Also during the small council meeting, Maester Pycelle displayed the white raven from the Citadel in Oldtown which means the maesters had determined the long summer was over and Winter is Coming. Littlefinger noted they had enough wheat for 5 years but if the winter lasted longer, well they'd have fewer peasants, of course.Alas poor Yoren! I knew him well. (April 16, 2012)
For some reason this reminded me of macroeconomic policy discussion. In the United States, the Business Cycle Dating Committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) is generally seen as the authority for dating US recessions just as the conclave of maesters date the seasons in Westeros. And it reminded me of the way elite policymakers take an "objective" view of the fates of the "small people." Fewer peasants if they didn't store enough wheat? No biggie. Transforming cyclical unemployment into long-term unemployment and degrading the nation's productive capacity with a prolonged output gap? Oh well, won't really effect our social circle, just the common people, who as Jorah Mormont said "don't care about the games the high lords play" and only "pray for rain, health and a summer that never ends."
(or the dragons are gone....)
"What's Dead May Never Die" Onion recap (for experts)The commenter "Archmage of the Aether" made me laugh with his avatar and comments:
"What's Dead May Never Die" Onion recap (for newbies)
More good comments.
Me: "Game of Thrones: the greatest show that ever was or will be!"
Fantasy, Modernism, and Capitalism (April 24, 2012)
What's attractive about the fantasy genre for me is that modernism entails capitalism and the cash nexus. The cash nexus dissolves bonds of social solidarity and value until you are left with nothing but price and cost. After the Cold War, welfare capitalism has given way to "greed is good" capitalism. There is no (or not much) honor, chivalry, loyalty, integrity, or virtue which were once the the redeeming aspects of capitalism's predecessor Feudalism. (Although obviously not everyone was honorable back especially given material circumstances.) Also late capitalism entails consumerism, and wall-to-wall advertising (flashing billboards, telemarketers calling during dinner, spam and pop-up ads), environmental disaster, urban blight, and an economy dominated by the financial sector and speculation/gambling. The Fantasy genre is a respite from all of that. Perhaps it's escapist to harken back to a lost age, but the fantasy genre does hold up the good virtues even if like in Game of Thrones, it's a brutal time of war.
Capitalism is undeniably a giant progress in a number of areas. Feminism and notions of human rights arrived in late-capitalism and welfare capitalism had less of a stratified, class structure. One of the undeniable reactionary aspects of Feudalism is its authoritarian appeal to a rigid social structure where everyone knows their place. Also obviously capitalism has less starvation during winter. Westeros is chock full of prostitution and the suffering small people. Esteros is full of slaves and brutality. What is compelling about Game of Thrones is that it explores the dark side of Feudalism in a realistic manner and doesn't romanticize it.
Why Two Percent Inflation Targeting is the New Gold Standard by Yglesias (May 22, 2012)
Season 2 Game of Thrones finale (June 4, 2012)
"Valar Morghulis" Onion review (for newbies)
"Valar Morghulis" Onion review (for experts)Election Forecast: Obama Begins With Tenuous Advantage by Nate Silver (June 10, 2012)
Instead, the policy-making committee could adopt the proposal of Charles Evans, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, that the Fed pledge to keep rates near zero until unemployment is down to 7 percent or inflation has risen to 3 percent. Such conditional guidance assures people that the Fed will keep at the job until unemployment is down or the toll on inflation becomes unacceptable.True Blood starts the new season off with a bang. Banging siblings, that is (io9 recap) by Meredith Woerner(!) (June, 11, 2012)
Pam! Pam! Pam! (or "One what?" as in Sookie will "owe one," a favor, to Pam.) (June 11,2012)
Lost Girl (June 12, 2012)
True Blood’s got 99 plot lines, and now Rick Santorum’s one? by Meredith Woerner (June 20, 2012)
Haters Gonna Hate (June 22, 2012)
In this season's True Blood, the backdrop is a conflict between the vampire Authority and the vampire Sanguinista movement. The Authority desires co-existence with humans via its strategy of "mainstreaming" as a matter of survival since vampires are outnumbered. The Sanguinistas believe in the literal interpretation of the vampire bible which says that humans are no more than food and to treat them as other than such is blasphemy.
Chief Judge John Roberts just acted like Christopher Meloni's Roman, the lead "Guardian" of the Authority. Roberts saw that if the conservative judges continued to act like super Senators with super vetoes - see Bush v. Gore and Citizens United - it would provoke a backlash. It would turn the U.S. into a banana republic instantly (rather than the slow erosion of Citizens United.) Likewise, Roman concludes that the Sanguinistas have not learned the historical lesson that it would be suicidal for the vastly outnumbered vampire population to start a war with humanity.