American citizens

“And slowly, over many years, the people realized they were not citizens. They were not members of a community. They were clocking in and punching out and killing time. They were employees.” DC Comic’s Uncle Sam, by Steve Darnall and Alex Ross, on the American capitalism

War of the words

“We find that pretty arrogant. They don’t decide. We don’t decide. Gamers decide.” Xbox Canada’s Jason Anderson, on Sony’s E3 proclamation of “Sony decides when the next generation begins”

Endings

“No matter what you think of David Fincher’s translation of Chuck Palahniuk’s pre-iPod, post-post-punk nightmare, you have to admire an ending that foresaw things that are still being talked about today. The film predicts the emo-boy nation that we swim in these days, but the ending, with the Pixies’ raucous ‘Where is My Mind?’ wailing in the background, sees self-terrorism and numb romance as the new, essential way of life.” Chris Cabin, on 1999’s Fight Club

Thinking differently

“Earlier this week, Chicago Tribune quoted Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris as saying iPods have a relatively low failure rate and that they are designed to last ‘four years.’ However, Kerris in a statement to the iLounge on Friday said she was misquoted. The Apple spokeswoman said she told the reporter that the iPod was designed to last ‘for years,’ not ‘four years.’” AppleInsider

Taken over by tourists

“And the unsettling truth sinks in: Travel is oversold… Overrun by yappy guides, European capitals have become giant theme parks. Beset by swarms of tourists, the Acropolis looks more like an anthill than a Greek temple. Invaded by cellphones, Westminster Abbey feels like a playpen for tour groups rather than a revered place of worship. Now, even distant Asian destinations have a surreal cast, overbuilt with golden arches and accented by Starbucks logos. As tourism infiltrates the far corners of the globe, the juggernaut seems unstoppable — and increasingly unmemorable. Far be it from me to begrudge the benefits of the travel boom for the poor countries and rich corporations that depend on the hospitality industry. But why trek to an exotic locale that is so utterly westernized as to be eerily familiar?” Martin Regg Cohn, Toronto Star

Hi-speed express

“At the end of March 2006, 42% of Americans had high-speed at home, up from 30% in March 2005, or a 40% increase. And 48 million Americans — mostly those with high-speed at home — have posted content to the internet.” Pew Internet: Home Broadband Adoption 2006

The new strategy

“In a world where strategy is a commodity, creativity becomes the vital factor from which value flows. When everyone can think strategically about everything, the locus of value creation shifts from out-thinking everyone to out-creating them… Now, we see the hints of the revolution everywhere—from the death of mass culture/blockbusters, to the rise of free culture, to the exploding investment in innovation and design, to the flight of capital away from the US. I think it is going to create enormous challenges for firms—challenges which can’t be answered by thinking strategically; but can only be faced by thinking creatively.” Bubblegeneration

Because you’re a winner

“Rule Number 4: If you see something you like, put it in your cart. You can obsess over it and discard it before you cash out. I recall vacillating over a beautiful green Italian bag, which I ultimately rejected because the handles were too short to wear over the shoulder. I put it back on the display table and by the time I had turned around, it was snapped up by the woman who had been shadowing me all afternoon.” Rita Zekas, on shopping at Winners, a retailer featuring discounted brand name and designer merchandise

Entertainment choices

“To start, I think women are much more discriminating in general than men in their choice of entertainment experience. Men will do the same stupid thing over and over again and be happy. Women tend to want a more complex, creative experience.” Will Wright, creator of The Sims

Two billion people

“At the beginning of the twentieth century, there was a serious scare about an imminent Malthusian crisis: the world’s rapidly expanding population was coming up against the limits of agricultural productivity… Earl Butz, Nixon’s Secretary of Agriculture, was despised by organic farmers, but he might not have been wrong when he said, in 1971, that if America returned to organic methods ‘someone must decide which fifty million of our people will starve!’ According to a more recent estimate, if synthetic fertilizers suddenly disappeared from the face of the earth, about two billion people would perish.” Steven Shapin, on the cost of sustainably grown and locally produced organic food