assassination revelation, it was a revelation of another kind. In telling his life story, of how he wound up in the Carousel Club in 1963, the Name was telling a story of an American life—of an America—far different from the one I’d known in my suburban hometown. It was a story of guy who made his living in the carnival world; he worked as a barker with small-time freak-show acts like “the two-headed baby” and “the snake girl,” he told the Warren Commission. He bummed around looking for roustabout jobs, met his first wife at a Salvation Army mission. When she left him in the summer of 1963, he hitchhiked all the way from the West Coast to Dallas looking for her. Picked up some work at the Texas state fair in a carny sideshow called “How Hollywood Makes Movies,” which featured some of Jack Ruby’s strippers.

Made some connections and soon found himself living in the back room of the Carousel Club in the midst of Ruby’s strange ménage, which included strippers, burlesque comics, stage hypnotists and, of course, the dog Sheba. I remember reading this testimony, mesmerized by my sudden immersion in a carnival-sideshow underbelly of American life. (The 26 volumes of Warren Commission testimony are like a vast, inchoate Great American Novel in that respect.) I didn’t feel I was any closer to solving the Kennedy assassination, but I did feel I had learned more about the America that produced both Kennedy and his assassin than was conveyed by the bland, complacent sitcom image of the nation and its institutions that prevailed in November 1963.

TAKING A DARKER VIEW
The conspiracy theories reflected in JFK may not be persuasive, but they churn up a murky underside of America, Ron Rosenbaum

Stone, Oliver. JFK (Applause Books) . Applause Theatre & Cinema Books. Kindle Edition.

Harvard Study: 60% of Bankruptcies Caused by Health Problems

A new study finds that more than 60% of personal bankruptcies in the United States in 2007 were caused by health-care costs associated with a major illness. That’s a 50% increase in the number of bankruptcies blamed on medical expenses since a similar study in 2001.

In an article published in the August 2009 issue of the American Journal of Medicine, the results of the first-ever national random-sample survey of bankruptcy filers shows that illnesses and medical bills contribute to a large and increasing share of bankruptcies.

Consumer Affairs, Truman Lewis