Archive for November 26th, 2009

Peasant mentality at large

| November 26, 2009 | 2 Replies
Peasant mentality at large

In a post from a few months ago, Matt Tabbi described the peasant mentality so common in America today. It’s a mindset that refuses to criticize the ruling class, no matter how oppressive things get:

After all, the reason the winger crowd can’t find a way to be coherently angry right now is because this country has no healthy avenues for genuine populist outrage. It never has. The setup always goes the other way: when the excesses of business interests and their political proteges in Washington leave the regular guy broke and screwed, the response is always for the lower and middle classes to split down the middle and find reasons to get pissed off not at their greedy bosses but at each other. That’s why even people like Beck’s audience, who I’d wager are mostly lower-income people, can’t imagine themselves protesting against the Wall Street barons who in actuality are the ones who fucked them over. . . But actual rich people can’t ever be the target. It’s a classic peasant mentality: going into fits of groveling and bowing whenever the master’s carriage rides by, then fuming against the Turks in Crimea or the Jews in the Pale or whoever after spending fifteen hard hours in the fields. You know you’re a peasant when you worship the very people who are right now, this minute, conning you and taking your shit.

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Can a real life car do a “hot wheels” loop the loop?

| November 26, 2009 | Reply
Can a real life car do a “hot wheels” loop the loop?

The answer is yes. Encouraged by the mathematics, a stunt man pulls it off.

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But wait, there’s more!

| November 26, 2009 | Reply
But wait, there’s more!

It’s black Friday today, and I was somehow reminded of Ron Popeil, of Chop-o-Matic fame, inventor of many well-known household products. He has sold more than a billion dollars worth of rotisseries. I noticed that many of Popeil’s infomercials are available on YouTube, including this one featuring his food dehydrator:

Popeil, who was quite successful as an inventor, was equally impressive as a marketer. He explains his approach to inventing and marketing here.

Tonight it occurred to me that even though I saw Popeil’s commercials decades ago, I remembered much of Popeil’s shtick. I especially remember the audiences applauding on cue. It was somehow effective even though I knew that these people had been paid to applaud on cue. What I didn’t know was how the audience members were paid, and it was not with money, as you’ll read here. As you can read in the same article, Popeil is now getting ready to market what he characterizes as his final invention, a deep fryer.

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Photography of ordinary things

| November 26, 2009 | Reply
Photography of ordinary things

What is the shortest route from one side of a cantelope to the other?
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[Photo taken by my daughter, JuJu Vieth]

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