Life

"Why Everybody Should Work in Hollywood"

Not for me, but your mileage may vary.

I’m convinced that working in Hollywood is the most effective and efficient way to teach people how to work.

You have to work well under constant pressure. You have to be responsible for more things than anyone should have to be responsible for. And you have to be cunning. I’ve worked in the development and production of major motion pictures and television, then switched over to working in content at an advertising agency, and now work as a creative director at a media company, but in all my travels, the most incredible workers were those who got their start in the film & television biz. When I think about the things that make me good at my job, I can trace them back to what I learned being at the bottom of the food chain in Hollywood and fighting my way up.


"A few minutes with . . . a really smart soccer player"

There may still be hope for the country.

Being a college student is tough enough.

Imagine trying to keep up your grades while starting for the Michigan State women’s soccer team.

Sarah Kovan has done that extremely well.

Kovan, 21, is working on bachelor’s degrees in comparative cultures and politics and in human biology and was recently named a Rhodes Scholar, an achievement so rare, the school says she’s only the 17th at MSU since 1904. The award pays for Kovan to attend graduate school at the University of Oxford in England.


"Chrissie Hynde on artistic expression and the sexual revolution"

Ms. Hynde, speaking her mind.

You write pointedly about the sexual expectations of the 1960s. What do you think the sexual revolution has done for women?

I think it’s very convoluted. I’ve heard this kind of feminist argument a lot, there was a big sexual revolution and we took our lives into our own hands. It wasn’t like anyone took charge. I’m not saying whether that’s good or bad, but I think it confuses people. The idea of being promiscuous was cool in the sixties, because it meant you were free and you weren’t hung up. But that spreads a lot of disease. We could get rid of those diseases, so nothing seemed to matter. All people cared about was that you weren’t hung up. I mean, it’s very nice if you don’t want to have to be a stay-at-home housewife, but I’m not sure that was the choice people were making. I think they were putting that off as long as they wanted to and having as much sex as they could. I think it probably fucked up some people’s heads. You could bastardize what I’m saying, because I’m not making it very clear. But I’m not sure it was as liberating as it was almost enslaving. What’s liberation? That’s the real question. I’m still wondering myself.


Three on what, for a minute, was the big story and why they all miss an important point

Jonah Goldberg: "Campus Commotions Show We’re Raising Fragile Kids".

Noah Rothman: "A Plague of Racial Hoaxes on Campus".

Andrew Stuttaford: "Yale & Missouri: Power Play".

While these pieces capture part of the story of what's going on, they don't capture the main part. Permit me to identify it. It's something I'll call the Jackpot. The Jackpot is tied for the best experience a human can have. (The other tied for best experience was identified by Winston Churchill: "Nothing in life is so exhilarating as to be shot at without result.")

The Jackpot starts with a belief or an idea that an individual is absolutely, completely sure is both vital and true. The vitality and truth can be established by experience, education, tradition, instinct--it doesn't matter. (Examples: war is bad, poverty is bad, the first amendment doesn't cover "hate speech".) Second, the holder of said belief or idea must also believe that somehow, for some reason, there are a large number of people who don't share the belief or idea. Why? The holder thinks they're ignorant or evil--it doesn't matter. So the holder writes, yells, marches in support of the belief or idea and experiences the inexpressible thrill of being simultaneously correct and important and brave. This is the basic Jackpot.

The Jackpot is greatly enhanced if the holder's narrow self-interest also benefits from holding the belief or idea. And the ultimate enhancement of the Jackpot--the Jackpot of Jackpots, if you will--occurs if the holder imagines that the belief or idea puts him in some (small) danger of physical harm.

In my  lifetime a shining example of the Jackpot was the college-student protests against the Vietnam War. While many no doubt had pure convictions, the protests also reflected narrow self-interest. If the war ended, many of the protesters wouldn't have to risk being shot in rice paddies thousands of mile from home. Even in the short run, occupations of buildings and such meant they didn't have to go to class, and by many accounts, the protests made live rock-and-roll, drugs, and sex more readily available.  And for the hint of danger we have no less an authority than Stephen Stills: "That America is still the home of the brave oh yes it is / And you got to be brave children / How many is it that they shot down already? / Something like seventeen of us."

The details of how the events at the University of Missouri and at Yale last week, and similar events at places still to come, fit the Jackpot are left as an exercise for the reader.