31 January 2020

Diggin' in the Dirt

These link sausages are so dirty that they're guaranteed not to pass a USDA inspection. Fortunately, there are no inspectors in this Wurstfabrik… and even if there were, they'd have been paid off, in the fine tradition of the US agribiz.

  • So Ms Thunberg needs to study economics before opining on something that isn't economic, Mr Mnuchin? Leaving aside that your own degree from early-1980s Yale probably doesn't qualify as "studying economics" itself, one must remember that the best way to get three opinions on where the economy is or is going is to ask two economists.

    Of course, that imprecation to Ms Thunberg is exactly parallel to what passed for "economic-sensitive reasoning" at Ford in the early 1970s, resulting in The Memo. Yeah, that's exactly what we want to hear from any government official.

  • And makes just about as much sense as Apple's insistence on proprietary power connectors. It's sort of like insisting on the right of automobile manufacturers to have a smaller hexagonal nozzle opening that is only available at Shell stations. Well, no; it's exactly like that, as it's far from coincidental that in almost any given competitive circumstance, the Shell station has the highest price per gallon of equivalent-grade fuel. (And I'm really not interested in the supposed detergent advantages, which make little or no sense for the vast majority of drivers and vehicles even if replicably true and statistically significant, and I've not seen any double-blind, non-interested-party data so indicating.)
  • Some good news from publishing: The wicked witch is dead. Stephen Joyce personally held back scholarship of James Joyce's work, and his assholery — there really isn't another word for it — deterred a number of young scholars in the 1980s from even trying. He also epitomizes the "worst case" issues related to droit morale, droit d'auteur, extended copyright terms, and the ugly intersection of "family privacy" and "semiconfessional and/or family-inspired fiction." And has thereby made it that much more difficult for those with legitimate concerns to express or protect them.
  • But much more bad news from publishing. There's so much, in fact, that I'm just going to neglect most of it. There is one recent incident, though, that demonstrates all too well the problems with white (upper-middle-class-and-trust-fund) domination of commercial publishing. And it's a dirty, and inevitable, fight in which everyone ends up covered in mud. The author comes off as slumming and/or appropriating… to at least some extent. The critics come off as demanding that their own personal experiences are the only authentic ones… to at least some extent. The publisher comes off as utterly clueless about both the book it was publishing and its audience… to more than some extent.

    Failure modes like this are inevitable under commercial publishing's model: Those establishing sales and marketing and publicity plans have not read the book. At least the maroons pushing "high-performance cars" have at least seen them at auto shows or on the track. Hell, even marketing of firearms is dominated by actual gun-totin' 'murikans! But the practice of establishing sales/marketing/publicity plans and systems with no direct knowledge of the product being sold/marketed/publicized isn't just intellectually dishonest: It implicitly treats failures like this (which necessarily involve a lot of deceptive acts, conduct, and words) as a cost of doing business. Just like exploding gas tanks on cheap hatchbacks. Bloody free-riders.