Radio 4 Programme Next Week on Gef the Talking Mongoose

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 28/05/2020 - 5:17am in

According to next week’s Radio Times for 30th May – 5th June 2020, Radio 4 next Tuesday, 2nd June, is broadcasting a programme on the bizarre affair of the Manx poltergeist, Gef the talking mongoose. The blurb for it in the Radio Times runs

In the 1930s, a BBC employee who was interested in psychic phenomena investigated the story of Gef the Talking Mongoose – a supernatural creature with a foul mouth and disturbing habits, said to haunt a remote farmhouse on the Isle of Man. Thinking to amuse the public in the silly season, he published an account of his findings, little knowing that Gef would cause a national scandal, prompt questions in the House, drag in Lord Reith himself, and provoke a front-page court case. Docudrama by Robin Brooks featuring Jasmine Nazina-Jones.

Gef the Talking Mongoose is supposed to be one of the poltergeist cases with the best supporting evidence. About a decade or so ago the Fortean Times, the magazine for connoisseurs du weird, published a long article about it. I leave it to you to decide for yourself what you think of it or the paranormal, but this could be an interesting programme. However, with docudramas you’re always left wondering how faithful they are to the facts, and how much is dramatic license.

Way back in the ’90s ghosts and ghost-hunting were all the rage, and Most Haunted and other shows like it were gathering sizable audiences for what were niche shows on the satellite and cable channels. It was lampooned on the Beeb comedy show, Dead Ringers, where Most Haunted’s star psychic at the time, Derek Acorah, received psychic impressions from a hibernating tortoise in a shed in a garden centre, before being possessed by the unquiet spirit of Desmond Decker. Slumping, ‘Acorah’ started singing ‘I don’t want to dance’.  The ghost hunting craze has passed, though there are still very many people up and down the country spending their weekends visiting haunted places in the hope of seeing or experiencing one. Most Haunted has come and gone, and Derek Acorah, I think, has sadly left us. But nevertheless, its fellows and competitors are still around on some channels.

I found the video below from Red Letter Media on YouTube. That channel specialises in film reviews, not always respectful, but always well informed and often hilariously funny. One of the hosts, Mike Stoklasa, here talks about his guilty pleasure. Which is watching one of these shows, Ghost Adventures. It’s clear that he doesn’t take it too seriously, but is very careful not to say that it’s all scripted, even when there’s abundant evidence in the clips he provides to show that it is.

In the edition he talks about, the ghost hunters visit a museum that contains a dybbuk box. A dybbuk is a type of Jewish demon. The show’s stars intend to open the box to see if it really does contain a demon. To make sure they are properly protected spiritually, they have on hand a rabbi. They ask the reverend gentleman if he knows how to deal with such a demonic object. He replies that he does, as he’s just looked it up that day. The ghost hunters seem a bit crestfallen, but ask him if he personally believes in demons. He tells them that he doesn’t, not in his personal religion, but he’s prepared to believe in them for the sake of the script. Oh dear! Stoklasa then helpfully explains that he thinks that what the rabbi meant was that he would, if the course of the programme required it, and that the show didn’t have a written script.

More proof that the show isn’t scripted comes from a video Ghost Adventures put on YouTube. One of the ghost hunters is talking to the viewer about some place he wishes to investigate in the locale they’re investigating. Then a door comes open. The presenter makes an exclamation of surprise, the sequence cuts, and then he is shown approaching the same location and giving the same speech. Stoklasa merely comments that it’s bad editing. Here’s Stoklasa and Jay talking about it.

There’s a considerable amount of evidence for the existence of ghosts and the paranormal, and many of the people I’ve come across who take them seriously enough to investigate them, whether believer or sceptic, are by no means gullible fools or cynical debunkers. But, as with everything else on TV, not everything you see is objective reality and it’s a myth that the camera never lies.

