Tuesday, 5/13/14

    1. Solomon and other tricksters
    2. Orwell meets Kafka on Campus


Super-busy Monday kept me from reading or writing much.

1

I’ve got to hand it to the Freakonomics guys. They are very entertaining writers with some interesting insights:

King Solomon built the First Temple in Jerusalem and was known throughout the land for his wisdom.

David Lee Roth fronted the rock band Van Halen and was known throughout the land for his prima-donna excess.

What could these two men possibly have had in common? Well, both were Jewish; both got a lot of girls; and both wrote the lyrics to a No. 1 pop song (“Jump” in Mr. Roth’s case and, in Solomon’s, several verses from Ecclesiastes that appeared in the Byrds’ 1965 hit “Turn! Turn! Turn”). But most improbably, they both dabbled in game theory, as seen in classic stories about their clever strategic thinking.

(Trick the Guilty and Gullible into Revealing Themselves; H/T The Browser) Examples: Solomon, M&Ms, trial by ordeal, Zappos paying people to quit, and Nigerian scams.

2

As a criminal defense lawyer and former sex crimes prosecutor, and in representing college students investigated by their schools, I have found university disciplinary inquiries into sexual assault allegations to be a nightmarish combination of Orwell and Kafka. The writers expose the shortcomings and motives of even the best-intentioned student-affairs officer.

(Steve Meister)

* * * * *

“The remarks made in this essay do not represent scholarly research. They are intended as topical stimulations for conversation among intelligent and informed people.” (Gerhart Niemeyer)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.