Category Archives: waffling

“Depends on what I was taking” – of coherence, ambiguity, classic works of art

So, writing something I shouldn’t (I will retrolink to it), I stumble on this, about one of my favourite songs, ‘After the Gold Rush‘ by Neil Young.

Dolly Parton once commented about the making of her version of the song: “When we were doing the Trio album, I asked Linda and Emmy what it meant, and they didn’t know. So we called Neil Young, and he didn’t know. We asked him, flat out, what it meant, and he said, ‘Hell, I don’t know. I just wrote it. It just depends on what I was taking at the time. I guess every verse has something different I’d taken.'”

ROFLMAO.

The song means a hell of a lot to me, as does ‘Grey Seal’ sung by Elton John and written by Bernie Taupin, who also says he doesn’t know what it means (fwiw, here’s my take).

But the Parton anecdote put me in mind of this, from ‘The Big Sleep‘ and who killed the chauffeur.  I heard (a seemingly apocryphal) story that Bogart turned up one morning on set asking that question, but it seems that the script monkeys got there first.  Anyway, Raymond Chandler, author of the source novel was phoned up, and he didn’t know…

And here are the two songs mentioned above

and

 

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Maunderings and meanderings (Thesis) #Window #Metaphors #sense-making

Maundering #1

One of the key techniques for defensive institutional work is to make nonsense; to destroy or at the very least degrade the sense-making capacity of your opponents.

Disorientate your enemy, deprive them of the ability to figure out – (quick enough – these are OODA loops, don’t forget), what is going on.

Screw with the sense-making capacity that people and organisations have, hack it, simplify it in directions that are useful to you. i.e  successfully creating the ‘common sense’ that the budget of a country’s government is the same as the budget of a house, with a need to always balance the budgets in the short term etc etc.  A master frame that disables other frames….  See also “Corporations are wealth creators, governments and states are dinosaurs and parasites…”

See also-

agnotology

‘Window’/chaff – make it hard for the radar to see what is going on  [devised by Joan Curran, who seems to have been a very kick-arse scientist]

Take away the road signs in case of invasion etc etc

Maundering #2

Every metaphor/analogy comes with costs, no?  It shapes or at least strongly suggests possible paths, taken or not.  Signposts that lead the unwary or unreflective, scared or busy (and we’re all way too busy) traveller down one route rather than another.  A touch of Frost and all that.

Phantastic objects and concept fetishism

What are phantastic objects? This

phantastic objects are subjectively very attractive “objects” (people, ideas or things) which people find highly exciting and idealise. They engage core biological and psychological processes of human attachment and falling in love so that people seek to attach themselves to them because they imagine (feel rather than think) they can satisfy the deepest desires, the deeper meaning of which they are only partially aware.

Reminds me of my recent concept of concept fetishism….

Without getting all relativist on yo ass, it’s all flows and impermanence,  smudges and kludges innit?  Palimpsest schmalimpsest, throw in some undigested Heisenberg and quantums of solace.  The Buddhists may have got some of this stuff right…

 

Thrashing thrashing

Ah, we have so many ways of distracting ourselves. Most of us do, anyway.
I quite like this (though a brain is not a computer!)

It is the same with a computer cache: there will be a hierarchy – from super-fast memory in the microprocessor itself all the way down to a hard drive (slow) and offsite backup (very slow). To speed things up, the computer will copy the data it needs for the current task into a fast cache. If the task needs to be switched too often, the machine will spend all its time copying data for one task into the cache, only to switch tasks, wipe the cache and fill it with something new. At the limit, nothing will be achieved. [Peter] Denning described this regrettable state of affairs as “thrashing.”

Harford, T. 2016. An algorithm for getting through your to-do list. Financial Times Magazine, August 6/7, p.45.

In other word, what we all know – one thing at a fucking time, if you can, room of one’s own etc.

 

Glossaries and my undiagnosed CDO

CDO?  That’s OCD, in the correct alphabetical order, dammit.

So, it’s been an interesting couple of weeks.  Quite stressful.  And one of the ways I cope with stress (a displacement activity, perhaps) is to try to categorise information. It somehow soothes me.  Go figure.

Here are five glossaries that I’ve worked on (some I started quite a while ago), alongside the reading about Corporate Political Activity/Corporate Social Responsibility.

They are, in, cough,  alphabetical order

Australia (that’s my PhD, after all) – it’s the glossary which is least advanced, but will end up being the biggest.  You can also see my attempt at a very brief outline history of the crucial period 2008-2012.

Dialectic Issue LifeCycle Model – the model that puts together innovation literatures and issue lifecycle literatures…

Innovation Terminology (I am, after all, part of the Manchester Institute of Innovation Research)

Public Policy Terms

Social Movements

They are basically places I (and others) can go to for quotes, references, further reading etc.  I intend to keep expanding the glossaries, adding data to the individual pages, but only after I have written the relevant paragraphs of my thesis that go with that “snippet” (or part of the fabric!). Comments welcome.

