Does this lifestyle sound intriguing? You can become one of us! The few, the proud, the slackers! Accept some of our humble literature from the cult of slack: Slacking, Slacking, Slacking, Slacking, and more Slacking. And please, don't confuse slacking with angst. Get your Gen X terminology straight.
Also, because I was too busy slacking to write this up myself, I include here at no added charge to you the home viewer, Jamie Rulli's rant on the art of loafing (04/08/94):
Every once in a while, for kicks, I like to have an identity crisis. I pursue this hobby by aimlessly wandering the streets, occasionally stopping to stare into the uncaring sky, asking, "Who am I? Why am I here?" These perennial excursions are usually fruitless, but during my most recent crisis, I discovered a disquieting reality. One of the main reasons I am here is to work. Worse still, I'm here to work for other people. People I don't even know yet.
Yes, this college thing is supposed to be only a phase, though I admit I've milked it for just about all it's worth. Still, it's all in preparation to someday enter the ugly and horrible world of work. The classes, term-papers, and reading are preparing me to someday become a disposable tool for somebody else to make money with. That's depressing. The meaning of life, once a lofty and incomprehensible thing, suddenly became so crystal-clear and shallow. A brutal chain of events: birth, training, work, breeding, death. Within that chain, work lasts by far the longest.
While thinking about this unpleasant future, things suddenly started to make sense. I remember hearing talk - in parks, bars, restaurants, even in my own home - about the horrors of work. Almost everybody complains about work, but nobody ever does anything about it. If jobs suck - and I'm sure they do - why don't we just get rid of the darn things?
Well, no courageous leader has been so bold as to suggest abolishing work, and no steps have been taken to rid ourselves of this bane of forced-labor, but many people have done the next best thing. Whether you call it getting over, slacking off, or loafing doesn't matter, it all amounts to the same thing. Some people just don't work very hard.
I prefer to call it `slacking,' because unlike the term `slacking off,' which implies a temporary state of being, slacking implies a lifestyle, a comprehensive philosophy about living life to its fullest. Now don't get me wrong, I'm no slacker, mind you, but I used to be, and it was great. Oh, the coffee I drank, the music I listened to, the people I mooched off of. It had to end though; I simply wasn't cut out for the slacker life. As I got older, responsibility got harder and harder to dodge. Even though I can't slack anymore, though, I still can admire the loafing of others.
Loafers can be found in virtually any workplace, but are especially prevalent in large ones. Some people believe the government is the only employer that hires and retains large numbers of slackers, but any large operation will have its share of underachievers.
Size is important, because in order to loaf successfully for long periods of time, there has to be other people with the same job responsibilities as you. If you are the only person responsible for doing a certain thing and that thing doesn't get done, you're busted. On the other hand, if you perform the same function as a number of other people, and that function is not completed, nobody can be sure whose fault it is - or at least they can't prove it.
While size is important, so is technique. I have noticed, while working at various jobs, there are two main types of workplace slackers. The first is the lone loafer, who pretends to do everything while actually doing little. These people will often play work-martyr, wondering why nobody else ever does any work, turning loafing into a successful promotion strategy if the bosses believe the act.
The other type has no pretensions to martyrdom, and I have much more respect for the people who admit they get over and are damn proud of it. These people will gravitate towards other like-minded individuals, forming a slack-pack, a group of loafers that spends the day roving from vending area to smoking area, just passing time until the next break or paycheck.
And why not? If we're going to spend most of our waking lives
working to fill the pockets of others, we might as well grab
a little happiness - or at least a couple of extra candy bars
- for ourselves.
french \'french\ vt, often cap (1941) :to cut (snap beans) in thin lengthwise strips before cookingHey... not even the French call them French fries! They call them "pommes frites", fried potatoes, nothing more, nothing less.
On other occasions, Gates pointed to the operation of what he called the "herd" effect --- "90 percent of the people in this industry are the herd." The herd effect hindered Microsoft's attempts to gain market share for its spreadsheet on the DOS side where Lotus had the attention of the "herd," but it worked in the company's favor on the Macintosh side where in the mid-1980s Microsoft's Excel far outsold Lotus's Jazz. The reason Microsoft sold twenty copies of its Mac product for every one of Lotus's was not because it was significantly better technically --- Gates himself said it was only marginally better --- but because, Gates observed, once the market anoints a leader the entire universe of third-party support --- "all the books, all the templates, all the training, all the [stores'] stocking," --- heads in the direction of the leader, too...
