As technologies and methods advanced, workers in all industries became able to produce much more value in a shorter amount of time. You’d think this would lead to shorter workdays.
But the 8-hour workday is too profitable for big business, not because of the amount of work people get done in eight hours (the average office worker gets less than three hours of actual work done in 8 hours) but because it makes for such a purchase-happy public. Keeping free time scarce means people pay a lot more for convenience, gratification, and any other relief they can buy. It keeps them watching television, and its commercials. It keeps them unambitious outside of work.
We’ve been led into a culture that has been engineered to leave us tired, hungry for indulgence, willing to pay a lot for convenience and entertainment, and most importantly, vaguely dissatisfied with our lives so that we continue wanting things we don’t have. We buy so much because it always seems like something is still missing.
Western economies, particularly that of the United States, have been built in a very calculated manner on gratification, addiction, and unnecessary spending. We spend to cheer ourselves up, to reward ourselves, to celebrate, to fix problems, to elevate our status, and to alleviate boredom.
Mark wrote in July that Lt John Pike, the UC Davis cop who attained notoriety after he sadistically hosed down seated, peaceful protesters with pepper spray, jetting it directly down their throats and into their eyes, had applied for worker’s comp for the psychiatric injuries resulting from everyone in the world thinking he was a horrible, horrible person.
Now he has been awarded $38K by California’s Division of Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board. He left his job (which paid nearly $120K), and has had to change addresses and phone numbers several times to dodge harassment from his detractors. Davis settled a lawsuit by the protesters he sprayed for $1M.
“Don’t take my word for it, but you can be almost certain that a lot of the things you “know” aren’t really true. I would bet money that some of the facts of life you currently feel certain about can be found on this list of common misconceptions…
"We do learn quite a bit about the world from direct experience. But clearly, most of our learning amounts to believing the beliefs of other people, whether they’re expressed in a Facebook post or in a textbook. You hear or read something, and if it seems true you’ll probably believe it. In all likelihood you’ll never try to verify that belief unless someone else challenges it, and it may never occur to you that it might be wrong. Once a belief has established itself, we freely tell others what we know, or think we know, and the process repeats.
"This indiscriminate passing-on of totally unverified information is a bad habit we human beings have always had. We seem to be more interested in making impressions on others than really knowing what’s true…"
"Under the current law, people who subject their victims to sexually offensive, verbally abusive or threatening material on the internet can only be prosecuted in magistrates’ courts under the malicious communications act, which carries a maximum prison sentence of six months.
"But the new measures will allow magistrates to pass on serious cases to the crown courts, where offenders would face a maximum of two years behind bars…"
"The cold, wet summer of 1816, a night of ghost stories and a challenge allowed a young woman to delineate the darkness, and give us a way of looking at the world.
"They were in a villa on the shores of Lake Geneva: Lord Byron – the bestselling poet, too dangerous for the drawing rooms of England and in exile; his doctor, John William Polidori; Percy Shelley, poet and atheist, and his soon-to-be wife, 18-year-old Mary Shelley. Ghost stories were read, and then Byron challenged everyone in the group to come up with a new story. He started, but did not finish, one about vampires; Polidori completed "The Vampyre"; and young Mary, already the mother of a living child and a dead one, imagined a story about a man who fabricated a living creature, a monster, and brought it to life. The book she wrote over the following year, initially published anonymously, was Frankenstein or, The Modern Prometheus, and it slowly changed everything…"
"This trend bodes ill for consumers. As long as your devices came burdened with DRM and onerous licenses, a device you own may stop working merely because the manufacturer wants to rewrite its contract with you. Agree, or lose access to your device and stored data. That’s what happens when owners become renters…"
"McCarthy began installing the sculpture at 11:30 am, according to the paper. At approximately two in the afternoon while the artist was surveying the completed work, an unknown assailant accosted McCarthy, allegedly screaming that his sculpture did not belong on the Place Vendôme before hitting him in the face at least three times. He was apparently additionally upset by the fact that McCarthy is not French…"
Les Klinger’s enormous volume has earned critical praise from Neil Gaiman, Gahan Wilson, Peter Straub and Harlan Ellison; the book is big enough to stun an (eldritch demon) ox, and is introduced by none other than Alan Moore.