May 30, 2020 – we remember the release of the 1945 White Paper on Full Employment

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 27/05/2020 - 4:52pm in

Some Wednesday snippets today. Tomorrow, I will write about what I have been thinking about the Eurozone. There has been a lot of hot air about the Franco-German accord that Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel came to recently. Hot air is the operative term. The fault lines in the Eurozone continue to widen and the policy dissonance is becoming more acute as they deal, not only with the health crisis, but also the 19 economies that have been starved of investment and infrastructure development. This Saturday (May 30, 2020) marks the 75th Anniversary of the release of the famous ‘White Paper on Full Employment’, which outlined the responsibilities that the Australian government took on to ensure there were jobs for all workers who were wanting work. This White Paper really defined the Post-WW2 consensus and began a period of low unemployment, upward social mobility, the development of public education and health, declining income and wealth inequality and stable wage shares as real wages kept pace with national productivity growth. It wasn’t nirvana because lots of issues were still in need of solutions (for example, gender attitudes, indigenous inclusion, etc). But it was a blue print for an inclusive society with growing material prosperity. The vision was abandoned sometime in the 1970s as neoliberalism took centre stage and political parties on both sides of the fence gave up talking about full employment. To restore full employment as a primary social goal and government responsibility is an agenda I have pursed all my career. We should all read the ‘White Paper’ and recast it in modern terms and fight like hell for a similar vision that is apposite for the times and crises we now face.

The 1945 Full Employment White Paper

I have received a lot of E-mails in the last week asking me why (if I did) I turned down an invitation to participate in a so-called 75th anniversary recognition of the 1945 White Paper on Full Employment, which is being organised this week by the think tank Per Capita.

The fact is that I was not invited. Whether I would have accepted an invitation is moot, especially given some of the actual invited speakers that are attempting to make political capital out of the event, when their track record suggests they have never supported true full employment.

A bit of history though.

Some years ago, it became apparent that it was very difficult to get access to the original White Paper.

So we (CofFEE) created a digital version and you can find it on my home page at – FULL EMPLOYMENT IN AUSTRALIA (The 1945 White Paper).

That was the only on-line archive of the document available and reflected my commitment to keeping these ideas in the public arena and the obvious commitment of my research centre – Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE) – to the issue.

From 1998, when CofFEE was inaugurated, we held 15 Path to Full Employment Conferences which combined with the National Unemployment Conference to promote the ideas of full employment.

We were largely a voice in the wilderness.

Most of the progressive voices were embracing the government’s training narrative, which I coined as the ‘full employability’ paradigm. It was clear both sides of politics had abandoned the Full Employment paradigm outlined in the ‘White Paper’.

We stopped running the conferences, which were resource intensive on my small staff, when it became apparent the Federal government was no longer allowing (encouraging, whatever) staff in the key departments – ABS, Department of Employment, Treasury, etc – to attend. We used get a good turnout of policy makers and researchers from those departments but then they stopped coming and it made the conference economically unviable.

Five years ago, I organised an event to recognise the 70th Anniversary of the release of the 1945 White Paper on Full Employment. We held that event in Sydney (rather than Newcastle) to make it easier for people to attend.

We sent a written invitation to the head of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) Ged Kearney and her deputy at the time to be keynote speakers at the event as a symbol that the trade union movement in Australia was still committed to true full employment and the central role that the government has in maintaining that state.

Remember unemployment is a political choice.

We sent written invitations to many senior union leaders encouraging them to attend.

Ultimately, the ACTU didn’t participate in any way.

Think tanks like Per Capita, did not show any interest and none of their staff attended.

There was some union interest.

The NSW Trades Hall kindly gave us their auditorium in Sussex Street in central Sydney for free as the venue. I was very appreciative of that generosity.

And, we had a great contribution from the NSW Teachers Federation (a really committed union) who gave the audience a stark reminder of how fiscal austerity and the fake private competition in vocational education that the government had forced onto the public education sector had gutted the Technical and Further Education (TAFE) system.

A good audience attended, mainly, activists and some academics.

None of the politicians on Per Capita’s speaking list showed up to our event – all were invited.

Holding a 75th anniversary of the ‘White Paper’ with any speakers who believe in neoclassical NAIRU concepts is not a very inviting prospect.

