The Forgotten Man

In 2015, the Princeton economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton’s groundbreaking paper reported that mortality was only rising in a certain group of Americans: middle-aged Whites. It paints a grim picture of an America that consists of families who were previously able to get by with jobs not requiring college degrees. The disappearance of those jobs has been accompanied by an alarming rate of suicides, overdoses, and diseases caused by drugs and alcohol. Case and Deaton call these “deaths of despair” and argue they have recently reached disturbing levels. They also claim that the recent decline in incomes does not completely explain this rise only among Whites and that they also face a cumulative disadvantage over the course of their lives.

The Forgotten Man painted, in 2010, by the Utah-based artist Jon McNaughton. With the White House in a crepuscular background, its flag at half-staff, all forty-four U.S. Presidents are gathered behind and to the sides of a hunky, hangdog young white guy, who sits on a park bench. He is, in the artist’s words, “distraught and hopeless as he contemplates his future.” The ground is littered with dollar bills, a reference to excessive government spending. Most of the former chief executives look on blandly, but some heroes among them, mainly Washington, Lincoln, and Reagan, react with evident concern for the young guy and with dismay toward Obama, while a few villains, notably F.D.R. and Bill Clinton, applaud.

The Worker Performer

“I’m personally branding myself according to what I want to do in the world,” said Maya Zuckerman, a transmedia producer (that is, a producer who works across digital platforms) whose LinkedIn profile identifies her as a “Media Entrepreneur, Story Architect, Culture Hacker”. “But to be honest I change the title on my LinkedIn every few months and try to see what hits.” [Sam Slaughter (2015), The New York Times]
Even permanent workers are subjected to frequent changes of job title, location and roles. In an environment of hotdesking, weak social ties, short-term projects and strictly regulated speech, so as to maintain the correct mindset, it seems that any evidence of attachment to place or identity must be regularly swept away in order to keep the work surfaces clean and hygienic. [Non-Stop Inertia (2011), Ivor Southwood]

Pale Males

Pale males are the last group it’s OK to vilify. I am hideously white. The BBC was called hideously white by its former boss Greg Dyke, and the West End stage hideously white by Andrew Lloyd Webber. This week the Football Association was dismissed by critics as a bunch of “old white men”. Note that it is not the BBC or the theater that is hideous, but their whiteness. Such are the routine humiliations of my group. Fashion in collective abuse seeks comfort in crowds. In choosing pale males for ritual contempt, identity politics has found a target that it hopes will confess its “guilt”. Were someone such as I to take offence, demand redress or protected space, I would be bidden to shut up, get a life and not be so sensitive. I might turn to Kant and universalize the judgment. What if I were to follow “hideously” with black, female, Jewish, Arab, obese, disabled or Welsh? I doubt there are many selection panels that do not instinctively mark down any pale male applicant. The chair begins: “Yes, he may the best candidate, but…” And the gods of discrimination look down from on high and wag a stern finger. “White males” cruise the jobcentres and head-hunters like ancient sharks, as if looking for a quiet beach on which to die. –

On Top

To my friends: My work is done. Why wait? – George Eastman
After giving yourself these titles: good, self-respecting, true, sane, conforming, high-minded, take care not to get others in their place; and, if you do lose these titles, be quick to return to them. Adventure yourself then upon these few titles, and if you are able to abide in them, abide like a man translated to Islands of the Blest; but if you perceive that you are falling away and losing control, go bravely away into some corner, there to recover control, or even depart altogether from life, not angrily, but simply and freely and with self-respect, having done at least this one thing in life, to have made your exit thus. [Marcus Aurelius, The Meditations – Book Ten]
Nico Rosberg has stunned Formula One by announcing his retirement, just five days after the 31-year-old became the sport’s 2016 world champion. “Since 25 years in racing, it has been my dream, my one thing to become Formula One World Champion. Through the hard work, the pain, the sacrifices, this has been my target. And now I’ve made it. I have climbed my mountain, I am on the peak, so this feels right. I pushed like crazy in every area after the disappointments of the last two years; they fueled my motivation to levels I had never experienced before,” said Rosberg.

Trying To Paralyse Us With Bad Conscience

There can be no covenants between men and lions, 
wolves and lambs can never be of one mind, 
but hate each other out and out an through. 
Therefore there can be no understanding between you and me.

Achilles [Iliad]

In lengthy Facebook posts, Patrik Schumacher has railed against everything from state-funded art schools (“an indefensible anachronism”) to the PC takeover of architecture (“trying to paralyse us with bad conscience”). Raging against the “social engineering” of housing design guides and the “intellectually bankrupt” idea of land use plans, he set out his Urban Policy Manifesto, which rambled from scrapping housing space standards to abolishing all forms of rent control and tenancy regulation. “City-center locations should be used to house “the most economically potent and most productive users who serve us most effectively. It’s about loosening the reins and rolling back the nanny state,” he says. In his mind, only entrepreneurs can discover and invent the “co-locational synergies” of the city, while urban vitality cannot be determined by “faceless bureaucrats” in planning offices.

Schumacher also says: “I think governance as a business offering is an interesting idea to pursue.” He cites the privately run Indian city of Gurgaon as a promising example – a place with citizens segregated in elite colonies and high-rise ghettos. Like a number of fellow rightwing libertarians, he was a former Marxist who had become disillusioned. He was finally jolted out of his “mainstream political slumber” by the 2008 financial crisis, when he discovered the writings of Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek, the godfathers of neoliberalism, along with Murray Rothbard’s ideas of anarcho-capitalism.

Tsutomu Nihei

Este País Não Existe

[crítica do livro Este País Não Existe (2015),  publicado pela Deriva Editores]
Um conjunto de crónicas portuguesas do inicio do século XXI que debitam em jargão académico o quão mau foi o Estado Novo, o quão mau foi o império português em África e o quão maus são os portugueses (a maioria pelo menos) por não se penitenciarem diariamente pelos erros dos mesmos. É interessante como visão anti-histórica e como tentativa de anulação da ideia chamada Portugal.