Jusepe de Ribera
The Blind Sculptor · Allegory of Touch (1632)In this portrait, the figure is shown caressing the head of a classical sculpture, probably of Apollo. The most widely-accepted interpretation of this is that it represents the sense of touch, as this Valencian artist frequently painted series of works on the five senses. During the eighteenth century, it was considered a portrait of the blind sculptor Giovanni Gonnelli, but this theory can be rejected because that artist was not even thirty when this painting was made. It was also thought to be a representation of the philosopher Carneades who, after losing his sight, was still able to recognize a bust of the god Pan by touch. It is probably a representation of the sense of touch, using the story of Carneades as its narrative vehicle. This was a very successful procedure during that period, when portraits of ancient philosophers were associated with allegories of the senses. (via Museo del Prado)
“The best statistic multiple choice question ever written on a chalkboard.”
(Origem: Raymond Johnson).
The Young Ones
When I was in my 20s, I was dubbed the King of the Young Fogeys. This affectionate term mocked the ‘small-c’ conservative attitudes of myself and my friends. I preferred plain English cooking — what some people call nursery food — to elaborately made foreign dishes.
I liked, when I could afford it, to have my clothes made by an English tailor rather than buying snazzy Italian or American labels. I was regarded as old before my time. I hated pop music, modern architecture and cars. I felt that, charming as many of my American friends (and, indeed, relations) were, Americanisation had been an unmitigated disaster for the world — in aesthetic and political terms.
And to many of these prejudices I still cling, so that probably makes me an old fogey now. But, of course, the reason it was rather nice to be called a young fogey was that no one could deny I really was young.
When the joke took off, and the term became modern parlance, someone even wrote a Young Fogey Handbook. The photographs revealed me on my bicycle, wearing a trilby and a three-piece suit, and looking about 12 years old to my old eyes now — though I suppose I must have been in my late 20s.
One young woman said she might have fancied me, but she could not shake off the impression that if she unbuttoned the three-piece suit, she would find another one underneath.
Being a fogey in those days was, in fact, a form of rebellion against the boring conformity of pop culture — against the unthinking Left-wingery of the university common rooms and the bigwigs in the art world, who were obsessed only with being modern and ‘progressive’.
No doubt there was something silly and affected about some of our fogeyish attitudes, but many of them were born of a serious hatred about what had happened to our country, and, indeed, to the world, in the name of progress.
(A. N. Wilson, “Take it from the Original Young Fogey - Only Old Fools Refuse to Act Their Age,” Mail Online, 16 December 2010).
(Portrait of Joachim II Hector, by Lucas Cranach the Elder - 1520).
Any social changes that tend to abolish inequalities, will tend also to destroy or to diminish our civilization.
(William H. Mallock, “Inequalities and Social Progress.” In Social Equality: A Short Study in a Missing Science, Chap. X, Richard Bentley and Son. London, 1882).
(A Pensive Moment, by Jules Joseph Lefebvre - 1886).
A new, and potentially dominant, ruling class is rising. Today’s tech moguls don’t employ many Americans, they don’t pay very much in taxes or tend to share much of their wealth, and they live in a separate world that few of us could ever hope to enter. But while spending millions bending the political process to pad their bottom lines, they’ve remained far more popular than past plutocrats, with 72 percent of Americans expressing positive feelings for the industry, compared to 30 percent for banking and 20 percent for oil and gas. […]
“We live in a bubble, and I don’t mean a tech bubble or a valuation bubble. I mean a bubble as in our own little world,” Google’s Schmidt boasted to the San Francisco Chroniclein 2011. “And what a world it is. Companies can’t hire people fast enough. Young people can work hard and make a fortune. Homes hold their value. Occupy Wall Street isn’t really something that comes up in a daily discussion, because their issues are not our daily reality.” […]
The oligarchs believe their control of the information network itself gives them a potential influence greater than more conventional lobbies. The prospectus for Fwd.us—headed up by one of Zuckerberg’s old Harvard roommates — suggests tech should become “one of the most powerful political forces,” noting “we control massive distribution channels, both as companies and individuals.” […]
Great wealth, and high status, particularly at a young age, often persuades people that they know best about the future and how we should all be governed. Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, a 37-year-old resident of San Francisco, recently announced on 60 Minutes that he’d like to be mayor — of New York, a city he’s never lived in.
Expect more of this kind of hubris from the new oligarchs. […]
Perhaps an even bigger danger stems from the ability of “the sovereigns of cyberspace” to collect and market our most intimate details. Moving beyond the construction of platforms for communication, the oligarchs trade on the value of the personal information of the individuals using their technology, with little regard for social expectations about privacy, or even laws meant to protect it. Google has already been caught bypassing Apple’s privacy controls on phones and computers, and handing the data over to advertisers. The Huffington Post has constructed a long list of the firm’s privacy violations. Apple is being hauled in front of the courts for its own alleged violations while Consumer Reports recently detailed Facebook’s pervasive privacy breaches—culling information from users as detailed as health conditions, details an insurer could use against you, when one is going out of town (convenient for burglars), as well as information pertaining to everything from sexual orientation to religious affiliation to ethnic identity.
As Google’s Eric Schmidt put it: “We know where you are. We know where you’ve been. We can more or less know what you’re thinking about.”
(Joel Kotkin, “America’s New Oligarchs Fwd.us and Silicon Valley’s Shady 1 Percenters,” New Geography, May 14, 2013).