Stick With Toilets and Condoms, Bill Gates

Why does a Thinker for Hire waste even a fragment of a second?

A fragment of a second is 3 seconds too long on these cover stories about (I can’t even TYPE the phrase “education reform” without feeling queasy) in national magazines.

But when it’s spread out on the kitchen table, and reading is a temporary but welcome respite from weekday morning chaos, and her eyes must rest somewhere while chewing her sugary cud, where else should a TfH look?

And here’s what those fragments of time taught me: that as bad as I already thought Bill Gates was for education, with his self-made billionaire high school dropout hubris,

IT’S WORSE THAN EVEN I THOUGHT.

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Book Revewlets: The Neapolitan Novels

Looking for a nice beach read? A story about the lives and loves of two best friends, freckled and smartypantsed? Imaginative and precocious? Getting into scrapes?

Getting beaten by their dads, brothers and husbands? Getting raped by their neighbors?

In picturesque postwar Italy?

Nothing like a trilogy about patriarchal brutality and poverty to help a Thinker for Hire unwindulax and enjoy the carcinogenic Denver sunshine.

In earnest. Elena Ferrante’s novels are just what I needed this summer. A beach read for the overhot Rocky Mountains.

 

 

 

 

 

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Disrupt This!

Disruption is popular these days. Maybe you  noticed.

Maybe you heard a corporate type complete a full sentence, with complex clauses and maybe even a metaphor, without uttering the word aloud. But you know she was thinking it.

Even if she says the word without salivating, the way I might say “train station” or “zoology,” even when delight or greed or hubris is not evident on her face or in her voice, you know she’s thinking about disruption as the ticket to her new life as Steve Jobs.

I realize I generalize.

But this is the Internet.

Sometimes a Thinker for Hire needs to make a point.

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Orphan is the New Black

What if our darkest feminist nightmares came true?

Girls who disagree with their fathers get locked in a cage with their mouths sewn shut?

Women are killed unless they can reproduce? And when they can, they are no more or less than incubators?

Women’s bodies are objects of science, subject to constant observation and kept ignorant of their status as experiments?

Sometimes they are artificially inseminated using animal husbandry tools?

Sometimes fathers commit incest meditated by reproductive technology so it’s NOT ABOUT SEX AND/OR POWER AT ALL. Nor is it creepy. Nor is it anti-Christian.

Women on TV are seemingly infinite variants of the same thin, beautiful, vulnerably strong white woman in leather?

Everyone lives in Canada?

 

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May I Opine on The Muppets?

A few years back, a colorful committee convened to craft with care and concern a film designed to make a late 30s/early 40s parent cry 5 to 8 times.

That film was The Muppets.

But what if you want to enjoy some Muppets with some moppets without them seeing you cry?

Muppets Most Wanted. All the wackiness, none of the calculated nostalgia.

Contra nearly all published critics, I like the second reboot more than the first.

For the third, may I request that Disney feature the Electric Mayhem? And revive 60s San Francisco rock? A Big Brother and the Holding Company-style version of “Rainbow Connection”?

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Zombies on Mad Men!!!

Zombie nouns in a zombie finale of a zombie show.

The nouns: Post-industrialization. Financialization.

The post-post-war economy based on ideas and services. Based on abstract ideas of “value.”

An economy that by the zombie finale of Mad Men is any moment now, just about, right on the edge of fully usurping the old order of pensions, factories, and loyalties.

Bert Cooper’s elegant valediction celebrated this culture as it died out—and as Cooper helped wreak its death.

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