Urban Studies

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Spouse swapping have been around forever, and according to an article in the November 10, 1942 Brooklyn Daily Eagle, it didn’t miss the World War II era. From a piece about two New Jersey couples that were hot for each other for a time:

Elizabeth–Advisory Master John G. Matthews today heard, with surprise that verged on horror, how a couple of friendly neighbors living in the same house in Metuchen ‘swapped’ wives from April, 1941, until the end of the year.

The story was unfolded in papers filed by Mrs. Gladys Jensen of 288 Main St., Metuchen, in divorce proceedings brought by her husband, Siegfried, now of Raritan Township.

The Jensens were married in 1928 and have four children ranging from 7 to 13. According to Mrs. Jensen’s affidavit, they shared a private house with the Howard E. Caswells at 680 Main St., Metuchen. In April 1941, a fire in the neighborhood awoke both families and the couples watched the blaze being put out. Then, according to Mrs. Jensen, ‘some one’ suggested an exchange of wives.

Court Denounces ‘Paganism’

Mrs. Jensen said that ‘after some hesitation, all parties agreed’ and the exchange took place four times that week and twice a week thereafter until the end of December. Then, she said, she had an argument with Caswell and the swapping ended, although the two couples continued to live in the same house until last March.

‘This is the sort of paganism one might expect to read about in the early history of Rome,’ said the advisory master. He ordered Jensen to pay $16 a week alimony pending trial of his divorce action on Nov. 21. 

The Caswells had meanwhile been divorced, and the court ordered that suit reopened and directed attorneys in both cases to appear before him.”

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After becoming an insta-celebrity for revealing a great rack in Robin Thicke’s unavoidable “Blurred Lines” video, model Emily Ratajkowski was asked what she’d like to do with her newfound fame. She didn’t hope to parlay it into a career as a pop star or leading lady. She declared, “I want to be a brand.” That’s a thing that not only companies, but people, aspire to now, hoping to sell themselves as much as a product. It’s not just the car you purchase, but also the driver in the commercial, in a sense. An excerpt from a new Economist piece about a recently deceased leader in the birthing of this unnatural phenomenon:

“Wally Olins started his career as an officer in one of these companies: as a history graduate of Oxford University he could, in those days, hardly be a private. He spent five years running Ogilvy & Mather’s office in Mumbai (and kept close ties with India for the rest of his life). But when he returned to England in the early 1960s he was disillusioned with his profession’s prevailing ideas. He decided to form a new company with a young designer called Michael Wolff. And he turned Wolff Olins into the command centre of a brand revolution.

He told his clients they needed to think more seriously about the collective identity of their organisation: if nurtured, this would provide them with a unique selling proposition in a crowded market, and an emotional connection to their customers. This changed both the focus of advertising and the relationship between the admen and their clients. Brand-building, Mr Olins saw, is not just an add-on which the company can buy when it wants to launch a new product. It is an integral part of its long-term strategy that guides the sort of products it rolls out.

Mr Olins spent the rest of his life broadening and deepening this insight.”

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Do those working on Wall Street really have to break the law to do things they shouldn’t, things that can hurt us all? It seems like money influencing elected (and non-elected) officials can make malfeasance beyond prosecution–legal, even. And because rules governing such behaviors are so complicated, if you’re not working in that industry or reporting on it, you really don’t have the time to understand the fine print. That allows enough wiggle room to bring down an economy. Jesse Eisinger, Pulitzer Prize-winning financial reporter, tried to break down big finance during an Ask Me Anything at Reddit. A few exchanges follow.

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Question:

Is the criminal behavior limited to theft/fraud, or are there specific types of financial transactions corporations engage in that are/should be outlawed?

Jesse Eisinger:

Fraud writ large yes. There were many misrepresentations to the public that I think were worth deeper, more aggressive investigation. I write about the Lehman Brothers executives’ representations of their liquidity in the weeks and months leading up to their collapse, which was clearly factually and materially inaccurate. Did they know it at the time? I don’t believe the DoJ adequately investigated that question. And Lehman isn’t alone.

