Linkage: a three-pointer

19 Jan

1. Here is an interview with acclaimed director/total lunatic Steven Soderbergh at Blackbook Mag. Can anyone parse just what in the world this guy is talking about? Check it:

Did working on this movie about (a guy like Che) influence that?
It certainly gets you in that frame of mind … it’s impossible to work on a project like this and not be aware of every moment of your day of what’s around you. This room, and the taxi that I took here. The record store that I went to. The ways in which my life, for instance, exceeds the dreams of most people, including me. And that there’s a cost for that. You can’t help but feel that any sort of extreme positive in one direction, and I mean extreme, has to mean an extreme negative in another direction. It feels like that to me. When you look at the world on a macro-level it feels like karmically there is some sort of zero-sum game at play.

But when you look at it on a micro level …
Well, when you look at it on a micro level, you feel as if there is some way you’ve got to sustain … it’s all about growth. It’s all about managing growth. And you got to start with the population. This is where I start talking about it, this is where I get despairing—I think that this idea, or this concept I have for a new version of the 95 Theses is doomed because this is gonna involve people thinking in a completely different way. And I’m not convinced they can. Here’s an example …

That’s fatalistic.
No, it’s realistic. Here’s an example. You go to Heathrow Airport, you go to the baggage claim area, they have a yellow line around the baggage claim area that’s about four feet from the edge of the machine…The idea of it is that if all of us stand at this yellow line, not only can we see our bags coming a longer way away, when we go to get it we aren’t bumping into people and hitting them in the legs, or being hit in the legs. It’s a much more civilized solution to the problem of being crowded around the baggage claim.

How many people actually take that solution?
None. So there’s an example. A tiny, small example but a telling one. What do you do? Police that? How can you convince people: It’s so much better if you stand at this line.

Maybe policing it is the answer because people are …
Well, part of my whole idea is that you should be really draconian about really petty shit. Like really, really, really, really excessive punishment for small things. But how do you adjust the sort of self-organizing principles that comes into play with any group? There was some guy on TV last night, some Nostradamus type thing. This guy’s claiming that he’s come out with an algorithm, this sort of conflict resolution algorithm, and he used to work for the CIA. They acknowledged that they had some pretty good success. In both directions, using his algorithm and then applying it to situations in hindsight, but it worked. Now here’s what’s annoying with this: This guy treats it as a proprietary piece of information. And I feel like—dude, you know you should be mass mailing this thing. It’s simple. If you made it that on your first DUI, you lost your license for 10 years, you’d see a lot less DUIs. You would figure out a way to not be driving. What’s the harm in that? Who’s being harmed by that?

Did smoke from the weed Soderbergh was toking on come out of your computer speakers, too? What a fascinating loon. As much as I enjoyed that, Steven, I do believe it was the wise Frankie who offered this timeless advice: Relax.

———-

2. This article about cops busting over 100 kids at a Mankato house party (yes, believe it: there are certain students at Mankato who enjoy a cocktail or two from time to time) immediately reminded me of so many college memories from my tender years. My main “cops busting a party” memory is that of watching one of my buddy’s girlfriends jump out a second story window in the hopes of evading the cops, falling flat on her face, rolling a somersault and popping up without missing a beat to scurry into the woods towards the dorm. I followed suit and we began walking home. At one point we saw a car approaching on a side road, and we ran to the middle of the road to flag it down. As we walked to the drivers side and the window slowly rolled down, we found out it was an undercover cop. It was just like that scene from “The Goonies,” except in our story we simply turned around and hauled ass back to the woods and eventually made our way home. Craziness like this happened seemingly every week in college. I don’t miss the madness, but I sure as hell love to reminisce.

Anyway, that’s what the story made me think about, so I’m passing on the memory-spark on to you.

———-

3. Excellent blog Creekside Review has been mostly dark this past year, but yesterday the author emerged to write a post about his favorite aspect of President Obama. I agree wholeheartedly. An excerpt (though I do encourage you to read the whole post):

Scalia is a hard-line opponent of most of the Democratic, and certainly the Left’s, principles and agenda.

And this is who the next president strolls out of the meeting with, still chatting. (And if Alito had shown up yesterday, it is not hard to imagine him rather than Ginsburg to Obama’s left.)

If you’ve been following Obama’s story, you’ll know that this is par for the course with him. At Harvard, it was the conservative Federalist Society that helped vote him in as president of the law review. Members at the time have been quoted as saying that Obama was the only one who sat down and talked with them during his campaign. He could articulate their reasons, for instance, for opposing affirmative action better than they could, they said.

And, again: A couple nights ago, he went to dinner at conservative columnist George Will’s house along with a handful of other conservative writers like Bill “Palin Roolz” Kristol and Fred “Bush Was Awesome Because He Exceeded His Authority” Barnes. With the mild exception of Will and Peggy Noonan, these writers poured out gallons of poison ink over the last year to prevent Obama’s election. And yet he breaks bread with these people. Could you imagine a P-E McCain sitting down with Paul Krugman, Chris Hayes, and Eric Alterman? Hardly.

The trend we see from Obama, the pattern, is one in which he gravitates toward the person who’s most likely to disagree with him. It’s fascinating to see it repeat. He’s simply not afraid to expose himself to contention, but in fact, appears to want it. We all should want to, of course, for the obvious benefits in learning something new and the opportunity to teach others. But how many of us actually make a point to spend time reading or talking to people we may dislike or who have said things about us that were damaging?

Yes, yes, yes. This is exactly why I’m such an Obama groupie. Disagree with his policies or his party affiliation all you want, but it’s pretty impossible not to respect a policitian for so eagerly engaging the other side.

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3 Responses to “Linkage: a three-pointer”

  1. Gates January 20, 2009 at 8:26 pm #

    So…he’s rambling about some stupid shit so he must be smoking weed? That’s discrimination, brother.

  2. B. January 20, 2009 at 10:44 pm #

    You’re only saying that because you’re baked.

  3. Gates January 21, 2009 at 1:11 am #

    I don’t even remember what we were talking about.

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