Skip to main content


Showing posts from April, 2012

Economic Satires

"Social Reform", (c) George Cruikshank (1819)


"I'm a-coming! I'm a-coming! I shall have you! And though I'm at your heels now, I'll be at your heads presently."

The best way to begin learning anything is to read satires of it; this is because satire will present the field's cliches concisely and criticise them memorably, as a part of the gig. However, most economists cannot write, and most writers have naive economic views, so economics is short of this source of instruction, deflation and self-consciousness. Here are some corkers:

"A Modest Proposal"(1729) by Swift

The original: "solve poverty; make 'em eat their kids." Swift was targeting the treatment of labourers as commodities found over hundreds of years of mainstream economic thought (the Malthusians before Malthus, Walrasians before Walras). Callous scientism is still around in places. It was quite hard to spot the satire at the…

balance sheet for doing philosophy


1. It matters
2. It lasts
3. It transforms
4. It can be useful in any context
5. It's inescapable*
6. It's cheap
7. Sensitises you to bullshit


1. Sensitises you to bullshit
2. It's interminable
3. It can feed arrogance
4. It can feed madness
5. It can make you unlikeable.
6. It forces you to listen

6 < 7.

* Yeah yeah Wittgenstein, keep talking.


In Italy they call estate agents
and so they are,
wormed deep as they are
into the unspoken plan path
of almost everyone.

It is not mostly via vices
or secrets that they get us
but by our dreams.


Come, please, do! I am open to critique!
Truth is my first wife, ho ho!
(But queue yourselves,
and come slowly,
along my line of sight,
and wait for the nod,
and punch with your hand closed,
on limbs that were anyway gangrenous
and do not smile.)

degrees of Inglourious Basterds

This is my 'bunch of guys on a mission' movie. You’ve got to make a movie about something, and I’m a film guy, so I think in terms of genres. - Quentin Tarantino
Ways to see it:
As sheer or mere sensation. It's a diabolically entertaining thing. "Hurr. Oh-hoh no! Eee! Hahaha! Ooooooh. (Christ this music's loud.)" It is easy to treat it as if its violence were its content and purpose.
As perfect token of a style. "Hmm. Revenge is the sole motivating logic; there are many converging plot threads; the 'good' guys are psychotic; the 'bad' guy is utterly charming; protagonists are massacred in deadpan fashion. I wonder who the director is?" All of his films are (or contain) simplistic on-a-mission plots; it's the various subversions that elevate them. This one's obv the Dirty Dozen subverted with blaxploitation, Spaghetti Western, and modern spoof ingredients.
As comedy at the extremes. Sensationalism and the baiting of film archetyp…