From Doomberg – “On the Cusp of an Economic Singularity”

From Doomberg – “On the Cusp of an Economic Singularity”

One blog-type source I’ve found worthy of my time is Doomberg, the “anonymous publishing arm of a bespoke consulting firm providing advisory services to family offices and c-suite executives.” Somewhat aside, I suppose even an apparent commendation of wealth on my part sets me in somebody’s crosshairs, as much about them as about me, and hey, such is the culture we’ve evidently decided ourselves into. From my perspective as a doctoral student, indebted and broke, I’m able to note how ably I remain aware of my privilege, even when it’s not being pointed out for me. Indeed, from any number of perspectives, our culture today seems doggedly fixed on this point, and just who am I to misstep?

Asides aside, I offer this post with no small trepidation: for Doomberg’s being hosted on Substack, which has come to face a wave of criticism all its own – make that waves of criticism – I similarly risk my head beneath the punctiliously sharpened guillotine of on-line blood-letting. Somewhat aside, I suppose any cancel cult reference has me residing in somebody’s ideological oubliette, which is a fancy word for gaol. From my perspective as an on-line blogger, I wonder how aware anybody is of my other posts, by which I mean each of them as well as all of them – then again, no one can say it all / know it all / do it all in one go in one go. If I’m being honest, in wondering whether our cultural discipline will task itself to read anything beyond 140 characters, what I really wonder is how ably we’re able to reflect upon nuance: remember, before fear took over, this post started two paragraphs ago as something shared.

[Aside: one thing I noted about five of those articles critiquing Substack was their being published inside three days of each other, plus two others inside three weeks of that, all of which any good conspiracist would tell you smells like a campaign, and which I imagine any run-of-the-mill marketer would tell you is trendy, but which I could see Substack simply writing off as ‘good press’. But as all this only amounts to five (plus two to make seven) out of eight, here’s one more from the seemingly disconnected dog days of summer, just for good measure. As for me, I suppose I might consider all this, more clinically, as free speech, for which in all likelihood somebody’s conniving to doom my blog privilege – which reminds me…]

One thing about Doomberg that’s held my attention thus far is an intensive approach throughout their catalogue to detail with accuracy, as well as a wider cross-disciplinary scope on the path to holism – I suppose that’s really two things but I can already hear l’épouvante du Grand Sanson over the din of ravenous mindshare and thought it prudent not to gush. Naturally, what I mean by “accuracy” is open to “interpretation,” and what recourse for this but to stand amidst the entirety of context: I’ve tried my darnedest thus far to craft an intensively thorough catalogue of my own. As for my regular audience… if such a thing exists, for one thing, thanks! For another, I must trust that they’re gradually reaching some understanding of what I value and who I am. Lately, I will say if anyone’s been detecting a tone of frustration or fatigue – you know who you are – then maybe you and I are interpreting some things the same way – the beauty of which doesn’t need to mean we agree on details.

I also like Doomberg’s irreverence, which is probably the only comparison I’d dare make to the sort of thing I try to post here on The Rhetorical WHY.

Sadly, though, the tone of this article (March 05, 2022), “On the Cusp of an Economic Singularity,” falls decidedly away from irreverence toward a more eponymous sense of… well, eponymy.

I will draw attention to two other small comparisons: the first is an early-life fascination with astronomy that led me, like Doomberg, to admiring Stephen Hawking’s accessible book; the second is a precise image of falling dominos, something I found equally à propos, if not nearly as doomish, around this time last year. Well, okay, about the same doomish.

You’ll only have a few more weeks to check out Doomberg for free before they institute their paywall, which is sort of the blogger’s impossible, as the kids would say these days. As for me, I’ll remain on this lowly free platform, at least a little while longer… still a little too chicken to spread those wings and fly.

… of Robbie Burns Day

The best-laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men
Gang aft agley…”

In observance of Robbie Burns Day and, thereby, of John Steinbeck’s novella, Of Mice And Men, I highlight this thoughtful character study of Curley’s wife, by Leighton Meester for The Huffington Post, based upon her own stage portrayal of that character.

Perhaps above all I appreciate Meester’s nuanced intuition about the audiences who judge Curley’s wife which, beyond their relationships to the characters in the story, might suggest something about their own – our own – blind spots and hypocrisies. How often we live with daily nonchalance, oblivious to the interiority of those we encounter, and of those beyond. How much we rely on our affirmed belief of our selves.

