Posted by: CJ | October 16, 2010

Sad Links

I’ve been reading and thinking about these two links today.

The first is something I found via Marginal Revolution. It’s a description by a man just released from two years in jail about his time there. It’s one of the scarier things I’ve read. Almost terrifying, in a non-immediate way. Not because it’s all about drugs, and gangs, and prison rape, or anything quite so dramatic. Those sorts of descriptions are so fantastical to my daily life that it’s hard for them to really scare me. What makes it so powerful to me is how understated it is, the way it confronts the issues of daily life in prison. The lack of anything to do, the level of helplessness endured, the monotony. It’s well written. It’s the sort of modern writing that I wish could be used in an urban English classroom, just because I’d be really curious what the students would have to say. (It won’t be, of course, because trenchant modern writing tends to critically engage assumptions of middle-class life, values, and their consequences for society. And the arbiters of acceptability don’t think that’s acceptable.)

The other link is “A Radical Pessimist’s Guide to the Next 10 Years”. I find many of them unfortunately believable. One of the ones I wonder about is his prediction that the middle class, as it has been, will cease to be because large swaths of the middle class were educated information intermediaries. And the internet has made that not so useful. So he thinks there will be, proportionally, fewer middle class jobs overall–i.e. not enough new fields popping up to replace no longer relevant fields–and more low-wage keep-em-busy service jobs. But he has 45 predictions, all of them short and easy to understand. Which makes me wonder what people think his other interesting predictions are?

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