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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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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Why Do Men Play and Watch Sports?


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Have you ever wondered why do you like to watch men running after a football? Why do you find sports exciting? As always, the answer might lie with our evolution.

In sum, there are reasons to believe that in ancestral human societies, young men, who faced the problem of gaining reproductive access to the reproductive capacity of the opposite sex, could solve it in two main ways. One way was to form male coalitions in order to fight other men and monopolize access to women. This path required displaying their physical capacities in order to be avoided as enemies and to be preferred as allies. It required also to monitor other men’s performance of physical fitness in order to be able to distinguish those men who were physically fit and could be preferred as allies or be avoided as enemies. Another way to do so was to be selected by fathers as husbands for their daughters. This path required also to display physical fitness, as well as to monitor the fitness displays of other men in order to keep up with the competition.The evolutionary problem of gaining reproductive access to the opposite sex through these paths can be partially solved by the mind interpreting the engagement in athletic competitions with other.

The complete article

Menelaos Apostolou — The Evolution Institute

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My son, the Columbine high school shooter: ‘a mother is supposed to know’


Sue Klebold - A Mother's Reckoning

I was hearing an NPR podcast on Forgiveness. Sue Klebold’s son Dylan and his friend were responsible for the Columbine massacre. Sue has been living with this tragedy for the last 18 years. In her book A Mother’s Reckoning, she talks about being judged as a bad parent, trying to find why her son did what he did and how has the 1999 incident affected her.

The most controversial element of the memoir, however, is what it asks readers to do with their notions of Dylan. At the time of the shooting, Sue Klebold worked in the same building as a parole office, and often felt alienated and frightened getting in the elevator with ex-convicts. After Columbine, she writes, “I felt that they were just like my son. That they were just people who, for some reason, had made an awful choice and were thrown into a terrible, despairing situation. When I hear about terrorists in the news, I think, ‘That’s somebody’s kid.’”

The complete article

Emma Brockes — The Guardian

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The rise and fall of the Bombshell Bandit


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The teaser is out for Simran – a new Bollywood movie. The movie is based on the real life exploits of Sandeep Kaur. “At just five feet three inches tall, the slender Indian nurse did not boast the muscle of typical bank robbers. She had no weapon or getaway driver. Instead she gripped a hurriedly written note that read: TICK TOCK. I HAVE A BOMB.”

When they suggested bank robbery, Kaur says the idea didn’t seem ludicrous. “It’s do or die. If I did this, and anything did happen then at least the police would be involved,” she reasons. “Or you know, I could just kill myself.” But why didn’t she just tell the police? “Ever since we were kids we had to lie,” she says. From the punishment she suffered at the hands of her parents, to partying, and her parents’ divorce, anything shameful had to be hidden.

The complete story

BBC Magazine

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Teaser of the movie “Simran”

Instagrim: Why Social Media Makes Students Miserable


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Social media has evolved into two broad branches – One is the Facebook, LinkedIn type where a person will only share conforming material with others and second is Snapchat, anonymous handles at Twitter where people will hold nothing under the guise of anonymity. This is an insightful needull which talks about how social media has evolved.

This pressure has driven some of them to new platforms, where they can let off steam. They gushed about Snapchat, where posts disappear in seconds, and about pseudonymous profiles on Tumblr, Twitter, and Yik Yak. Students long to play around online, to be creative and even inappropriate, and the freedom to do so lies in anonymity. As a result, we’re seeing the rise of a bifurcated social-media universe: one with accounts attached to one’s name and brand, and the other of pseudonyms where uninhibited expression — and, yes, vile and vulgar rhetoric — reigns.

The problem with the self-as-brand social media is the dissonance it breeds. We’ve taught our kids to hide the whole truth of who they are online — even as we’ve instilled in them the importance of “being yourself” growing up. Thus the self-branding mind-set that defines social-media use among the young doesn’t make them happy. It mostly just makes them stressed.

The complete article

Donna Freitas — The Chronicle of Higher Education

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