3-second film review -- Boy A

The boys who killed James Bulger were released years ago. 

Fictional projection of one who was rehabilitated. Are ten year olds innately evil? Or is the blame broader?

Warm warm up with inevitable third act.

How to apologize

We're presently in an uproar over comments made on a late-night Fox TV program disparaging Canada's military and indirectly slagging our war on terror. Beside the argument that Canada has done a lot of good by staying focused on the ball after 9/11, these 2-am, middle-aged frat boys need to apologize.

So, how did they say sorry for hating on a military that has lost 120 soldiers in some of the fiercest Taliban fights over seven years?  Their corporate PR department issued a press release in the name of Greg Gutfeld, one of several people implicated:
I realize that my words may have been misunderstood. It was not my intent to disrespect the brave men, women and families of the Canadian military, and for that I apologize. [The TV show] is a satirical take on the news, in which all topics are addressed in a lighthearted, humorous and ridiculous manner.
Clearly, this is not a heartfelt or spontaneous reply, but a statement that dodges responsibility for what cannot be denied, and then calls it satire. Satire, by the way, is when you tell a lie while winking; there was nothing satirical in the five minute episode.

Contrast this with what Peter MacKay's PR spokesperson Dan Dugas counselled Gutfeld to say:
I think that so-called comedian should stare in the camera at his first opportunity and apologize to all of the families of people he's hurt with these despicable comments. And he's got to say, 'I was misinformed. I was ignorant of the truth and the contribution of the Canadian Forces to the war on terror, and I want to take it back. I know as a comedian that I can fail sometimes; I failed miserably at this so-called comedy.' And his panellists should say the same.
This imagined statement, coming not from Gutfeld but from those he disparaged, would have been much more honest than Gutfeld's own clinical wording. Fox's PR people could learn a few lessons in projecting honesty and sincerity from the spokesman of Canada's Defence Minister:
  1. Make your apology personally and directly.
  2. Actually apologize; don't say you were misunderstood when you were not.
  3. Take responsibility.

3-second film review -- Happy-Go-Lucky

Raw, effortless and affirming scenes of a good person who adds to a world inhabited by several people who do not.

A serious world perhaps needs grounded lightness.

(London accents of some kind; no English subtitles.)

What is terrorism?

For nearly a decade, I've been very clear about how I define this word: terrorism is the use of violence against civilians for political leverage.

Examples: bombs in mailboxes blowing up innocent men and women in London and Montreal to bring international media and political attention to the IRA and FLQ, respectively. If you care not about innocent human life, these methods were actually efficient in the short run. Of course, they are evil, perpetrated by evil men, and I believe in the long run they fail because it is hard to gather friends and supporters when your heart is pus and bile and your mind is cracked with hatred.

The PLO has engaged in terror. By my definition, the Oct. 2000 suicide bombing of the USS Cole was not a terror attack -- I would term that a guerrilla attack. While suicide bombings of a Tel Aviv restaurant is terror.

This definition I feel is important, much more so than in the USS Cole case. The definition should not be molested or forgotten. On Jan. 30, 1972, British Para's in Ulster shot 27 civil rights protesters, killing thirteen, including two teenagers and a priest. All who were shot were unarmed; five were hit in the back. No one has been charged.

My definition has two tests: that the act is against civilians and it is for political leverage. Clearly, Bloody Sunday meets the first test; on the second, it is unclear whether it was murder or terrorism. 

But the result of Bloody Sunday is key: a two-decade long, bloody and unnecessary terror campaign by the IRA. If we call it terror only when fighters are not uniformed, we leave an ethical vacuum that is filled with death.

I think my definition gels with a more general sense of justice; while Brits sick of IRA terrorism may have irrationally supported their Paras in 1972, an emotionally sober, disinterested party could only find it disgusting. Irrationally supporting terrorism carried out by men with uniforms and very long, clear chains of command is extending the evil into the population. It cannot stand long. A civilian population that accepts this is bending the bar too far and it must return to centre or snap. I believe that large civilian populations are usually good.

Justice is a difficult, difficult subject -- always being trampled on by heated emotions, inflamed by propaganda. Rational thought -- as Pierre Trudeau might say -- must trump emotional nationalism and the cult of victimhood.

What is intellectualsm?

