Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder
Take that, economists!
Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2001 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.
Me, yesterday, during Political Science 171 lecture:
"If I never hear the term 'Pareto equilibrium' again it'll be too soon."
Prof. Bruce Cain, during the same lecture:
"Don't make fun of economists, now, they make more than we do."
Pareto optimism: I don't want Pareto equilibrium, because that state is, literally, hopeless. I've reconciled myself to enjoying the journey and hating the goal In that way I'm very much unlike Odysseus, or a hypothetical Odysseia. He really wanted to get home, and yet at the point when he's happiest, fadeout and credits.
I actually picked up and read a bit of the Fagles translation of The Odyssey while I was in The Other Change of Hobbit the other day. I love the bit about the bed. That Penelope was so clever! However, I had to pick up and get involved in The Big U before Shagrat came and sat on my lap.
I remember a number of years ago hearing Fagles on Diane Rehm's talk show on KUOP. It was early on some weekday morning, I remember, because I got up early my senior year to do physics homework. I loved those early mornings....
Fagles read the opening of the poem, in the Greek, and it sounded so beautiful and so magical. That's the sort of thing that turns people to becoming classics scholars. Me, I express my orality through the oral epic of our time: jokes and stand-up comedy. The ultimate epithet: "rosy-fingered dawn" or "how many [x] does it take to change a light bulb?"
Reading: I went to Black Oak Books last night, and bought The Giver (which I finished last night) & The Big Sleep (which I went there to buy, originally). It seems to me that you can find out a lot about a person by having them read The Giver, if they haven't already, and finding out their opinion on how optimal the portrayed society is. I got this nagging feeling, during and after reading it, that Lowry is unfair to a system that actually keeps a lot of people happy. She is a longtime resident of the USA, which (in my experience) turns people towards individual rights and away from honestly believing in the value of community.
"The Giver" isn't as ham-handed and sinister as Anthem, which allows more subtlety and encourages substantive consideration. Important note: this book has one prestigious award(s) in the realm of children's books. I heard about it on The Looseleaf Book Company, a radio prgram re: kids' books on KALW Sunday mornings.
As more diatribe-style writers would yell: Is this the sort of filth we allow into the hearts and minds of our children?!
I had a very interesting conversation with Alexei yesterday re: school shootings. He also beat me at air hockey. Grrr.
Now I go and see free stand-up on Sproul. Next time: the artist is not the art, the believer is not the belief.