links for 2009-08-30

  • "In No One Makes You Shop at Wal-Mart, Tom Slee unpacks the implications of our fervent belief in the power of choice. Pointing out that individual choice has become the lynchpin of a neoconservative corporate ideology he calls MarketThink, he urges us to re-examine our assumptions. Slee makes use of game theory to argue that individual choice is not inherently bad. Nor is it the societal fix-all that our corporations and governments claim it is. A spirited treatise, this book will make you think about choice in a whole new way."
  • "The Surprising Deceptions of Individual Choice

    Tom Slee"

  • "In reality, Rome very early perfected the subjugation of sloppy individuality to an increasingly lockstep march toward the Big Goal, and that approach hadn’t really been seen in the Western world before on such a relentlessly expanding scale. City-states, nations, economies, and especially armies melted before this approach as Rome perfected it …"

    "Romans not only invented fascism as we understand it today, they also invented fascism’s handmaidens, propaganda and historical fiction."

    "But once they start controlling things, controllers aren’t happy until they control everything, and surely this as much as anything explains why the Romans latched so tightly onto the story of Alexander the Great."

    "When we think of Alexander, the figure we’re thinking of is a Roman construct, tailored to Roman tastes and suited to Roman needs. "

  • "news, views, and microreviews!"
  • "Open Letters is dedicated to the proposition that no writing which reviews the arts should be boring, back-patting, soft-pedaling, or personally compromised. We’ve all had the experience of reading a review that sparkled—one that combined an informed, accessible examination of its quarry with gamesome, intelligent, and even funny commentary. These are the pieces we tell our friends about and then vigorously debate."
  • "Spatial and Socioeconomic Patterns of Freemason Membership in Oklahoma

    A. Dean Monroe, Jr. and Jonathan C. Comer"

  • "You won’t find 'takes honors classes,' 'gets good grades,' or 'attends only Ivy League schools' on John Taylor Gatto’s list of qualities of an educated person. Gatto taught in New York City schools for 30 years and was named New York State’s Teacher of the Year, but his experiences convinced him that what students need is less time in classrooms and more time out in the world. Building character and community, Gatto argues, is more valuable than learning from tired textbooks and rigid lesson plans."
  • "Secretly bid against your opponents to gain the support of the people, win territory . . . and gather more Gold, Blackmail, and Force for the next round of bidding! Will you try to control the tavern or the fortress? The harbor or the plantation? Knowing where to push for support – and where to back away and let your opponents fight – is the key to victory. It's a game of bluff, counter-bluff, and surprise."
    (tags: games)
  • "Han Solo Adventures is an interactive fan fiction game (I like to think of it as 'fan powered!'), in the tradition of the classic graphic adventure games of the 80's and 90's."
  • "Earlier this year the Kids in the Hall, Canada's heir apparent to the Monty Python absurdist sketch-comedy throne, embarked on their first large-scale tour in six years. The tour finished up back in June, but it wasn't just good news for people lucky enough to catch the group live. It also got the Kids thinking about working together for more than just pulling their old sketches together. Or even putting out some new sketches, as it's been announced that the group is working on a comedy miniseries for CBC"
  • "Capitalists, as my friend Father Michael Doyle says, should never be allowed near a health care system. They hold sick children hostage as they force parents to bankrupt themselves in the desperate scramble to pay for medical care. The sick do not have a choice. Medical care is not a consumable good. We can choose to buy a used car or a new car, shop at a boutique or a thrift store, but there is no choice between illness and health. And any debate about health care must acknowledge that the for-profit health care industry is the problem and must be destroyed. This is an industry that hires doctors and analysts to deny care to patients in order to increase profits. It is an industry that causes half of all bankruptcies. And the 20,000 Americans who died last year because they did not receive adequate care condemn these corporations as complicit in murder."
  • "If any of my friends or readers have interest in seeing what their home can produce let me know and I will happily help them find any unused space, or cheap or free resources in your home to help you on your way to self sustaining, paradise making, micro farming."
  • "It never fails to amaze me how some people make a serious study of music, believing in their heart of hearts that it is their destiny to share their gifts while being bereft of anything conventionally recognizable as talent. As an actual musician, with you, know, skills and aesthetic sense, I have spent a goodly amount of time puzzling over such specimens."