If confronting ourselves is art’s great authenticity, then Meester’s perception is spot-on: in Curley’s wife, Steinbeck subverts our conceit – whether he intended to or not. Indeed, the best-laid schemes…

Development and Learning: Part II – Youth Football

In the previous post, I proposed that development and learning co-exist alongside winning and that contriving debate to place them at odds actually misconstrues their concerted relationship. I add, here, that development and learning are characteristic of people, and winning and losing is inherent to the Game of Football and to sport in general. In other words, development & learning and winning & losing are not at odds; they arise in concert as people compete with one another by participating as opponents when they play a game.

I also suggest in that post that all sorts of people have fun playing the Game of Football for all sorts of reasons and that competition and fun, like development and winning, are not and should not be mutually exclusive.

Another facet to this topic, based on the inherent nature of winning & losing to sport, is that any and all attempts to win are justifiable. This discussion becomes especially heated in the context of youth sport because such a purist approach can be detrimental to the players as they learn how to play and be members of a team. In that light, what I discuss below is development & learning in youth sport – specifically, in youth football (soccer).

To those who say that the Game is purely about winning & losing: saying so is a red herring. We must account for the fact that youth football has been distinguished from the adult game, and this distinction is for good reason.

Although at first it might seem contradictory, I already grant that the objective of the Game of Football is to win. I have clearly claimed that every team plays to win. Nobody plays to lose – in sport, or cards, or board games, or any game. Youth modifications don’t change that. Yes, as in any game, the objective in the Game of Football is to win.

Old Trafford
Theatre of Dreams

But the objective lies apart from learning how to play and training to play to win. The modifications to Youth Football have come about on account of younger peoples’ traits and abilities. By analogy, it’s like when cars are modified for those learning to drive: two steering wheels, wider mirrors, or driving on quieter out-of-the-way roads, or using VR simulators. There’s a gradual learning process by which new drivers grow accustomed to the road.

Reversing that analogy, U9s play 7 a-side on a smaller field with a smaller ball and various rule alterations – the very existence of such modifications is evidence that the Youth Game differs from the Adult Game on account of youth differing from adults.

If someone is coaching a Youth team in accordance with the modifications, they tacitly acknowledge the difference. Therefore, to see nothing wrong with a purist viewpoint – that winning is utterly and always justifiable, even in the context of youth football – strikes me as insincere, perhaps in denial that young people differ from adults, or that priorities are skewed to place the self-security of winning above all else, or that someone is ignorant or uninterested in child growth & development , or some combination of these.

To simply say the Game is about winning… yes, it’s correct as far as the pure Game is understood, as a concept, but it reduces your margin for error. On that basis, we’d better be flawless now, and play with mastery, or else we amount to nothing more than a loser and a failure. I suspect none of our teams is flawless, as much as a purist belief might require them to be.

One youth team I coached (Ass’t Coach) years ago was successful enough that, during our U11 year, we were able to play versus three professional F.A. Academy sides. The results were 0-15, 0-5, 0-9. We had no illusions, and our players were shattered by the reality that same-age teams could have such quality and be so dominant, just as we were back home – that’s how we were accepted to play these Academies in the first place. In any event, there it was: a level of mastery relative to us that we were obliged to respect.

Match #4 vs Aston Villa Academy

So, given a belief in the purist objective of winning… unless you take on similar opponents, who can challenge your team, then purist winning reflects poorly upon you, making you look ignorant, if not cowardly. If the Game is simply to be played to its purest, then nothing short of mastery will do. And if that playing field is to be a level one, then the best example of mastery we have, in reality, is the pro game. To purists, I say this: if you test your youth team at that level, as I’ve done, you may well discover that…

(a) your challenge may not even be accepted but, if it is, then

(b) you may have a rude awakening.

In fact, that may be exactly what a purist needs. On the other hand, if it comes at your players’ expense, it’s not worth the cost. As I say, our team was shattered, and we had a great deal of respect for youth training and development, being professional educators and researchers as we (still) are.

Birmingham City FC Training Ground
A Visit to Birmingham City FC

Things are always much easier when all’s well and we’re winning. Real humility is found when we aren’t winning. To those who take a purist approach to sport, enjoy the ride at the top while it lasts because, someday, you may discover that you’ve not learned how to cope, yourselves.

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