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Category Archives for "USA"

Thank You for the Light

The Great Gatsby’s author, a tired heroine, the Virgin Mary, and a quiet cigarette.

Thank you for the light

A while ago, a forgotten F Scott Fitzgerald (of Great Gatsby fame) short story was re-discovered. The story, entitled ‘Thank you for the light’, follows below, as originally published in the New Yorker magazine.

In the midst of so much turmoil around the world, this little story is a gem of a read.

I think it speaks for itself.

How to Solve South Africa’s Crime Epidemic

Are we headed for a golden age in 2024?

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I received a lot of vitriol for my piece suggesting some truths we as white South Africans need to remember.

I realised quite quickly that a lot of that criticism was based on the problem of crime. After all, it is pretty difficult to be positive when you fear for yourself and your family, even in your own home, because of high rates of violent crime.

I myself have written about my own experience with such crime.

So today I want to look more dispassionately at the issue of crime. (Next week, I’ll do education.) Obviously you can’t cover the whole subject in one blog post, but here are some of the ideas of how to prevent crime that people around the world are discussing. Keep reading

Trump Knows Something You Don’t

Why this uncouth, unfit for leadership, sleazy casino magnate is at the cutting edge of politics.

Donald Trump

If you are still mystified about the rise of Trump, this is the article you need to read.

His critics dismiss him too glibly. But the fact that such a strange man like Donald Trump has so much popularity tells us something is shifting in the world.

And that shift comes as a result of a seismic aftershock to globalisation.

Globalisation is the process by which the world’s economies and cultures have become interlocked and inter-connected.

Two examples help us to understand it:

1. Money lenders in the US take gambles on risky mortagages and crash their economy. Here in South Africa people somehow lose their jobs as a result as demand is sucked up worldwide.

2. I remember travelling to Malawi a decade ago. Even in its quietest corners, I came across young children wearing t-shirts emblazoned with the images of American rappers.

The great hope after the end of the Cold War and the fall of Communism was this idea of a new global village, where democracy and free trade inspires a free and prosperous world, progressing under the auspices of a Pax Americana.

What was ignored in this is that humans are not really globalised creatures. Keep reading

Life Lessons from the Great Michael Scott

The Office was the greatest of TV shows.

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In the ridiculousness of Steve Carell’s great character, lie some true pearls of wisdom. One of my writing dreams is to actually write his fictional unpublished management book, “Somehow I Manage”. I don’t know if I’m up to the task, though.

For those unfamiliar with the show, “The Office” was a mockumentary about a series of characters working at the imaginary paper company, Dunder Mifflin. Michael Scott was the boss, and the most popular employees were Jim and Pam Halpert, Dwight Schrute, and Andy Bernard.

The show was a spin-off from a British original, made in a flash of genius by the otherwise awful Ricky Gervais.

For me, the US version was much better because it had some elements of hope in the satire of workplace culture – the British version was far more acidic in its portrayal of a boring, going-nowhere white collar work environment.

Those elements of hope in the US version truly contained some real wisdom – mostly in the form of the lead character, Michael. Keep reading

Live Together; Die Alone

Perhaps it is time to look at the Native American option?

suburbia

History tells us that the capitalist, industrialised, consumer culture of 20th century Europe is exceptionally powerful. Countries never seem to turn their back on it. But how much do we know of its dark side?

First of all, let me say I am really grateful for modern life. My kids get vaccinated; I can communicate with you on the Internet; eat interesting food from around the world; and generally live a more comfortable, cleaner, and safer life than even the kings of old.

But I was reading this piece from famed New York Times columnist, David Brooks, and it struck me that for all our comforts, for all our affluence, we have given up a great deal. Keep reading

Going from Zero To One, or Rising from the Dead

Life’s about having your own secret.

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Peter Thiel is an interesting guy.

He was one of the founders of PayPal, the first ‘angel investor’ of Facebook, and he has recently been in the news for two things: Giving a speech endorsing Trump, and funding Hulk Hogan’s major law suit against Gawker as revenge for invading his privacy and discussing his homosexual orientation.

On top of this, he is currently throwing money at ways of discovering biological immortality, and he also pays young entrepreneurs not to go to university (which he believes is a scam).

This makes him an intriguing, if not somewhat sinister public figure!

But I find him interesting for three separate reasons. Keep reading