hard heads soft hearts

a scratch pad for half-formed thoughts by a liberal political junkie who's nobody special. ''Hard Heads, Soft Hearts'' is the title of a book by Princeton economist Alan Blinder, and tends to be a favorite motto of neoliberals, especially liberal economists.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009
re: pick-up artists, what really grates is the lack of empathy. Suppose a PUA was the object of desire, suppose there was a woman, or *gasp* a man, who wanted to sleep with him, who he didn't want to sleep with. Do they really believe there exists some magic strategy or technique that would get the PUA into bed, when he didn't want to go?

re: Nice Guys, it seems worth pointing out that there are plenty of Nice Girls too, women platonic-friends who will sit patiently and make sympathetic noises while Himbo bangs on and on about how he only wanted a fling, but the girl is taking it too damn seriously. I guess the big difference is the sense of entitlement - Nice Girls probably don't lapse into thoughts of revenge, payback, threatening/pleading/cajoling/demanding the object of desire conform to their will, as easily as Nice Guys do.

I think CS Lewis in "The Abolition of Man" hit upon a key feature of the modern world: the dogged, hyper-rational, hyper-efficient pursuit, aided by the most advanced science and technology, of our most irrational, and often transient, impulses. "When all that says `It is good' has been debunked, what says `I want' remains."


Checkov, "Uncle Vanya". (also in the movie "Vanya On 42nd Street")

"SONIA. . .[A pause] Tell me, doctor, if I had a friend or a younger sister, and if you knew that she, well--loved you, what would you do?

ASTROFF. [Shrugging his shoulders] I don't know. I don't think I should do anything. I should make her understand that I could not return her love--however, my mind is not bothered about those things now. I must start at once if I am ever to get off. Good-bye, my dear girl. At this rate we shall stand here talking till morning. [He shakes hands with her] I shall go out through the sitting-room, because I am afraid your uncle might detain me. [He goes out.]. . .

. . .[Sonia lays her head on HELENA'S breast.]

HELENA. [Stroking her hair] There, there, that will do. Don't, Sonia.

SONIA. I am ugly!

HELENA. You have lovely hair.

SONIA. Don't say that! [She turns to look at herself in the glass] No, when a woman is ugly they always say she has beautiful hair or eyes. . ."

I love the detail [He shakes hands with her].


probably my favorite passage from "Murder Must Advertise" (Chapter X)

"`. . .I see,' said Mr. Smayle. `Well, of course, Mr. Hankin doesn't have to try and prove that he's better than me, because he is and we both know it.'

`Better isn't the right word, Smayle.'

`Well, better educated. You know what I mean.'

`Don't worry about it,' said Ingleby. `If I were half as good at my job as you are at yours, I should feel superior to everybody in this tom-fool office.'

Mr. Smayle shook his head, but appeared comforted.

`I do wish they wouldn't start that kind of thing', said Ingleby when he had gone, `I don't know what to say to them.'

`I thought you were a Socialist, Ingleby,' said Bredon, `it oughtn't to embarass you.'

`So I am a Socialist,' said Ingleby, `but I can't stand this stuff about Old Dumbletonians. If everybody has the same State education, these things wouldn't happen.'

`If everybody had the same face,' said Bredon, `there'd be no pretty women.'

Miss Meteyard made a grimace.

`If you go on like that, I shall be getting an inferiority complex too.'

Bredon looked at her gravely.

`I don't think you'd care to be called pretty,' he said, `but if I were a painter I should like to make a portrait of you. You have very interesting bones.'

`Good God!' said Miss Meteyard. `I'm going. Let me know when you've finished with my room.'

There was a mirror in the typists' room, and in this Miss Meteyard curiously studied her face.

`What's the matter, Miss Meteyard?' asked Miss Rossiter. `Got a spot coming?'

`Something of the sort,' said Miss Meteyard, absently. `Interesting bones indeed!'"

Deep Thoughts:

This is really good. Do you have any ketchup?

"Dharma [ethics] can not come very naturally. . .there must be a lot of room for you to grow, a lot of room to express yourself with your choices. Dharma can not come to you by accident, it must be purely deliberate. . .By one’s own initiative, one must discover the value of dharma and place it first."

Swami Dayananda