I think that women will probably soon be competing head to head with men in the marathon and in Ironman Triathlons. It's about as complicated and unscientific to explain as "the right way to catch fish," but the trends seem to show this, and Brits Paula Radcliff in the 26 miler and Chrissie Wellington in the 140.6 miler are both breaking through the glass pack (sorry).

Radcliff was a bit of an idol to me -- a guy -- when I got into running in 2002. Female athletics is interesting because the Michael-Jordan esq success is more definite. We don't  know how fast the men's marathoner could potentially run, or at the time we didn't know the limit of MJ's brilliance, but we can measure exactly the fewer and fewer men who are better than Radcliff and Wellington.

This has nothing to do with the following. 

I got into the summer Olympics sometime in the late 1990s or so and I noticed there was an area of sport called "athletics." This seemed odd, because the entire Olympic movement seems to have a lot to do with athleticism, and all of the competitors are called athletes. Why call some sports athletics and not call others athletics?

Well, English is weird. But this term "athletics" is reserved for a more narrow definition of Olympic sport: track, field and marathon. It's arbitrary, but I think it works.

Athletics is a weird term. And so is "intellectual."

What exactly is an intellectual. Are corporate CEOs not very smart? And doctors and lawyers? What about world class musicians, or engineers? Or very smart high school teachers. All of these professions attract mostly smart people; why not call these people intellectuals?

Well, the word appears to be reserved for one of two things. Broadly, you could call anythone who thinks creatively and expresses this verbally or in writing as an intellectual; certainly a world-class architect or say Albert Einstein would fit this. More narrowly, an intellectual (or, perhaps a social-sciences or public intellectual) may be someone who speaks or writes intelligently about important public issues. David Frum or Christopher Hitchens -- who don't appear to do anything but engage in a life-long dialectic -- may be under this narrow definition. They undertake no experiments and produce virtually zero original evidence. This isn't physics. They simply talk or write about society. 

So, I wondered for a long time why have a word to describe these people who don't do anything but write or talk to each other? Why not call them writers?

Here's my point. One day -- I think it was the summer of 2004 -- I thought of an idea I called the Simple Moral Imperative. If I wrote down a definition, I cannot find it, but as I recall it goes like this: when tackling an issue, focus only on the indisputable moral issues and achieve understanding and agreement there. Avoid unending debate by converting the unresolvable argument into one of certainties. So, if you're arguing a political issue, start with asking if genocide is occurring. If it is, you don't really need to argue any more. (Maybe you need to send guys with guns.)

So, what are David Frum and Christopher Hitchens? Perhaps they undertake a version of this. Perhaps theirs is a large, public, contribution to a centuries-old conversation in which difficult and "messy" issues are attacked by first identifying the Simple Moral Imperatives associated with each, thus converting a social science debate into a scientific one; converting messy issues of opinion into ones of unambiguous and universal morality. At least in this way they would be advancing intellectual knowledge and not chatting with big words.

AIG bonuses

No issue has united the left and right like this. A company whose leadership has done nothing but fail for two years; a company whose management is so incompetent that the business -- the world's largest financial institution in 2008 -- would evaporate from the planet if it were not for a $150 billion handout from American taxpayers. 

AIG is an epic icon of failure and immorality, responsible to a serious degree for the greatest economic disaster to affect the world in nearly 80 years.

And yet, the leadership is rewarding itself with $150 million in bonuses.

I think this illustrates a problem with how public markets have altered capitalism. We have ceased to think of AIG's management as "the help," when in fact they are an educated form of just that. Because large public companies usually have no clear owner -- just millions of stockholders -- a vacuum forms at the top and is filled by people who work at the company, but own little or none of it. But we have to remember that capitalism is based on ownership, not management. If it was based on management it would be called something like gilded socialism.

In the realm of private, closely held companies, management is just a more skilled form of a company's labour. Owners of private companies hire people with good track records and perhaps education and demonstrated skills, to achieve certain results using the owner's capital. If they are successful, they will usually be paid well, and may be rewarded with some of the profits or perhaps even with a sliver of the owner's capital itself.

But these private company managers know their place -- they know the owner is not an irrelevant abstraction. The owner is often someone they see in the halls and in meetings every day; or at least is someone who visits the office. They cannot fire the owner but the owner can dismiss them. 

Public companies should be the same. But this vacuum has allowed management to take the role of owner.  