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Question:

What do you foresee as the next bubble/crisis? What can be done now to stop it?

Jesse Eisinger:

Always dangerous to predict the next bubble. But we have febrile debt markets now, with junk bonds yielding too little for the risks. We are starting to see M&A overheat. Tech and biotech stocks sported absurd valuations, esp earlier this year. Greek sovereign debt seems to have recovered way too much. We have bubbly pockets almost everywhere in the capital markets. I would worry about China and the European banks as the nexus of the next crisis.

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Question:

What would you consider the biggest mistake of your career?

Jesse Eisinger:

I have made so many mistakes, I’ve given speeches about them. Fortunately, I’ve never made the kind of huge factual error that meant the story required retraction. Thank God.

One of my best stories was also one of my biggest mistakes. In Oct 2007, I wrote for Conde Nast Portfolio that the Wall Street investment banks were going to fail. I wrote that it would be Bear Stearns first, then Lehman Bros, and maybe even Merrill, Morgan Stanley and even Goldman. Pretty good, right? But I didn’t follow up on it, probe deeper, write more. So I kind of blew the opportunity of a lifetime to really own the story of the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression. Oh well.

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Question:

What are your thoughts on Bitcoin and its potential to eliminate the socialization of risk by the taxpayer that corporations have taken advantage of?

Jesse Eisinger:

Bitcoin is a mad, technoutopian fever dream that will end in tears, if it hasn’t already.•

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"I also need to know how to do computer forensics to find out who is messing with my computer."

“I also need to know how to do computer forensics to find out who is messing with my computer.”

Personal Investigator/Detective (New York)

I am in great need of Personal Investigator/Detective services. I am willing to barter. I can type 75 wpm and have an administrative background. Have a BA degree. Can do secretarial type stuff for you, errands, walk/feed dogs, cats, watch children, anything you want but I need to get to the bottom of a big problem I have. I also need to know how to do computer forensics to find out who is messing with my computer. You can even tell me what I need to do instead of you taking your time if you want.

Im hoping you will please help me. Email back asap so we can meet up and discuss barter.

The freak show, that alluringly lurid exhibition and moral abomination, with its bearded ladies, conjoined twins and hunger artists, seemed to die a slow and necessary death in the 20th century. But did it, really? While disabilities rights closed the sideshow tent (except for a few remnants like Howard Stern’s radio show), reality TV has allowed for the commodification of the emotionally troubled and hopelessly addicted, their afflictions on the inside but just as real, their drama sold to titillate, distract and make observers feel superior. It’s the dime museum in the age of the bitcoin. From Zachary Crockett’s Priceonomics pieceThe Rise and Fall of Circus Freakshows“:

“By the 1890s, freakshows began to wane in popularity; by 1950, they had nearly vanished.

For one, curiosity and mystery were quelled by advances in medicine: so-called ‘freaks’ were now diagnosed with real, scientifically-explained diagnoses. The shows lost their luster as physical and medical conditions were no longer touted as miraculous and the fanciful stories told by showmen were increasingly discredited by hard science. As spectators became more aware of the grave nature of the performers’ conditions, wonder was replaced by pity.

Movies and television, both of which rose to prominence in the early 20th century, offered other forms of entertainment and quenched society’s demand for oddities. People could see wild and astonishing things from the comfort of a theatre or home (by the 1920s), and were less inclined to spend money on live shows. Media also made realities more accessible, further discrediting the stories showmen told: for instance, in a film, audience members could see that the people of Borneo weren’t actually as savage as advertised by P.T. Barnum.

But the true death chime of the freakshow was the rise of disability rights. Simply put, taking utter delight in others’ physical misfortune was finally frowned upon.”

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From the November 5, 1910 Brooklyn Daily Eagle:

Dresden, Tenn.–Despondent because he had been forced to surrender his 18 year old bride, Thomas Gaskins, 75 years of age, a wealthy planter, stabbed himself with a pocket knife at his home, near here, yesterday, inflicting wounds which probably will terminate fatally.

