This is Epth Nation

Epth is a state of mind, not a place. Reading this will give you a virtual drivers license in that state, but you'll still need to be 21 to purchase alcohol. And you can't get any there anyway, so stop asking.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Cuban and Derrida

Mark Cuban isn't dumb.

I like what he says about outsourcing, which is that it only really hurts the US economy if the labor savings aren't re-invested in the company. (And he proposes not allowing selling of stock or corporate bonuses in any year a company outsources. A dissenting opinion is found here. I agree with Cuban because anything making execs think twice about outsourcing and preventing them from overprofiting is a good thing. Notice how the other guy doesn't propose an alternative solution, and never mentions if he believes in Cuban's overall point. And he never explains why we the people should care if some outsourcin' executive has to deal with not being able to just sell some magic stock to pay for his/her kid to go to college.) If outsourcing just allows a company to make profit goals and help its stock price, or the extra money is given to "insiders", that's (to sound like an insane Socialist for a sec) betrayal. Altogether too much betrayal going on these days.

So, there are many many blogs out there, and as many different agendas as there are blogs. My agenda, I swear, is just to entertain the readers.

With that in mind, consider the life and death of one Mr. Jacques Derrida, father of deconstruction and one of the most influential philosophers of the 20th century. He was also, from the point at which he thought of deconstruction to the point that he died, dead wrong about everything. How's that for a hot sports opinion?

His main contribution to the philosophical world, deconstruction, is a linguistic parlor trick designed to confuse the intellectually naive. It says that the words we say and hear don't have inherent meanings, but only mean things in relation to and because of the absense of other concepts. What does this mean? We'll never know, because what it means to me and what it means to you may be different. Everything we think is real can be deconstructed to show that it doesn't mean what we think it means (Even deconstruction itself, and when Derrida was asked to define it he went into apoplectic fits of hate-rage, reportedly). And this paragraph makes no sense to you, but it does to me. It has no inherent meaning because it only means something in relation to all the other, more coherent, paragraphs in the world. All this linguistic madness paved the way for the wretched Postmodernism, and then things really went to pot.

What Derrida ultimately accomplished was getting millions of college students reading books -- not to understand them, but to point out things in the text that subvert the book's meaning. This has made millions of college students stupid smarty-pantses. For this sin alone, Derrida should have been smited from the earth years ago. With him gone, maybe we can move on and start talking to each other for real again.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Bush and Kerry on Jobs

The economy of the next 4 years will be critical to our future success as a USA. How we react to the single most important economic issue we have -- outsourcing -- will to a large extent determine how all of our lives will be, at least economically. Bush's first term has been a massive economic failure because of this outsourcing, and any recoveries from any recessions will hinge solely on how many good jobs are created, and how low we can get our productivity levels.

You see, productivity may sound good and happy but it's actually the thing that's killing us as a country right now. Layoffs have flooded the market with overqualified unluckies, and they are scooping up all the jobs that are still being created by mostly small businesses. This leaves entry-level people on the outside, and they have to get a job in a less profitable career that they are overqualified for. And the people who would have gotten those jobs get even more crappy jobs, and so on down the line. So everyone's overqualified and subsequently getting paid too little money for the economic value they bring to a company. So, workers are working more in crappier jobs to get less money. This is great from the prosective of a corporation, which gets higher profits from this decimation of the labor force. However, for the vast majority of people, otherwise known as the workers (and even many of those who own stock in corporations, if they are also employees somewhere), life has gotten pretty crappy. Wages and benefits are way down, competition for jobs is way up, and people are afraid for their jobs. Morale is what I'm talking about here -- morale is low.

The good news is the worst of outsourcing is over, mainly because many employers ran out of "redundant" employees to lay off. And there's only so many jobs that can be farmed out to a person in another country anyway. Plus, public reaction to it has been so negative that corporations are reluctant to go into it full force without knowing for sure that the economic benefits are going to justify the bad press.