Albert Alesina dies

The Harvard economist who has made a career on trying to prove the impossible – that austerity is good for economic growth and prosperity – died last week.

As the German physicist – Max Planck – observed:

A new scientific truth does not generally triumph by persuading its opponents and getting them to admit their errors, but rather by its opponents gradually dying out and giving way to a new generation that is raised on it. … An important scientific innovation rarely makes its way by gradually winning over and converting its opponents: it rarely happens that Saul becomes Paul. What does happen is that its opponents gradually die out, and that the growing generation is familiarized with the ideas from the beginning: another instance of the fact that the future lies with the youth.

So he was making the point that new paradigms (like Modern Monetary Theory (MMT), for example) do not emerge and take a dominant position by simply showing the shortcomings of the mainstream dominant paradigm.

There is no process of enlightenment for entrenched members of a dominant paradigm that is in decline.

Rather, it is a slow, intergenerational burn.

What Max Planck considered to be the way forward was that the senior members of the dominant paradigm (usually the professors of the discipline in question) had to die off and be replaced by new scholars, who had not yet been indoctrinated in the old ways, and, could be more open to the new ideas and cope with the cognitive dissonance that was a bridge too far for their senior professors.

I have written extensively in the past about this phenomenon in other disciplines.

That is what I thought of when I saw that Alesina had died.

Sack Cummings

And I supported Brexit!

3CR Segment on the Job Guarantee

Anne and Kelvin at the Melbourne Community Radio Station 3CR are hosting a regular series for the Unemployed Workers Fight Back every second Friday from 17:30 to 18:30.

Their home page has all the past – Episodes.

I have done some interviews for them and their latest episode is on the – Job Guarantee (broadcast Friday, May 22, 2020).

I also have done a Station Promo for the station.

3CR was one of the early community radio stations in my home town Melbourne that focused on political issues, trade unions, environmental issues and provided “community language-based programs” in a city that was very diverse in cultural terms.

In 1978, the conservative magazine ‘The Bulletin’ mounted a campaign against the station because it had aired content supporting the rights of the Palestinians. The Jewish Board of Deputies tried to get the licence revoked but a massive grass roots stopped that from happening.

Later in the mid-1990s, it was reported that Victorian Police had undercover cops infiltrating the station as volunteers to “gather information.”

MMTed update – developments to date

We are working on the MMTed Project and hope to start accepting expressions of interest for enrolments in July but we won’t promise that at this stage.

With limited financial support at present, we are cross-subsidising the development of the venture so far, mostly via funds and labour time from my research group – Centre of Full Employment and Equity (which is located at the University of Newcastle).

MMTed plans to offer educational opportunities in a number of different ways:

  • Open Lectures – typically streamed broadcasts that are unrestricted in terms of audience.
  • Tutorials – smaller, regular groups of registered students, supporting a particular course curriculum. Interactive technologies like Zoom are used.
  • MMTed Q&A – a weekly streamed program where experts answer pre-submitted questions – Details. See below.
  • Masterclasses – specialised topics available by subscription either on-line or in person – organised by MMTed on an irregular basis. Depending on the topic.
  • Specialised sessions with Professor William Mitchell via Zoom – fees will be charged for these services.

So far we have a functional on-line student system now in place and we are testing it for scaling and security.

We will start adding content soon.

We have successfully trialled live streaming and have developed the requisite broadcasting skills and have invested in some elementary software and hardware to make that possible.

We have been running Masterclasses to a number of organisations – in part, to elicit donations. The Masterclass I ran in London in February, which was open to all was fully subscribed, allowed us to trial material to gauge appropriate level of pedagogy. Several classes I have run have been private and aimed at building a network that might support the venture.

We have been developing topic-based presentations for our textbook (Macroeconomics – Mitchell, Wray and Watts) and will start filming small modules in the coming weeks to be integrated into the student system.

We also have filmed and are editing several lectures covering an introductory MMT course. Those lectures will be released around July when we start taking students formally.

With the shortage of funding, the progress has to be staged – we are doing the work around our other jobs and commitments (which have been rather intense the last several months).