Following the death of his wife, three weeks ago, Gaskins, despite parental objection, procured the consent of Lizzie McDaniels to marry him. Thursday he rode to the McDaniels home astride a mule, held the family at bay with a revolver, and rode away with the young woman seated behind him.

They rode four miles to Paris, where they were married yesterday morning. In the meantime the sheriff, at the request o the girl’s father, went in pursuit of the elopers. When he overtook them Gaskins submitted to arrest, his wife climbed into the buggy with the sheriff, and the three continued to Dresden, Gaskins riding ahead on his mule. On the way Gaskins escaped, and when found at his home several hours later, was in a dying condition as the result of self-inflicted knife wounds.”

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John L. Sullivan wanted to fight John Q. Public and vice versa. The boxing icon couldn’t get his mustache trimmed without some galoot taking a swing at him, so in the early 1880s the pugilist toured the country on an ass-kicking expedition. From Christopher Klein at the Public Domain Review:

“After imbibing the adulation inside his saloon on the evening of September 26, 1883, the hard-hitting, hard-drinking Sullivan waded through the throng of fawning fans outside and stepped into a waiting carriage that sprinted him away to a waiting train. The man who had captured the heavyweight championship nineteen months prior had departed on many journeys before, but no man had ever set out on such an ambitious adventure as the one he was about to undertake.

For the next eight months, Sullivan would circle the United States with a troupe of the world’s top professional fighters. In nearly 150 locales, John L. would spar with his fellow pugilists but also present a sensational novelty act worthy of his contemporary, the showman P.T. Barnum. The reigning heavyweight champion would offer as much as $1,000 ($24,000 in today’s dollars when chained to the Consumer Price Index) to any man who could enter the ring with him and simply remain standing after four three-minute rounds.

The ‘Great John L.’ was challenging America to a fight.

Sullivan’s transcontinental ‘knocking out’ tour was gloriously American in its audacity and concept. Its democratic appeal was undeniable: Any amateur could take a shot at glory by taking a punch from the best fighter in the world. Furthermore, the challenge, given its implicit braggadocio that defeating John L. in four rounds was a universal improbability, was an extraordinary statement of supreme self-confidence from a twenty-four-year-old who supposedly bellowed his own declaration of independence: ‘My name is John L. Sullivan, and I can lick any son-of-a-bitch alive!'”

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No one should confuse the challenges of abundance with those of poverty, but Qatar, which has no true winter but a good deal of discontent, is a great case study in human psychology. When the earth unexpectedly offers up everything we could ever want, does it become clear that what we need is something else? From Matthew Teller in BBC Magazine:

“From desperate poverty less than a century ago, this, after all, has become the richest nation in the world, with an average per-capita income topping $100,000 (£60,000).

What’s less well understood is the impact of such rapid change on Qatari society itself.

You can feel the pressure in Doha. The city is a building site, with whole districts either under construction or being demolished for redevelopment. Constantly snarled traffic adds hours to the working week, fuelling stress and impatience.

Local media report that 40% of Qatari marriages now end in divorce. More than two-thirds of Qataris, adults and children, are obese.

Qataris benefit from free education, free healthcare, job guarantees, grants for housing, even free water and electricity, but abundance has created its own problems.

‘It’s bewildering for students to graduate and be faced with 20 job offers,’ one academic at an American university campus in Qatar tells me. ‘People feel an overwhelming pressure to make the right decision.’

In a society where Qataris are outnumbered roughly seven-to-one by expatriates, long-term residents speak of a growing frustration among graduates that they are being fobbed off with sinecures while the most satisfying jobs go to foreigners.

The sense is deepening that, in the rush for development, something important has been lost.”

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Chicken Rentals (Fairfield County)

Rent-A-Chicken is looking for associates in the Fairfield County/New Haven areas to help in our chicken rental business.

