20 March 2014

Yes, I Washed My Hands

... but since I have the 'flu (or at least a stomach virus), these internet link sausages may still upset your intellectual digestive system. Surely you've heard of an "internet virus"? It might be contagious.

  • Just as there is no single publishing industry, there is no single music industry, as demonstrated by Japan. Anyone who prescribes a universal success formula without taking the fragmentation into account is, well, Kevin Trudeau (but without the prison time... yet).
  • ... and may preview a much broader problem with the arts in general. The subtext here (sadly unengaged with by Dr Hadley) is that different forms of art are, well, fundamentally different, and cannot be judged by the same standards. The hard part is drawing lines between them; how much "different" are bluegrass, country, country & western, and Americana folk, for example? All one can say, really, is "more different than the Nashville commercial establishment would like to admit, and less different than mandated by Library of Congress cataloging procedures."
  • And then there's the ne plus ultra of "don't conflate the artist with his/her art": Not Leni Reifenstahl, not Roman Polanski, but Paul de Man (whose "critical" and "theoretical" works are better understood as performance art).
  • The problem with our general consideration of lab-engineered genetic modification of crops is not actual safety reviews; arguably, we don't do enough of them, which would be an adequate explanation for excrutiatingly slow official approval. The problem is that we don't treat different methodologies equally, despite no evidence at all that selective breeding is safer — or less likely to create unintended side effects (although I'm also considering the source) — than conscious gene insertion. There's a stench of antiintellectualism in there (Farmer John is no less and no more likely to be fully successful than is PhD Jane, but gets a lot less criticism)... but that's not the only problem: Just look at health statistics for "breed standard" German Shepherds.
  • Which leads to different questions concerning diversity. Diversity is more than just demographic changes over relatively large areas; it requires actual frequent contact. The Bay Area is a horrific example. If one considers Oakland's population of African descent side-by-side with San Jose's population of Hispanic descent and the Peninsula's population of Asian descent, everything looks very diverse... but unemployed residents of East Oakland don't do their grocery shopping in Daly City. That's apparent every time I skateboard down the hill to the local mall (and farmer's market), where one can find lots of white skins, brown skins, and yellow skins... but fewer black skins than even the most-local demographics suggest. And it's not just about race, either: The word "ghetto" comes to us from a religious community exclusion.