The dramatic conflict in a story risks not being taken serious if it comes across as too formulaic. In Quartet, Tom Courtenay plays Reginald Paget, a member of the quartet who had been briefly married to the cheating Horton. His turn-about from a desire to leave the home when Horton moved occurs at break-neck speed and is woefully predictable. As formulaic as this “relationship” tension is, the denoument of the related “task” obstacle is even more predictable. The attentive viewer cannot help but realize early on that the film would largely reduce to whether Horton agrees to join the other three singers in the quartet. Incredibly, with so much riding on Horton’s resistance, the audience gets precious little payback as the film ends as the quartet’s members are being introduced on stage.
Astronomy is not the same as meteorology, yet we use seasons to denote the four parts of the Earth’s orbit. The result is incredibly stupid confusion.
Spring is right around the corner! …or is it? Maybe it has already begun. So why are the weather folks on TV not on board? The answer might surprise you.
While being interviewed on CNBC on March 7, 2014, Alan Greenspan spoke a bit on the problem of irrational exuberance in a market. Pointing to the failure of the Federal Reserve under his chairmanship to innocuously dissolve the “dot.com” bubble in the 1990s, Greenspan said he had come to the conclusion that asset-appreciation bubbles cannot be “defused” (for reasons he says are in his new book) “unless you break the back of the actual euphoria that generates the bubbles.” Alas, piercing that wave would involve nothing short of unplugging a basic instinct in human nature; both monetary and fiscal policy would doubtless come up short. However, I suspect that the field of rhetoric may have something to say about how we can deflate societal exuberance, but only on the condition that greater clarity will have been achieved in identifying whether a given market is overvalued due to emotional excess (i.e.g, emotive greed having reached a critical mass) circumventing normal risk-aversion.
Are Assad of Syria and Putin of Russia modern-day incarnations of Thomas Hobbes’s Leviathan (sovereign of the proud) even as the over-reaching undercuts the legitimacy of the absolutist interpretation of national sovereignty?
A week into 2012, The New York Times ran a piece on Ubur (as in Übermench?), a taxi and livery company founded in 2009. As Curtis Lanoue aptly describes in his essay on the company, its novelty consists of a unique mobile app that passengers, drivers and the company’s managers use to bring demand and supply into equilibrium by means of differential pricing including “surge pricing.”[i] The price of a taxi or livery depends on temporal and geographic demand and supply levels. That is to say, the pricing increases as more people request rides. Theoretically, the pricing should go back down even in situations in which the demand is high as drivers are enticed to continue driving a few more hours. Hence, the wait time for an Uber cab after a concert or sporting event should be reduced even if the first people out have to wait until the price goes down or pay more than they expected. In this essay, I suggest that such “stickiness” in even such a small-scale market mechanism as a mobile app can give rise to some formidable ethical problems.
It is all too easy to get caught up in the chess-game now unfolding on the ground. The matter of Putin’s stances on national sovereignty may be more significant in the long term, as his invasion of Ukraine belies the credibility of his vetoes in the Security Council of efforts to enforce limits on the sovereignty of the government of Syria.