Tantum religio potuit suadere malorum

A few notes before I slip back into MBA mode (last assignment woooot!):

.:.

I’ve acquired a metric shitload of reading material: I just bought And Then We Came To The End by Joshua Ferris and The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda And The Road To 9/11 by Lawrence Wright. I also have the latest issues of The Economist, Toronto Life and Adbusters to get through. That issue of Adbusters is weird reading, since it goes from right to left, but it’ll be worth the effort when I get to the article entitled “Hipster: The Dead End of Civilization”. Just a few pages in and I’m captivated by the story on China’s approach to global politics.

We’ve reached a point in our civilization where counterculture has mutated into a self-obsessed aesthetic vacuum. So while hipsterdom is the end product of all prior countercultures, it’s been stripped of its subversion and originality, and is leaving a generation pointlessly obsessing over fashion, faux individuality, cultural capital and the commodities of style.

Right now, in between magazines and MBA cases, I’m reading God Is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens. Mark Kingwell said that “[p]reaching to the choir…is corrosive of courage and reason: it makes you soft-bellied and soft-headed” but sitting in the atheist choir is fun when it’s Hitchens at the pulpit.

.:.

Somehow Anya Yurchyshyn ties her hatred of marketing to a book about 20th-century totalitarianism in an article called “Adolf Hitler Was A Marketing Genius“.

Although I think advertising/marketing/branding are evil industries (that help to supply my paycheck), I’m not about to compare the people who work there to Nazis or fascists or even Satan’s gleeful minions. Some of my best friends work in advertising! But it is scary that there’s a superstructure that is trying to control us, and most people have stopped questioning it. Advertising is a part of the landscape; it’s weird when it’s not there.

Somehow I agree with her.

.:.

Toronto made Forbes’ list of the world’s ten most economically powerful cities.

Growth and quality are as important as size in our rankings, so smaller but briskly growing economies like Seoul, South Korea, and Hong Kong also make the list. North America, with relatively lower growth areas, still boasts a number of cities in the current power list, including New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Toronto, the latter of which squeezes past Madrid, Spain; Philadelphia and Mexico City, Mexico.

[via Creative Class, Accordion Guy and a slew of others]

[tags]joshua ferris, lawrence wright, adbusters, christopher hitchens, mark kingwell, anya yurchyshyn, forbes, economically powerful cities[/tags]

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