Finally, They Notice

Is this the beginning of the end of the nation state?

Imagine a world where your virtual self is just as important as your physical location. Well it may not be far away. For about AU$70 and a thumbprint you can now become an e-resident of Estonia. It’s the first country in the world to offer what it calls a digital identity to foreigners. Some people say it may be the beginning of the end of the nation state.

Remember where you heard it first, though.

Thank you, n8chz, for the link.

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Russian Jew Thanksgiving

Instead of a properly Jewish Thanksgiving, this will, rather, be a “Russian Jew Thanksgiving” because, aside from the famous gefilte fish, I will be making a traditional Russian coulibiac with wild mushrooms. I never made a coulibiac before because I’m a really shitty baker. I have never even tried one. But recently N and I were watching a Russian TV show where people were eating a coulibiac. The wistful expression on N’s face told me I needed to be making a coulibiac as soon as possible.

I will post the coulibiac recipe tomorrow.

Trashy Reading

I’m looking for trashy, relaxing reading as I’m recovering from a major cold. There was a cute discussion of a novel titled Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant on NPR today. Has anybody read it? Is it good? I need something that I can snooze through in front of a fireplace. Ideally, no intellectual capacity will be strained in the process of reading this book.

Great Minds

Grabbed the phone to send a text message to my husband to ask him to buy firewood. And saw that there was a message from him to me saying, “Please buy firewood.”

Great minds think alike but some of them think faster than others.

Now I have to go get firewood before I proceed to cook the planned dishes for our Jewish Thanksgiving.

“I had no idea Jewish people had Thanksgiving,” a student said after I shared this information in class.

So I had to explain that I invented my own Jewish Thanksgiving because I need to perfect my gefilte fish recipe.

An Update on Ukraine: Stupid Freaks

Ukraine has stopped social assistance payments to the inhabitants of “The People’s Republic of Donetsk.” The “People’s Republicans” are whining and moaning about the unfairness of that decision. 

This is a region where nobody has ever considered the possibility of working and feeding themselves. It has always been about demanding that somebody feed them. The whorish mentality of the region’s inhabitants is nothing short of appalling. 

I think I already shared the story of my young and able-bodied cousins in Donetsk who sent off their retirement-age mother to a fish factory in Canada so that she can work herself to death and feed them and their young and able-bodied husbands. The mother’s Canadian visa ran out and she was planning to return home. But the 30-year-old “children” opposed her return because they need the mother to keep working and feeding them. They are supervising her every move, throwing tantrums every time she takes a free day because when she is working, she is not making money to send to them. And nobody is seeing this situation as strange or worthy of comment. I mean, she is their mother, so of course she is supposed to provide for them.

Ask me once again why I emigrated.

Which Philosopher Are You?

Here is an interesting quiz to determine one’s philosophical stance.

Unsurprisingly, my views coincide 100% with those of Ayn Rand. More surprisingly, I coincide in 0% with Jean-Jacques Rousseau. I really thought there would be at least a 5% overlap, but there is nothing. I’m also close to John Stuart Mill and Jean-Paul Sartre.

American Business vs Western European Business

My sister, let’s call her Kuzechka (emphasis  on  the  first syllable, belongs to an international association of business leaders. She has recently traveled to the association’s conference  in Amsterdam, and here are some of her observations:

1. On the positive side, all of the Dutch businesses leaders speak sensationally  good  English.

2. On the negative side, was everything else:

A. Compared to the global vision of the North American chapter of the association, the Western European chapter presented a very parochial approach.

B. Western European business leaders (mostly, Dutch and German) express an intense admiration of North American business but can’t hope to match it because their openness to new ideas is low. The general approach to everything is that of scepticism, which contrasts with the American enthusiasm.

C. The association constantly bemoans the low number of female business leaders among its members. Still, the Dutch chapter decided that it would be a good idea to surprise its members in the midst of the conference with a strip tease number performed by sex workers. Kuzechka says something like this is absolutely unthinkable at the North American chapter of the organization.

“Jeez, don’t tell me the strippers were Eastern European,” I said to Kuzechka.

“Worse,” she replied. “They were women of color.”

When Kuzechka expressed her dismay at this development, the Dutch organizers responded with, “We are very liberal here, in the Netherlands.” Apparently, the Dutch definition of liberalism is that of an old white boys’ club sexually serviced by non-white women.

