Prisons and Punishment in America

I’m not sure why this particular issue has begun to obsess me over the past few months. I think it’s connected to my wastage of talent that pervades the world and the crazy belief that poverty teaches us lessons. Punishment is also an American obsession. In Five Myths about prison growth John Pfaff offers a number of statistics and reports that he says prove that long sentences, low-level drug offenders, and technical parole violations have no effect on prison growth.

Gross Comedy and the Origin of Slapstick

I was watching a few of my favorite episodes from Ren and Stimpy on DVD last night and I started thinking about comedy and taste. Commedia dell’Arte is a form of improvisational comedy theater which flourished in Italy from the 16th to the 18th century. It consisted of stock plots, and characters, which were often adapted to fit the local audience. I was reading up on this subject for last Tuesday’s book club, The Innamorati by Midori Snyder.

Juxtaposition: Searls and Spears

I went to Barnes and Noble last night and saw the recent Britney Spears cover for Rolling Stone magazine and did a couple of double takes. What the hell is this picture trying to tell me? Does it say anything more than *#$%$ Britney? Every guy looking at that picture thought about sex. I certainly did. Earlier in the day I read a story by Doc Searls about the decline of radio.

Beyond Selfishness

Via McGee’s Musings who got it from OL Daily comes this interesting paper “Beyond Selfishness” in contemporary culture. The authors Henry Mintzberg, Robert Simmons, and Kunal Basu are business professors from McGill, Harvard, and Templeton College, respectively. The essay describes and responds to some of the common beliefs adopted and promoted over the past decade. A tight little model - we call it a syndrome of selfishness - has taken hold of our corporations and our societies, as well as our minds.