Obama's challenge is to change this perception; to ensure that managers manage and owners decide, among other things, how much managers are to be paid. I fail to understand why this is so difficult in the case of AIG, as Obama's government owns 80 per cent of the firm. Why does Obama not remove AIG's board and appoint a committee representing taxpayers to evaluate the past achievements of AIG's top managers and make decisions about their future ability to create value for the firm. Instead of the loosers controlling the purse strings, they will be purged Once AIG has competent managers and is stabilized, it should be returned to the private sector under a new regime of regulation.

Apart from AIG, we need to understand how this ascension of management occurs, and we need to prevent it. Unless a CEO is like Bill Gates, where s/he owns a large part of the company (ideally a controlling share), all CEOs, CFOs, or SVPs should act as though their "owner" is someone who walks the halls and asks questions about $1,200 trash bins and other things that are difficult to sneak by a private company owner. We need a mechanism to make public companies operate with the kind of attention and passion private company owners bring.

The Democratic party

Short post: after the Civil War, the Republican Party was despised in the U.S. South and white racists gravitated to the Democratic Party, where they stayed until the 1960s. The Civil Rights Movement was a major shift: Democrats handed more power (a incremental increase in power) to Southern blacks and white racists and those who just lean that way shifted to the Republicans. The Republican party enjoyed substantial success in elections following this, but America's demographic shift may suggest this was a poor bet. Yes, non-whites are increasing as a fraction of U.S. voters, but it is simplistic to think this is the only effect.

Non-whites are also increasing as a fraction of the population. Even if they do not vote, their very existence -- the fact that many white families have only become friends with an Indian, Chinese, black or Latino family in the last generation -- shifts the thinking of moderates. Moderates who only knew white people could support an all-white, for whites, party in the U.S. Today, it's hard to find people so isolated. 

The Democrats have the moral lead in this because they lead the Civil Rights campaign. Obama of course is a Democrat. So this party stands to benefit from the unstoppable spirit of multiculturalism enveloping the United States. 

Perhaps this also illustrates the value of moral leadership. Where Dick Cheney's geopolitical view is that power is something to employ to achieve goals -- invade a country to acquire its oil because no one can stop you -- I think History will show that a failure to have moral leadership can be very very expensive. 

Is CostCo like a casino?

Check out this quote from Costco's plain spoken CEO, Jim Sinegal:

At Costco, one of Mr. Sinegal’s cardinal rules is that no branded item can be marked up by more than 14 percent, and no private-label item by more than 15 percent. In contrast, supermarkets generally mark up merchandise by 25 percent, and department stores by 50 percent or more.

“They could probably get more money for a lot of items they sell,” said Ed Weller, a retailing analyst at ThinkEquity.

But Mr. Sinegal warned that if Costco increased markups to 16 or 18 percent, the company might slip down a dangerous slope and lose discipline in minimizing costs and prices.
Although there's more to Costco than its prices (the "treasure hunt" it engineers), having a firm limit on retail margins is part of its relationship with consumers. Consumers sometimes win big in this relationship. Where demand is extraordinarily high, Costco could break its 15 per cent rule and both raise profits and reduce out-of-stocks. This is commonly referred to as "good business".

But the unflappable Sinegal stands firm, in a sense allowing consumers to occasionally win a "shopping jackpot," further fulfilling its treasure hunt experience.

For casinos, their stream of revenue requires that they frequently hand over bags of money to random strangers. Any eight year old knows that this is their essential element (that and unnecessary sequins). Stop the jackpots and a casino wouldn't last a day.

Seems obvious. And it is obvious to Jim Sinegal. So why do other businesses subordinate their essential element to bottom line cost control?

3-second film review -- Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist

Brilliant title and exciting soundtrack, but I think they forgot to hire a screenwriter. Nothing real happens to the characters. Good for kids and/or people who like NYC at night. (Michael Cera may have overdone the under-acting).

OneLook -- better than Dictionary.com

I was reading a book about Google last night; though their success seems inevitable now, there was a point where Yahoo was monetizing their page much more than Google and I could imagine a reasonable person wondering if Google had the right strategy?

Of course, the right strategy was to subordinate monetization to the "product"; offering the fastest and best search results is Google's essential element.

Dictionary.com has a lot of ads and a lot of street cred. Perhaps for this reason I kept it as my standard dictionary for years after discovering the superior OneLook. But today I switched. 

