Back in the summer of 2005, I wrote a piece for the New York Times Magazine pointing out that high-def TV is spectacularly unforgiving of celebrities’ skin flaws. […] when the camera zoomed in on each full-screen interview headshot, I screamed and screamed like a little girl. It was like being Gulliver in Brobdingnag, queazed out by the sight of the giant’s pores looming like lunar craters. When one well-known celebrity power couple went in front of the camera, both of them looked sephulchral — despite double standards about beauty and aging, men and women are equally humbled before the soul-bearing gaze of high-def. “This,” I thought, “is going to end their careers.” […]
While I was doing the research, several people noted that the next big area of media getting hit by high-def future-shock was porn. “Have you ever actually seen a piece of high-def porn?” one TV analyst asked me. “It’s nasty.”” —Porn: Extra creepy-looking in high-def
Jesus got away to a good start.
In those days, according to the excellent sports commentator St Mathew, it was customary to flagellate the sprinters at the start the way a coachman whips his horses. The whip both stimulates and gives a hygienic massage. Jesus, then, got off in good form, but he had a flat right away. A bed of thorns punctured the whole circumference of his front tyre. […]
The bicycle frame in use today is of relatively recent invention. It appeared around 1890. Previous to that time the body of the machine was constructed of two tubes soldered together at right angles. It was generally called the right-angle or cross bicycle. Jesus, after his puncture, climbed the slope on foot, carrying on his shoulder the bike frame, or, if you will, the cross.” —The Passion Considered as an Uphill Bicycle Race, by Alfred Jarry
In this world the optimists have it, not because they are always right, but because they are positive. Even when wrong, they are positive, and that is the way of achievement, correction, improvement, and success. Educated, eyes-open optimism pays; pessimism can only offer the empty consolation of being right.
The one lesson that emerges is the need to keep trying. No miracles. No perfection. No millennium. No apocalypse. We must cultivate a skeptical faith, avoid dogma, listen and watch well, try to clarify and define ends, the better to choose means.” —“The Wealth and Poverty of Nations” by David S. Landes (via Applied Abstractions)