Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Quotes of the day

The killer is that what protects you in a crisis is also what leaves money on the table pre-crisis. The best trades and market positions in the pre-crisis regime are the ones that cause the greatest losses in the crisis.--Rick Brookstaber

Today, Israel is not the belligerent party in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It is Israel that has offered partition, and the Palestinians who have consistently refused it. Netanyahu inherited a winning hand. He could have put a peace plan on the table, leaving the Palestinians to refuse it. He could have declared that Israel wanted to withdraw from the West Bank and would do so if its security was guaranteed by an agreement with the Palestinians or a third party. He could have offered state housing help for those who would leave the settlements even before an agreement. Instead, he mumbled something half-heartedly about two states, and then moved on to fight for enlarging settlements.--Gadi Taub

As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.--Isaiah

So men may in any dispensation despise the grace of God, but they cannot extinguish it.--A.W. Tozer

There are two things to say about this. The first is that the consumption of culture is not always worthless. Is it really better to produce yet another lolcat than watch The Wire? And what about the consumption of literature? By Shirky's standard, reading a complex novel is no different than imbibing High School Musical, and both are less worthwhile than creating something stupid online. While Shirky repeatedly downplays the importance of quality in creative production—he argues that mediocrity is a necessary side effect of increases in supply—I'd rather consume greatness than create yet another unfunny caption for a cat picture. The second thing is that it remains entirely unclear if the creative and generous acts made possible by the internet are really a replacement for time spent watching sitcoms. After all, people have always had hobbies; although they watched plenty of bad television, they also read newspapers and built model airplanes, went on hikes and volunteered at the local shelter. In other words, we weren't quite as mindless or disconnected as Shirky seems to believe. In his zeal to celebrate the revolutionary capabilities of the internet, Shirky downplays the virtues of the world before the web. And then there is the terrifying possibility (not addressed by Shirky) that our online life is detracting, not from time spent watching TV, but from our interest in things that have nothing to do with technology, such as talking with friends or taking walks in the park. It's easy to find quibbles with an argument as audacious and thought-provoking as that put forward in Cognitive Surplus. The fact is, Shirky has written an important book about an interesting moment in human history. We have arranged our modern lives to maximize free time. Now, thanks to the virtual infrastructure of the internet, we are able to collaborate and interact as never before. The question is what these collaborations will create. A surplus, after all, is easy to squander.--Jonah Lehrer

It isn't simply a matter of completing the deep pass into the corner of the end zone or sinking the shot for three points at the buzzer; it's the business of sustaining the belief that democracy still works the way the Declaration of Independence says it's supposed to work, Jefferson's "aristocracy of virtue and talent" still out there in uniform on the level playing field, imparting substance to the nation's fondest memories and dearest hopes. Like the infantry platoons that won the Hollywood version of World War II, an American team in good working order affirms the doctrine of egalitarianism, erases the distinctions between race and class, rehabilitates the principle of justice under law. The coach doesn't start the kid at quarterback because the kid is underprivileged; the manager doesn't insist that the dugout vote Republican. On the far side of the left-field wall, wars bleed and children starve; men cheat, women rot, banks foreclose, politicians lie. Inside the park the world is as it was in the beginning, as green as the grass of childhood, as bright as the sky at noon with what the British novelist V.S. Pritchett regarded as "the emotion of being American… that feeling of nostalgia for some undetermined future when man will have improved himself beyond recognition and all will be well."--Lewis Lapham

No comments:

Post a Comment