OneLook is a writer's dictionary. It's clean and uses a simple command box with instructions right beneath the box. Its best feature, however, is the reverse dictionary: you type a few words and it usually produces hundreds of words or phrases in a sort of semantic triangulation.

Just 'cause I'm at it, I also use these writing tools:

Reform vehicular homicide laws

Some guy named Caleb Harrison just received an 18-month prison sentence for killing a 44-year old taxi driver named Michael while driving drunk in 2005.

I continually feel these sentences don't reflect the crime. For me, driving drunk and causing injury/death, or racing and causing the same, is akin to throwing hatchets off buildings. We know -- we all know -- that people can die because of this behaviour. So why is it treated more as an accident than as a pre-meditated crime against an unknown victim?
In sentencing him, Justice Michael Tulloch told Harrison that he seemed to be "a decent man" with many positives but he was lucky he didn't receive a prison sentence.
Someone who kills an innocent person with a 2000 lb weapon ceases to be a "decent man." He is a horrible human being; more horrible than virtually all Canadians. He should not be among us non-killers for a decade because he he drove his Mercedes into a taxi and killed a 44-year old man. 

Furthermore, he is not allowed to drive for two years, following his release, just as he was not allowed to drink prior to his killing. 

Driving drunk, or racing a car, and subsequently injuring or killing someone, should be treated like the crime compounding a crime that it is; in fact, Harrison was a criminal twice just when he got in his car that night -- as a drunk driver and as a violator of his probation. 

If a known drug dealer on probation sells rat poison to an innocent person, killing him, he'd be looking at a decade in prison. A drunk driver knows, or should know, that he is doing much the same thing.

Michael Bryant reformed racing laws; perhaps it's easier to do that because the target appears to be outside of "normal" society -- young punks. Well, a young punk who stays under 120 on the highway is a thousand or a million times more decent and responsible as a Canadian than this killer.

Expensive cars -- Chronicle of a Death Foretold

Tata Motors and Renault have both pioneered very cheap cars; the business strategy is initially based on Eastern European and South Asian economics, a constraint that is disciplining these car-makers to be cost-obsessed. These cars are built to have some reliability and not be ugly, but otherwise be stripped down versions of what we today consider a car.

What is that exactly?

Cars have become sort of space ships; no casual mechanic can understand how they work in their entirety. But a car built from scratch to be simple -- to have far fewer parts and simpler parts -- is a spectacular game-changer for this market. It's as powerful and simple as Wal-Mart's supply chain.

To some degree, cars are status symbols, and middle-class professionals are more likely to buy diapers and CDs at Wal-Mart than to drive a car that screams "cheap." But this doesn't mean they won't. In today's economics, with failed business models for major automakers, reduced disposable income for consumers, and the knowledge that fuel economy will continue to become a priority, small, cheap, reliable, simple cars will come to dominate. To put a figure on it, I predict the $7000 car in Canada by 2014; it will have around 50 hp and hold four passengers and some cargo. It will be noisy on the highway and be devoid of anything digital. It will be repairable by people who can understand how lawnmowers work.

These cars will displace $30,000 and $50,000 cars just as netbooks displaced notebooks and Ryanair displaced BA. Why? It's about distinguishing between features and the essential element of a technology.

The essential element of a car (apart from the status symbol) is that it is used to take people or cargo places that are too far to walk. Perhaps that's so simple that we have forgotten it. But Ryanair understood that the essential element of airlines is that they deliver destinations; a plane ticket is not a gourmet sandwich, nor leather, nor pretty skirts nor stereo headsets, it is Greece, Barcelona or Paris. Equally, netbooks provide the essential elements of surfing the web, writing prose, creating presentations and storing numerical data.

A BMW is a method of getting people or cargo further than one can walk ... PLUS, tens of thousands of dollars worth of surplus features. Certainly, in an era where compensatory consumption is vital, not just to egos but perhaps also to one's career and position among peers, these features were a true investment; like buying expensive season's tickets at the Air Canada Centre. But are we still in that era?

There are numerous supply and regulatory issues to be worked out; it could take five years before we see these cars in Canada. But when we do, I am certain it will form one of the most significant shifts in personal automobiles since the assembly line brought cars within reach of assembly line workers.

Good Business Week article (2007).

