The Daily: 4 April 2023

Do not seek pleasure everywhere, but always be ready to find it.
     — John Ruskin in Tolstoy's Calendar of Wisdom for 4 April

I was chasing down information on the soon-to-be avalanche of wealth transferal — or more likely wealth annihilation, since it is becoming increasingly clear that symbolic wealth is not the same as, nor even based upon, physical wealth — and I encountered this picture on

Image credit: Hill Street Studio/Stone/Getty Images

I suspect these are actors or models or something and not real people. I rather hope they are some variety of Gatsby-esque posers. Because have you ever seen a more repulsive display of white male privilege? I mean, what are they standing on…

I couldn’t read the article. Instead, I wrote a poem…


he does not see you
living blind
in silvered glass towers
above the dark canaille
he does not know your pain
sheltered by pale prerogative
opaque palisades of privilege
and insipid insouciance
he does not hear your voice
in the pregnant pause
between bland blandishments
of incumbent praise
he sees eternities
he knows entitlement
he hears honey on snake tongues
he is armored
in unchallenged confidence
his own rightful fate
he lives on your long labors…

and this is his weakness

From the Book Cellar

And speaking of repulsive…

I am going to break my longstanding custom of not saying bad things about books. Observer by Robert Lanza and Nancy Kress (2022, The Story Plant) seemed tantalizing enough. I’ll grant that I’m not as much a fan of sci-fi as I used to be because so little of it is either good science or good fiction, but a story on the nature of consciousness sounded like my cuppa. How wrong I was!

The writing is appalling. The plot is predictable and bland. Everything that could be said of the rather uninteresting idea of turning meat bodies into digital minds has been said, and it’s still not a thing. The characters are largely die-cut. If they get to develop into interesting humans, I didn’t read that far. But the worst was the smug patronizing tone, writing that talks down to the reader, with the authors clearly smiling behind their words, saying ‘yes, we know you’re not smart enough to understand any of this, but we’re going to plod on anyhow’.

And then… they got it wrong. Surprisingly, being a neurosurgeon does not mean one is an expert on quantum mechanics. (Nor does being a geologist, but I think I paid more attention in my undergrad physics classes…)

So if you are tempted, just… don’t.

©Elizabeth Anker 2023

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