Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘selling out

I See No Hope for the Future of Our People If They Are Dependent on the Frivolous Youth of Today

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The New York Times asked the unthinkable : Has LEGO sold out?

Fact check: LEGO has been selling branded kits since before I was born. You’re misremembering how smart and creative you were, and underselling your kids’ creativity and smarts to boot. Just let them play!

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December 23, 2012 at 9:28 am

Some Sunday Links

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* David Simon: “The Attorney-General’s kind remarks are noted and appreciated. I’ve spoken to Ed Burns and we are prepared to go to work on season six of The Wire if the Department of Justice is equally ready to reconsider and address its continuing prosecution of our misguided, destructive and dehumanising drug prohibition.” (also via)

20 Facts About U.S. Inequality that Everyone Should Know.

* The Monochromatic City of Chefchaoen, Morocco. Via Cynical-C.

* Naked Capitalism takes a stand against selling out.

The “you need to have a seat at the table” crowd misses how best to steer a path in complex systems. As John Kay points out in his new book Obliquity: Why Our Goals Are Best Achieved Indirectly, one does better by sticking with principles, since it is beyond our capabilities to map a straight path. He compares the performance of companies within a number of different industries who set out to maximize profits against those that set higher and more complex objectives. The ones that had the richer, more aspirational aims did better in financial terms. Apple is a classic example.

* The New York Times reviews China Miéville’s Embassytown. This is already on my Kindle, and next up after I finish Kraken.

* And John Seaver explains the coming DC reboot.

What with all that, even the best creative teams eventually pile up a gradual accumulation of mistakes. Things that seemed like a good idea at the time now seem like the thing that cost you about twenty percent of your reading audience, and not all of the changes are as easy to reverse as a costume change. You can do stories that undo other stories to a limited extent, but eventually audiences get sick of contrived deals with the devil and hokey memory erasures and you wind up stuck in a corner, telling stories about a teenage version of your old character who’s from a parallel universe created when a time-traveling supervillain set a trap for his enemies using pocket-dimensional copies of a superhero who’s no longer in continuity thanks to…

You can start to see why the idea of sweeping it all under the rug and starting over from the point when your characters still made sense sounds like a good idea, right? Reboots cut away, at least in theory, all of the detritus that piled up over the years, all the Spider-Mobiles and deaths of Doctor Octopus and Grim Hunters and teen Iron Men and missing hands and Jewel Kryptonites, and leave the character iconic and sensible again. To a desperate and semi-sober editor, it’s got to start looking like a pretty attractive idea. Even if it doesn’t work, it’s not like the amazing adventures of the one-handed, dead, wifeless, childless, kingdomless Aquaman is going to sell anyway.

Taibbi v. Fernholz

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Matt Taibbi has now responded to Tim Fernholz’s response to his original article on how “Barack Obama, a once-in-a-generation political talent whose graceful conquest of America’s racial dragons en route to the White House inspired the entire world, has for some reason allowed his presidency to be hijacked by sniveling, low-rent shitheads.”

The Prospect writer argues that “the problems Taibbi tries to describe aren’t some ridiculous cabal” but instead “come from group-think and structural influences.” Correct me if I’m wrong, but this is exactly my point. The issue with the modern Democratic party is that its leaders all share a world view that’s extremely narrow. They genuinely believe in Rubinite ideas, have grown accustomed to an incestuous relationship with Wall Street, and they probably think that the right people were put in charge. Their failure to look beyond their own “group-think” for solutions to economic problems is exactly the issue.

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December 12, 2009 at 12:19 pm

How They Shot ‘The Godfather’

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I was 45 years old and tired of being an artist. Besides, I owed $20,000 to relatives, finance companies, banks, and assorted bookmakers and shylocks. It was time to grow up and sell out, as Lenny Bruce once advised.

Mario Puzo on the secret origins of The Godfather. Via MeFi.

I called my brother to tell him the good news. This brother had ten per cent of The Godfather because he’d supported me all my life and gave me a final chunk of money to complete the book. So now I wanted him to know that since my half of the paperback rights came to $205,000, he was in for a little over 20 grand.

He is the kind of guy who is always home when I call to borrow money. Now that I had money to give back, he was naturally out. I got my mother on the phone. She speaks broken English but understands the language perfectly. I explained it to her.

She asked, ‘$40,000?’

I said no, it was $410,000. I told her three times before she finally answered, ‘Don’t tell nobody.’

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December 7, 2008 at 6:15 pm

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Jan. 2 Links

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Jan. 2 is traditionally the day where I link to things on the Internets. This one is no exception.

* Via MeFi, David Cross attempts to explain why it’s okay that he participated in the awful-looking Alvin and the Chipmunks remake.

* New blog Paleo-Future promises “a look into the future that never was.” Sold! It’s in my RSS reader now.

* My good friend Tim over at Bitter Laughter waxes nostalgic about Disney World’s Carousel of Progress, and also concludes that Huckabee is sort of frightening.

* And in New Hampshire’s Union Leader, Barack Obama puts forth the case for Barack Obama.

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January 2, 2008 at 6:58 pm

Wes Anderson Commercials

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goldenfiddle has the Wes Anderson AT&T spots, which transcend their otherwise base corporate nature only through proximity to the sacred. Via Kottke.

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September 18, 2007 at 1:56 am

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