Duffy -- lungs that won't quit

Born the year Mulrony was first elected, Reagan was re-elected and Orwell was deferred, Welsh singer Duffy (her last name, but a good moniker) is 1970s disco/soul reincarnated. It's amazing when young people express old souls; some things you can package, but this girl could carry a SkyDome of Boomers as well as any Rod Stewart.

Rockferry -- easily her strongest single. epic, soaring, fragile. Perhaps written reading Yeats?
I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Warwick Avenue -- poppy tear fest 
Mercy -- radio friendly with a video shot using Super 8 film preserved from the year her father started university.

Around 1997 everyone started dancing swing. I think Duffy's the vanguard of the new retro swing.

Brilliant Huff Post take on media complicity

They should teach this blog post, and the much more brilliant Jon Stewart rant that gave rise to it, in journalism schools and frankly schools for citizens in democracies, for a generation.

Clearly, the world economic system failed society in some way. My view -- for a later post -- is that it has a lot to do with the cluster of people called Manhattan and that Rockefeller Plaza isn't in Pittsburgh.

So, not only is it odd that Stewart, though a New York-based show one that I think is outside of the mainstream, speaks truth to ... well, normal people ... but I think it's actually quite expected that the only clear thinking getting broadcast today comes from outside the mainstream.

Will Bunch -- not a fan of Reagan -- gives a few lessons "real" journalists could learn from Stewart's show:

  • research trumps access. Be smarter than everyone else.
  • stop pretending the media was not complicit
  • make it watchable by average people. average people have a mind and can make it up and think critically, but perhaps have little time in their busy lives for stuffy shirted faux gravitas.

Democrats Rush to celebrate

I wish I could find the quote; Scott Reid, former communication director for PM Martin, once said (to paraphrase), don't look at what a politician says, look at what he wants. 

Astutely, Obama's #2 Rahm Emanuel recently called Rush Limbaugh "the voice and the intellectual force and energy behind the Republican Party." Of course Emanuel is not praising Limbaugh or the Republicans; he is trying to cement Limbaugh's status in the media as the spokesperson for the party.

This is astute for two reasons: Limbaugh is passionately obeyed by a fanatical core of Republican voters too small as a group to ever form a majority; he is also unappealing to moderates and extremely unpopular among young voters. In other words, he is a polarizing figure who could overwhelmingly win an election of old, white, Evangelical Christians, but is more cancerous than Bush 43 on the national stage. He is a large, loud wedge issue for the Republican party, just as immigration reform may be for the ethnic-friendly, union-friendly Democrats.

Secondly, Limbaugh is an ideologue who earns a living as an entertainer -- as Michael Steele put it -- so he is driven by controversy and the attention it brings. He wants to be outspoken and famous more so than deal with the mundane aspects of helping a party gain or hold power.

Strategically, Rush Limbaugh is a gift to the Democratic party, who should do all they can to maintain Rush's status as the leader of the Right. But as I said at the start, doing so is much more complex than saying, "It benefits me for Rush Limbaugh to be the leader of the Right."

Which begs the question, why are Democrats having fun with this? If you type www.imsorryrush.com into your browser you get an Onion-style satire of RNC leaders who have apologized like scolded children to Limbaugh. You also have this story revealing the coordination of Clinton-era strategists James Carville and Paul Begala, which perhaps shows who is responsible for Limbaugh's current eminence.

Eisenhower didn't reveal Overlord to Great Battles Monthly on June 5, 1944 for a reason -- because he wanted to win, not be adored.

After eight years of being losers, the Democrats finally figured out how to win last year. For their sake, I hope they exercise more control.

Bell Canada buys 750 "The Source" stores

I have a Rogers Mobile plan and, frankly, I have no problems with it. I bought my phone in a former Rogers video store; perhaps seeing the writing for physical-media video rentals, the company leveraged its retail footprint to generate sales in other areas: TV, mobile, internet, VOIP, etc.

But when I was in that Rogers store, it felt empty. They had a few phone chargers on the wall and maybe some skins, but it was essentially a large empty space with a counter at the end. You don't need to physically browse "internet", "TV" or "VOIP", you just need to talk about it.

