Fantasyland

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Freshness ever sacred

fig_bar

Here’s some marketing copy I read today on the back of a Nature’s Bakery stone ground whole wheat fig bar (raspberry):

“At Nature’s Bakery, our goal is simple: To give you the fuel you need to help power life’s great journeys. Oh yeah, and to make it–and your journeys–jam-packed with flavor. With Mother Nature’s blessing, we’ve created perfect harmony among some of her very best handiwork, holding freshness ever sacred.”

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Gonzo

I’m not sure what this Guardian piece is exactly, but it made me laugh in several spots. Here’s how it starts:

I wake up from my whiskey stupor to the scent of burning motherboards, and I know that something is wrong. Out the window in New York’s Financial District, two men in torn bespoke suits roast a body over an oil drum. It looks like Thomas Friedman’s, but I can’t be sure.

“Brother can you spare a bitcoin?” one screams.

In the distance, I see fire.

I haul myself up, wipe the cigarette ash from my hair, and put on a flak jacket made solely from Golden Parachutes. “War. Horror. Hatred. Death.” I say, to no one in particular. “Looks like I’m gonna get a fucking Peabody.”

“Reporting live from the frontlines of #NYSEDown!” I tell my phone cam. Then I run out the door.

Outside, I take in the scene: street preachers denouncing Gnosticism, a lone banker trying to garrote himself with ticket tape, and the Bull – that gold, beautiful bull – running through the streets like Zeus. I chase after it for a quote, but, like the dubious financial transactions powered by super-compressors, it is too quick.

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Human optimization

From Kristin Dombek‘s essay in the July 2015 issue of Harper’s Magazine. She’s referring here to The Happiness Industry by William Davies.

In Davies’s view, the language of good feeling and scientific utopianism are a cover for an older, more insidious goal: ‘a single index of human optimization’ that would reduce all human experience to qualities that can diagnosed, tracked, graphed, and, ultimately, controlled. The methods may be new, Davies argues, but this is what the architects of free-market capitalism have wanted all along.

The full essay is available on the Harper’s website (subscription required).

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Quote

I’m writing something (to be published here shortly) and it brought to mind these words from Richard Rodriquez. I remember reading them in Harper’s Magazine, and telling a friend that they could stand as the Quote of the Decade (if there were such a thing) for the Aughts:

“So what is lost? Only bricks and mortar. (The contemptuous reply.) Cities are bricks and mortar. Cities are bricks and mortar and bodies…Something funny I have noticed, perhaps you have noticed it, too. You know what futurists and online-ists and cut-out-the-middle-man-ists and Davos-ists and deconstructionists of every stripe want for themselves? They want exactly what they tell you you no longer need, you pathetic, overweight, disembodied Kindle reader. They want white linen tablecloths on trestle tables in the middle of vineyards on soft blowy afternoons. (You can click your bottle of wine online. Cheaper.) They want to go shopping on Saturday afternoons on the Avenue Victor Hugo; they want the pages of their New York Times all kind of greasy from croissant crumbs and butter at a cafe table in Aspen; they want to see their names in hard copy in the ‘New Establishment’ issue of Vanity Fair; they want a nineteenth-century bookshop; they want to see the plays in London; they want to float down the Nile in a felucca; they want five-star bricks and mortar and do not disturb signs and views of the park. And in order to reserve these things for themselves they will plug up your eyes and your ears and your mouth, and if they figure out a way to pump episodes of The Simpsons through the darkening corridors of your brain as you expire (add to shopping cart), they will do it.”

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