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Archive for the ‘film’ Category

Everybody cares about this for some reason

Everybody cares about this for some reason

The whole spectacle makes me cringe.  It has entirely to do with me not being able to stand watching people being forced to make chit-chat with someone they don’t want to talk with.

It’s weird how the power structure changes – take some

unknown interviewer and plant them on the red carpet.  Movie stars walk down the carpet, which acts as an interview line and make annoying chit-chat (“who are you wearing”, “what do you think about your competition”, “blah blah blah – wait! gotta wrap up, another ‘star’ is coming!”) until someone else comes along. 

It’s horrifying to watch. I’m going to post a bunch of somewhat entertaining pictures I found because they made me chuckle.

"Like, I'm TOTALLY looking at you but paying attention to the cameras"

"Like, I'm TOTALLY looking at you but paying attention to the cameras"

Because he's like 3 feet tall

Because he's like 3 feet tall

What is going on here?

What is going on here?

 

She's ugly right? It's not just me?

She's ugly right? It's not just me?

There's a bijillion pictures of this douchebag on the internet. Until I asked Mary, I had no idea who he was.

There's a bijillion pictures of this douchebag on the internet. Until I asked Mary, I had no idea who he was.

No party album is complete without some pictures of people in a line

No party album is complete without some pictures of people in a line

This is awkward. Shouldn't Sophia Lauren be in some kind of museum?

This is awkward. Shouldn't Sophia Lauren be in some kind of museum?

Get the guns out. And I don't mean her chesticles.

Get the guns out. And I don't mean her chesticles.

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Protectionists argue that when “good” manufacturing jobs are lost, people are out of work.

I have three problems with this:
1. Those people lose their jobs because someone else is better at it than them.
2. A consequence of the loss of these jobs is that everyone gets richer
3. As Kling says,

the natural process of retirement and new entry into the labor force tends to
take care of the marginal adjustments in occupational choice. No, not every
manufacturing production worker can retire at once, but they do not all have to.
Many of them have to change firms or change industries, but the overall process
of adjustment among occupations is reasonably gradual.

It’s the third point that I want to focus on. When we talk about the “people” that “lose” these jobs, we’re really talking not about a large number of individuals, but a notional concept of a person that works in a job. So, what happens to this “person” in the future? Remember that this “person” is getting gradually more educated (hopefully) and that they are going to have more disposable income precisely because the economy in which she works destroys jobs that aren’t productive enough.

There’s a funny paradox, though, because consumption as a share of GDP does not drop over time. So people are getting more for their money but they still spend as much. So where does this extra money go that’s saved by “destroying” these “peoples’ ” jobs?

I am willing to bet that these people are getting jobs in industries that are immune to this kind of destruction. Industries like education and, perhaps, entertainment. I think about all the people that work in the entertainment industry and wonder what, exactly, they DO. What I think they’re DOING is actually NOT doing something they’d be bad at, like making widgets that are better made in China. They are rewarded for their idleness with cheaper goods and jobs in industries that are a bit more fun.

Hollywood should be the biggest advocate of free trade. They sell their movies overseas and have foreign manufacturers to thank for the free time and spare national income required for them to do their jobs.

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films and economy

I wonder if there is a correlation between some aspect of the fimn industry (supply side) and economic growth. If true, then there would be more movies with bigger bugets at the peak of an economic boom. This would be tricky to measure because demand will increase as well as disposable income ramps up.

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After Dark Film Festival

We went to the After Dark Film Festival tonight for a screening of a short film that Mary co-stars in, called Ending the Eternal. It was pretty exciting to see her on the big screen and she held up really well!

I indulged a bit of cultural voyerism – it was too easy to point out all the pale, scruffy dark-clothed young nerds queing up for a horror film festival at a grunge cinema. I think I finally understand the horror ‘thing’ to be an extension (origin) of the sci-fi fantasy genre. Same people, anyway; I remember them well.

The theatre was packed and, from what I saw, the films looked really good (though I’m sure that I’ll never have the opportunity to see a single one). It’s amazing that there are probably hundreds of movies made every year that are more than worth our time but get zero circulation while maybe 50% of the movies in the theatre are complete crap. It’s also amazing to think that for every one of those flops someone’s career must get destroyed (for losing millions) yet they are replaced with yet another moron churning out crap.

Anyway, after meeting up with the director and main star of the Mary’s short, we took a seat, watched it get a great response from the crowd and snuck out before the feature.

It was fun and I’m proud of her!

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So we (I) recently watched a docu-drama called Recount about the debacle in the 2000 US Federal election.

The film is predictably pro-Gore. For example, Gore staffers are played by the more famous actors and Bush staff are always dressed up in forbidding dark suits. In fact, there would be no story without the premise that a crime was comitted (it’s hardly exciting to tell the story of an election fairly won), so I’m happy the bais is so easily detected – if it weren’t, it could only mean I am manipulated far too easily.

The acting is good and Denins Leary gives a few memorably hilarious rants, but I think that there are also real lesssons to learn from the film:

1) partisanship is such a powerful psychological force it’s scary;

2) competition seems to be the only way to inspire people to try really hard at something;

3) governments are fabulously incompetant, even when given the most simple of tasks to accomplish (like: administer one-question, four-option multiple choice test and publish the result).

Partisanship

There’s a scene in the film where an angry mob comes incredibly close to rioting because ‘their’ side looks like it won the election and they will do anything they can do keep it that way. I can’t believe that so many people actually believed one or the other of the two candidates will have such a profound impact on their lives that traveling from all over the country to harrass intimidated bureaucrats is a worthwhile use of their time.

Instead, I think that partisanship is what whips them into a frenzy. By partisanship I mean people who commit to something and find that defending the decision becomes more important than whether that decision was right or wrong. These people will hang around people who have made the same decision, bond over how good a decision it was and ridicule those who made a different one. Suddenly, this decision becomes one of the cornerstones of a person’s identity. Scary.

Competition as a Motivator and Instructor

There are some bureaucrats in this film which don’t appear to be aligned with either side. Unfortunately for them, they find themselves in unwanted positions of responsibility and desperately look for someone to tell them what to do. They are not confident or motivated. I would argue that this is because the competition they had to win to get their job had nothing to do with the job itself, running elections, which is as safe a monopoly as they come.

Confidence comes from accomplishment, which comes from ambition, which is a mechanism of motivation. All of the political operatives know that their lives will change if they win and use politics, the tool of their competition, to do so.

Incompetence of Governments

Government jobs are “good jobs”. I assume that by this people mean two things: 1. the jobs are difficult to lose; and, 2. the jobs pay well. Now, since governments aren’t competing against anything (domestically), the only incentive they have for excellence is altruism. Hopefully that reads as silly as it sounds in my head.

The problem in the movie is that the voting cards are very poorly designed. Early on a government worker explains why the design of the voting machine cards is so bad (because she chose to use a larger font, she had to arrange the candidates on the card in a confusing manner). A stupid decision was made because the government doesn’t have a culture of competence, which requires reviewing important decisions and punishing INcompetence. The government doesn’t have a culture of competence because creating one is painful – why would you do something painful if you don’t have to?

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