Saturday, February 01, 2014

Weekend Pick and Mix

In 1925, F. Scott Fitzgerald. wrote a short story titled “Rich Boy", in 1936 it was published in a book of his short stories "All the Sad Young Men". The story begins:
"Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me. They possess and enjoy early, and it does something to them, makes them soft where we are hard, and cynical where we are trustful, in a way that, unless you were born rich, it is very difficult to understand. They think, deep in their hearts, that they are better than we are because we had to discover the compensations and refuges of life for ourselves. Even when they enter deep into our world or sink below us, they still think that they are better than we are. They are different."
True enough! And proven by one Tom Perkins earlier this week. He showed his true, ignorant colours by using the comparison he did.
On Saturday, Tom Perkins, a founder of one of Silicon Valley’s most prominent venture-capital firms, wrote a letter to the Wall Street Journal comparing the “progressive war” he thinks is being waged against wealthy Americans to the Nazis’ persecution of Jews. It wasn’t the first time someone had made the comparison, but it was among the most bizarre. “Kristallnacht was unthinkable in 1930; is its descendent ‘progressive’ radicalism unthinkable now?” Perkins asked, and described the form this progressive war has taken: for one thing, people seem outraged about rising real-estate prices, he wrote. For another, someone called Danielle Steel a “snob.” (The San Francisco-based romance novelist is Perkins’s ex-wife, though he didn’t mention this in the letter. The insult against her appeared in a column by the San Francisco Chronicle’s C. W. Nevius, about a Berlin Wall-like hedge surrounding Steel’s house.)
See HERE (and elsewhere)

Yesterday David Sirota, in an article at Salon showed that this ignorant use of Hitler and the holocaust as comparison to present-day situations has become common:
Twisted minds of the super-rich: Why insane Nazi analogies have become so common
Billionaire Tom Perkins thinks the "war on the one percent" is like the Holocaust. The saddest part? He's not alone.
Could these people become any more despicable? I guess they'd be too lily-livered to use a more accurate comparison of what could occur one day: what the French eventually did with France's corrupt equivalent to our 1%, at several points in the 18th century.

While in McKinney, Texas recently, wandering around a couple of antique stores I spotted this in a locked glass case: framed magazine dated August, 1925. I wouldn't have considered paying the asking price, $50 for it, but asked husband to take a quick photograph of it instead.

Evangeline Adams' news of "what men asked " would have been a good read!
I've mentioned Ms Adams in the past here and here.

This news story of a woman in Montreal who died after her scarf and hair caught in an escalator, brought to mind Isadora Duncan's story. Duncan's fondness for flowing scarves contributed to her death in 1927 in an automobile accident in Nice, France, when she was a passenger in an Amilcar. Her silk scarf, draped around her neck, became entangled around the open-spoked wheels and rear axle, breaking her neck.

There's no denying the value of escalators, but it pays not to take their safety for granted. As a child, growing up in an area of England back when escalators weren't commonly found, and eyed with suspicion whenever we encountered one, I remember being warned: "If you don't step off just at the right time at the top, you'll fall into a big black hole!" So, along with that lesson, never forgotten, I shall add: do not wear dangling scarf or any other dangling attire when riding an escalator. However, unsurprisingly these wonders of a once modern age are still few and far between in this South Western Oklahoma township.

Duolingo. I saw, somewhere, a link to this language-learning website the other day. Decided to give it a try as a prelude to diving once again into the Spanish course software I bought some time ago but abandoned after getting myself somehow tangled up in the computer with it. Duolingo is a pleasant and useful way to pass half an hour a day to get a steady footing on the bottom step of learning a language. It can be used on a "steam" desktop computer, laptop, or as an app on a phone or hand-held device. It's free too! Here's a review.

Question: "Will we use commas in the future?" Article by Matthew J.X. Malady at Slate this week.

Answer: One would hope so, unless civilisation crumbles to the point where no human is capable of writing, reading and constructing an intelligible sentence.


mike said...

I'm glad that crybaby Tom Perkins decided to make that outrageous comparison. He fanned the flames and the fire burns hotter now...and they burn for him.

Your comments about escalators reminded me of a "Modern Family" Valentine's Day episode where Claire and Phil, husband and wife, decide to spice-up their lack-luster sex life. Claire wears only a trench coat and meets Phil in a bar at the mall (they pretend to be strangers meeting in a bar). Phil successfully seduces his "stranger" into going to a hotel room. Well, they take an escalator and Claire, naked under the trench coat, becomes entangled in the machinations of the escalator. You can see it here:

"Will we use commas in the future?" may better ask if we will use any English language at all in the future. Texting in particular, with its number of character limitations, has made for some very creative text language that widely diverges from the English language that I learned as a kid. I've become so accustomed to seeing language abuses that I can actually interpret many of the misused creations without thinking, but I'm often caught off-guard and have to ponder. I particularly enjoy the abuse of the abused words...a double entendre of confusion. I think I may require something along the lines of your "Duolingo" simply for our modernized, previously known as English, digital slang.

"Let's eat grandpa.
Let's eat, grandpa.
Correct punctuation can save a person's life."

Twilight said...

mike ~ ....burning for him in Hell, yes!

I didn't want to buy the full episode but found the relevant clip on YouTube (a bit blurry but good enough)
Thanks - that was a fun example of escalator-bite.

Will we (or rather they) even be able to do hand-writing in the future? That might be another issue to ponder on. ;-)

mike (again) said...

Handwriting has already gone the wayside as depicted in this cartoon:

"You're a plugger if you can read and write cursive handwriting."
Gary Brookins

Twilight said...

mike (again) ~ Dang! Well then, in the next go-around, after "the fall" survivors will have to start all over again, with cave drawings. :-)

James Higham said...

He was pretty obsessed by money, no? Didn't he say to Hemmingway that the rich were different to us, to which Hemmingway replied yes, they have more money?

Twilight said...

James Higham ~ FSF? I think that's the legend, yes, though the real story has become garbled, it's not as simple as that legend. Wikipedia explains -