Revisiting Taxi Driver in the Age of the Mass Shooter


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Nice article discussing the relevance of Taxi Driver is these times of lone wolf mass shootings. There are some differences.

But there is one critical difference between Travis and real-life shooters. The film, as it molds Travis into a killer, asks us to understand, even empathize with him. His motivations are not as clear as Dylann Roof’s racism or the Pulse nightclub shooter’s homophobia. Travis doesn’t blame one particular group for the filth and depravity of Times Square in the 1970s. Corruption is everywhere. We see it through his eyes: gangs throwing trash at his cab, couples using the back seat as they would a cheap motel. When he finally decides to use his guns, it’s not to massacre innocents, but save one, a prepubescent sex worker named Iris (Jodie Foster).

The complete article

Douglas Markowitz — Miami New Times

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If Every Day is a Rainy Day, What Am I Saving For?


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What’s it like grow up poor and remain poor as an adult? Samantha Irby offers an interesting perspective.

I know I should have invested in a sturdy pair of those bootstraps people who speak at graduation ceremonies are always talking about, but what does that even mean? Pay the rent, throw some cash at the phone bill, sprinkle a little change on the light bill, divide the remaining 20 bucks between the laundromat and a stock portfolio? It all seemed so unmanageable. And the years of being deprived or feeling stressed about money didn’t make me want to save; they made me want to spend, to immediately enjoy the fruits of the $7.25 an hour I made listening to people talk down to me in a customer service job.

The New York Times

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Truth and Beauty in Texas


I recently read this excerpt from “Truth and Beauty” by Robert Flynn in Trinity University Press’ Art at Our Doorstep: San Antonio Writers and Artists.

That was when I first got the notion of being a writer. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. We didn’t go in much for writing at the country school I attended. We studied penmanship. But we knew what a writer was. A writer was somebody who was dead. And if he was any good he had been dead a long time. If he was real good, people killed him. They killed him with hemlock. Hemlock was the Greek word for Freshman Composition.

The country school I attended was closed, and we were bused to Chillicothe. Chillicothe, Texas is small. Chillicothe is so small there’s only one Baptist Church. Chillicothe is so small you have to go to Quanah to have a coincidence. For a good coincidence, you have to go to Vernon. Chillicothe was fairly bursting with truth and beauty, and my teacher encouraged me to write something that had an epiphany. For an epiphany, you had to go all the way to Wichita Falls.

Read the full excerpt at Robert Flynn’s website

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Lola’s Story


Today’s Needull is the very last article written by the renowned Pulitzer-winning journalist Alex Tizon, his last masterpiece before he succumbed to prolonged illness last month. In the article, he writes about Lola, his household ‘slave’ in the US, who was also his nanny-cum-cleaner-cum-cook-cum-gardener. Lola had joined Alex’s family from his native country, where her family was a victim of classism and casteism spanning generations. In the article, Alex revisits Lola’s past after her death and during his journey through his native Philippines, also takes us on a journey of realisation. As a UAE resident who knows many such ‘slave-owners’, it is an emotional eye opener of sorts for me. Hope it’s the same for you.

We landed in Los Angeles on May 12, 1964, all our belongings in cardboard boxes tied with rope. Lola had been with my mother for 21 years by then. In many ways she was more of a parent to me than either my mother or my father. Hers was the first face I saw in the morning and the last one I saw at night. As a baby, I uttered Lola’s name (which I first pronounced “Oh-ah”) long before I learned to say “Mom” or “Dad.” As a toddler, I refused to go to sleep unless Lola was holding me, or at least nearby.

I was 4 years old when we arrived in the U.S.—too young to question Lola’s place in our family. But as my siblings and I grew up on this other shore, we came to see the world differently. The leap across the ocean brought about a leap in consciousness that Mom and Dad couldn’t, or wouldn’t, make.

Full Article Here

The Atlantic – Alex Tizon

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The weirdness of David Lynch


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You don’t understand David Lynch creations. Period. But, they just refuse to leave your mind for a long time. Twin Peaks is making a comeback and so Lynch fans like me are waiting for something strange and unexpected.

You’ll find there’s no one single way to characterize what goes on in a Lynch film – all attempts sound a lot like creative-writing exercises trying to describe the interior state of a hallucinating psychotic. Starting at the beginning, with Eraserhead (1977), is like grabbing an alligator by the nose, but there it is: from nowhere, during the Carter administration no less, Lynch birthed out what might be the most ingenuously strange American film ever made. We’ve been trying to articulate what the hell this cult oddity is ever since, from the wailing mutant baby to the Lady in the Radiator, and somehow we’re right back where we started, wondering when the mere suffocation of dream logic ends and Lynch’s one-of-a-kind perspective on stuff begins.

The complete article

Michale Atkinson — Rolling Stone

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Why Are Economists Giving Inequality the Cold Shoulder?


I’ve long questioned the value of economics as a profession. Most economists focus on the quantitative rather than the lived. They are also consistently unable to explain or predict economic movements. I think the former may lead to the latter. Indeed, in this piece in the Boston Review, the author examines professional economists’ opposition to Thomas Piketty’s focus on inequality:

But perhaps the greatest rebuke of Piketty to be found among academic economics is not contained in any of these overt or veiled attacks on his scholarship and interpretation, but rather in the deafening silence that greets it, as well as inequality in general, in broad swathes of the field—even to this day. You can search through the websites of several leading economics departments or the official lists of working papers curated by federal agencies and not come across a single publication that has any obvious or even secondary bearing on the themes raised by Capital in the Twenty-First Century, even in order to oppose them. It is as though the central facts, controversies, and policy proposals that have consumed our public debate about the economy for three years are of little-to-no importance to the people who are paid and tenured to conduct a lifetime’s research into how the economy works.

Read the full article at The Boston Review

Marshall Steinbaum — Boston Review

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Business is not politics


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John Kay brings amazing insights in his writings. This article explains why a businessman might not be suited for politics. Simple and lucid.

The most important function of a chief executive is to build a strong and supportive management team.  The ability of a political leader to do this is seriously circumscribed, because many others also enjoy democratic legitimacy. They are also elected, and they hold positions of power conferred by their party positions.  This leads to dysfunctionality in leadership, as individuals who would not have chosen each other and more or less openly covet each other’s roles must work together: neither Donald Trump nor Paul Ryan would have selected the other for the role each occupies.

The complete article

John Kay

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