 

Adventures in policy concepts…

Public policy for fun and … profit?  I’ve been on a major reading binge over the last month or so (Policy Studies Journal, I’m looking at you).

Most of that has been around three theories/frameworks/models – Advocacy Coalitions Framework, Punctuated Equilibrium and Multiple Streams.

Why? To try to test/extend the Dialectical Issue LifeCycle Model, especially in its phase 3 to phase 4 shift (if you’ve got 10 minutes, you could read this).

And what I realised was that it would be a “public good contribution” to my fellow early career (cough, cough) researchers, AND useful to me, if a website were built.

Or rather, a bunch of interlinked webpages came into existence.  A very patient friend of mine taught me some drupal etc, but for this, I just relied on wordpress and a certain (unusually methodical) approach to linking forward and back.

Next steps – to write the story of Australia and climate policy, 1974-2015 using each of these three theories in turn.  #livingthedream.

Meanwhile, you can find an alphabetical list of the policy concepts (it will be updated over time) with links to individual pages, here.

I might also improve my cardboard and coloured-paper models, ahead of a powerpoint presentation tomorrow, at which I hope to get heckled for long-windedness and conspiracy theories….

Dead Ricouerning: A few notes on individual and collective memory

Memory, whether you want to slice and dice it as “individual” or “collective” is about power and belonging.

If you want to belong, you’ll remember it (where “it” is something that “we did to the tribe over the hill”/”they did to us”) the way WE want you to, ‘kay?  If you want to be a member of our gang, you remember like this or we will dismember you like that. Capisce?

We live in a reality distortion field, that is amped up and as pervasive as the panspectron. Fnord.

Kundera: ‘The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting’

The past is always knocking incessant, trying to break through, into the present.

Always having to remind ourselves of “the past” (the subalterns less so, of course. )

Chris Rock nails it on this, in this interview.

So, to say Obama is progress is saying that he’s the first black person that is qualified to be president. That’s not black progress. That’s white progress. There’s been black people qualified to be president for hundreds of years. If you saw Tina Turner and Ike having a lovely breakfast over there, would you say their relationship’s improved? Some people would. But a smart person would go, “Oh, he stopped punching her in the face.” It’s not up to her. Ike and Tina Turner’s relationship has nothing to do with Tina Turner. Nothing. It just doesn’t. The question is, you know, my kids are smart, educated, beautiful, polite children. There have been smart, educated, beautiful, polite black children for hundreds of years. The advantage that my children have is that my children are encountering the nicest white people that America has ever produced. Let’s hope America keeps producing nicer white people.

It’s about white people adjusting to a new reality?

Owning their actions. Not even their actions. The actions of your dad. Yeah, it’s unfair that you can get judged by something you didn’t do, but it’s also unfair that you can inherit money that you didn’t work for.

And that “past” is fed back to us in ways that dis-empower us.  We wait around for magical leaders. But they never existed.

We have to be the ones who don’t just “walk away” from Omelas, but who know what to do about Omelas and have the courage.

Why do we love spy novels – the snitch jackets, the legends, the counter legends.  They speak to identity, dilemmas of loyalty and interpretation.  The all-too-human condition…

Things to read:
Onion: Repressed Memory Therapist recovers entire Rockford Files episode

Howard Zinn’s People’s History of the United States

Hidden from History: 300 years of women’s oppression and the fight against it by Sheila Rowbotham

Things to think about:
The History Wars in Australia – what we do when we refuse to admit what we did.  What we do to OURSELVES but more importantly what we do to the people we’ve been shitting on.  Hegel-schmegel, (but not Schlegel).  There might need to be some re-cognition of this…

The whole thing about Alzheimers and identity – we are what we remember. And when we can’t, we aren’t that person any more?

And so on to Korsakoff’s

Things to (re)watch:
The Entire History of You–  “Set in an alternative reality where most people have a ‘grain’ implanted behind their ear which records everything they do, see or hear. This allows memories to be played back either in front of the person’s eyes or on a screen, a process known as a ‘re-do’.”

The Nasty Girl – when a Bavarian activist asks awkward questions about her village’s elder statesmen and what they got up to 1933-1945.

“Men in Black” and the memory wand thing

“Memento” – Christopher Nolan

The “Bourne” Films – but not the Jeremy Renner atrocity

“Blade Runner” – the replicants want to be human, and fall in love with memories they know are fake. (Including, perhaps, Deckard himself.)

“Total Recall” (both the above, of course, are Philip K. Dick novels)

Things to read more about

Saffer Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Thinkers I’ve not encountered and may read if I win the lottery and never have to work again

Ann Whitehead

Maurice Halbwachs

Michael Rothberg and his Multidirectional Memory

The Ricouer guy