Beginning of July Round-Up

The most adorable Rube Goldberg machine ever.

Scott Adams suggests that a CIA-sanctioned murder is probably a best solution to the Edward Snowden problem. I don’t agree with the argument, but it’s interesting in a Devil on the shoulder kinda way.

If Snowden gets convicted, many of the citizens of the United States will go all Egyptian and take to the streets. It was bad enough that the government was collecting all of our private communications. But convicting the guy who blew the whistle? That’s throwing a match on the gasoline. So I believe the government doesn’t want to see him convicted, or at least the top people don’t. It’s too risky to the system.

On the other hand, the government has an absolute legal obligation to pursue criminal charges against Snowden. Society doesn’t work if people think they can break laws whenever they have good reasons.

A TV News Consultancy has suggestions for how to convey the significance of a particular news report.

With the Supreme Court’s gay marriage decision, Andrew Sullivan posts the comments by the people arguing that he is the most influential public intellectual of the last 25 years.

Kitchen Sink Press is coming back. For the last few decades, the company has most often been listed as the publisher of legendary comic.

A judge forces a rapper to attend etiquette classes. Wannabe screenwriters suddenly have ideas for a modern comedy of manners.

Heidi Macdonald responds to Entertainment Weekly’s Top Ten Graphic novels list. She asks for suggestions, aside from the big six: Watchmen, Maus, Dark Knight, Bone, Fun Home. Perseopolis.

Polls show Rick Perry doing better in Texas. Interestingly enough, Julian Castro polls seven points better than Wendy Davis.

Stephen Miller of the Standard ponders capitalists in fiction.

John Kinsella, a highly regarded Australian poet who teaches at Cambridge, was quoted not long ago in the Times Literary Supplement as saying that he has “not sold his soul to market fetishization.” Kinsella means that he doesn’t want even to think about making a profit from his writing. But Kinsella is also doing what comes naturally for most poets and many literary essayists: He is expressing a disdain for the commercial world. To think about selling books is tantamount to worshipping Mammon.

Disdain for commerce is what might be called a topos—a recurrent theme in Western literature. In theOdyssey, Odysseus is insulted when a Phaeacian thinks Odysseus is a trader because Odysseus declines to participate in an athletic competition. In the Homeric world, traders supposedly lack athletic prowess. Odysseus is furious. “Your slander fans the anger in my heart!” Greek, Roman, and early Christian writers often argued that commercial men were avaricious because a desire for profit is an insatiable desire—an obsession. Or, as Kinsella would have it, a “market fetishization.” Taking a cue from Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas said that “trade, insofar as it aims at making profits, is most reprehensible, since the desire for gain knows no bounds but reaches into the infinite.”

Nick Clairmont of Big Think is bugged by the phrase: The exception that proves the rule.

An interesting question from Freakonomics: Should men be paid to have vasectomies?

And adults now have a reason to play with legos.

Louis CK notes just how bad a bargain dating is for women.

TCM is making use of one of the great television resources: the Johnny Carson archive.

About Thomas Mets

I’m a comic book fan, wannabe writer, politics buff and New Yorker. I don’t actually follow baseball. In the Estonian language, “Mets” simply means forest, or lousy sports team. You can email me at
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