The hills I will die on:

1. Punctuating outside the quotation marks.

E.g.: The man told me, “You ain’t never been to Nashville ’til you been to Graceland”.

I’m still unsure about double-punctuating, e.g. She asked me, “What happened?”. I told her, “Sherol yelled, “Help!”. Open to thoughts.

2. Hyphenating -LY adverb constructions.

E.g.: “The greatly-appreciated man showed the onlookers around his gardens.”

Grammar is for clarity. this exception does not help with clarity.

 

More to come.

 

On Art, pART 2

The more that art affects lives, the better it is. (Assuming it affects lives in a positive way).

This can be broken down into two dimensions:

  1. How many people it affects.
  2. How much it affects them.

You could define “expected impact” as (Total number of people) x (Average amount of impact).

A few methods for creating art with a high expected impact:

  • Create a valuable message
.
  • Make the message easily digestible (more memetic).
  • Create a message that lasts a long time
.
  • Widen the audience it appeals to (target more demographics).
  • Focus your art on the influencers (powerful/social people, good promoters). 
(Creating art that impacts other artists would fall into this category)
  • Make your art have less of a negative impact (be harmful to fewer people/less sizably harmful to those it harms).

 

Other musings:

  1. People often make the art they would want because:
    • It’s relatively easy to do it well (easier than doing market research on an audience)
    • Their own taste is an approximate proxy for “people who are like them”.
  2. If someone had every trait in the world, they’d make the most popular art because it’d be the most relatable (which increases digestibility of messages)
  3. Good art should add value to people’s lives. Value is important to note as distinct from perceived value (which is what money measures).
    1. Children produce great value for a few people. Cat videos produce little value for many people.
  4. Historically, creating evergreen content has been a stronger strategy than creating one-time impact, as that includes future generations in potential audience.
  5. Assuming its impact is good, the art you choose to do should be the one with the greatest expected impact. That is often similar to what you want to do most*, but not always.**
  6. I’m starting my career doing what I want to do most because I currently have the strongest ego (as you get older, your drive decreases) and may end up more on the intellectually-driven side later. (Editor’s note: a conversation earlier today redefined the word “ego” for me. I have more musing to do on this topic.
  7. Another approach is changing what you’re passionate about.
  8. Famous philosopher/author Nick Bostrom wrote a book that convinced many, many people to worry about AI as an existential risk. This prompted many people to start researching friendly AI, which may save the species and therefore have a HUGE impact on the world. (the hugest from here on out, perchance, because it’s necessary for all other future positive impacts.)
    1. This would suggest that a solid course of action for me—if there are any existential threats to humans—is to use art to fight them. (If it’s a thing that I could impact significantly. It’s not the only choice—my talents may be better used elsewhere—but it’s certainly a reasonable choice.)

*: You’ll want to do the thing that matters the most to you, and it mattering a lot to you is a good prediction that it’ll also matter to others. It mattering to others is a good predictor of how much it affects them.

**: That math has two spots of “good predictor”, so it’ll be exponentially removed from truth.

Quotent Quotables, Volume 2

I’ve curated a list of recent quotes from my life, along with a challenge: Who said each quote? Me or Not-Me? (Answers at the end; track your responses to see how well you fare!)

  1. “You know that Carly Simon song? It’s about me.”
  2. “Sometimes I feel like I’m always rushing. Then I get some free time and it’s just the worst.”
  3. “When you eliminate the extraneous, all that’s left is you. When you eliminate the you, all that’s left is the Tao.”
  4. “Pickling is so great. They take cucumbers and make them edible!”
  5. “Nexterday. I mean tomorrow.”
  6. “I like spending time with people with low self-esteem—whenever we arrive at a problem, they’re too busy blaming themselves to blame me.”
  7. “I’m a coffee drinker, so cups of tea aren’t my cup of tea.”
  8. “You’re nervous. That’s okay. Just don’t be nervous about being nervous.”
  9. “My computer just told me it has an upgrade it wants to run. Let me guess: it’s going to make the computer run more slowly and not affect how I use it at all.”
  10. “The more I learn about how things work, the more I learn they’re stupid and poorly done.”
  11. “Avocado would be a great Halloween costume for a pregnant woman.”
  12. “With T-Mobile, you get free tacos on Tuesdays, but with Verizon you can make phone calls.”

To protect you from accidentally seeing the answers, please enjoy this anecdote: (Real! Real true! Real true funny!)

Context: A highschool couple eats dinner at Chick-Fil-A. The Girl has painted her face with such vigor that it lacks pores. The guy sports spiky hair, diamond hoop earrings, and flip-flops.

Girl: I don’t find comedy funny.

Guy: You don’t find comedy funny?

Girl: I find it cringe-y. It’s not natural funny. It’s like forced funny. I don’t like comedy movies because they’re not funny. I feel like the only comedy that I actually find funny is, like, White Chicks. Oh my god! We should watch White Chicks together!

 

(Scroll down for the answers)

 

(Keep scrolling)

 

(Who’s a good scroller? You are! Yes, you are!)

 

Those answers you’ve been waiting for:

1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, and 12 are by Yours Truly

Your Score:

0: You know me incredibly well, but prefer self-sabotage.

1-3: Next time, try flipping a coin.

4-6: You did flip a coin.

7-9: Let’s be friends.

10-11: So close and yet so far. Was it the pickling? I bet it was the pickling.

12: Self… is that you? I mean me? Are you… me?