My eagerness to dismiss the protests as so much ego and vanity speaks to a deep and pervasive cynicism about the political sincerity of the Left, and particularly middle-class leftists, who some would say have no legitimate reason to be complaining. The view that leftist protest is fundamentally inauthentic is a legacy of the youth movements of the 1960s, which were recast and denigrated as hippie hedonism.
Are the Occupy protests composed of douchey hipsters, professional activist types, and hard-left outcasts who have such a core sense of self-righteous self-importance that they have a contempt for the people whose petty lives inhibit their own participation? I was thinking about this as I was sitting in the crowd at a Columbia University lecture [...]
I left the Jacobin panel debate on Occupy Wall Street on October 14 pretty dispirited. In the process of trying to address shared concerns that the protests would dissipate, the participants seemed to be instantiating the dissipation. They talked past one another and at times seemed to want to cast suspicion on the good faith of [...]
Just as the recessions of the 1990s brought us “The Jobless Future” and “The End of Work,” our current downturn has brought no shortage of essays arguing that there is something structurally ineivitable about high unemployment. A recent entry in the field is this essay at CNN.com by tech theorist Douglas Rushkoff, who argues that [...]
This tout on Lifehacker by Alan Henry for a browser extension that turns responding to emails into a game seems innocuous enough. Henry’s summary, however, touches on some of the rhetoric that makes gamification so insidious: The developer behind The Email Game reminds us of the time when getting email used to be fun, and [...]
Is the internet a consolation prize for having to live with a stagnant economy and fewer opportunities for steady employment? Are we consigned to pandering in the online attention economy to escape from our nostalgia for the time when the young could actually become self-sufficient? This comes from an Edge.org conversation with Jaron Lanier, the [...]
1. Thanks to an airline-miles deal, I started getting the WSJ again (though it remains to be seen how consistently it will actually reach my doorstep). Once upon a time, my daily encounter with the newspaper drove a lot more of what I wrote about on my Marginal Utility blog, so I am feeling a [...]