Rudolph Valentino wooed the world without a word. A gigantic star of the Silent Age–a pagan god, almost, especially to the ladies–Valentino’s early death at 31 led to one of the more raucous scenes imaginable at the public viewing in NYC of his body, a real day of the locusts that stretched into the night. The madness was captured in an article in the August 26, 1926 Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

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“Impressive scenes of funeral of famous film star”:

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From the August 7, 1911 Brooklyn Daily Eagle:

Duluth, Minn.–The village of Chisolm is greatly stirred up over the birth of a two-headed baby and its grewsome sequel. It was born July 31, to Mr. and Mrs. Arosta Najdukovich, of Chisholm, a perfectly formed male child with the exception that it had two heads. It died a few hours after birth and was buried.

Yesterday it was learned that the body of the infant had been disinterred and was on exhibition at the establishment of an undertaker. The father of the child swore out a warrant against the man.”

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Elon Musk recently stated that in the near term, only 90% of driving can be completely autonomous. Judging by a new post on the Google blog, that company is consumed by the other 10%. An excerpt:

“Jaywalking pedestrians. Cars lurching out of hidden driveways. Double-parked delivery trucks blocking your lane and your view. At a busy time of day, a typical city street can leave even experienced drivers sweaty-palmed and irritable. We all dream of a world in which city centers are freed of congestion from cars circling for parking (PDF) and have fewer intersections made dangerous by distracted drivers. That’s why over the last year we’ve shifted the focus of the Google self-driving car project onto mastering city street driving.

Since our last update, we’ve logged thousands of miles on the streets of our hometown of Mountain View, Calif. A mile of city driving is much more complex than a mile of freeway driving, with hundreds of different objects moving according to different rules of the road in a small area. We’ve improved our software so it can detect hundreds of distinct objects simultaneously—pedestrians, buses, a stop sign held up by a crossing guard, or a cyclist making gestures that indicate a possible turn. A self-driving vehicle can pay attention to all of these things in a way that a human physically can’t—and it never gets tired or distracted.

As it turns out, what looks chaotic and random on a city street to the human eye is actually fairly predictable to a computer. As we’ve encountered thousands of different situations, we’ve built software models of what to expect, from the likely (a car stopping at a red light) to the unlikely (blowing through it). We still have lots of problems to solve, including teaching the car to drive more streets in Mountain View before we tackle another town, but thousands of situations on city streets that would have stumped us two years ago can now be navigated autonomously.”

BBC is reporting that the Chinese firm WinSun has built giant 3D printers which can create 10 concrete houses in a day. They’re admittedly not glorious living or anything, but it’s still impressive. An excerpt:

“The cheap materials used during the printing process and the lack of manual labour means that each house can be printed for under $5,000, the 3dprinterplans website says.

‘We can print buildings to any digital design our customers bring us. It’s fast and cheap,’ says WinSun chief executive Ma Yihe. He also hopes his printers can be used to build skyscrapers in the future. At the moment, however, Chinese construction regulations do not allow multi-storey 3D-printed houses, Xinhua says.”

Sex Recording (Audio) Wanted for Art

For the sake of an art project, send an audio recording of you and your other having sex. Submissions are anonymous and benefit the improvement of art and culture.

British Pathé has just dropped a huge trove of classic newsreels onto Youtube. One video is of American military veteran and Bronx native Christine Jorgensen (née George Jorgensen), who became, in 1952, world famous for having changed genders with the use of hormone-replacement therapy. Thankfully, she was a quick-witted, confident person who could survive the attention. The Pathé video and a couple others from later in her “second” life.

1953:

1966:

1980s:

While I have plenty of concerns about technology, I don’t understand those who equate it with evil and biology with good. I’m not sure that biology doesn’t have a programmed endgame in mind for us that technology might, perhaps, counter. From E.O. Wilson’s 2005 Cosmos article, Is Humanity Suicidal?“:

“Unlike any creature that lived before, humans have become a geophysical force, swiftly changing the atmosphere and climate as well as the composition of the world’s fauna and flora.

