Who will walk in Carlin’s shoes?

George Carlin: American Radical:

“I don’t consider myself a cynic. I think of myself as a skeptic and a realist. But I understand the word ‘cynic’ has more than one meaning, and I see how I could be seen as cynical. ‘George, you’re cynical.’ Well, you know, they say if you scratch a cynic you find a disappointed idealist. And perhaps the flame still flickers a little, you know?”

We will all miss George Carlin. There’s no one to take his place. Most comedy today dances on the edge of vulgar racism, sexism, xenophobia and the catalog of mean thoughts, thinking that it makes fun of racism or sexism or hatred of others while heartily engaging in it.

Cozy movie promotions

Times screen grabWant to see the impact of the too-close relationship between media and the media it covers? Look at the promo for Mike Myers’ apparently awful new movie on the front page of The New York Times.

While the deck on the front page says “Mike Myers floats through ‘The Love Guru’ with serene confidence,” the actual review is a complete pan of the flick that says “’The Love Guru’ is downright antifunny, an experience that makes you wonder if you will ever laugh again.”

Now, why write a deck that conveys the opposite message than the review? Because The Times needs movie ads. Someone breezing through the front page would get a favorable impression, despite how bad the story judges the movie to be. It softens the blow to the film studios, who would surely recognize the reason for the powder-puff promo. Maybe the managing editor thought this was a clever play on words, but the message is clear: “We need to cover up how bad this movie is.”

Sure, it’s just a movie review. We should expect more from the Grey Lady. If the film is terrible, promo the review with that message and set readers expectations for a bad review. Either way, they’ll read the review because a strong message gets read every time.

How about “Impotent ‘Love Guru’ suffers from Mike Myers’ insincere confidence”? People will read that, and they’ll come to the article with a clear idea about what they are about to read.

You Kant be social and barbaric?

“All industries, arts, and crafts have gained by the division of labour—that is to say, one man no longer does everything, but but each confines himself to a particular task, differing markedly from the highest perfection and with greater ease. Where tasks are not so distinguished and divided, where every man is a jack of all trades, there industry is still sunk in utter barbarity.”—Immanuel Kant, Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals

It’s interesting to note that in the evolving economy, we are both more specialized and necessarily more generalist. We must specialize deeply in the tasks we want to accomplish for remuneration and generalists in those we share freely as part of the exchange of information that allows new value to spring from social software. We’re just not clear about where the dividing line is or where it will be in the future.

Evolving into an unnatural state or the same old state?

My friend Sanford talked to my friend Joi, when Joi said:

“Maybe most people don’t know (or don’t think is real) is that I am really very shy. It takes a lot of energy to not be shy – but it is not a natural act for me. With all of my exposure, I have had to grow into this visible state. As a function of doing what I want to do, I end up meeting people and networking. But this is not my natural state.”

What’s interesting about this is that Joi describes his work as a form of alienation from his true self, despite all the companies he started having begun as hobbies. It is striking, because it suggests little has changed about the nature of work, even as the speed of innovation and finance has transformed the outward environment.

Another knick in cycling’s heavily damaged body

BBC SPORT | Boonen banned from Tour de France:

Former world champion Tom Boonen will not be allowed to compete at next month’s Tour de France after testing positive for cocaine.

With last year’s Tour winner, Alberto Contador, out of this year’s Tour because he rides for Team Astana, which was banned for doping after last year’s race, this year’s Tour de France is looking pretty frayed even before it begins. Contador won a classic Giro d’Italia last week and looks like the odd’s-on favorite to win in Paris in July, if only he were riding.

The times, they keep a-spendin’

Stimulus payments result in record May deficit – washingtonpost.com:

A flood of economic aid payments pushed the federal budget deficit to $165.9 billion, the highest imbalance ever for May.

The Treasury Department reported Wednesday that the May deficit was more than double what it was in May 2007. Some $48 billion in payments went out as part of the $168 billion economic relief effort to revive the economy and keep the country from a deep recession.

Just another biggest, first-ever accomplishment to note in the long history of the Reagan Legacy, Bush administration and what John McCain would call “progress.”