WBH Weekly Digest 2023-10-20: Folk Americana

WBH Weekly Digest 2023-10-20: Folk Americana

Over the Garden Wall is akin to Dante's Divine Comedy, but told through natively American imagery. I'll be showing this to my kids tonight.

Friend of the blog Alexander Palacio has written several excellent threads on the Lord of the Rings, which you can find through the linked post. I've been re-reading LotR recently myself, and it is really hard to not let Jackson's excellent [and it is excellent] movie adaption replace the text.

Daniel J. Davis continues his threads on the Great Conversation of books in dialogue with Starship Troopers. This week it's Joe Haldemann's The Forever War.

This thread continues in a second.

John J. Reilly reviewed Joe Haldemann's Forever Peace, which isn't exactly a sequel to his more famous The Forever War. In that review, John forever changed how I see economics:

This book review contains a remarkable prediction, one so bold that even I find it hard to believe. John Reilly claims that work has nearly no elasticity.

Would it really make such a difference if all manufacturing jobs were automated? The proportion of people in advanced countries who have such jobs is what, 25%? For most of history, 90% or more of people worked in agriculture. That is why, in political philosophy from Confucius to the physiocrats, only peasants were held to do any real work. Today, in the US, only 1% of the people are actually farmers. By historical measures, everybody else is out of a job.
One way to put it is that economics need not be about things. It can be about access to certain people or places, or about time, or about anything you please. The human capacity to make work is probably more inexhaustible than the universe's ability to provide power for the physical aspects of the activities in question.

J. Manfred Weichsel has a semi-sequel to Jungle Jitters called Into the Bush coming in 2024.

Most people don’t realize that before he was America’s premier writer of subversive fiction, J. Manfred Weichsel had his roots in Hollywood, where he wrote screenplays for the Action Girls, a trio of starlets who produced and acted in their own indie movies throughout the 2010’s.
In this behind-the-scenes memoire, J. Manfred Weichsel dishes out the most salacious details of the making of their most notorious film, Into the Bush. After the overwhelmingly successful premier of Jungle Jitters, Jennifer, the leader of the Action Girls, is eager to make another movie, and she asks her regular scribe, J. Manfred Weichsel, to write it.
His pitch? A three-hundred-mile-tall giantess named Patty McGloop resides in the Mojave Desert, with a public hair region spanning seven miles from below her navel to between her thighs. Just as the Gargantua ray made Patty McGloop very tall, it also enlarged the microscopic animals that live on her skin and hair. Wouldn’t it be fun to go exploring inside her pubic hair jungle in order to document all the interesting flora and fauna?
The Action girls excitedly make all the preparations needed to shoot such a bizarre motion picture, and take a helicopter to Patty McGloop’s navel, the gateway to her colossal realm. But the girls are quickly captured by the savage creatures inhabiting McGloop’s lush bush. Now, it is up to J. Manfred Weichsel, humble screenwriter, to go on a daring mission into the bush to rescue them.

Weichsel's work isn't for everyone, but I do enjoy his misanthropic satires

In the United States at least, the period from 1994 to 2007 seems to have represented an improvement in suicides among the 15 to 24 age group. If we are simply returning to trend, you might expect this chart to level off as abruptly as it dropped in 1994. I do not expect that.

This article on the LA streetcars is a bit more reasonable than it's subtitle. The streetcars were built by speculators and capitalists, and then it was a combination of market forces and public sentiment that doomed them.\

It is interesting to compare the cute but hagiographical Maybelle the Cable Car [Amazon link] story from San Francisco to what happened in Los Angeles. A concerted political campaign mobilized nostalgia to save the cable cars despite their obvious obsolescence at about the same time Angelenos killed off their streetcars for good.

Via the Catholic inside baseball blog The Pillar, comes news that the Japanese Sumo Association is lowering its height and weight standards because of a lack of young men who qualify and are interested.

The Pillar is a great publication, with old school journalists who travel to where the news is and talk to people to find things out. It just happens that Ed Condon has a fascination with sumo, one of those quintessentially Japanese things.

I too am fascinated with Japanese culture, even though it is sometimes strange beyond my ken.