Now in the midst of a population explosion, this species has doubled in number to more than 6 billion during the past 50 years. It is scheduled to double again in the next 50 years. No other single species in evolutionary history has even remotely approached the sheer mass in protoplasm generated by humanity.

Darwin’s dice have rolled badly for Earth. It was a misfortune for the living world in particular, many of our scientists believe, that a carnivorous primate and not some more benign form of animal made the breakthrough.

Our species retains hereditary traits that add greatly to our destructive impact. We are tribal and aggressively territorial, intent on private space beyond minimal requirements and oriented by selfish sexual and reproductive drives. Cooperation beyond the family and tribal levels comes hard. Worse, our liking for meat causes us to use the Sun’s energy at low efficiency.” 

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“It’s doomsday”:

From the July 21, 1911 Brooklyn Daily Eagle:

New Castle, Pa.–David E. Lewis Jr., of this city left yesterday for Sedgewick County, Missouri, to claim Miss Mary Spright for his bride. Some time ago Lewis found the girl’s name and address written on an egg. A correspondence started and the romance is the result.”

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MONKEY MONKEY MONKEY – $20

I seriously need to get rid of this monkey, it doesn’t get along with my girlfriend. (No, I cant get rid of the girlfriend.) If you want a monkey call today after 6pm.

George Dvorsky’s io9 post “This Could Be the First Animal to Live Entirely Inside A Computer” examines neuroscientist Stephen Larson’s attempts to create a virtual worm, which has massive implications for the future of medicine and so much else. An excerpt:

“To be fair, scientists , namely the exceptionally small free-living bacteria known as Mycoplasma genitalia. It’s an amazing accomplishment, but the pathogen — with its 525 genes — is one of the world’s simplest organisms. Contrast that with E. coli, which has 4,288 genes, and humans, who have anywhere from 35,000 to 57,000 genes.

Scientists have also created synthetic DNA that can self-replicate and an artificial chromosome from scratch. Breakthroughs like these suggest it won’t be much longer before we start creating synthetic animals for the real world. Such endeavors could result in designer organisms to help in the manufacturing of vaccines, medicines, sustainable fuels, and with toxic clean-ups.

There’s a very good chance that many of these organisms, including drugs, will be designed and tested in computers first. Eventually, our machines will be powerful enough and our understanding of biology deep enough to allow us to start simulating some of the most complex biological functions — from entire microbes right through to the human mind itself (what will be known as whole brain emulations).

Needless to say we’re not going to get there in one day. We’ll have to start small and work our way up. Which is why Larson and his team have started to work on their simulated nematode worm.”

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Heavyweight champ Jack Dempsey was one of the biggest things going in America in the Roaring Twenties, in an age when boxing was the king of sports. He was as big a star as Babe Ruth or Charlie Chaplin or Harry Houdini. Like all public figures of those days, Dempsey had a brand new audience to please: filmgoers, who could see his every imperfection in newsreels projected on larger-than-life screens. The boxer had added reason to be concerned about his punched-up mug: He wanted to make Hollywood movies. So during a three-year sabbatical from the ring, during which time he made more than ten silent shorts and starred in Manhattan Madness, Dempsey decided to get his nose fixed. From the August 10, 1924 Brooklyn Daily Eagle:

Los Angeles–Whoever opposes Jack Dempsey in the next battle for the heavyweight ring championship will have an opportunity to test his marksmanship on a nice new nose.

The world’s champion has gone into retirement with a bandaged face after bowing to the filmdom fad of having one’s nose rebuilt to suit the cameraman.

Since Dempsey had been publicly connected with the motion picture industry all summer, there was no way out of it, and accordingly the plastic surgeon was given permission to cut away a piece of the boxer’s left ear and put it where it would make his nose look like Valentino’s.

It will be a week, the doctor said, before the new nose can be unveiled.”

