I think Woody Allen is back. I liked Match Point a lot, but I liked Vicky Cristina Barcelona even more. Like Revolutionary Road, this movie critically examines whether modern success has meaning or if it is just a hollow notion. But unlike Revolutionary Road, though, it explores the fundamental tradeoffs–some positive and some negative–that alternative ideas of success (i.e. leading an “interesting life”) may have. In addition, it further complicates the question by comparing two women who value things in life differently.
And it doesn’t hurt that the movie has nice comedic moments too. The acting is very good, and the plot moves at a nice pace. Penelope Cruz is fantastic as the crazy ex-wife. Not quite awards material with so much stiff competition this year, but very much worth watching!
Well, it’s actually a tongue-in-cheek prediction because in 1981 it took 2 hours at $5/hr to download the entire paper (minus the pictures, ads and comics). Another interesting tidbit: they estimate that between 2,000-3,000 people in Bay Area have computers in 1981.
I am trying to watch all the major Oscar nominees, and so of course, I had to watch this year’s most-nominated film, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. The premise is weird: Benjamin is born an old man in 1918 and grows younger throughout the film. What might make a passable short story, however, is an interminable 2 hr 43 min movie. The plot is completely disjointed and the point, if there is one, is captured in Brad Pitt’s obvious, trite statement: “I was just thinking about how nothing lasts…and what a shame that is….”
Unlike Benjamin Button, you and I grow older if we waste our time watching pointless movies. So, skip this movie when there are so many other good ones currently out in theaters for your viewing pleasure.
This article in the WSJ raises a provocative question: if government policies brought us the current crisis, shouldn’t we abolish government rather than double down with a gianormous stimulus package?
So, this part is quite interesting:
In the book, these relentless wealth redistributionists and their programs are disparaged as “the looters and their laws.” Every new act of government futility and stupidity carries with it a benevolent-sounding title. These include the “Anti-Greed Act” to redistribute income (sounds like Charlie Rangel’s promises soak-the-rich tax bill)…
but then it starts stretching a little bit:
…and the “Equalization of Opportunity Act” to prevent people from starting more than one business (to give other people a chance). My personal favorite, the “Anti Dog-Eat-Dog Act,” aims to restrict cut-throat competition between firms and thus slow the wave of business bankruptcies. Why didn’t Hank Paulson think of that?
And now the article plunges off the deep end and the analogy seems to be only relevant at the highest level of government bashing:
These acts and edicts sound farcical, yes, but no more so than the actual events in Washington, circa 2008. We already have been served up the $700 billion “Emergency Economic Stabilization Act” and the “Auto Industry Financing and Restructuring Act.” Now that Barack Obama is in town, he will soon sign into law with great urgency the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan.” This latest Hail Mary pass will increase the federal budget (which has already expanded by $1.5 trillion in eight years under George Bush) by an additional $1 trillion — in roughly his first 100 days in office.
Well, I think that Ayn Rand is a dystopic future that is not inevitable. And I hope–and believe–that despite some similarities between the current crisis and the book’s premise, that Obama is both not doomed and in fact unlikely to make the same mistakes that animate that famous book.
Here is my thought about sharing, privacy and trust. People succumb to the psychological force of ‘cognitive dissonance.’ Cognitive dissonance says that you have to reconcile contradiction between behaviors and attitudes to reduce the uncomfortable feeling of dissonance. In the case of facebook, people know that they care about privacy yet they find themselves in a place where they’ve shared their inner most secrets with a web site. To resolve that tension between attitudes and behaviors, they choose to believe that they trust facebook.
It’s a powerful virtuous cycle: the more you share, the more you trust and conversely, the more you trust, the more you share.
I think the big idea, as every big idea is, is just one amazing step beyond where we are right now. And I think you think about the Obama campaign, something like Wikipedia, something like the stuff that’s going on on the Internet, the kind that I think of as read write culture. What it really is doing is reviving the sense that people can do something. Not the passive couch potato politics or couch potato culture, but that they can do something. We’re close to making it really effective. I think the next cycle, what you’re going to see in the way politics functions, will be unrecognizable, even from today. But when we’re there, it will be a revival of ideals, aspirations about democracy that will surprise us. The cynicism that we had in the 20th century will look very 20th century.
I am *extremely* bullish about the social internet in general, and in facebook connect in particular. Here is a nice slide deck that helps frame the opportunity by imagining what Amazon and iTunes might look like with real facebook connect functionality.
I just watched Mark Zuckerberg’s speech announcing Facebook Connect. The Internet is going social. (By the way, CNET has some really video coverage of technology. I watched two “daily briefs” that automatically started after this video ended about Facebook Connect and iPhone apps that were both really good.) In any event, enjoy!