Archive for the ‘ Uncategorized ’ Category

In the nineties…

In the nineties, Drexler became known as the Merchant Prince, for his transformation of the Gap from a shaggy little jeans chain to a gigantic but fairly nimble purveyor of the stuff everyone wears. For better or for worse, he helped transform the way Americans dress, or underdress… “Success” is often just a fancy word for “luck,” but a recurrence of it suggests the subsistence of design.

More than once, I asked Drexler to define “merchandising.” Sometimes he’d put the question to one of his junior merchants, who had perhaps got some of their definitions from the loudspeaker. “It’s telling America what to buy,” one told him. “It’s about investing in something and then selling it,” another said. These seemed to strike him as too prosaic or crass. They made no mention of the eye or the gut or of the throbbing sensation that comes over you when you see something that you are sure will sell, and sell out. …
The merchant must choose which goods to carry, in which assortments and colors, and at what price. It is a matter equally of capital allocation and taste. Drexler told me about a guy who operates a shoe company, who had just come to see him for advice. Drexler had chided him for running out of a shoe that was hot and overordering one that was not. “I said, ‘Why the hell would you buy the brown shoe more than the gray shoe? Clearly, the gray one looks better.’ He doesn’t know that. I know it. Because it’s internal. Or it’s external. But one shoe’s better than the other. It’s basically putting together a painting. And you cannot argue with a painting. You can’t debate what the right color is. There’s no answer. There’s no committee.”

New Yorker Profiles somehow manage to Deify anyone or anything. (And also, how crazy different is this industry?)


c.s. Lewis was probably a prick too

oh ish, forgot about this. Why do I have two?

Fifth of July

Creeper that I am–someone once called me an “information whore,” which was not meant kindly, but it works–I do enjoy reading blogs and getting a sense of the individual’s life from the small hints of personality smattered in posts. This may be the purpose of blogs themselves, but this new media stuff is all ambiguity and flying whales. What gets upsetting is when you try and take a different perspective and ask whether you’d actually be interested in meeting this person had you just run across them in the real world (I had to go back, delete irl and write the longhand out). More often than not the answer is no, but that’s probably true for old school writers as well. I bet Orwell was a real asshole.

Hey There

Let’s go back to the somewhat personal but not too personal route! (And maybe pictures of food, but not self-made, that’s just unattractive.) The result is being entirely too cryptic for most people’s interest or understanding. I regret that my future biographer will have some issues working out exactly what was going on, but I guess people can come to interpret this like literature, baaad literature. Perhaps I’m just saving all the juicy stuff for a tell-all confessional à la Augustine–or even better, à la James Frey.

So we’re about three weeks post-graduation and I’m doing some part time work and some reading. I have one plan–the official plan–but hoping to usurp that with a dramatically better plan. Both should be fun, although one will certainly be less fraught with uncertainty! We’ll know about how possible the execution for this second plan will be by Friday. I will let you know. Otherwise, I shall quietly delete this and we will never, ever mention this again.

The Liberalism of Academia

I still remember the comment my teacher wrote on one of my journal responses in junior year (HS) English, on the liberal slant in academia (a response to an Economist article), “But could it also be that more intelligent people are more likely to be liberal?” This struck me the wrong way at the time, but to temper the question down a bit we could ask whether liberals are more likely to have that “academic curiosity” or whether mostly-liberal-academics have created academia in their own image. After all, there are different academic cultures: see that of Mainland China (and possibly other East Asian countries), where the student-teacher relationship is much more hierarchical and derivative than the more egalitarian one here.

The NYT covered the work of two academics who would probably lean towards the latter. They argue that the profession is just typecast as a liberal one, just as nurses are typecast as a women’s profession, but they also make a good point about other factors that might perpetuate the liberalism among academics.

“Nearly half of the political lopsidedness in academia can be traced to four characteristics that liberals in general, and professors in particular, share: advanced degrees; a nonconservative religious theology (which includes liberal Protestants and Jews, and the nonreligious); an expressed tolerance for controversial ideas; and a disparity between education and income.

The mismatch between schooling and salary complements a theory that the Harvard professor Louis Menand raises in his new book “The Marketplace of Ideas.” He argues that the way higher education was structured by progressive reformers in the late 19th century is partly responsible for the political uniformity of today. In the view of the early reformers, the only way to ensure that quality, rather than profit, would be rewarded was to protect the profession from outside competition. The tradeoff for lower salaries was control; professors decide who gets to enter their profession and who doesn’t.” NYT

p.s. I voted so you can’t blame this sbrown thing on me

for Twang

I usually don’t like modern art, but I couldn’t help staring at this one until I realized what it was about it; this is like, metaphase or something…