As part of the on-going development of our MMTed project, we are introducing – MMTed Q&A – which will be a weekly live program screening on Wednesday nights starting at 20:00 Australian EST.

This will be at:

10:00 Dakar
11:00 London
12:00 Paris
13:00 Helsinki
19:00 Tokyo, Kyoto and Dili
03:00 San Francisco
06:00 New York

The program will run for 30 minutes each week and the format will be around 5 questions will be answered with discussion.

Each week, we plan to bring in some of the MMT experts who can help answer your questions.

If you want to ask a question the process, as a trial, will be to submit your enquiry via the – MMTed Q&A – page.

We do not guarantee that your question will be answered but we will do our best.

Only submissions will valid E-mail addresses will be accepted.

We had originally planned to launch the program tonight – but logistics and time has prevented that.

We will be broadcast the first show next Wednesday, June 3, 2020 at 20:00 Australian EST.

The links to the live stream each week will be published in advance on the site and via Twitter and on this blog site.

Call for MMTed Support

As noted above, we are making progress in developing the capacity that will become – MMTed.

Courses are being designed and essential infrastructure is well on the way to completion, even though we have only a fraction of the funds we need to do this.

But we still need significant sponsors for this venture to ensure that we can run the educational program with negligible fees and ensure is sustainable over time.

If you are able to help on an ongoing basis that would be great. But we will also appreciate of once-off and small donations as your circumstances permit.

You can contribute in one of two ways:

1. Via PayPal – which is our preferred vehicle for receiving donations.

The PayPal donation button is available via the MMTed Home Page or via the – Donation button – on the right-hand menu of this page (below the calendar).

2. Direct to MMTed’s Bank Account.

Please write to me to request account details.

Please help if you can.

We cannot make the MMTed project viable on a sustainable basis without funding support.

We will always maintain strict anonymity with respect to donations received, except if the donor desires to be publicly associated with the venture and gives their permission in writing to appear on the Donors Page.

Another drummer to celebrate and remember

Earlier this month, I wrote about the death of Tony Allen, who is one of the greatest drummers to hit skins (see – BVerfG decision once again exposes the sham of the Euro system (May 6, 2020)).

Today, we reflect on the work of – Jimmy Cobb – who played drums with Miles Davis 6-piece band in the glory days.

I first encountered him through my regard for saxophonist Earl Bostic – Jimmy Cobb was his drummer in 1950.

And after that a litany of gigs with all the great jazz stars of the era – Cannonball Adderley (alto), John Coltrane (tenor), Bill Evans (piano), Wynton Kelly (piano), Paul Chambers (bass), Miles Davis (trumpet), and Jimmy Cobb (drums).

Cannonball Adderley gave him a reference which allowed him to join the – Miles Davis – in 1957. All the great players were in that band and they defined what has become known as the – Hard Bop – tradition.

This form was a derivative of the standard bebop and added the emerging R&B and electric blues influences that later underpinned the soul revolution.

In 1959, they released the momentous album – Kind of Blue – which even non-jazz followers seem to know about and like.

The piano playing of Bill Evans on this album defined the way that this form was evolving as did the simplification into modal playing by Miles Davis.

But it was also the very subtle and delicate drumming by Jimmy Cobb that gave this album such force.

I recommend putting on the album tonight and just concentrating on the drumming, particularly the hi-hat work. You may hear things you have never heard before.

Here is track 5 – Flamenco Sketches – which if you decompose really just consists of an exercise in different scaled solos, all exquisitively executed.

The UK Guardian carried an good obiturary of Jimmy Cobb (May 25, 2020) – Jimmy Cobb, drummer on Miles Davis’s Kind of Blue, dies aged 91.

Another one of the best drummers dead.

That is enough for today!

(c) Copyright 2020 William Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.

80s Space Comedy From Two of the Goodies

Astronauts, written by Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie, 13 episodes of 25 minutes in length. First Broadcast ITV 1981 and 1983.

