The Clock of the Long Now, too, shall pass. / Scott Beale
The Baffler,  September 1, 2015

Daily Bafflements

The Clock of the Long Now, too, shall pass. / Scott Beale
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• In Baffler no. 24, Gene Seymour took an interest in—OK, a well-deserved swipe at—the “[Jeff] Bezos vanity project” that is “the construction of a mammoth timepiece that will tick off the next ten thousand years of life on this planet, called the Clock of the Long Now.” Earlier this month, over at Vice, Elmo Keep updated us on this “arcane toy of a handful of obscenely moneyed tech moguls of the late-capitalist 21st century.” But scroll down to the corrections! They are so wonderfully feeble as to prove the point of the article: “An earlier version of this piece erroneously stated that Jeff Bezos purchased the top of Mount Washington for the Long Now Foundation. This is untrue. The mountain Jeff Bezos purchased is in West Texas.” How humbling.

• Mallory Ortberg comments that the Rentboy.com raid might lead us to probe “everyone’s an employee” platforms. As Graeme Reid writes on Human Rights Watch, “Rentboy.com connects male escorts to clients in the same way that Uber does for transport, or Airbnb does for accommodation. There are no middlemen, thus affording users control and autonomy over the services brokered through the website.” 

• Today in Billionaires: even to our bleary and unfocused eyes, naming a boat Titanic II is not great marketing; elsewhere, “Billionaire CEOs come to Jesus” (out of self-interest); Minecraft billionaire complains of the “loneliness, isolation and lack of motivation that large wealth can create”—basically empty nest syndrome, but instead of children flying the coop, it’s . . . meaning, teleology, purpose . . .

 • Tantrically straddling the fields of Buddhism and overwork: “inbox zero.” See Barbara Ehrenreich’s salvo on mindfulness for the last word on this.

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 October 31

Debate—and especially the challenge to debate—exists as an end in itself. Debate has become a conservative fetish object.

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