Book Review: Sasha Abramsky’s ‘Jumping At Shadows’ is important but covers little new ground

Reggie Watts’ 2012 TED Talk had many unique observations, but one has always stuck with me as particularly insightful.

“As we face fear in these times—and fear is all around us—we also have anti-fear. The background radiation is simply too static to be able to be seen under the normal spectral analysis.”

That line of satirical pseudo-babble was part of an improvised comedy/musical performance but has achieved a surprising resonance in years since, and it’s as concise a summary of journalist Sasha Abramsky’s latest book Jumping At Shadows as the one it gives itself. Continue reading Book Review: Sasha Abramsky’s ‘Jumping At Shadows’ is important but covers little new ground

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People go to college to have lots of sex

The other day, I was arguing with a friend about education and whether college specifically was any use. “It’s really just the next bubble,” I said, repeating an argument a mutual friend had made to me before.

“First the Internet bubble, then the housing bubble, now the college degree bubble. We’ve been told for years it’s an automatic way to make more money, but it’s getting more expensive to buy in now and there’s less of a reward. At some point, people won’t be able to pay off their college debt anymore. That’s when the bubble bursts.”

Continue reading People go to college to have lots of sex

There are worse things than being the world’s biggest celebrity

During last autumn’s presidential campaign, John McCain ran ads calling Barack Obama the “biggest celebrity in the world” and meant it as an insult – which coming from a senator who’d hosted “Saturday Night Live” and from a ticket that eventually included Sarah Palin, was a bit hypocritical.

But largely accurate. Already Obama seems to have appeared on “Entertainment Tonight” more than Bush 43 ever did; we care about the present Obama’s wife bought and the outfits his daughters wore, even how his daughter reacted when she met other celebrities. We didn’t know FDR was crippled, but we know Obama drives to the left to get to the basket.

Secret Service agents with orders to shoot-to-kill are the only thing keeping paparazzi away.

Continue reading There are worse things than being the world’s biggest celebrity