“Regarding Ethan Hawke’s fatal lapse in reason in Gattaca: If you have a condition that can kill you at any moment, common courtesy dictates you do not sneak into a profession where you’re responsible for keeping a whole bunch of people alive. Whether it be here or on a super long flight through the cold, unfeeling vacuum of space.”—6 Movies With Uplifting Messages (That Can Kill You) | Cracked.com
“Photos are memory/emotion recall indexes. Dear Flickr please implement “mute” to regain social relevance. See examples of “mute” previously noted: http://ttk.me/t49F4. Why it matters, problem statement: you end up following too many people on Flickr (social conventions, inevitable) and then your flickr.com/photos/friends/ becomes too noisy with photos you don’t care about - you grow weary and miss the photos you do care about, and then give up. Coping mechanism: it’s too emotionally wrenching to drop connections and instead people either: switch to sharing via *new* networks that work because they quickly let you start small/focused, adding only those you care to see currently (rather than years ago), e.g. Instagram, Path. OR people instead share more photos on a service that does support mute: Facebook. Solution: “mute” works because it’s the simplest of user tuned filters that increases the signal to noise ratio of what users see from their friends, thus they see more of what they want to see and interact more, commenting, favoriting, tagging, and adding notes. All of which is the whole point of using a social photo sharing site in the first place - the people to people interactions. #needspost”—http://tantek.com/2010/358/t1/photos-memory-emotion-recall-flickr-please-mute
I have serious issues with this essay, way beyond the author’s snarky cynicism and thinly veiled contempt for an average life.
In short: there’s nothing bad about having a life someone else can easily describe because it’s familiar to them. Meeting a girl, falling in love, getting married, having children: they are still your precious experiences no matter how many billions have done them before you came along.
There is, however, something very wrong about going into a relationship with unrealistic expectations. So—I read. But that doesn’t mean I
will be patient with an intermission and expedite a denouement…the girl who reads knows most the ineluctable significance of an end.
I think, based on the first half of the essay, the author’s trying to say that girls who read are cooler with casual dating, and with breakups. Unrealistic expectations, buddy: you have them.
Chinese parents demand perfect grades because they believe that their child can get them. If their child doesn’t get them, the Chinese parent assumes it’s because the child didn’t work hard enough. That’s why the solution to substandard performance is always to excoriate, punish and shame the child. The Chinese parent believes that their child will be strong enough to take the shaming and to improve from it. (And when Chinese kids do excel, there is plenty of ego-inflating parental praise lavished in the privacy of the home.)
Second, Chinese parents believe that their kids owe them everything. The reason for this is a little unclear, but it’s probably a combination of Confucian filial piety and the fact that the parents have sacrificed and done so much for their children. (And it’s true that Chinese mothers get in the trenches, putting in long grueling hours personally tutoring, training, interrogating and spying on their kids.) Anyway, the understanding is that Chinese children must spend their lives repaying their parents by obeying them and making them proud.
By contrast, I don’t think most Westerners have the same view of children being permanently indebted to their parents. My husband, Jed, actually has the opposite view. “Children don’t choose their parents,” he once said to me. “They don’t even choose to be born. It’s parents who foist life on their kids, so it’s the parents’ responsibility to provide for them. Kids don’t owe their parents anything. Their duty will be to their own kids.” This strikes me as a terrible deal for the Western parent.
Imagine it’s 1995: almost no one but Gordon Gekko and Zack Morris have cellphones, pagers are the norm; dial-up modems screech and scream to connect you an internet without Google, Facebook, or YouTube; Dolly has not yet been cloned; the first Playstation is the cutting edge in gaming technology; the Human Genome Project is creeping along; Mir is still in space; MTV still plays music; Forrest Gump wins an academy award and Pixar releases their first feature film, Toy Story. Now take that mindset and pretend you’re reading the first page of a new sci-fi novel:
The year is 2010. America has been at war for the first decade of the 21st century and is recovering from the largest recession since the Great Depression. Air travel security uses full-body X-rays to detect weapons and bombs. The president, who is African-American, uses a wireless phone, which he keeps in his pocket, to communicate with his aides and cabinet members from anywhere in the world. This smart phone, called a “Blackberry,” allows him to access the world wide web at high speed, take pictures, and send emails.
It’s just after Christmas. The average family’s wish-list includes smart phones like the president’s “Blackberry” as well as other items like touch-screen tablet computers, robotic vacuums, and 3-D televisions. Video games can be controlled with nothing but gestures, voice commands and body movement. In the news, a rogue Australian cyberterrorist is wanted by world’s largest governments and corporations for leaking secret information over the world wide web; spaceflight has been privatized by two major companies, Virgin Galactic and SpaceX; and Time Magazine’s person of the year (and subject of an Oscar-worthy feature film) created a network, “Facebook,” which allows everyone (500 million people) to share their lives online.
“Facebook runs on a very stiff, crude model of what people are like. It herds everybody — friends, co-workers, romantic partners, that guy who lived on your block but moved away after fifth grade — into the same big room. It smooshes together your work self and your home self, your past self and your present self, into a single generic extruded product. It suspends the natural process by which old friends fall away over time, allowing them to build up endlessly, producing the social equivalent of liver failure. On Facebook, there is one kind of relationship: friendship, and you have it with everybody. You’re friends with your spouse, and you’re friends with your plumber.”—Lev Grossman’s profile on Mark Zuckerberg for Time
I think this is the best analysis of Facebook I’ve ever read. “The social equivalent of liver failure” is a genius phrase.
“If you want to live your life in a creative way, as an artist, you have to not look back too much. You have to be willing to take whatever you’ve done and whoever you were and throw them away. What are we, anyway? Most of what we think we are is just a collection of likes and dislikes, habits, patterns. At the core of what we are is our values, and what decisions and actions we make reflect those values. That is why it’s hard doing interviews and being visible: As you are growing and changing, the more the outside world tries to reinforce an image of you that it thinks you are, the harder it is to continue to be an artist, which is why a lot of times, artists have to go, “Bye. I have to go. I’m going crazy and I’m getting out of here.” And they go and hibernate somewhere. Maybe later they re-emerge a little differently.”—Steve Jobs to Playboy in 1985 (via davemorin)