Thursday, February 02, 2012

Cartooneconomics Strikes Again

The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
                                     Moves on

Oh Lord, they're all doing it. It seems that the only way radical economists can get their doom-laden prophesies across to the general public is by using a lightening-fast cartoonist animating their words as they speak them.

First there was the venerable Professor David Harvey, whose 2011 speech to the Royal Society of the Arts explained the current world recession/depression with that quick-on-the-draw animation.

Then U.S. profit of doom Porter Gussethounder, sorry, Stansberry, got in on the action with some really low-brow linesman.

And now it's the turn of Irish economist and wise guy, David McWilliams, who has just come out with his latest web site / book / TV show, Punk Economics, surely a very late-in-the-day attempt to follow in the paths of the Freakonomics guys. Cue moving finger:

It's worth quoting the rest of the lines about the Moving Finger, which are taken from the Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, in the controversial translation by Edward Fitzgerald:

The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit,
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.

But helpless pieces in the game He plays,
Upon this chequer-board of Nights and Days,
He hither and thither moves, and checks ... and slays,
Then one by one, back in the Closet lays.

 And there's more:

And, as the Cock crew, those who stood before
The Tavern shouted - "Open then the Door!
You know how little time we have to stay,
And once departed, may return no more."

A Book of Verses underneath the Bough,
A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread--and Thou,
Beside me singing in the Wilderness,
And oh, Wilderness is Paradise enow.

If chance supplied a loaf of white bread,
Two casks of wine and a leg of mutton,
In the corner of a garden with a tulip-cheeked girl,
There'd be enjoyment no Sultan could outdo.

Myself when young did eagerly frequent
Doctor and Saint, and heard great Argument
About it and about: but evermore
Came out of the same Door as in I went.

With them the Seed of Wisdom did I sow,
And with my own hand labour'd it to grow:
And this was all the Harvest that I reap'd -
"I came like Water, and like Wind I go."

Into this Universe, and why not knowing,
Nor whence, like Water willy-nilly flowing:
And out of it, as Wind along the Waste,
I know not whither, willy-nilly blowing.

And that inverted Bowl we call The Sky,
Whereunder crawling coop't we live and die,
Lift not thy hands to It for help - for It
Rolls impotently on as Thou or I.

Monday, January 30, 2012


Few readers of this blog (and few you are!) know that yesterday, January 29th, is the anniversary of my birth, and also that of my very good friend, Oprah Winfrey, or OW! as she prefers. We got together as usual yesterday and using special technology only available to NASA and Oprah, we visited the Taj Mahal, then, as it was kind of crowded, we just came back home again. Oh OW! Happy birthday to all 01/29thers.

Because my birthday was coming up, I had to endure conversations like this all week:

Person: Oh, it's your birthday! That means you're ... Capricorn, same as Cinderblock, my sister-in-law! You two are very similar.

Me: No, Aquarius actually.

Person: Oh right! Then you're the same sign as my Auntie Ironingboard. She's Aquarius. [A darker mood descends] ...but so is her husband, Mongoose. I don't think they are likely to get along, do you?

Me: Well, I think astrology is unscientific mumbo-jumbo.

Person: No, not astrology!!! Your star signs. The Zodiac. You know the Zodiac? It explains Everything, you know, Everything?

Me: Errr...