It occurred to me today - finally - that the old question we used to ask has to be changed around. No longer can we menfolk ask each other "an hour in bed with Jennifer Aniston or a day hanging out with Brad Pitt?" No, now there are two questions. "An hour in bed with Jennifer Aniston or a day hanging out with Vince Vaughn?" and "A day hanging out with Brad Pitt or an hour in bed with Angelina Jolie?"
And let me tell you, those two different names change the calculus significantly.
(People can free to answer these questions if they want, but I'm gonna continue with this post).
Does anybody else think it odd that we count effort as relevant in the "meritocracy" that is the US? I mean, if people who are of lesser abilities can work their butts off and do as well as someone of greater ability who's lazy, should we reward that effort? Sure, there's some sense of fairness and justice in that equation, but aren't we really off-setting the value of actual ability? And if we're not essentially defining merit as ability, then what's the point of a meritocracy?
Another way of thinking about this problem is looking at two people who put in exactly the same effort, but one does way better than another. In a meritocracy, the one who does way better should win out. Of course, this sort of offends our sensibilities about fairness, but ultimately we're ok with this sort of system and see this as a tragic consequence. So if effort isn't the defining mark of merit, and abilities are really determinative, why do we off-set abilities by taking into account effort in some cases?
And, more essentially, what about disadvantaged/advantaged people who have different resources? Take two identical people who are taking a standardized test. Normally they'd score exactly the same. But one has the time and money to take a prep course, which usually raise scores by some meaningful amount. The other has to use a borrowed test prep book and has significantly less time to study. The score of the prep course person is going to turn out higher. They get into a better school because of it. Is this really a meritocracy? I think not. I think we should either commit to making things "fair" on the basis of effort, regardless of result, or go to a true ability system, in which we eliminate effort from the equation of determining who is more skilled/intelligent/deserving.
And finally, why is it that every Mac user is on a personal quest to rid the world of Windows machines? I've been getting plenty of comments on this topic lately, thankyouverymuchJoelandPatric.
It seems to me that Mac users are like Metric users. Look, you can give me all the reasons you want for why Metric is superior, but I don't care. Yes, I know it's simpler. Yes, I know conversions are easier. Yes, I know the rest of the world uses it. Yes, I know if I switched I'd get used to it. I don't care.
Why don't I care?
BECAUSE THERE'S NOTHING WRONG WITH THE ENGLISH SYSTEM!
Really, it's just a case of elevating form over substance. The distance is the same length whether you call it a mile or 2-point-who-gives-a-dunk. It doesn't matter if you call it 2.8 meters or a gallon, you're flushing the same amount of water down that urinal.
And for most people, it doesn't matter if you're using a Mac or Windows to check your e-mail and run your word processor. Pirated music sounds the same on both machines. The substance is the same even if the form is different.
Thus, with the background established, I give you the following syllogism:
People who care to much about form are annoying.
Mac users who try to convert others care too much about form.
Ergo, BACK THE FREAK OFF!
So deep in my heart that you're really a part of me