Il blog personale di Filippo Corti

“Sometimes I’ll get a call or email from someone five years after the last contact and I’ll think, oh right, I hated that person. But they would never have known, of course. Let’s see if I still hate them. Very often I find that I don’t. Or that I hated them for a dumb reason. Or that they were having a bad day. Or much more likely, that I had been having a bad day. People silently struggle from all kinds of terrible things. They suffer from depression, ambition, substance abuse, and pretension. They suffer from family tragedy, Ivy-League educations, and self-loathing. They suffer from failing marriages, physical pain, and publishing. The good thing about politeness is that you can treat these people exactly the same. And then wait to see what happens.”

– Paul Ford, How to Be Polite

Chi sa bene l'italiano corretto? »

Il Post:

C’è questa idea leggendaria degli autori di dizionari riuniti intorno a un tavolo per decidere quali saranno le nuove parole da rendere ufficialmente “italiano”, ma come vi dirà qualunque linguista, il loro lavoro è esattamente il contrario. Rovistano tra grandi moli di linguaggi già esistenti, scritti o registrati, e cercano di capire quali nuove parole o nuovi usi di vecchie parole vengono pronunciati da gruppi di persone abbastanza numerosi e diversificati per diventare rilevanti per i futuri utenti dei dizionari. I dizionari vengono inevitabilmente dopo la lingua parlata, perché sono le persone a creare i cambiamenti linguistici.

La differenza fra il porno e la realtà, spiegata con l’ausilio di cibo, frutta e verdura.

Il problema con il "minimalismo" »

Possedere solo l’essenziale eliminando qualsiasi elemento superfluo — ovvero vivere secondo la filosofia minimalista — è uno stile di vita elitario, che in pochi possono permettersi:

If you see someone on the street dressed like a middle-class person (say, in clean jeans and a striped shirt), how do you know whether they’re lower middle class or upper middle class? I think one of the best indicators is how much they’re carrying.

Lately I’ve been mostly on the lower end of middle class (although I’m kind of unusual along a couple axes). I think about this when I have to deal with my backpack, which is considered déclassé in places like art museums. My backpack has my three-year-old laptop. Because it’s three years old, the battery doesn’t last long and I also carry my power supply. It has my paper and pens, in case I want to write or draw, which is rarely. It has a cable to charge my old phone. It has gum and sometimes a snack. Sunscreen and a water bottle in summer. A raincoat and gloves in winter. Maybe a book in case I get bored.

If I were rich, I would carry a MacBook Air, an iPad mini as a reader, and my wallet. My wallet would serve as everything else that’s in my backpack now. Go out on the street and look, and I bet you’ll see that the richer people are carrying less.

Perché continuiamo a credere in cose che non sono vere? »

I fatti non sono così potenti come si crede: in pochi casi ci portano a cambiare idea.

Perché siamo così occupati? »

Nel 1928, in un saggio intitolato “Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildrens”, John Maynard Keynes aveva immaginato un futuro (nell’anno 2028) in cui avremmo lavorato tre ore al giorno:

With so little need for labor, people would have to figure out what to do with themselves: “For the first time since his creation man will be faced with his real, his permanent problem—how to use his freedom from pressing economic cares, how to occupy the leisure, which science and compound interest will have won.”

Cos’è andato storto, e perché la nostra ricchezza non si è tradotta in più tempo libero a nostra disposizione? — al contrario, siamo (e ci sentiamo) sempre più occupati.

Keynes assumed that people work in order to earn enough to buy what they need. And so, he reasoned, as incomes rose, those needs could be fulfilled in ever fewer hours. Workers would knock off earlier and earlier, until eventually they’d be going home by lunchtime.

But that isn’t what people are like. Instead of quitting early, they find new things to need. Many of the new things they’ve found weren’t even around when Keynes was writing—laptops, microwaves, Xboxes, smartphones, smart watches, smart refrigerators, Prada totes, True Religion jeans, battery-powered meat thermometers, those gizmos you stick in the freezer and then into your beer to keep it cold as you drink it.

Un’economista svedese, Staffan B. Linder, delineò nel 1970 uno scenario che sembra più vicino ai nostri giorni — un consumo simultaneo (multitasking?) di prodotti:

Back in 1970, a Swedish economist named Staffan B. Linder coined the phrase “the harried leisure class.” Linder argued that as people became wealthier they would inevitably feel more squeezed, because they would feel compelled to consume more and more goods per unit of free time. One way they’d accomplish this, he predicted, is through an increase in “simultaneous consumption.” Linder envisioned his harried protagonist “drinking Brazilian coffee” while “smoking a Dutch cigar, sipping a French cognac, reading The New York Times, listening to a Brandenburg Concerto and entertaining his Swedish wife.”

Today, our multitasker might be nursing a Belgian craft beer while nibbling on sushi, reading The Economist, listening to Lorde, and booking tickets to visit his girlfriend in Stockholm, but you get the picture.

Sull’argomento Bridigd Shulte, reporter del Washington Post, ha scritto un saggio: “Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time”. Fra le teorie — lo status sociale che ci conferisce il sembrare e apparire agli occhi altrui occupati — c’è l’idea che spesso ci sentiamo sopraffatti non tanto perché abbiamo troppe cose da fare, ma perché continuiamo a pensare a tutto quello che abbiamo da fare:

A doctor who’s running through the list of groceries she needs to pick up on the way home is not actually any busier than one who’s concentrating on the task at hand, but she may feel more beleaguered.

Un concerto di Ólafur Arnalds da un ostello islandese (Reykjavik). La sua musica è bellissima, e lui è pure divertente.