Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Being interesting is the easiest way to get people interested

Chicago is filled with great composers -- so why did the Riccardo Muti choose "composers in residence" who are not already residents? Believing that local talent deserves to be on a global stage is a symptom of parochialism -- but choosing an overblown, anodyne marketing genius like Mason Bates over people who would genuinely stretch the orchestra and audience is a missed opportunity.

benign inversion

In most times and places, being "in the know" was a proxy for wealth, power or social fluency. In our internet-connected world,  isolated, impoverished people are often the most up-to-date on the newest trends and cultural developments -- consequently, being "cool" ain't what it used to be.

Master Chef Junior recap

The structural contrasts in "Master Chef Junior" were marvelous: West Coast Asian versus New York Jewish parenting; the pampered percenter versus the neglected prodigy; the triumph of confidence over genius. The judges chose a winner whose cooking would easily fit into their mediocre restaurants -- selecting the real winner would have challenged their entire business model.

A world of shits, dicks and schmucks, with too few mensches.

A shit takes pleasure or profit from other people's problems.

A dick takes his own problems and makes them other people's problems.

A mensch takes other people's problems and makes them his own problems.

A schmuck willingly accepts a dick's problems, and then asks a mensch to help.

The "Citizen's United" ruling removes the false dichotomy between the economic and the political. Now we only need to extend the Equal Time Rule to counteract the influence of money on politics.