Andrew Collins I've read on a Kindle as well and admittedly didn't notice the distraction factor much either (though it is an older model and tedious to navigate). I think iPads present much more of a temptation in this regard. As you mentioned with video, the phenomena may be similar to watching a movie in a theater or watching it at home. Theater's isolate us and take us entirely into the world of the film, enhancing the experience in a way that watching a film at home cannot. To a much lesser degree, books do the same thing, and I suspect that print books do it at least slightly better than e-books.
Andrew Collins Good point. I hadn't considered that. Though, in regards to to articles and their presentation in newspapers, it seems we've already lost a huge part of that with the advent of the internet. With so much written material online, I'll bet researchers and historians in the future will consider things like "likes," "hits," and "shares" as important parts of a text's context.
Andrew Collins Good article, and I agree. Perspective changes everything. It'll be interesting to see which of today's stars are revered a few decades from now (the ones you mentioned probably will). In regards to Leo, though, I would consider both Inception and Django Unchained to be "legitimately interesting" movies.
Andrew Collins And even further, National Review notes that the White House would find more savings by canceling one of president Obama's vacations than canceling tours for the rest of the fiscal year. http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/342467/cancelling-white-house-tours-saves-less-cost-one-obamas-vacations-andrew-stiles
Andrew Collins Update: NBC News reports that it apparently costs $74,000 per week to staff the 37 Secret Service agents on duty during tour hours, which will be about $2 million by the end of this fiscal year. http://firstread.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/03/07/17225371-secret-service-canceled-white-house-tours-save-74k-a-week?lite A little more understandable, I guess.
Andrew Collins "Taught to multitask and growing up in a world where unstructured and unchecked time using technology was the norm, we’re distracted and struggling to build identities that exist offline." I think that's the crux of the problem. Tech writer Nicholas Carr has an excellent book about this called "The Shallows," where he basically argues that the 'net is changing the way we think by training us to be distracted. When our minds jump from thing to thing (or rather, webpage to webpage) within seconds, it makes deep, sustained thinking much harder--the kind of thinking that comes from reading a book, for example. I can easily imagine a correlation between stress and the internet-fostered instinct to mentally jump from one thing to another.
Andrew Collins Good point, but that article also notes his handgun had an extended magazine that held 40 rounds. The fact that the AR-15 jammed only helps the gun control argument, if it hadn't, with a 100-round drum magazine he could have wiped out almost the entire theater. I'm not necessarily arguing that it's best to ban these weapons, but the Aurora shooting is a prime example used by people who favor an assault-weapons ban.
Andrew Collins Actually I have not read the graphic novels, so it's hard to say. I did do a little research on them for this article, however. It seems that the books and TV show diverge enough so that one wouldn't necessarily ruin the other. With such a lengthy narrative and so many characters there's enough there to tweak while still keeping the story strong. That's my guess, at least. Maybe some other readers can offer their thoughts.
Andrew Collins Good point, I believe I saw one study that estimated that about 70% of Obama's twitter followers were fake (and I'm sure many of Romney's are too). That's why the number of mentions and retweets is much more important--and, incidentally, much more even between the candidates.
Andrew Collins I would submit that another reason for some of these trends in religion is the nature of globalization and the late-modern times in which we live. In a world that is increasingly interconnected, people are constantly encountering beliefs different than their own, which is unlike much of human history where most people lived in communities that were more isolated and unified in their beliefs. This, along with the general uncertainty and doubt that has come with the rise of existential and postmodern thought over the past century, makes it much more difficult to maintain clear, strong, dogmatic, beliefs these days.
Andrew Collins I'm not trying to justify Marxism at all--his ideas did indeed lead to a lot of evil, and from what I understand his system of thought is fatally flawed. It is definitely not the path we should follow. All I'm saying is that not everything Marx said was completely wrong. If his theories didn't conform at least partially to reality it's unlikely they would have gained so much influence in the first place.
Andrew Collins Well, usually bad ideas don't capture half the world unless there are a few good insights mixed in, and in this case (reading the quote without context) I'd say Marx is right. Where I'd probably disagree with him is that such an observation doesn't necessarily negate the ancient principle that a "laborer is worthy of his wages." Thus those who work harder ought to earn more.
Andrew Collins I did indeed neglect to mention the 10,000 hour principle, and it probably would have made my point clearer had I brought it up. But I definitely had it in mind throughout the article, particularly when I said: "Those “lucky” breaks or external supports only help if the individual is putting in a great deal of his own effort. No one pulls himself up by his own bootstraps, but anyone who hopes to be successful has to do a lot of pulling on his own."
Andrew Collins Good article. Though I think the new Batman films may be more in-touch with society than just about anything else coming out in American cinema these days. Nolan's uses individual psychological struggles as a springboard into social commentary. The Joker does indeed lack empathy and remorse, but he's all about making a social statement--showing us how pathetic our attempts to control the world really are, chaos is the only fair, etc. (think hospital scene with Harvey Dent). He's a great villain because we as a collective society are afraid that he just might be right. In many ways Batman is the myth of our generation, which is cynical and disillusioned but still looking for something to believe in. He's a superhero without superpowers!
Andrew Collins Agreed completely. Asians embody the American ideal for immigration. They come to America and learn how to beat us at our own game (that is, work hard, learn English, excel academically, and generally master our civilization). Studies like these show the fruits of their labor--particularly #1.
Andrew Collins While I agree with your critique generally--American films tend to be shallow--I'm skeptical about the claim that American cinema misses the potential to use film as political expression mainly because it is too shallow. More so than making political statements, a good, substantial film goes even deeper into questions of philosophy and human nature; and it can often do so without political undertones. It seems to me that a big reason why more politicized films aren't as popular here is because moviegoers today don't trust political narratives in general--and rightly so. We understand that films are always fictionalized and embellished; if a film attempts intellectual depth via real-life political undertones, it's an awfully hard sell.
Andrew Collins It's true there's no precedence for Batman dying, but Nolan has shown so far that he's not afraid to break with any precedence in his Batman films. If Batman dying would make for a good story, it will probably happen. I think it certainly could make the story better. Remember that "Batman" as an effective hero succeeds as a symbol, not as a mere man. Saving Gotham through his death could be Batman's ultimate act of transcending his own humanness to become something greater. And again, I still can't get past that line in trailer: "Not everything, not yet." If Batman hasn't given everything yet, what could "everything" mean?
Andrew Collins Good advice. As a recent college grad it's been my experience that the more you know the more you realize just how much you don' t know. Like you said, a summer internship or senior thesis doesn't exactly make you an authority--and even if it did there's still a chance you could be wrong. As a side note, these tips aren't specific to foreign policy, they're good for anyone talking about politics, religion, philosophy, etc.