August 14, 2006
There is just so much to learn! Better yet, I can read and think about anything I want, now that I’m not a student anymore.
I am still doing my homework.
What You Can’t Say is a thought provoking essay. Paul Graham is using the idea of how clothing fashions change as a point of comparison to explain how fashions for morality work. Quotes I liked:
“Nerds are always getting in trouble. They say improper things for the same reason they dress unfashionably and have good ideas: convention has less hold over them.”
“By the time you get to social questions, many changes are just fashion. The age of consent fluctuates like hemlines.”
“We often like to think of World War II as a triumph of freedom over totalitarianism. We conveniently forget that the Soviet Union was also one of the winners.”
“The early adopters will be driven by ambition: self-consciously cool people who want to distinguish themselves from the common herd. As the fashion becomes established they’ll be joined by a second, much larger group, driven by fear.  This second group adopt the fashion not because they want to stand out but because they are afraid of standing out.”
I don’t agree with everything in the essay, maybe because I’m a giant fashion nerd, rather than a morality nerd. I love being lead down a path of reasoning – it reminds me how much I love and admire a good essay. It takes a lot of craft and work to make a good one… I’m afraid I’ve yet to write my own great essay…
Feel like wasting some time instead of crafting a fine essay? iSketch is like Pictionary on the internet. This is the first internet game in a long time that has held my interest for more than two seconds. Scary.
I’m also reading a fascinating book called Big Cotton… it’s about cotton. We take our commodities for granted too often, and it’s a revelation to realize how a fiber can have such a mercurial influence on politics, culture, and lives.