Monday, June 25, 2007


1) Could someone please circulate a memo throughout the major media outlets to convince everyone to simultaneously stop covering anything related to Paris Hilton? If they all do it at the same time, no one needs to be concerned about losing out in the ratings. Would an outlet that continues to provide coverage of that vapid whore actually gain ground in the ratings? Unfortunately, it wouldn't surprise me if they did. That said, the news is not entertainment. That is, it is not the news' duty to provide us with what we want to watch, but with what we need in order to be informed citizens in a participatory democracy. The dissolution of the wall between the public service and the business of news, however, has led to the stag hunt (in a Rousseauian sense) that is the modern media environment, producing this constant evolution toward the lowest common denominator, nevertheless to the demise of informed citizenry.

2) Who are the stubborn idiots responsible for the Travelocity marketing campaign with the "travel gnome"? Someone got paid for that, which is almost as much of a travesty as 50 Cent and Sum 41 getting paid for what they do. The gnome is not now, nor has it ever been funny, yet it has been around for years, or so it seems. Not only is it unfunny and uninformative, but it's flat out annoying due to just how terribly it misses in its attempts at humor, to the point where I (and surely others) actively avoid the company's services as retaliation against their marketing ineptitude. Could someone please present the company with a better idea? It wouldn't be that hard. Please. I would be more than happy to grovel on my hands and knees if it were guaranteed to produce change and prevent me from having to sit through another 30 second gnome-filled spot.

3) The whole paradigm of speed enforcement is due for a shift. Granted, I may be saying this in part because I've received two speeding tickets in the last month, which is not at all a good thing, but that doesn't detract from the fact that there really is a major logical problem with the way speed is enforced: the slippery slope. Is 66mph really that much of a risk in a 60mph zone that it merits punishment, whereas 65mph is to be considered safe and not suitable for punishment? Does a police officer cruising at 75mph in a 70mph zone really have the right to punish someone else driving at 78mph in the same area, even though they are both in clear violation of the written law? I would argue that the officer does not possess the right to pass that judgment; 71mph is as guilty as 72 mph is as guilty as 73mph, etc etc. The law does not recognize gradations of guilt when it comes to speed enforcement, only gradations of punishment, and the guilty have no right to judge the guilty. It would be much more satisfactory for the state to simply acknowledge whatever speed they are willing to tolerate as a maximum, and to clearly state it in what would be a true speed limit: anyone exceeding this limit, which would be higher than current limits (since it is clear that the state is willing to tolerate a speed higher than any posted speed limit, since no one gets pulled over for exceeding present speed limits by 5mph), would be pulled over and ticketed, with exceptions only in emergencies. The clarity of the law would evoke a greater respect for law and its agents of enforcement, as guilt is no longer subjective. Removing subjectivity from guilt goes further to eliminate room for discrimination, which lessens possible tension between officer and citizen, not to mention it lends a sense of predictability to enforcement. The speeds mentioned in this email, by the way, are not at all the speeds involved in my recent violations.

4) Come see me in Chicago in the coming years. The University of Chicago is officially my final destination for medical school, after they lured me in with a very generous financial aid package and a few smiles. Of course, I'm not complaining; I like smiles.

Currently listening to: "Cemetery Gates" by Pantera
Previous activity: Filling out an application for an apartment in Hyde Park
Next thing on the agenda: Perhaps some din-din and reading


Anonymous said...

The quote: "I am no syllogism..." what was your source? The Man Without Qualities, or Musil's?

Sound's like The Underground Man...

Anonymous said...

... nope, not Notes from the Underground. Just did a text search. I suspect Musil has invented this quote. If you did find it from another source, I'd love to know what it was.