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Considering the appalling way we treat animals apart from a couple of cute ones we are very protective of, it’s worth pondering if non-human creatures should have legal recourse. Historically, animals have taken part in court systems, though as defendants, not plaintiffs. From Charles Siebert’s New York Times Magazine article, “Should a Chimp Be Able to Sue Its Owner?“:

“Animals are hardly strangers to our courts, only to the brand of justice meted out there. In the opening chapters of [Steven] Wise’s first book, Rattling the Cage: Toward Legal Rights for Animals, published in 2000, he cites the curious and now largely forgotten history, dating at least back to the Middle Ages, of humans putting animals on trial for their perceived offenses, everything from murderous pigs, to grain-filching rats and insects, to flocks of sparrows disrupting church services with their chirping. Such proceedings — often elaborate, drawn-out courtroom dramas in which the defendants were ostensibly accorded the same legal rights as humans, right down to being appointed the best available lawyers — were essentially allegorical rituals, a means of expunging evil and restoring some sense of order to a random and disorderly world.

Among the most common nonhuman defendants cited by the British historian E. P. Evans in his 1906 book, The Criminal Prosecution and Capital Punishment of Animals, were pigs. Allowed to freely roam the narrow, winding streets of medieval villages, pigs and sows sometimes maimed and killed infants and young children. The ‘guilty’ party would regularly be brought before a magistrate to be tried and sentenced and then publicly tortured and executed in the town square, often while being hung upside down, because, as Wise explains it in Rattling the Cage, ‘a beast . . . who killed a human reversed the ordained hierarchy. . . . Inversion set the world right again.’

The practice of enlisting animals as unwitting courtroom actors in order to reinforce our own sense of justice is not as outmoded as you might think. As recently as 1906, the year Evans’s book appeared, a father-son criminal team and the attack dog they trained to be their accomplice were prosecuted in Switzerland for robbery and murder. In a trial reported in L’Écho de Paris and The New York Herald, the two men were found guilty and received life in prison. The dog — without whom, the court determined, the crime couldn’t have been committed — was condemned to death.

It has been only in the last 30 years or so that a distinct field of animal law — that is laws and legal theory expressly for and about nonhuman animals — has emerged.”

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Corporations don’t just nudge–they push hard. Trying to get us to consume products that are often injurious to us, they attack with constant messages to trigger our behavior. That’s considered freedom. But it’s stickier when governments try to influence us with sin taxes, default agreements and helpful reminders. That’s called a nanny state. Sometimes I like such initiatives (cigarette taxes) and sometimes I don’t, but they influence us less and to healthier ends than corporations do. From Cass Sunstein’s new Guardian article about nudging:

“The beauty of nudges is that when they are well chosen, they make people’s lives better while maintaining freedom of choice. Moreover, they usually don’t cost a lot, and they tend to have big effects. In an economically challenging time, it is no wonder that governments all over the world, including in the US and UK, have been showing a keen interest in nudging.

Inevitably, we have been seeing a backlash. Some people object that nudges are a form of unacceptable paternalism. This is an objection that has intuitive appeal, but there is a real problem with it: nudging is essentially inevitable, and so it is pointless to object to nudging as such.

The private sector nudges all the time. Whenever a government has websites, communicates with its citizens, operates cafeterias, or maintains offices that people will visit, it nudges, whether or not it intends to. Nudges might not be readily visible, but they are inevitably there. If we are sceptical about official nudging, we might limit how often it occurs, but we cannot possibly eliminate it.

Other sceptics come from the opposite direction, contending that in light of what we know about human errors, we should be focusing on mandates and bans. They ask: when we know people make bad decisions, why should we insist on preserving freedom of choice?

