20 October 2015

Repetition Expecting a Different Result

If I spent all of my time commenting on insanity, I'd never get anything else done.

  • Yet more evidence that the insurance industry is insane: A several-decades-old history of seeking (apparently successful) mental health treatment may make one uninsurable. This seems just a bit silly in that (a) survival for decades since is a pretty damned good indicator that the treatment worked... and (b) those who have sought treatment in the past are more likely to recognize need for treatment today prior to, umm, behaviorally initiating the policy benefits. But no — because the industry can use a particular statistic, it does, even when it's counterproductive, even when it elevates "correlation" to "causation," even when the specific item is a selector for parental social class...
  • The "concert experience" is fundamental to the survival of orchestral music. (It's not all "classical," and I dislike the snootiness of calling it "serious" when so much of the repertory is either intended for teaching of technique or for dancing at some Society event or other, or at least at the afterparty.) The purported improvements, however, often leave parts of the (potential) audience behind — and it's even worse for other types of music, and indeed for non-musical public performance. Hell, it's not just the visually impaired who have been ignored; so have those with so many moderate-to-serious chronic conditions that don't qualify as "disabilities."
  • As this piece makes clear — albeit unintentionally — there's a distinction between survival of a distributed cultural form and the distribution mechanism.
  • In non-Euclidean parallel, there's the problem of the actual (not doctrinal) dilution of a brand by competition for an audience that is not competition in substance. Trademark law is an ill fit for the arts; unfortunately, it's all there is.
  • I thought one was supposed to wait for the actual premiere to jump the shark (preferably without tripping on the dorsal fin on the way over, like a certain "hit TV series" running on Monday nights did by episode 2 last month). Remember: The one character who actually fulfills the Campbellian "hero's arc" — presuming that one credits bad anthropology and worse literary analysis as a viable explanation of story structure in the first place — in the first-completed trilogy was the guy in the black helmet... and even that was purely by accident.
  • As much as we (justifiably) complain about scriptwriters doing dumb things and producers doing even more dumb things, reality is oft dumber. And reinforces to the Privileged Classes that actions (and omissions) don't necessarily have consequences... at least not for them...