Perhaps the most controversial portion of Myhrvold's defense of the [positive feedback cycle] theory was when he observed that, in the history of computers, the market share leader in operating systems gets about 90 percent of the market, the runner-up has about 90 percent of the remainder, and so on. In applications software that runs on top of the operating system, the positive feedback cycle is at work, too, but it does not bring customers as many benefits, so the distribution is not quite as dramatically skewed. Nevertheless, a pattern is found in application software categories, too: the leader gets 60 to 70 percent of the market and the runner gets 60 to 70 percent of the remainder. Two years after Myhrvold made these observations, another software category --- the suite of productivity applications --- had become important. When a well-integrated suite like Microsoft's Office became widely adopted, it brought out every one of [Stanford economist Brian] Arthur's five sources of tipping, enhancing the effects of the positive feedback cycle. By 1995, Microsoft's Office had a 90 percent share of the suite segment of the market, exactly what Myhrvold's earlier remarks had predicted.
The real question is, of course, the question posed by Baudrillard: in postmodern thought: is the simulation good enough to approximate a new "real" experience?
For example, if Rohit reads four reviews of the book _Maus_ by Art Spiegelman, reads a Web discussion of the themes in the book, and talks about the book with friends who have read it, is that the same approximate experience as reading the book?
The question you need to ask yourself, of course, is: does the new thing add something above and beyond the original. If "Seinfeld" uses a Junior Mint in a way it's never been used before, and that adds value in a way Junior Mints alone never could have (in this case, the value being humor), that is a good thing. If Howard Stern simulates a crude experience (again, for the sake of humor), then again the value-added is good. VH1's Pop Up Video adds a different kind of experience -- adding information to an otherwise braindead source (music videos).
And, in their own way, the rap stars you name add something to each of the songs they sample from.
The new B.I.G. song is called "Mo Money Mo Problems", and he uses the catchy riff from Diana Ross's "I'm Coming Out" to make the point that just because he has money does not mean his life is free from trouble. In fact, it reigns true: he was shot and killed earlier this year, presumably from a jealous rival or fan.
Similarly, if Coolio samples from Stevie Wonder, he can produce an amazing (and catchy) portrait of the life of a 23-year-old living in the inner city, complete with his hopes and fears. The song becomes an anthem of sorts, propelling an otherwise-mediocre movie into the limelight.
Coolio shows us as well that rappers need not sample from modern songs. He riffs off Pachelbel's "Canon in D" in his latest single, "C U When U Get There", which is an insightful ditty aimed at people who want to learn before their "mind is prepared." Again, the sample provides a hook that attracts an audience to a song.
If they take an old riff, and use it to a new end, is that simulation of a new experience not as good as a brand new experience generated from scratch? I would say so.
It's not limited to rappers, either. George Michael produced a cool 1996 dance song, "Fastlove", from the same song Will Smith's "Men in Black" was sampled from: Patrice Rushen's "Forget Me Nots." Both songs have gotten substantially more airplay than the original. Why? Because they take the original and extend it in an original way. The song by itself was just not all that intriguing to people. It was repetitive, and that grates after a while. But add a backbeat and some additional rapping, singing, or "smoothing out", and a repetitive experience becomes more interesting.
Likewise, if the Beastie Boys sample a wide variety of sources (check out the album "Paul's Boutique"), it makes for a more holistic experience. If Madonna samples a line from Socrates ("The unexamined life is not worth living" is in "Now I'm Following You"), it makes the song better than it might have been. If Stephen King samples a line from Blue Oyster Cult ("Don't Fear the Reaper"), it makes "The Stand" a better novel. If the Fun Lovin' Criminals sample lines from "Pulp Fiction" and "Reservoir Dogs" in their song "Scooby Snacks", it makes the song sound more authentically criminal. If a post to a public mailing list like FoRK samples from web sites and newsgroups (and yes, even private emails), and then adds interesting commentary, then what we experience is a post that transcends and improves the original bits.
Sampling works. The good rappers are not hacks; they take catchy riffs and craft a new song around that familiar yet fashionable theme. I, for one, happen to like the new Notorious B.I.G. single, and I'm not the only one: it was #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 7 weeks. Also, the tribute song the Puff Daddy and Faith Evans penned to the riff on the Police's "Every Breath You Take" was #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 10 weeks.