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Americans have always viewed technology (and anti-technology) in romantic terms. In a New Atlantis piece, Benjamin Storey argues that Alexis de Tocqueville didn’t give tech in the U.S. the short shrift but instead viewed it as a poetic impulse as much as an economic one. An excerpt: 

For Tocqueville, technology is not a set of morally neutral means employed by human beings to control our natural environment. Technology is an existential disposition intrinsically connected to the social conditions of modern democratic peoples in general and Americans in particular. On this view, to be an American democrat is to be a technological romantic. Nothing is so radical or difficult to moderate as a romantic passion, and the Americans Tocqueville observed accepted only frail and minimal restraints on their technophilia. We have long since broken many of those restraints in our quest to live up to our poetic self-image. Understanding the sources of our fascination with the technological dream, and the distance between that dream and technological reality, can help revitalize the sources of self-restraint that remain to us.

That Tocqueville presents much of his commentary on technology in the chapter of Democracy in America entitled ‘Of Some Sources of Poetry among Democratic Nations‘ already indicates why his analysis of technology has been less well received than his analysis of town government or the tyranny of the majority. What, after all, does technology have to do with poetry? Wouldn’t Tocqueville have done better to offer a systematic analysis of ‘the material bases of American life,’ in the manner of an economic or industrial historian, as Garry Wills suggests?

To see what exactly poetry has to do with technological progress, we must first seek to understand Tocqueville’s account of the nature of poetry and the human need for it. We must then turn to his account of the appeal of the poetry of technology to the psychic passions of democratic man. Finally, we must consider his analysis of why democratic peoples would take an argument about the hard facts of economics or industry more seriously as a mode of understanding the question of technology than his own reflections on poetry. By doing so, we can understand something about our typical mode of self-understanding and the distinctive kind of blindness to ourselves to which we are most prone.”

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From Robert Andrew Powell’s Grantland article about El Paso betting heavily on minor league baseball and a new (seemingly needless) downtown stadium, a beautifully written passage about how Vietnam vet Jim Paul purchased a struggling Double A franchise for $1000 in 1974 and drew up the Veeck-ian blueprint for the wry, family-friendly entertainment success that the bush leagues have become:

“On the blackboard, Paul mapped out Kazoo Night. Ten-Cent Beer Night. Country Days, of course, and also an appearance by a then-obscure touring mascot called the San Diego Chicken. At one game, Paul tried to set a record for the most soap bubbles blown at one time. He placed a 120-foot-long banana split in the outfield, handed plastic spoons to every kid in attendance, and invited them to race out and eat as much ice cream as they could. When creditors repossessed the stadium’s organ — money was always tight — Paul bought a tape recorder at Radio Shack and began playing the Rolling Stones and Janis Joplin over the loudspeakers. After Diablos home runs, fans placed dollar bills in the batter’s helmet, in gratitude. The ballpark was renamed the Dudley Dome even though it remained roofless. The PA announcer relayed statistics — “No team scores more runs with two outs than the Diablos!” — that he simply made up.

The Diablos, a Double-A team, began drawing overflow crowds even while the team trudged along in last place. The Texas League named Paul its executive of the year. Twelve months later, he won executive of the year for all of the minor leagues. A winter marketing seminar he launched in El Paso grew exponentially as his methods proved successful. The athletic directors of schools such as Notre Dame and LSU began showing up, joining executives from baseball clubs as big as the Houston Astros.”

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From the July 3, 1925 Brooklyn Daily Eagle:

“After his clever work as a plastic surgeon was completed, Dr. W.A. Pratt married his model, his patient and the ideal of his own recreating. Dr. and Mrs. Pratt have just returned to New York on the S.S. Columbus and are ‘married and very happy,’ as the culmination of a romance that began with the surgeon’s knife.

Dr. Pratt, who recently predicted ‘a perfect-featured nation’ when the skill of the plastic surgeon becomes more widely known and in demand, had been remoulding foreheads, chins, cheeks and noses for some time before he met the woman whose beauty was to make him forget his profession long enough to take a honeymoon.

‘A woman is only as charming as she is beautiful,’ he says. ‘It is only a question of time when ugly features will have disappeared from the human race.’

His story of falling in love with his model shows that his interest increased as the face under his skillful fingers became more and more lovely. ‘When the work was completed, I was wholly in love,’ he explained.”

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