Exports

Turns out there’s a ban on exporting crude oil from the US. Extreme weirdness. Everybody needs to export as much oil and gas as possible to help Putin collapse like a rotted-out carcass already.

The Answer to the Light Bulb Riddle

Yes, burnt out light bulbs were used to steal good ones at work.  Everybody stole something at work. I remember thinking that something must have been deeply wrong with my parents since they never stole anything at their work.

Congratulations to reader Tom Benjamin for giving the perfect answer.

Soviet Light Bulbs: A Riddle

OK, folks, let’s see how well you understand Soviet mentality.

In the USSR, there were constant shortages of consumer goods. People had to come up with inventive ways to get all kinds of small household items.

At some point, people started selling burnt out light bulbs. New, functioning light bulbs were impossible to purchase so people bought burnt out bulbs on the black market.

Question: how did Soviet people use the burnt out light bulbs?

Consumerism Meets Post-Fordism

I’m getting really tired of the endless articles that claim young people are increasingly likely to be emotionally fragile to the point of near incapacitation because professors make them this way. This is patently ridiculous because our students are way to old for us to mold their personalities. They come to us like this, and all we can do is find ways to educate them in spite of this grave defect.

The reason why people get this way are consumerism and death of Fordism.

1. Consumerism.

A student was writing a quiz once but was unprepared and couldn’t answer some of the questions. He became extremely agitated and demanded I give him his money back (sic!) because I made him feel (sic!!!) stupid.

Consumer mentality suggests that emotions are a consumer good, just like a cell phone, a bike or a hamburger. Just like hamburgers, emotions originate outside of oneself and can be obtained from their creators in exchange for money. The student was convinced that he’d paid not to be assisted in acquiring knowledge but to be given positive emotions that professors will manufacture for him. When he experienced negative emotions instead, he perceived the situation as an aggrieved consumer who’d been sold a malfunctioning call phone.

I managed to talk the student down from his enraged and erratic behavior by addressing him like a two-year-old: processing his emotions for him and returning them back to him in a safe format. Obviously, I’d rather not have to do that but what can I do if instead of being taught this useful skill in childhood, the fellow was handed a credit card and told to go buy himself pleasant emotions?

2. Death of Fordism.

The time when the market valued uniformity and conveyor – belt behavior on the part of workers is long gone. As Zygmunt Bauman pointed out, today people go on the job market to sell their complex and unusual personalities. But since most don’t have interesting personalities, they sell idiosyncrasies and invented collections of traumas instead.

When a consumer meets a post-Fordist worker, we get these showily fragile individuals who fake being overly emotional because they believe it sells.