Monday, February 16, 2009

Barry Scwartz on Rules, incentives, and the war on wisdom


"When things go wrong, as of course they do, we reach for two tools to try to fix them. One tool we reach for is rules, betters ones, more of them. The second tool we reach for is incentives, better ones, more of them. What else after all is there?


"The truth is neither rules nor incentives are enough the do the job.

"And what happens is that as we turn increasingly to rules, rules and incentives may make things better in the short run but they create a downward spiral that makes them worse in the long run. Moral skill is chipped away by an over reliance on rules that deprives us of the opportunity to improvise and learn from our improvisations. And moral will is undermined by an incessant appeal to incentives that destroy our desire to do the right thing. And without intending it by appealing to rules and incentives we are engaging in a war on wisdom."

More and better rules; more and better incentives. What is the alternative. Fewer, better rules; fewer, better incentives. All else being equal, fewer rules are better. This is what I think of when I hear "the government that governs least governs best."

That is why I argued against the cell phone ban while driving. We already have rules to deal with this.

This is why I hate absolute deference to to traffic lights. I know when it is safe and respectful to advance (and I often do advance). The light doesn't. We have rules to deal with a collision should it occur, and rules to deal with endangering the safety of others. All of these are independent of obedience to a traffic control device.

When dynamic unwritten rules spring up from high quality principles the system is organic and intuitive. When there is a rule written for each and every possible outcome, dependant on the occupier of the office of rule maker, the system is chaotic, disintegrated, and painful for its subjects.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Elizabeth Gilbert: A different way to think about creative genius

During the Renaissance there was a shift in the perceived origin of creativity. Rather than coming from an external muse or daemon, creativity was completely the responsibility of the artist. Perhaps this was too much responsibility, giving artists the tormented reputation of modern times.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Bale Rage with transcript and analysis

This is a story of a group of wary people trying to get through a project with the little energy and patience they have left.

Bale is at first looking for an assurance Hurlbut will not make the same mistake a third time. With Hurlbut's half-hearted apology Bale decides to get him under control so they can get back to work. McG tries to take control as Bale is attempting to stir empathy in Hurlbut. Bale overrules McG since getting Hurlbut in line is vital to the project.

Once Hurlbut has been put in his place, Bale effectively apologies to McG by handing discipline over to him. "You got something to say to this prick?"

McG fumbles the pass with "I didn't see it happen." Bale takes the reigns again, "Well, somebody should be fuckin watchin him and keepin an eye on him."

McG capitulates, "Fair enough."

The scene begins to cool off with Bale in charge, McG as side kick and Hurlbut as bitch.

Bale, who is in charge, wants to go again. McG wants to take a minute. Since Bale is in charge he says, "No, lets not take a fuckin minute, lets go again!"

Bale tries to give Hurlbut some guidance while he is getting ready to shoot again. "You don't fuckin understand what its like workin with actors, thats what that is."

I have no explanation for why Hurlbut feels the need to contradict Bale at this point. I can only speculate it is defensiveness that creeps through the wariness coupled with a bit of social handicap. For whatever reason Hurlbut challenges Bale, "No, that's not..."

Bale: Thats what that is, man, Im tellin you! Im not askin, Im tellin you. You wouldn't have done that otherwise.

Hurlbut: No, what it is, is looking at the light, and making sure that you were

Bale, having thought this was already settled apparently lunges for Hurlbut, or so the audio would suggest. "I'm gonna fuckin kick your fuckin ass! If you don't shut up for a second, alright?"

It feels like a step backwards, so Bale reverts to the appeal to empathy, "you want me to fuckin trash your lights? Then why are you trashin my scene?"

Hurlbut: Im not tryin to trash

Bale tries to make it simple, "You are trashin my scene! You do it one more fuckin time, and I ain't walkin on this set if you're still hired. I'm fuckin serious. You're a nice guy! You're a nice guy! But that don't fuckin cut it when you're bullshitin and fuckin around like this on set!"


Bale: kick your f***in ass! I want you off the f***in set, you prick!

Hurlbut: Im sorry.

Bale: No, dont just be sorry! Think for one f***in second! What the f*** are you doing? (Editors note: The following sentence is what makes this Deceiver-worthy.) Are you professional or not?

Hurlbut: Yes, I am.

Bale: Do I f***in walk around and rip down No, shut the f*** up, Bruce! Do I walk No! Nnno! Dont shut me up!

Bruce: Im not shutting you up.

Bale: Am I gonna walk around and rip your f***in lights down? In the middle of a scene? Then why the f*** are you walkin right through? Oh, dah-dah, dah-dah, like this in the background. What the f*** is it with you? What dont you f***in understand? You got any f***in idea about, hey, its f***in distracting having somebody walkin up behind Bryce in the middle of the f***in scene? Gimme a f***in answer! What dont you get about it?

Hurlbut: I was looking at the light.

Bale: Ohhhhh, goooood for you! And how was it? I hope it was f***in good, because its useless now, isnt it?

Hurlbut: Okay.

Bale: F***s sake, man, youre amateur. McG, you have f***in somethin to say to this prick?

McG: I didnt see it happen.

Bale: Well, somebody should be f***in watchin him and keepin an eye on him.

McG: Fair enough.

Bale: Its the second time that he doesnt give a f***. About what is goin on in front of the camera. Alright? Im tryin to f***in do a scene here and Im goin, Why the f*** is Shane walkin in there? What is he doin there? Do you understand, my mind is not in the scene if youre doin that.

Hurlbut: I absolutely apologize. Im sorry, I did not mean anything by it.

Bale: Stay off the f***in set, man. For f***s sake. Right, lets go again. No, lets not take a f***in minute, lets go again! And lets not have you f***in walkin in! Can I have Tom put this on, please?

McG: Tom, wardrobe, please. Can I have Tom, wardrobe?

Bale: You;re unbelievable, man. You're un-f***in-believable. Number of times youre strollin a-f***in-round in the background. Ive never had a DP behave like this. Ahhhhh, you dont f***in understand what its like workin with actors, thats what that is.

Hurlbut: No, thats not

Bale: Thats what that is, man, Im tellin you! Im not askin, Im tellin you. You wouldnt have done that otherwise.

Hurlbut: No, what it is, is looking at the light, and making sure that you were

Bale: [sound of something being knocked over] Im gonna f***in kick your f***in ass! If you dont shut up for a second, alright?

Various voices: Christian, Christian, Christian, Christian, its cool, its cool.

Bale: Im gonna go, you want me to f***in trash your lights? Do you want me to f***in trash em? Then why are you trashin my scene?

Hurlbut: Im not tryin to trash

Bale: You are trashin my scene! You do it one more f***in time, and I aint walkin on this set if youre still hired. Im f***in serious. Youre a nice guy! Youre a nice guy! But that dont f***in cut it when youre bulls****in and f***in around like this on set!

McG: I got it, I know, I get it.

Bale: Yeah, you might get it, he doesnt f***in get it! You might. He! Does! Not! Get it!

McG: I know. Good adjustments, okay? For real. Honestly. I get it. Just walk for 5 seconds, just for 5 seconds

Bale: No, I dont need any f***in walkin! He needs to stop walkin!

McG: I get that!

Bale: I aint the one walkin! Lets get Tom and put this back on, lets go again. Seriously, man, you and me, were f***in done professionally. F***in ass.