So, which candidate is going to handle these challenges correctly? The answer to this question in an election year is always going to be dicey, because candidates lie. Bill Clinton famously said "middle class tax cut", just like Kerry is doing this year. Clinton then raised taxes on the middle class and was re-elected. Clearly, lying pays off. So, is Kerry lying? His economic plan looks a lot more detailed than Bush's (which can be boiled down to a message of "stay the course") at this point, and has a lot of ideas, both good and bad. If the House is as conservative as it is now, Kerry's going to have a hard time getting a lot of his crappy ideas passed, while his good ones might have a chance. Tax cuts for corporations that keep jobs here? Good idea. Stepping towards a government-run health care system? Not so good.

Bottom line: Do we need a change? Probably. Bush likes to put out rosy stats about our current economy and the growth of good jobs in the past year, but even if you accept those stats it's way too little, way too late. His plan of lowering taxes on rich people and hoping they create jobs is a bit like the traditional liberal position towards education -- "Just throw money at it." I'm just not sure that a strict Conservative like Bush has any Plan B when it comes to an outsourced job market. And the economy is crying out for a Plan B.

Hot Opinions on Unimportant Stuff

I've got some Hot Opinions:

Why listen to country when there are so many other forms of music available? It's not like we live in a third world craphole here. Nobody's holding a gun to your head, so stop it. Country's not "down home", it's boring. It's like choosing a blank white piece of paper when offered the choice between that and a Da Vinci painting. And it's not the kind of paper you can write on, either -- it's a blank white piece of paper that resists creativity.

If you're over 25 and still trying to look "cool" every day, grow the heck up. This isn't high school. Your life is empty.

Sex in movies and TV is 10 times more destructive to society than violence, contrary to the opinion of the smug anti-american culture vultures out there. And when the two are joined, watch out.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Experimental Post -- Movie Capsules

Well, we have a guest contributor for this post. I don't know if he's going to work out. His name is Clueless Man, and he's easily confused. Here's his take, in capsule form, on Kill Bill vol. 1:

"Dull, dull, dull. Those are the only 3 words to describe the dialogue in this movie. It was sooooooooo slow. Ugh. And the violence, what there was of it, didn't seem realistic. I mean, at some point it became a cartoon, and then it was at a restaurant, and then it was in a snowy japanese garden. I couldn't follow. Also, having the hero O-Ren Ishi-ee get scalped in the final scene just wasn't funny. I hope she's resurrected for Vol. II. And what was with Uma Thurman predicting the future by circling O-Ren's name before she even kills the first girl? That didn't make any sense. I hope Vol. II can clear all of this up for me, and we get to see more of that Bill lady."
You see my quandry. Anything other than your basic linear plot seems to confuse this guy. And who did he think Bill was? He's a nice guy though, and I've been looking for someone cheap to counterpoint me on movies. We'll see. My own capsule of KB: V.I. goes as follows:

"If you don't know what "cool" is, just watch this movie and you'll be confronted with it in every scene. One-half of Quentin Tarrantino's revenge masterpiece, this half suffers a bit from a lack of emotional grounding and too much (often literally) cartoon violence. But even when it's shallow and bloody, it's still really cool. The swordfight scene between the Bride and the Crazy 88 is by itself worth a $4 rental. Tarrantino loves kung fu movies, and is the best director in the world at picking out music for his films. See it with Vol. II for maximum effect, for the two films balance each other out beautifully."
Movie studios: Feel free to use any of these sentences as quotes for your flashy packaging.

I Can See the Future

I don't see any way this election is going to go without controversy, or end in any other place than the Supreme Court again. The race is too close and we aren't anywhere near having our voting crap together yet. It's been four years, and we still have massive problems. Be prepared to learn these concepts for the weeks after election day:

Provisional voting. Florida Felon Voting Exclusion Law. Electoral College. Crazy Protesters. Disenfranchised. Disneyfranchised. Ballots Designed to Confuse the Old. New Mexico.

They will all probably come into play, and for the second straight election we won't have a President-Elect on Election night. And that's unacceptable.