During the break, the Dutch businessmen gleefully gossiped about the horrible prevalence of sexism in the United States and were taken aback by Kuzechka ‘s suggestion that their own sexism is quite evident,  as well.

D. Everybody in Western Europe is a lot more interested in what is happening in Ukraine than people in North America are. However, the main idea everybody expresses is, “Putin sucks but let’s not anger him. Our government angered Putin with sanctions, and now he won’t buy our tomatoes.”

As a North American business leader, Kuzechka was puzzled by the idea that business leaders are expecting the government to scare up customers for their businesses.

Conclusion: it is not surprising that North American business owns the world. Even the best competition is not that impressive.

The Worship of Incompetence

A very good analysis:

McCulloch stood there, and described an execution, then in the next breath said there was nothing to see here. He didn’t sound like any prosecutor I have heard before. He sounded much more like a defense attorney, the defense attorney for Darren Wilson. A prosecutor wants an indictment when they go to a grand jury so therefore in the almost non-existent cases where they don’t get one, they are distraught, just as they are when they lose a case in court. McCulloch hardly seemed upset about the decision, in fact he seemed vindicated, just like a defense attorney would be after they got their client off.

Exactly. A prosecutor who couldn’t get a grand jury to indict is a prosecutor who failed to do his job. He should be contrite and apologetic. American justice system is an adversarial one. Its entire success hinges on it being adversarial. And “adversarial” means that a prosecutor is opposing the defense. He should be motivated to win against the defense, not do the defense’s work for it.

First, Wilson takes the people’s money and fails to perform his job duties, whining about his fee-fee-feelings. Then, McCulloch fails to do his job and flaunts his incompetence as a badge of honor. And somehow, after all this vaunted incompetence neither is subjected to public firing and shaming for being so inept. What is it with this worship of incompetence?

I don’t understand why people are not angry about this. If you failed this badly at your job, would your employer keep you around? If your employees fucked up this bad and this publicly, would you be keeping them on the payroll? This situation is an insult to everybody who brings home an honest paycheck.

Personal Achievement

I just arrived at Global Foods where I drove completely on my own. It’s 45 minutes on a difficult highway.

Shit’s terrifying but what wouldn’t I do for food? Now the trick is to get back in one piece.

N is cheering me on with text messages from work.

Baby Darren

Have you read Darren Wilson’s testimonyThe members of that grand jury have zero self – respect if they allowed this load of steamy shit to be poured into their ears.

But notice an interesting thing: a grown man in a very macho profession has no problem whatsoever with publicly self – infantilizing to an extraordinary degree. Wilson offers a spectacle of regression to a childhood stage, hoping that the five – year – old persona he is adopting will help him avoid responsibility for his adult actions.

And the really sad part is that it works. Nobody seems repelled by the picture of an adult man in a very responsible position who starts to speak in a baby voice, sharing his childish fantasies about TV characters, the moment he is asked to account for his actions.

If Wilson can perform this kind of a regression so easily in front of a bunch of strangers in an official setting,  chances are, this was far from being the first time. Putting on a spectacle of being a lost and wronged little baby seems like a well – honed skill of Wilson’s. What’s curious is that working as a policeman did not get in the way of him developing this skill. This means that everyone around him must have reacted as if slipping into a childish persona is a normal thing for an adult man to do. And given that nobody is picking up on the deep pathology of his testimony, I’m not surprised.

The burden of adulthood and responsibility is too heavy for many people to carry. This is why they so easily identify with somebody who puts on a show of being a child trapped in an adult’s body. They experience no compassion whatsoever towards actual children. To the contrary, children provoke resentment because of their legitimate lack of adult responsibilities. Observing Wilson on the stand and reading his testimony allows such people to experience a cathartic feeling of symbolically killing an actual child in order to stand in the child’s place and declare their right to continue being children.

The grand jury’s refusal to hold Wilson accountable for his actions – as we know, the jury literally removed the need for Wilson to give public account of what he did – is an official endorsement of immaturity and irresponsibility as an acceptable way of life for an adult. The right of overgrown babies to remain babies for as long as they shall live is deemed even more important than somebody else’s right to keep living.

The time has come for us to ask ourselves: where does this road lead us all? What is each of us ready to sacrifice to allow the perennially infantile to keep sucking on the tit of our society because they refuse to learn to seek adult nourishment and work for it?