july, 27, 2003 archives

make your own job, says mexico's economy minister

i like the spirit of the message that mexico's economy minister delivered in a radio address recently. it's the sort of bootstrapping that is all-too-frequently choked off by regulation, though. (imagine the health code violations! the zoning regulation violations! the taxes and license fees being uncollected! who will protect the children?)

mexico's official unemployment figure is quite low (3.17%) compared with that of the united states (6.4%), but they are apparently measured differently. mexico measures it as people older than 12 who have searched for work, but have not worked more than one hour a week during the month. the united states measures people over 16 who do not have a job, have actively looked for work in the prior four weeks, and are available for work. (actually, it's not clear to me that those are all that different.)

charity, july 2003

apparently cutting back to one charity a month hasn’t made me get around to doing it any earlier in the month.

childrens hospital los angeles this month’s charity is also one of the first charities i gave money to when i started doing this a little over a year ago: childrens hospital los angeles.

i also renewed my membership to the surfrider foundation.

i recently got a receipt for a donation to habitat for humanity that i never made. very odd.

corporations gone crazy

in another bit of serendipity, i finished reading a book and saw a movie this weekend that both are essentially cynical/satirical near-future/alternate-present looks at corporations gone out of control.

jennifer government, the novel, is the more extreme of the two: the story begins with a plan by nike marketers to boost the sales of a line of tennis shoes by staging the murder of some kids buying the shoes to give them a sort of street-credibility. it's a brilliant and twisted beginning to a brilliant book.

josie and the pussycats, the movie, starts with a boy band (du jour) being assassinated by their record label when they stumble upon the hidden messages being put in their music to drive kids to spend money. (and that's where josie and friends come in, as the new band picked by the label to be placed at the top of the charts.) it's a funny and twisted beginning to a funny and twisted movie.

the movie rights for jennifer government were snapped up by steven soderbergh and george clooney's section eight films, and it will be very interesting to see if they can pull it off including real companies, or are forced to switch to mock brands.

jennifer government also provided a good dystopian counterpoint to l. neil smith's utopian libertarian world. (although calling it dystopian is a bit of an overstatement—the book isn't as hard on the notion of a pervasive free market as smith's books are easy on it.)

oh, and i should point out jennifer government: nationstates, a web-based game based on the book.

something i meant to mention: the director of photography on josie was matthew libatique, who did the same on both pi and requiem for a dream. a top-notch dp.

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