Monday, August 12, 2013

Splatter Pattern by George Papoon

"Splatter Pattern" is a possibly occasional new feature consisting of short views yanked from context and often bent and boiled. The resulting opinions may not be those of the authors, The Eye, or anybody.

∎ Museums are going "hands-on." Visitor participation and engagement are changing museums and not always for the better. Must everything be nubbly?

∎ For Detroit to sell its art treasures to cope with bankruptcy would be as short-sighted as eating seed corn.

∎ Solitary confinement is brutal punishment for the guilty. It can send innocent people round the twist. 

∎ People should be sent to prison as punishment, not for punishment. Prisons should be nice places where prisoners live as well as possible, but without liberty. Reform of U.S. drug laws would virtually empty U.S. prisons.

∎ More than half of Web traffic is from non-humans.

∎ If there were a banned pill that made novelists better, faster, more brilliant storytellers, at least some would take it. Probably all would, as writers are morally weak. When the scandal came out, we would see "before" pictures of skinny fingers on a keyboard next to "after" pictures of improbably muscular fingers churning out bestselling prose by the overflowing "out" basket.

∎ If we can buy generic drugs that say "compare with Tylenol," why can't we buy generic literary knockoffs peddled as "'The Gleaming' by E. Monkey Tidbits -- Compare with 'The Shining' by Stephen King"?

∎ Altruism isn't neutral. If you give money to a local political candidate, and that money might have saved a child from starvation or an adult from avoidable blindness, then you are responsible for that death or that loss of sight.

∎ Many people with serious mental illnesses choose not to seek medical treatment for "ordinary" conditions because many "regular" doctors are biased against them and misdiagnose, undertreat, and disrespect them.

∎ Statistics show that good weather alleviates some mental illnesses to some degree, but not everyone suffering from depression or other mental illness is in a position to pull up stakes and move to the Sun Belt. The loss of a job and a network of relationships back in the Rust Belt may subvert the benefits of a favorable climate change.

∎ Liberals in Egypt should make their peace with the Muslim Brothers instead of embracing military dictatorship. Or maybe the Muslim Brothers (sounds like a mattress store) are so bad that a military dictatorship is preferable. Pity the Egyptians for the lousy choices they face, and their miserable immediate prospects.

∎ True or false: President Obama, like FDR before him, is having to stretch the limits of executive power to deal with the multiple crises that roil the country. One difference: Congress mostly rubber-stamped FDR's measures, but Congress mostly rejects BHO's. Whether Obamacare winds up a thing approved in principle but defeated in detail -- a train wreck -- is a drama playing out now.

∎ One reason there are fewer women in positions of authority is that proportionally fewer women try for such positions, because most women don't get as much satisfaction as men from the trappings of power.

∎ President Obama may have intended to contain the danger of the Clinton political machine he defeated to win the White House by letting Hillary move Hillaryland intact into the State Department. But in doing so, he has run the risk that if she succeeds him as president, he will have no legacy and her first term will be seen as Bill Clinton's third term.

∎ The Washington Post fell to its low state because its former owners did not understand the only way it could thrive in the age of the Internet. Maybe Jeff Bezos knows how to rebuild it and maybe he doesn't. Odds are he doesn't. Maybe he doesn't but the reason is that there is no way.

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