Filling our history and literature classes with only affluent students means that we will rarely again turn out a Junot Diaz, an Alice Walker, an Irving Howe or a Sherman Alexie.
I was at lunch with a friend a few months ago when he looked down at his watch and said, “Oh I just got a message from [so-and-so]—I’ll need to dash off in 15 minutes.”
Salon.com has a darkly portentous article titled “Why Uber Must Be Stopped,” and in case there’s any doubt about how unscrupulous and even criminal they think the ride-sharing app is, they’ve illustrated it with a picture of Jordan Belfort and Gordon Gekko. Guys, come on. No Mr. Burns?
Defenders of no-holds-barred free-market competition see nothing to be alarmed or concerned about. Riders can only benefit from fierce competition for their services, and the number of cancellations is trivial compared to Lyft’s total volume of rides, explains Timothy Lee at Vox. On the other hand, if you are inclined to see Uber as the acme of ruthless and amoral profit-seeking, then the latest news on Uber’s “deceptive tactics” is just one more confirmation of how the company will do anything to win. Uber’s ambitions are limitless and it has the bankroll to do what it wants.
Indeed, there is some irony to the fact that Uber has so much cash in the bank that it need not comply with the most basic premise of capitalism — the notion that survival is predicated on making more money than you spend. With access to an astonishing $1.5 billion in capital, Uber can simultaneously wage regulatory battles in multiple cities, engage in recruitment wars in which smartphones are distributed like candy, subsidize drivers at below cost, and employ whomever is necessary to achieve long-term goals. The real question we should be asking ourselves is this: What happens when a company with the DNA of Uber ends up winning it all? What happens when the local taxi companies are destroyed and Lyft is crushed? When Uber has dominant market position in every major city on the globe? “UberEverywhere” isn’t a joke. It’s a mantra, a call to arms, a holy ideology.
I have trouble with Salon in its incarnation as a red-faced, bearded, overly earnest dude who gesticulates a lot. It’s hard to nod when you’re getting flecked with his impassioned spittle.
POINT, via the New York Times: People are paying lots of positive attention to that new Pantene ad about not apologizing so much and the Under Armour one featuring ballerina Misty Copeland! Perhaps we are finally feeling the winds of change.
Ms. Copeland, standing at 5 feet 2 inches tall, muscular and busty, faced similar criticism as a young dancer, not fitting the willowy mold of the typical ballerina. But she succeeded, making herself the perfect face — or body — for Under Armour’s empowering tagline “I will what I want.”
“For aspiring dancers (and their teachers) to see that her body — her skin color, her monster glutes, her bust — do look right, that’s just huge,” writes Hana Glasser at Slate, in one of the many articles gushing about the campaign’s inspirational power.
Whereas the straight-up sex ads for places like American Apparel feel tired, retro. Or is that merely the brand?
Maybe Empowerment has the edge these days! Maybe we consumers, especially ladies, want to be feel inspired to part with our money rather than shamed into doing it, out of the fear that otherwise we’ll be insufficiently attractive to men.
COUNTERPOINT, via the Hairpin: I’m sorry, what?
Last night I read the children’s book Corduroy to babygirl for the 15,000th time. A small bear in green overalls wanders a department store at night looking for his lost button, because that button represents everything that is out of his reach: love and acceptance, family, security, home. He is rescued by a girl, Lisa, who believes in his potential so much that she empties out her piggy bank for him. Once she and Corduroy have settled in her bedroom, she sews on a new button for him, not because he needs it but because he’ll be more comfortable with his strap fastened. And then they share a big hug.
Really, I’d never do this.
There’s a new browser game in town: the Artist Survival Simulator. I’m hoping there’s a secret joke I’m not getting, because every time you click “work for a living” you lose artistic inspiration, and every time you blow your savings on an inspirational excursion you get more excited about making art.
That’s not how any artists I know work.
Making a game that states “if you get a day job, you’ll lose inspiration and never create art” is a bit of a dangerous presumption. Maybe the most dangerous presumption an artist can get in his or her head.
I want a game that expresses the complexities of balancing a day job and making art while acknowledging that the day job is nearly always part of the artistic equation.
What do you all think?