I feel inclined to note that rapping on top of a sampled riff is but one form of sampling. For example, consider points made by Rob, Tim, and Richard.
Rob made a good point about 4 Cellos playing Metallica. Man, that is just an awesome album. It's not a Metallica ripoff; it transcends the original art in a new and meaningful way.
Tim made a good point about the Chemical Brothers sampling the Beatles being sampling put to good use, but the point is not to judge. You may think that Coolio's sampling of Earth Wind and Fire on "Fantastic Voyage" sucks, but that's your opinion. Other people might think it's a great use of sampling in an art form. The point is to let everyone try their hand at sampling, and pick your own 3% best.
And I forgot to make the point that sometimes an artist can sample himself and make new, more compelling art as a result. Michelangelo and Picasso knew this. So did Mick Jones, who took a riff from a song he did with the Clash in "Should I Stay or Should I Go?" and sampled it in a creative, interesting way in his song with Big Audio Dynamite II, "The Globe". (In an ironic bout of self-indulgence, he even says "Bless you" to himself when the sampled voice goes, "Woooo!").
And when Natalie Cole takes her father's songs, remasters them and sings along in harmony, the result is very impressive. "Unforgettable," if you will.
Or when "When Harry Met Sally" samples dialogue and movie bits from "Casablanca," is makes the movie itself more accessible.
Hamlet's play-within-a-play works well as a metaphor both to increase dramatic tension and to push the plot forward.
Al Pacino's making-of-a-movie-within-a-movie shows off features not just of the showing of Richard the III he's making. It also gives us nuances about the characters portraying the characters.
Sort of like the play _6 Characters in Search of an Author_ and _Noises Off_ both play off the fact that their characters are boxed in a play within a play, giving you a multidimensional view of what's actually happening.
So when Howard Stern in his movie plays Howard Stern, and is in the middle of a simulated on-air discussion about what words you can and cannot say on the air ("The question is: blank, willow..."), the levels at play can be mind numbing but the situation itself is amazing. You can be amused by it on so many levels.
All I'm saying is that the experience of "reading the book" is adequately approximated by the sum of reading the reviews, reading the jacket, talking with friends about it, and checking out Web pages about it.
It's like when you go to a movie. You've seen 2 or 3 different previews of that movie. You've read 6 different reviews (and man is Janet Maslin are insightful!) of the movie, plus an Entertainment Weekly cover story on the making of the movie. You've seen the actors and actresses in the movie on Leno, Letterman, Rosie, and Oprah, all hocking the movie. In some cases, you've read the book the movie was based on. You've seen the best 30 seconds of the movie in the commercials. You've heard your friends talk about the best parts of the movie and the issues that it raised. Web pages and usenet news give you more details about the movie, and the newspaper has Op-Ed pieces about the issues in the movie.
Before you've even seen the movie, all these other experiences essentially have approximated the experience of seeing the movie itself. Perhaps even transcended it.
Rohit uses this sometimes as a justification for not seeing movies. And I can't say it's entirely wrong. After all, if you've approximated an experience closely enough, why should you HAVE to live through it?
When you think about it, shows like The Real World they create entirely new experiences which work as art on multiple levels. It's extraordinary. The simulation of real experiences in the context of simulated reality.
Likewise, Seinfeld's use of Junior Mints IS simulating an experience. It's sampling an item (in this case, a junior mint) in an environment in which it's never been used (in this case, surgery), yielding an entirely new simulated experience that approximates the reality of such an experience actually happening from scratch.
So when Notorious B.I.G. samples an item (in this case, Diana Ross' "I'm Coming Out") in an environment in which it's never been used (in this case, with a hard bass and backbeat and rap lyrics about the problems that more moneys are associated with), he yields an entirely new simulated experience that approximates the reality of such an experience actually happening from scratch.
Levels can recurse as needed. For example, Weird Al Yankovic's parody "Amish Paradise", which is a sample of a sample.
Sampling is not shoplifting. Mariah Carey blatantly rips off the Tom Tom Club in her "Fantasy" single. Naughty by Nature totally rips off the Jackson Five's "ABC" in their anthem "O.P.P.", but like "Fantasy" and "Mo Money Mo Problems", it works.
But sampling DOES create a new experience. In some cases, the new experience will be very similar to the old experience. In other cases, the new experience will be more recognizably new. There's a spectrum here, not any absolute. (Memo to myself, post the "Rules of Three" hypothesis someday...)
