Work Is a Four-Letter Word: Short movie notes

Let's do this one from worst to best, yes? Or no, "best" isn't what I want, let's do "worst to the one I moat want to talk about."Evil Laugh: '80s slasher, aka the one '80s horror subgenre I can almost never stand. This was an unusually stupid entry. There are organ meat gags (why did this random posh med student do-gooder have a thing for cooking organ meats?) and the music is indeed pleasantly neon-flavored, but that is about all the good I can say for this. I think I dug this thing up on … [Read more...]

Taking the Rough with the Smooch: Movie notes

A couple quick hits before we move to our main event, viz. a trip back in time to Gay 1986.Habit: Do you like artsy bisexual '90s vampire movies, but found Nadja too cold, The Addiction too smart, and everybody too good-looking? Boy do I have a film for you. Habit follows a startlingly disheveled and run-down dropout type (writer/director/star Larry Fessenden) as he meets a cute early-'90s chick at a party and begins to wonder why people are disappearing. The direction is really sharp--the … [Read more...]

No Horror But the Class Horror: Short movie reviews with an unexpected theme

Compulsion: The other, other Leopold and Loeb flick (after Rope and Swoon, although idk, maybe Swoon is one of those things Only 90s Kids Will Remember) and it's definitely worth watching if that sounds like your bag. Unlike Rope, Compulsion focuses on the social context: Prohibition--the law that everybody was above!--and the Golden Age of the gutter press. The KKK burning a cross outside the Clarence Darrow-analogue's window. The fake surnames in this one are super Jewish, is what I'm … [Read more...]

“The Rise of the Cashless City”: The Guardian

this is a good piece in the Grauniad: ...Could we see a whole city go cash-free? From Seoul to Bergamo, cities big and small are at the forefront of a global drive to go digital. Many of us are happy to tap cards or phones to hop on a bus, buy a coffee or pay for groceries, but it raises the prospect of a time we no longer carry any cash at all.No spare change for the busker at the station, the person sleeping rough in need of a hot drink, the market trader, the donation box. Although even … [Read more...]

Why Don’t Blue-Collar Workers Just Take Pink-Collar Jobs?: Megan McArdle

vs economists who scold men for not becoming the New Soviet Persyn the market demands: Why can’t a woman be more like a man? Henry Higgins demands to know in "My Fair Lady." These days, labor economists are asking the opposite question: Why can't a man be more like a woman?The decline of traditionally male blue-collar work like manufacturing has left many men adrift. There are growth industries, such as health care, where some of these men could get work. But they don’t seem to be taking adv … [Read more...]

He That Increaseth Sorrow Increaseth Knowledge: Or, Notes on Meritocracy

This is a great piece but I guess the reason the end disappointed me is that it turns out to be a sardonic, passive-aggressive (not that there's anything wrong with that) reaffirmation of the meritocratic winners' authority, when what I would rather read is somebody's portrait of alternative authorities. So sure, here's a list of reasons I've seen real people be treated as authorities. Andrews's list would be different no doubt but that's precisely why I would have liked to read it....None … [Read more...]

“The New Ruling Class”: Helen Andrews

on the beginning and middle of the meritocratic era: Last fall, Toby Young did something ironic. Toby is the son of Michael Young, the British sociologist and Labour life peer whose 1958 satire The Rise of the Meritocracy has been credited with coining the term. Toby has become an education reformer in his own right, as founder of the West London Free School, after a celebrated career as a journalist and memoirist (How to Lose Friends and Alienate People). In September, he published an … [Read more...]