July 25, 2002
A Tenured Professor,
Possibly a roman à clef
, but I haven't looked up who is our
Princess. It's about an economics professor with a scheme (to calculate
irrationality in the markets) that's good enough to make money by
speculation instead of publication; he does make a pile, but the
indignation of the irrational reels him back in after a while. (Lovely set
piece of Senators huffing about how un-American it is to bet against the
market.) Maybe Galbraith just wondered what would happen if a fairly normal
person, someone with no urge for a Batcave or polar mansion or world
domination, had such a power.
Posted by clew at 11:56 PM
Most of the eerie groups described (to Ronson) as 'Them' actually exist,
and are (when he visits) mostly laughable or pathetic, instead of
immediately eerie. The Ruby Ridge family is especially sad. The Bohemian
Grove is pretty funny, especially since Ronson sneaks in with paranoid
The other side is that the groups are also dangerous or powerful, or linked
to them, or innately opposed to any open society - the 'kinder, gentler'
KKK (not kidding!) seems to be foundering on internal contradictions, a
Rockefeller and Wolfensohn and Kissinger certainly could alter the fates of
nations, meeting secretly.
I finally felt depressed by the ubiquitous tendency to have groups of Us
and Them and have secret meetings and defenses.
Posted by clew at 11:51 PM
The Walls Around Us,
The best part of this was at the very beginning, describing the looming,
encroaching fear you develop after you've bought a house - especially an
old house - when it becomes obvious that it is actively falling apart,
rotting, decaying, and constant effort on your part could only make this
pause, no matter how gloss the paint.
You'd think any mind that lives in a mortal body would be used to this.
Maybe it's displacement.
The rest of it is like background articles from Fine Homebuilder
with a bit more about Owen's house and a bit more background research. He
did visit a plant that makes paint for nuclear power plants to find out why
we don't all want to use it on our porches.
Posted by clew at 11:40 PM