28 December 2016

The Finish Line Approacheth

It's not here yet, though: The yobbos "in charge" have a few more days for mischief.

  • 2016 is an annus horribilis for the arts, as are too many years. RIP Richard Adams (and no, "it" wasn't a children's book, any more than is Animal Farm). And not just the arts, either: Even The Economist has joined the wake.
  • Naturally, it takes a foreign newspaper to accurately describe our current administration, and where a Clinton II administration would have found itself: centrist. And whether one calls my sort of thinking "progressive" or "liberal" (they are not the same thing, but expecting mere journalism majors in the US to understand — or even care — would be insufficient in the face of the fairly relentless capitalism-tinged-with-conservatism of big-media ownership and executives), the Grauniad goes off the rails with its assertion that Bernie Sanders could now prove a leader of "progressive politics" in the US. It's an unfortunate fact that — unlike in parliamentary systems — a losing Presidential candidate over here is Mr (or Ms) Irrelevant for the foreseeable future, and doubly so if he/she couldn't earn his/her party's nomination and doesn't end up with a cabinet position as a consolation prize. And in the end, it's probably a good thing: Mr Sanders is a social democrat, which is preferable to what passes for the Jackasses' ideology… but not by much, not for long, and his age is an even-more serious impediment to leading a movement (and understanding the concerns of those not in his age group) than it is to leading a government.
  • So the hypernaturalist "theatre and music critics" east of the Hudson wonder "is it even possible to revive The Mikado in today's racial-identity environment?" Of course it is, you idiots savant. Isn't HBO's production of A Game of Thrones a hint that even Pish-Tush would understand? Or, perhaps, tilting windmills with Candide might prove educational... especially if it included any publishing history of either Candide or tilting at windmills (which has little to do with tilting of cows). If you really want a specific indication that a fantastical (or science fictional) environment is relevant to discussion of racism and tribalism, consider the utter lack of "elfface" or "dwarfface" or "hobbitface" (or "orcface") discussions surrounding Jackson's Tolkein films. Or, for that matter, Vulcans and Klingons. And The Mikado is, if nothing else, an utterly fantastical inversion of not so much "Anglo-Japanese" as purely English court manners and politics...
  • Speaking of idiots savant, consider the contemporary economist, who is rapidly descending toward the hypermathematical aspirations of accountancy — where everyone knows the cost of everything but the value of nothing. This is not because mathematics is irrelevant; it is primarily because the parts of mathematics dealing with "boundary conditions" (and, for that matter, "undefined function domains") are ignored for doctrinal — not intrinsic — reasons.
  • It's bad enough that "don't be evil" is an utter crock of bovine execrement as a corporate motto… either aspirationally or practically (and perhaps most especially at any company whose revenue stream depends upon its invisibility). But prohibiting your employees from writing novels even peripherally set in something resembling your company is — perhaps too expectedly — evil.
  • From the world of copyright: The Swedish Supreme Court has ruled that under Swedish and EU law, sports broadcasts are not original enough to be protected by copyright. Which leads to interesting questions by comparison, such as the Zapruder film… and I make no pretense that I have the answer, or even that there is a definitive answer, or even coherent rules. Originality is like pornography: I know it when I see it; you know it when you see it; and we may not agree, let alone on whether it's "good" porn. And, of course, that's the point of Progress in the Useful Arts and Sciences: It can only be measured, when it can be measured at all, with 20/40 hindsight.