Also, samples need not necessarily be just of small, evocative bits. If this were entirely true -- if everyone sampled like Sting samples his "Every Breath You Take" in his solo effort "Love is the Seventh Wave" -- then you would rule out experiences like remakes.
Sometimes remakes transcend their originals as well. The remake of "Cape Fear" is much better than the original. Wasn't "Star Wars" originally some Japanese samurai film? Isn't Naked Eye's version of "Always Something There to Remind Me" better than the original? Isn't Guns n Roses' version of "Knocking on Heaven's Door" better than Clapton's or Dylan's? For that matter, isn't Hendrix's version of "All Along the Watchtower" better than Dylan's? Heck, almost any Bob Dylan song is better when someone else does it. (only kidding...) And tell me you don't like the Mike Flowers Pops version of "Wonderall" better than the version by those crude apes Oasis...
It's true that sometimes the remake is worse than the original. Look at "La Femme Nikita" when compared to "Point of No Return." Or Marilyn Manson's creepy version of the cool Eurythmics song, "Sweet Dreams are Made of This." Or that most book and movie sequels are worse than the originals. (Okay, "Aliens" was better than "Alien" and "Empire Strikes Back" was better than "Star Wars", so there are exceptions...)
Tim points out one problem with sampling: "that it takes a carbon copy of something and places it somewhere else. And that you might have memories, or emotions tied to the original that are corrupted by the remake." But that's just a sacrifice we have to make for living in a postmodern age.
Speaking of postmodernism, In an Information Age where we all
suffer from Information Sickness and Overload, the only cure is a
highly-potent, creatively-filtered tonic of (yes) textual residue
spilled from the depths of our spiritual unconscious. Creating a work
of art will depend more and more on the ability of the artist to
select, organize and present the bits of raw data we have at our disposal.
Use in a sentence: My so-called life has become Baudrillardian again.
To choose a direction, a leader must first have developed a mental image of a possible and desirable future state of the organization. This image, which we call a vision, may be as vague as a dream or as precise as a goal or mission statement. The critical point is that a vision articulates a view of a realistic, credible, attractive future for the organization, a condition that is better in some important ways than what now exists. A vision is a target that beckons.
From email@example.com Sun Nov 3 17:47:42 1996 Subject: regarding q. 34 To: adam at xent dot com (adam rifkin) this is were you _are_ wrong. platt, (noun proper) a butt ugly english football player who scores a lot of goals.
While they are important in classical physics, they are critical to quantum. They are also one of the two fundamental paradigms, known as matrix mechanics (the other is wave mechanics). All quantum operators are viewed as matrices acting on vectors, and eigenvectors for that operator tell you its quantum numbers.
Eigenvalues are sometimes called "singular values" - because they're the precise points where something interesting happens.
(from Ron Resnick) An eigenvalue is a unique scalar which when it
multiplies an eigenvector, produces a resultant vector equivalent to the
operator of the eigen-equation applied to the same eigenvector. But you
already knew that.
Use in a sentence: Say what?
strat.e.gy \-jeE\ pl -gies [Gk strateEgia generalship, fr. strateEgos] (1810) 1a (1): the science and art of employing the political, economic, psychological, and military forces of a nation or group of nations to afford the maximum support to adopted policies in peace or war (2): the science and art of military command exercised to meet the enemy in combat under advantageous conditions b: a variety of or instance of the use of strategy 2a: a careful plan or method: a clever stratagem b: the art of devising or employing plans or stratagems toward a goal 3: an adaptation or complex of adaptations (as of behavior, metabolism, or structure) that serves or appears to serve an important function in achieving evolutionary success aforaging strategies of insects tac.ti.cal \'tak-ti-kel\ adj (1570) 1: of or relating to combat tactics: as a: involving actions or means of less magnitude or at a shorter distance from a base of operations than those of strategy b of an air force: of, relating to, or designed for air attack in close support of friendly ground forces 2a: of or relating to tactics: as (1): of or relating to small-scale actions serving a larger purpose (2): made or carried out with only a limited or immediate end in view b: adroit in planning or maneuvering to accomplish a purpose P tac7ti7cal7ly \-k(e-)leE\ adv
Without ambition one starts nothing. Without work one finishes nothing. The prize will not be sent to you. You have to win it. The man who knows how will always have a job. The man who also knows why will always be his boss. As to methods there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble.
That's how you're gonna beat em, Butch. They keep underestimating you.