Jargon Watch

Unlike a Google search on the phrase “follow me here”, my PubSub feed, which delivers to me weblog references to “Gelwan” or “Follow Me Here”, has very little referring to my writing these days. It is mostly full of links to folks who are saying “now follow me here…” as they spin out some tortuous logic or questionable argument. Should I have copyrighted the phrase?

While we are on the topic of the writer’s perennial preoccupation with how much atttention s/he is attracting, there are many many more comments being entered on my posts here these days. I am not sure why that is, but I am loving it. Keep it up! (It seems it is a function of the efforts of just a few faithful and loquacious readers. What about the rest of you?)

Give nukes a chance

Columbia University political scientist Kenneth Waltz thinks nuclear proliferation can make us safer. Nonproliferation made sense in a world dominated by the balance of terror between two superpowers, but now in a unipolar world, a nuclear deterrent in the hands of smaller nations can disrupt the destabilizing ambitions of a reckless arrogant superpower. (Boston Globe)

The Poor May Not Be Getting Richer:

But they are living longer, eating better, and learning to read: “So the conventional wisdom in development economics has long been that to boost the prospects of the world’s poor, one needs to boost their incomes. This is still true, but as World Bank economist Charles Kenny points out in a provocative article titled ‘Why Are We Worried About Income? Nearly Everything that Matters is Converging,’ income growth does not tell the full story.

Even though some of the world’s poorest people are not earning much more than they were two generations ago, they’re still living much better than they were. In fact, many quality of life indicators are converging toward levels found in the richer countries.” (Reason)

Is this a new version of the slaveowners’ argument that their slaves should be grateful for how well they treated them, rather than simply agitating for their freedom?

Our unhealthy obsession with sickness

Why is being ill now embraced as a positive part of the human experience? Frank Furedi:

“We live in a world where illnesses are on the increase. The distinguishing feature of the twenty-first century is that health has become a dominant issue, both in our personal lives and in public life. It has become a highly politicised issue, too, and an increasingly important site of government intervention and policymaking. With every year that passes, we seem to spend more and more time and resources thinking about health and sickness. I think there are four possible reasons for this…” (spiked)

Furedi, an English sociologist, discusses medicalization, the ‘normalization of illness’ (we are all seen now as being potentially ill), the growing use of the language of illness and health to make sense of increasingly ambiguous human experience, and the politicization of health (politicians’ growing preoccupation with healthcare and the healthcare crisis, which I think stems largely from the growing political power of the pharmaceutical industry and its stranglehold over healthcare). His summary theme is the interesting, and telling, point (with which I agree) that the normalization of illness is a cultural fact. Proeccupation with health, and the fact that more and more of us are thinking of ourselves as sick, sicker, and sicker for longer, is the real source of the healthcare crisis, and it is not going to be solved in the public policy sphere.