Thursday, June 12, 2008

Pacman and consumerism


Jesus: Pacman was about consumerism. It was all about seeing how much you could consume before you died. Your whole life is spent eating yellow dots – consuming products – while trying to avoid the reality of of your own death.

Elvis: Do what?

Jesus: That was what the ghosts represented. Mortality. They were always coming to get you, and the Pacman's whole existence was based on avoiding them while devouring as much crap as he could fit his mouth around. But there was death, always around the corner, and no matter how much you consumed, they always got you in the end. You never noticed that?”

Captain Smack, This Is Your Captain Speaking
Full post

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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Cultural revolution or mass hysteria?


“But beyond the very legitimate concerns about the quality of American beef, I think there is also something more going on here, at least for the university students.
I get the sense that young people are bored, bored with pop culture, bored with plastic surgery, bored with consumerism and the fetishization of luxury goods.
They are also angry that they have spent their entire lives studying, only to leave university and enter a jobless future. Korea was convulsed by political revolution in the 1980s, but never really went through an equivalent cultural revolution.The protests are about mad cow disease today, but social movements have a way of accumulating new meanings and directions over time. Who could have predicted that opening the Korean market to U.S. beef would have sparked such massive protests. And who knows where this thing will end up. That’s the exciting thing about history.”

John Eperjesi (Kyung Hee University), Candlelight Vigils, Food Sovereignty for Healthier Future”
Full article

This situation would not be so confusing if the diplomats, journalists and other foreign residents who know Korea did their jobs properly. But either they don’t understand the dynamic themselves or out of love for Koreans they moderate their language. Thus the foreign press, for example, refers to “anger against resumed beef imports,” rather than public hysteria, which is what it really is. Believe me. As a European, I know hysteria when I see it. We murdered 200,000 people as witches in the 15th century and 6 million Jews, and large numbers of Gypsies and homosexuals, in the 20th, for reasons that we don’t know.”

Mike Breen, Mad Cow Hysteria”
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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Office stuff

- What are you working on?
- [thick Korean accent] What work?

[staring at a blank spreadsheet] I didn't really think this through...

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Sunday, June 8, 2008

Almost rational

The real trouble with the world of ours is not that it is an unreasonable world, nor even that it is a reasonable one. The commonest kind of trouble is that it is nearly reasonable, but not quite. Life is not an illogicality; yet it is a trap for logicians. It looks just a little more mathematical and regular than it is; its exactitude is obvious, but its inexactitude is hidden; its wildness lies in wait.”

G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

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Thursday, June 5, 2008

From 'Anatomy of Melancholy'

To say truth, 'tis the common fortune of most scholars to be servile and poor, to complain pitifully, and lay open their wants to their respective patrons... and... for hope of gain to lie, flatter, and with hyperbolical elogiums and commendations to magnify and extol an illiterate unworthy idiot for his excellent virtues, whom they should rather, as Machiavel observes, vilify and rail at downright for his most notorious villainies and vices.

“I have read many books, but to little purpose, for want of good method. I have confusedly tumbled over divers authors in our libraries with small profit for want of art, order, memory, judgment.”

Robert Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy

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Wednesday, June 4, 2008