Greetings from a Starbucks on Chapel St in New Haven, Connecticut. I’m here to attend a conference at Yale University. What a nice place! Weird how I can’t find any free wifi here, though; I’ve been reduced to paying for wifi at a coffee shop. I’m so ashamed.
As a new professor struggling to find his footing at a 2nd tier Canadian university, I must admit to being a bit star-stricken here at this storied and ivy-draped legend of academia. How I wish I’d had the money decades ago to attend a school like this. We really do live in a classist society, wherein the trajectory of one’s life is oft determined by the size of one’s family’s assets.
Thus it’s a bit ironic that I’m here essentially to hear Jeff Sachs speak about the financial and economic basis of world poverty and ill health. Doubly ironic that Sachs’ name is tainted by his associations with corporate greed, classism of the worst variety, and the nightmare of Russian economic “shock therapy”.
My day begain today by oversleeping and arriving at the airport technically after the gates of my flight had closed. I was scolded by the airline dude (“I really shouldn’t check you in but…”) And as I was about to thank him profusely for making an exception for me, I discovered that my flight was running aan hour late. Yeah I was technically late, but I was also technically early. Asshole.
I’m checked into the Duncan Hotel, which is a 120 year old grimy building that’s both dark and moldy, but is also very cheap and smack downtown, a couple of blocks from Yale. The elevator dude warned me: “We shut down the elevator after 11pm, so you’ll have to take te stairs if you come in late.”
“That’s okay,” I said. “I need the exercise.”
Then he barked at me: “It ain’t no laughing matter for the disabled people!” Asshole. They should really let him out of the elevator now and then.
I stopped for a giant buffalo meat burrito at a brilliant cafe called the “Corner Copia”. Quite unlike me, I decided to share a table with a stranger. She was an older woman with a floral hat, crumbs about her mouth, and many possessions scattered about her. I have a habit of attracting crazy people, so I was braced for the worst.
But this woman was remarkable. She was a retired anthropologist with an incredible amount of wisdom and experience about a great many topics. She had done cutural fieldwork in Trinidad, some research on the linguistic potential of Neanderthals, had written a Chinese cookbook, and presently starting an ESL business in Asia. Her husband had been a project manager on the Apollo space flights, for Zod’s sake! Given the great number of ambitionless people I’ve been encountering of late, it was a joy to learn of the details of this woman’s life.
In Other News…
More evidence that the world is fundamentally retarded: The Pirate Bay has been found guilty. This bit of prosecutorial nonsense seems to be a case of pure vindictiveness and a rather liberal and reaching interpretation of the law. Copyrights as we know them are passe. We live in an era when we need to redefine the limits of so-called intellectual property, the assumptions underlying which are inherently philosophically problematic.
The amazing part is that while the owners of TPB have been found guilty, there appears to be no legal compulsion to shut down the website. What a frakked up situation. So get yer torrentz while u can.