Hey! Thanks for reading! Just a reminder that I wrote this some years ago, and may have much more complicated feelings about this topic than I did when I wrote it. Happy to elaborate, feel free to reach out to me! 😄
🎵 The song for this post is any of the ones embedded below 🎵
Money is fake
A cool thing college-educated liberal arts majors say is "race is a social construction," which is a fancy way of saying "it's a made-up thing by society." Definitions and boundaries about race and races change all the time with geopolitics and zeitgeist; if humans were wiped off the face of the Earth and aliens dug up our bones, they wouldn't look at one skeleton or another and have any conception of "races" in the way we talk about them. Which isn't to say it's not "real!" Obviously race and racism have very material impacts on our lives, even if it's just a set of fuzzy ideas that we fumble around in, it becomes a major driving force that can take the whole potential of a human and put it in prison for stealing socks, letting someone else to profit on their caging largely because enough powerful people collectively believe in it.
Another big social construction is money. Obviously, money is real: I can hold it, and it drives virtually all power in most societies. But like other social constructions, it's made up. Just like race is ostensibly based on not-made-up things like groupings of certain genetic markers that are found together more frequently than other groupings (usually melanin) but in practice is just humans making shit up at each other, in theory, money is a convenient way to account for the fact that goods and services that people want are more scarce than the amount of wanting. Everyone on Earth might want a Tesla but only so many Teslas exist and they're not easy to make and making them requires other scarce things and the labor of many who wouldn't otherwise build them, so we use money as a way determine who's willing to sacrifice the most to have one, how to get people to build them, and the supply and demand reach an equilibrium.
You can't just print out money and give it away for no reason! say the economists, because the underlying reality doesn't work like that. If you give everyone $1000 for no reason, in theory nothing important changes because everyone has the same raise in "buying power," so we'll all bid up the prices to the same stuff about the same amount. That's often what happens with hyperinflation, like Germany after WWI (überinflation!).
So reading this Money Stuff and the section on Money Market Funds (of all things) needing bailouts, after the last time, is fucking frustrating. You look at the sheer amount of money we'll pump to bail any and every industry (cruise lines?!) or, in this case, financial instruments "afloat" but business-as-usual is people dying of insulin shortages, or the Sacklers getting people addicted to opiods… it's just heartbreaking.
I loved the Econ classes I took and think working free markets not only work pretty well at resource allocation, but you don't really have a choice but to deal with them because they're emergent phenomena anytime you put people together who have things and want things. But even being a Markets Liker doesn't mean that you like all things that get described by charlatans as "free markets;" the shit we're doing here is flat-out barbarism, and I wish so badly that there were repercussions for crapping so hard in society's oatmeal.
Latinos, music videos
Let's watch some music videos together. One, how is Daddy Yankee still kicking it? He's ageless; the Paul Rudd of pop music. Look at this shit:
To say nothing of his appearance in Despacito:
The first video (Muevelo) has a similar "music is outlawed by martial rule" as this old favorite by BIGBANG, which was big when I was seeing a lot of K-Pop because StarCraft. I still watch it from time to time because I like the tune and costumes:
Here's Gasolina for context, which is from George W. Bush's first term:
Part of it might be how much sunglasses seem to be tied to Latinx masculine expression. Back when we could go outside, I walked by this billboard all the time.
And, like, see this video (ALSO WITH DADDY YANKEE)
Literally all of them have sunglasses.
One of the advantages of sunglasses is how much aging happens in the areas around people's eyes. Eyes are also a high-risk zone for attractiveness to drop off. Like, sorry Mr. President, but something gets lost when we see the eyes underneath:
Cooked a little veggie egg scramble yesterday:
And while we're quarantined, we're still Millenials:
Additionally! (extreme nerd sidebar)
I really wanted to link to the specific subsection of Money Stuff above, but
couldn't, barring some xpath horror show. It is my firm belief that all CMSes
should add an
id tag to generated
<h1…5> elements. It's such a huge
convenience when you want to link to a subsection of an article.1
I often say "text is the one thing that the web has always been good at" (mostly when I yell at someone who found a way to fuck it up, like Medium), but that's not to say it's solved! A related bugaboo is custom markup formats: I vaguely know (and don't know!) how to format things in JIRA, Linear, and Slack. While Markdown knowledge isn't common, man, you'd make my life a fuckton easier if you all:
Used some pretty faithful adherence of Markdown. It doesn't have to be CommonMark, but please don't let it deviate too much.
Offered a "plain-text" editing mode. Nothing better than having a "smart" editing field do the wrong thing, then you gotta work around it's smart logic to make it do the right thing. A plain-text view with a preview pane (lobste.rs, or GitHub) lets you see your work while also not kneecapping you during authoring.
At the same time, I'm still the guy pining for when I "typeset" documents in LaTeX, so feel free to ignore me.
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