Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Fooled by Fabulousness

Herewith do I present you, Dear Readers, 17 minutes, more or less, of Alain de Botton nattering on about meritocracy, justice, luck, envy, snobbery, and other foibles from the "human anthill," via that unnamed media organization which still refuses to pay lucrative royalties to Yours Truly for the use of his patented, copyrighted, and thoroughly well-known global sobriquet.

Perfect material for wasting time on a slow summer Tuesday and/or stimulating unused centers of reasoning within your brain, depending on your personal capabilities, receptivity, and preferences. I find de Botton's critique of the cult of meritocracy from the importance of happenstance in individuals' lives to be one of the more insightful nuggets within his talk. In this manner, his perspective is not unlike what I find to be one of the few useful strains of argument still emanating from that vast edifice of megalomanical pontification which used to go by the name of Nassim Taleb.

Notwithstanding any other bits of educational or morally enlightening value, I think one of the more entertaining parts was the fake headlines de Botton got the cheesy UK tabloid Sunday Sport to compose based on famous tragedies from the Western tradition. My favorite: the editors' catchy summation of Sophocles' Oedipus Rex as "Sex With Mum Was Blinding."

(Hat tip: A Fistful of Euros, via Dealbreaker. Yes, really: Dealbreaker. It must be a slow month for ridicule in the financial sector.)

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