Monday, July 27, 2009

it could be worse

Or better. Sasha Frere-Jones' forthcoming book on Michael Jackson.

All of you who followed his live blogging of the memorial will have to let me know what you think.

acocella and gladwell make me sick

I found myself reading The New Yorker at the doctor's office again.

Although I was intrigued by Gladwell's thoughts on "Overconfidence" and the Wall Street crisis, I put the magazine down after I read the following:

Since the beginning of the financial crisis, there have been two principal explanations for why so many banks made such disastrous decisions. The first is structural. Regulators did not regulate. Institutions failed to function as they should. Rules and guidelines were either inadequate or ignored. The second explanation is that Wall Street was incompetent, that the traders and investors didn’t know enough, that they made extravagant bets without understanding the consequences. But the first wave of postmortems on the crash suggests a third possibility: that the roots of Wall Street’s crisis were not structural or cognitive so much as they were psychological.

I go with structural every time. I'd read an article about how psychology plays a part, or about how an overconfident Wall Street psychology is structurally produced. But putting it this way is just silly.

However, I picked the magazine right back up again, because the wait at my doctor's office is very long. Because she's an asshole? NO. Because our heath care system is structurally unsound.

Anyway, I read the thing about the new director at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Brilliant analysis of an institution, in all its complexity. Rebecca Mead, not online.

And I read Joan Acocella on Michael Jackson. Offensive, without directly confronting questions of race, fame, fortune, art, power, money, gender, or sexuality at all. Offensive because it indirectly invokes all these issues, in the half-assed way that most of the MJ coverage did, does and will. Possibly the worst thing I've read in The New Yorker in recent memory. A predictable failure.

She can describe dance moves so that you can see them in your head, though.