Archive for the ‘Negativity’ Category

On contradiction

October 12, 2011

Another behaviour I have noted:  When you assert something, invariably your interlocuter will contradict it.

The Chairman would have approved.


An inventory of types

August 13, 2011

The American hegemon has introduced a slew of new words into what used to be a fairly expressive language before its corruption, to capture the American version of social reality.  Let me list out the ones that come to mind.






I heard of a fraternity party at which there was a guy with various rubber stamps, stamping these descriptions on the backs of hands of the guests, thus slotting them into controllable categories.  I feel I have left out some of these new types, and if you, patient reader, can supplement my knowledge, I’d be most obliged.

I think it is in sociology departments that such such typologies are worked out.  I once knew of a chap, nice in most other ways, who had done a Ph.D in sociology.  After that, ostensibly to round out his education, he did another Ph.D, this time in economics.  Obviously, the degree in sociology had not quenched his thirst for true knowledge.  And if all the sociologists do is characterise otherwise harmless people as geeks and nerds, one can quite sympathise with above mentioned professor, now tenured.

Need a name for a behaviour

August 12, 2011

I first noticed this behaviour when I was little.  It enraged me even then.  It still does, but these days I control the reaction.  The behaviour, I found widespread in women (though it may occur among effiminate men or men who like to play games.)  My first early memory of this behaviour is with my mother, but since that time I have encountered it with my wife, my female colleague and female boss.

The behaviour in question:  The female initiates a conversation, asks a question, or asks for an opinion.  Then, right when you start to reply, she diverts her attention from what you are saying, to something that is (demonstrably for you) more important or pressing, thus cutting you off in mid speech.  If she is especially kind, after the interruption, she will turn to you, and resume with “and so you were saying?”.

I badly need a name for this behaviour.  I bet the Americans, who incorrigibly study all and every phenomenon from a “scientific” standpoint, have, in one of their many classified reports, already given a name to this.  I just don’t know it.  I was thinking of calling it the “cut off” as in “she gave me the cut off” as in “she gave me the go by”.  But perhaps there is a more appropriate term.

I would punish the perpetrators with, what, a year of solitary, or have their tongues paralysed.  But I still  can’t enforce my curses or make them real, so I’ll just keep practicing and hoping for the best.


April 17, 2011

There was a brand of shampoo-Clairol “Herbal Essences” which was perfectly satisfactorily designed. Transparent bottle, easy to use flip top lid, and nicely shaped bottle. That is now not available. Instead the brand has morphed to opaque oddly shaped bottles, with difficult to use lids. Why did this happen? I don’t think I will ever know the real reason. Can I do anything about this? Nothing that I know of except write ineffectually on this blog. Can I punish someone for this inconvenience in my life? Much as I would like to, I can’t. (Here visions of thumbscrews, vats of boiling oil).

Nomen quid est?

April 8, 2011

Who legitimises name changes of places? Who is the arbiter who tells us what a place is called? How did they change the name from Bombay to Mumbai? From Bangalore to Bengaluru? How does the crowd set about changing names? Do they pass a law in the state legislature?

The ratchet effect is important

November 7, 2010

I think NYU economics department was trying to teach me (a liberal interpretation here) about the ratchet effect in consumption when they lowered my fellowship amount from $12,000 a year in my first year to $7,500 for a graduate assistantship.  I didn’t have to work in my first year, but had to work in my second year.  Sure enough, I got into debt with NYU housing, because I couldn’t pay the rent on my reduced income in my second year.

I could have moved to cheaper digs but these were not available in Manhattan.  I would have had to share.  Sharing means finding people who are willing to share with you.  What a bloody pain!  I mean, getting approval from complete strangers!  What a bloody pain, even if I repeat myself.

“Look out kid, they keep it all hid”.

Which makes me think of the ratchet effect at higher levels.  If a CXO wants to maintain his lifestyle after retirement, he better have huge savings to earn income on.  What does a CXO do, who loses his job?

The ten dollar test

October 13, 2010

I used to go to this chinese takeaway in NY for dinner.  On one day, a black guy, a Bowery bum, preceded me into the restaurant and grubbed about the floor.  He saw something that looked like a 10 dollar bill, but didn’t take it and left it there.  I sat at the table, my attention having been drawn to the scrap of paper on the floor, and placed my order.  Looked at the scrap of paper more closely, and found that it was indeed a ten dollar bill.  Promptly pocketed it.  I guess I failed the ten dollar test.

But that black guy who drew my attention to it-he was like an EMH theorist.  If there was a ten dollar bill on the floor, someone would surely have picked it up long ago.  So it couldn’t be.  Such are the wages of an expensive higher education

The big problem of small change

October 13, 2010

The ATM machines give R100 (a few) R500 and R1000 notes.  How is one supposed to get change without spending a lot of money?

Where do the smaller denominations come from?  From the tills of banks that still have branches?

In USA, the prices would be quoted to the nearest cent.  What are you supposed to do with the pennies that accumulate?  When I was there, the banks wouldn’t give these paper rolls into which you were supposed to put your pennies.  No one would accept them in payment because of the hassle of counting.  Pennies would generally be strewn on the streets.  So much copper.  And who gains?

Up and down

September 26, 2010

Why is the north up and the south down?

Why is up better than down?

Crowds and power

September 24, 2010

The marxists understood this and the maoists understand it even better.  In the modern age, the mass is the ultimate power.  Power inheres in the ability to mobilise mass opinion.  The present democratic constitution of Indian society bears testimony to that.  Vote bank politics dominates.  The ultimate power rests in the consent of masses for their rulers.

This was not always so.  The mass came into being in xxxth century, with the explosion of population accompanying scientific development of means for lowering child mortality and such.  The mass man is a creation of modern capitalism.

And the mass can be manipulated by those who are smarter.  They can be indoctrinated.

TV is tool for indoctrination of the (western) masses.

How does this affect me?