the narrative of a bird in a dead tree

jared diamond talked tonight at the los angeles central public library about his most recent book, collapse: how societies choose to fail or succeed. i don’t have much to say about what he said other than that he says very smart things, and i look forward to reading the book some day.

i did find it tremendously amusing that he made a comment about how americans need to re-evaluate their consumerism, and then there was a large line of people outside waiting for him to scribble on their dead tree with his words printed on it. (that the event is held at a library just makes that even more amusing to me.)

almost every time someone asks a question at one of these things, i think i get driven further to the right on the political spectrum just to give me some distance from the sheer braying banality of what they say. and those aren’t even the questions that make my head explode. if you find yourself asking a question about the narrative of a space, or telling jared diamond to “let the birds talk,” know that i am in the corner with my brain melting.

also, i would think the people who put on these lectures (which are great, don’t get me wrong in that regard) would have figured out how to manage a question-and-answer period. they need to start it by reminding people to ask a question, not ramble for three minutes about how they don’t like the current administration. then the people (or person) with the microphone needs to be moving the microphone from the person who just asked a question to the next person who will ask a question while the speaker is still answering the question.

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