In addition to being extremely illuminating on the subject of Lovecraft, this book is flat-out gorgeous, an instant drool-inducer.
"In one way, at least, our lives really are like movies. The main cast consists of your family and friends. The supporting cast is made up of neighbors, co-workers, teachers, and daily acquaintances. There are also bit players: the supermarket checkout girl with the pretty smile, the friendly bartender at the local watering hole, the guys you work out with at the gym three days a week. And there are thousands of extras—those people who ﬂow through every life like water through a sieve, seen once and never again. The teenager browsing graphic novels at Barnes & Noble, the one you had to slip past (murmuring “Excuse me”) in order to get to the magazines. The woman in the next lane at a stoplight, taking a moment to freshen her lipstick. The mother wiping ice cream off her toddler’s face in a roadside restaurant where you stopped for a quick bite. The vendor who sold you a bag of peanuts at a baseball game.
"But sometimes a person who ﬁts none of these categories comes into your life. This is the joker who pops out of the deck at odd intervals over the years, often during a moment of crisis. In the movies this sort of character is known as the ﬁfth business, or the change agent. When he turns up in a ﬁlm, you know he’s there because the screenwriter put him there. But who is screenwriting our lives? Fate or coincidence? I want to believe it’s the latter. I want that with all my heart and soul. When I think of Charles Jacobs—my ﬁfth business, my change agent, my nemesis—I can’t bear to believe his presence in my life had anything to do with fate. It would mean that all these terrible things—these horrors —were meant to happen. If that is so, then there is no such thing as light, and our belief in it is a foolish illusion. If that is so, we live in dark-ness like animals in a burrow, or ants deep in their hill.
"Why do hecklers heckle? Recent studies have had dark things to say about abusive internet commenters – a University of Manitoba report suggested they share traits with child molesters and serial killers. The more I wondered about Blythe, the more I was reminded of something Sarah Silverman said in an article for Entertainment Weekly: “A guy once just yelled, ‘Me!’ in the middle of my set. It was amazing. This guy’s heckle directly equalled its heartbreaking subtext – ‘Me!’” Silverman, an avid fan of Howard Stern, went on to describe a poignant moment she remembers from listening to his radio show: one of the many callers who turns out to be an asshole is about to be hung up on when, just before the line goes dead, he blurts out, in a crazed, stuttering voice, “I exist!”
"I had a feeling the motivation behind heckling, or trolling, was similar to why most people do anything – why I write, or why I was starting to treat typing my name into search boxes like it was a job. It occurred to me Blythe and I had this much in common: we were obsessed with being heard…"
“If a writer like me has any value at all, then I think what I’m supposed to say are things that other people either don’t dare to say or find embarrassing. They say to themselves, “But if I say that, what will people think of me?”
That’s why I think most people see horror writers as depraved individuals who are strange, weird, a little bit creepy, probably unlovely, somebody who would be clammy to touch.
Most of the ones I know are big, hale and hearty, cheerful, outgoing, friendly people, and I think one of the reasons they are is that you have to have a certain confidence in yourself to be able to create a human monster.
Those are things that a lot of us keep locked in the closets of our minds and if we let them out, we let them out when there’s nobody around and our wives, husbands, or lovers are asleep.”—Stephen King (via writingquotes)
"David S. Goyer has set up another genre project at the network, an event series based on the 1980 dark fantasy novel Shadowland by Peter Straub. The book, a World Fantasy Award nominee, centers on two young boys, Tom Flanagan and Del Nightingale. They spend a summer with Del’s uncle Coleman, one of the foremost magicians in the world, who may actually be a sorcerer…"
Straub’s Shadowland is a beautiful, subtle, and elegiac novel which would make a great TV series under a thoughtful and delicate hand. But David S Goyer is doing it, so that’s that fucked.
In another surprise move by one of the show’s co-creators, Mark Frost revealed today that he has been working on a Twin Peaks novel called The Secret Lives of Twin Peaks that reveals “what happened to the people of that iconic fictional town since we last saw them 25 years ago”. It also offers “a deeper glimpse into the central mystery that was only touch on by the original series.”