Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Blogging in the Lap of Luxury

Bwa-ha-ha-ha! While you peasants toil away, I'm luxuriating under my furs, snug and warm.

The astute reader may recognize the cloak-cum-throw from my Lucrezia Borgia halloween costume. Faux fur, but still warm and snug.

I've not been blogging so much lately - a lull in my external life has left me little of interest to blog about. My internal life is even less interesting to document than the external, so be glad of the relative silence.

The horrific soap opera that is the world economy has been keeping me entertained. Many cliched comparisons come to mind - train wreck, horror film, the Titanic, the Hindenburg - you get the idea, my friend*. The sinking/burning & crashing of the US economy was something I've been expecting (although, except for some canned beets, I can't claim to be prepared). I would love to say that I knew this was coming, sooner or later, because I have such a keen grasp on economics. If I said that, I'd be the worst sort of liar - a stupid one, because it would take almost no time to disprove such a claim. However, I read. I read authors whose analyses prove correct most, if not all, of the time.

Ted Rall is one of my favorites; I always enjoyed his writings, but when I read his "Generalissimo El Busho" (yes, that's the title of the book), I was astounded at the accuracy of his predictions of the first four years of life under Bush. Mike Whitney (not the cricket player) is one who has been commenting on the financial madness for a couple of years at least, and his articles often have pretty good explanations of how the system works and why something might be a bad idea. Paul Krugman, of course, has been firing shots across the bow of the Bush Administration for years; I recommend not only his op-ed pieces in the NYT, but also his blog, on which he provides nifty pdfs with extra information about economics and finance.

Noam Chomsky is of course the hardcore of current economic and political critique. His books from the 1980s and 1990s were dense, but again he is one whose observations and predictions on economics and politics have proven quite accurate; once you grasp them, it's not difficult to understand where things are going and why. I remember reading in one of his books over a decade ago the observation that the US was headed to a Brazilian model of society - a few superrich, and the rest of us living in ditches and fighting bears for the right to eat grubs. Paul Krugman recently showed how this has come to pass. If you ask me, that's some good predicting on Mr Chomsky's part.

So there, kids - if you want to understand how the world works, you can start with these fellows.

I spent the weekend attending writers workshops up in Edmonds. An exciting commute, to be sure. I enjoyed being downtown on Saturday for the big storm; at lunchtime I found a bench on a bluff that overlooked the ferry dock, and enjoyed the view more than I did my sandwich. I've said this to many people now, so please forgive me if you've heard this from me already, but it's depressing how many people are planning on writing bad thrillers. I heard more than one bad thriller plot over the weekend. Baaaaaad thriller plots. And mind you, my expectations of genre fiction are not all that high. It reminded me of working in LA, where everyone is working on a script. You hush out there - my script is nothing like theirs, it will be good! At least I don't talk about it, okay? Anyway, because of the workshops, I'm reading "Bleak House" now, rather than putting it off for six months like I originally planned. It's a thick book, and makes me wonder if it was the inspiration for the phrase, 'the dickens' - I'd hate to have to search through this massive tome looking for a word, phrase, character, event. Where in the Dickens is that passage where Ester meets her mother? Who in the Dickens is Lady Dedlock?

I must fix some sort of breakfast now - I've been up awhile, and I'm very hungry. Your homework assignment is to submit to me your bad thriller plots - I'll try to make something entertaining of them. 50 words or less, kids.

*I caught that phrase from John McCain, who sneezed it out 21 times, from the first count I could find; it's highly contagious. I hope to hear everyone addressing each other by that phrase at least once in each conversation, all parties saying it at some time or another. Just imagine how much livelier cocktail conversations could become!

1 comment:

Blue Llama said...

Per Daddy Llama: As I suspected, The last few months of King George’s reign will be shocking and disgusting. He has a lot of cronies to pay off before he is out of office. Republicans paying off republicans… –And I believe that anyone who thinks that another republican will seek any kind of justice for this is an idiot. There better be some jail time by the time this is sorted out!

(PS - There will be no jail time, just a free walk to the bank!)