So, if Bell and Rogers are essentially in a coke and pepsi contest, where their products are not enormously distinct and they depend on sales rather than uniqueness to succeed, what will be the dynamic of selling Bell in Radio Shack

It could be a little busy ... maybe people like to buy abstract products like internet and VOIP in a clean room with a counter, as opposed to at a counter with radio controlled wasps. On the other hand, if Bell even breaks even on the radio controlled wasps, they can't help but do better by having the "push-through-tubes" services pushed through 750 shops. And maybe people who walk in for a battery walk out the VOIP, which cannot happen in the Rogers stores.

It will be interesting. Bell faces a lot of challenges both fixing the Radio Shack/Source model and integrating it with consumer communication platforms. But I think there's a lot of upside.

Who knows, maybe Rogers will respond by selling clock radios and printers next to VOIP.

The Go! Team -- everything all at once

Hockey is a very non-linear game; football has discrete plays with small objectives -- moving the ball more than 3.3 yards per down. Baseball is even more controlled -- they count errors! -- with every motion governed by its own discrete moment of play: each pitch, hit, walk, or steal begins and ends with non-action. But hockey ... it's fluid and fast and violent. Errors are the rule, with incomplete passes, and violence is not part of the play, but part of a second tier of unpublished score-keeping.

Broken Social Scene is a Toronto band that channels latin orchestration into a white-as-folk hipster ensemble. BSS is everthing all at once, and where radio's formula is formulaic music, a band whose basic array of instruments are too complex to comprehend in real time -- nevermind all the other parts of music -- provides cool escapism, like being lost in a mosh pit and loving the ebb of sick sweaty bodies.

BSS is so tight at times ... so I'm not sure if you can classify them as polyphonic. Playing by Heart typifies the ensemble film style; at first you meet Jon Stewart, Sean Connery, Anthony Edwards and Angelena Jolie and some other people, then you get everything all at once. And it's satisfying, like cheese inside cake. Someone on wikipedia described or defined polyphonic literature in a similar way, as Ulysses with it's 18 chapters of differing style.

So, the Go Team -- from England in the Emsemble Kingdom -- makes some of the freshest music I've heard in years. Not since Kanye West in 2004 or Hawksley Workman and Sarah Slean in 2001 has music felt so not derrivative. Sometimes, I swear they sample Sesame Street and draw from whatever hip hop was in 1981. It's cool and retro and discordant, but most of all it feels like a polyphonic or ensemble-like wall of music ... everything all at once and not all of it tight. It's discordant and even the musicians' ethnicity looks like the band was assembled for a public school assembly on friendship. The band was actually assembled; it's the product of some guy named Ian Parton, but the lead singer, Ninja, and keyboardest/vocalist/guitarist Kaori Tsuchida, both stand out on stage.

Top picks:
  • the wrath of marcie, for sure, for that layered, ensemble sound, ninja's energy and and Kaori's backing vocals.
  • ladyflash is cool and easy to listen to; it's their only mainstream hit.
  • milk crisis could have the greatest video of the last decade.
  • grip like a vice -- i listened to this for about 5 months on web radio before figuring out it wasn't like Salt 'n Peppa from 1986.

New growth theory -- Paul Romer

Paul Romer is just about the only economist whose ideas seem to be accepted by the "academy", and certainly can be accepted as common sense. In my view, all business/economics can be expressed as a form of New Growth Theory; you're either engaging in creative destruction, like RIM, Amazon or Wal-Mart's supply chain, or you are running a superior business that follows in the wake of creative destruction, such as Tim Hortons or Esso.

Romer doesn't write much pop science, but read this Reason interview. Some quotes:
New Growth Theory shows that economic growth doesn't arise just from adding more labor to more capital, but from new and better ideas expressed as technological progress. Along the way, it transforms economics from a "dismal science" that describes a world of scarcity and diminishing returns into a discipline that reveals a path toward constant improvement and unlimited potential. Ideas, in Romer's formulation, really do have consequences. Big ones.
And for the Marxists ...
One extremely important insight is that the process of technological discovery is supported by a unique set of institutions. Those are most productive when they're tightly coupled with the institutions of the market. The Soviet Union had very strong science in some fields, but it wasn't coupled with strong institutions in the market. The upshot was that the benefits of discovery were very limited for people living there. The wonder of the United States is that we've created institutions of science and institutions of the market. They're very different, but together they've generated fantastic benefits.

Everything's amazing; nobody's happy.

Louis CK is amazing at sounding like a dumb guy who accidentally said something smart. But in four minutes he just about equals Irvine Welsh on materialism.