The Way We Live Now: struggling with duality. We have two options, it seems, and both are bad. Ugly money or poor beauty? High taxes or high unemployment? Big salaries or bad judges? We feel very heroic, so much option-weighing!

Back when we were flipping through the Cliff's Notes for our "Philosophy" class, we never imagined that things would be all complicated like this. It seems that instead of having one neat answer to each knotty question which accords perfectly with God's Will, we need to make "choices"—all of which come with not only an upside, but a downside, as well! I'll be gobstopped! You mean to tell me that politically popular tax cuts are not the panacea we were promised? That high end beauty pageants are not accurate representations of society as a whole? That we can't be incredibly stingy with salaries and still hope to get qualified and competent judges, whom we entrust with our very freedom?

Well I'll be.

Because—and admittedly, I was only half-listening to the constant public conversation that constitutes democracy in the age of mass media—I was under the impression that there'd be no need for Ben Bernanke to tell business leaders that unemployment is a threat, because they'd automatically understand that, out of capitalist self-interest. And there's no need for unions to complain about minority layoffs: businesspersons understand the inherent value of diversity, so the problem will inevitably correct itself. And why would anyone complain about the expiration of their jobless benefits? It's a great incentive for them to get out there and become entrepreneurs!

Doesn't anybody read theory any more?

We have to admit, we're not big fans of all these shades of grey. Sometimes we think that the world has gone crazy. Christ, next you'll tell us that gambling operations are going broke.

[Photo: Juanedc]