I hope everyone had a great Bank Holiday Monday yesterday, and Dominic Cummings’ hypocritical refusal to resign after repeatedly and flagrantly breaking the lockdown rules aren’t getting everyone too down. And now, for the SF fans, is something completely different as Monty Python used to say.

Astronauts was a low budget ITV sitcom from the very early ’80s. It was written by the two Goodies responsible for writing the scripts for their show, Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie, and based on the personal conflicts and squabbling of the American astronauts on the Skylab programme six years earlier. It was about three British astronauts, RAF officer, mission commander and pilot Malcolm Mattocks, chippy, left-wing working-class engineer David Ackroyd, coolly intellectual biologist Gentian Fraser,and their dog, Bimbo,  who are launched into space as the crew of the first all-British space station. Overseeing the mission is their American ground controller Lloyd Beadle. Although now largely forgotten, the show lasted two seasons, and there must have been some continuing demand for it, because it’s been released nearly forty years later as a DVD. Though not in such demand that I didn’t find it in DVD/CD bargain catalogue.

Low Budget

The show’s very low budget. Lower than the Beeb’s Blake’s 7, which often cited as an example of low budget British science fiction. There’s only one model used, that of their space station, which is very much like the factual Skylab. The shots of their spacecraft taking off are stock footage of a Saturn V launch, the giant rockets used in the Moon landings and for Skylab. There also seems to be only one special effects sequence in the show’s entire run, apart from outside shots. That’s when an accident causes the station to move disastrously out of its orbit, losing gravity as it does so. Cheap matte/ Chromakey effects are used to show Mattocks rising horizontally from his bunk, where he’s been lying, while Bimbo floats through the bedroom door.

Class in Astronauts and Red Dwarf

It’s hard not to compare it with the later, rather more spectacular Red Dwarf, which appeared in 1986, three years after Astronaut’s last season. Both shows centre around a restricted regular cast. In Red Dwarf this was initially just Lister, Holly and the Cat before the appearance of Kryten. Much of the comedy in Red Dwarf is also driven by their similar situation to their counterparts in Astronauts – personality clashes in the cramped, isolated environment of a spacecraft. The two shows are also similar in that part of this conflict from class and a Conservative military type versus working class cynic/ liberal. In Red Dwarf it’s Rimmer as the Conservative militarist, while Lister is the working class rebel. In Astronauts the military man is Mattocks, a patriotic RAF pilot, while Ackroyd, the engineer, is left-wing, Green, and affects to be working class. The three Astronauts also debate the class issue, accusing each other of being posh before establishing each other’s place in the class hierarchy. Mattocks is posh, but not as posh as Foster. Foster’s working class credentials are, however, destroyed during an on-air phone call with his mother, who is very definitely middle or upper class, and talks about going to the Conservative club. In this conflict, it’s hard not to see a similarity with the Goodies and the conflict there between the Conservative screen persona of Tim Brooke-Taylor and Bill Oddie’s left-wing, working class character.

Class, however, plays a much smaller role in Red Dwarf. Lister is more underclass than working class, and the show, set further in the future, has less overt references to contemporary class divisions and politics. The humour in Red Dwarf is also somewhat bleaker. The crew are alone three million years in the future, with the human race vanished or extinct with the exception of Lister. Rimmer is an ambitious failure. For all he dreams of being an officer, he has failed the exam multiple times and the B.Sc he claims is Batchelor of Science is really BSC – Bronze Swimming Certificate. Both he and Lister are at the lowest peg of the ship’s hierarchy in Red Dwarf. They’re maintenance engineers, whose chief duties is unblocking the nozzles of vending machines. Lister’s background is rough. Very rough. While others went scrumping for apples, he and his friends went scrumping for cars. The only famous person in his class was a man who ate his wife. The three heroes of Astronauts, however, are all competent, intelligent professionals despite their bickering. Another difference is that while both series have characters riddled with self-loathing, in Red Dwarf it’s the would-be officer Rimmer, while in Astronauts is working class engineer Ackroyd.

Britain Lagging Behind in Space

Other issues in Astronauts include Britain’s low status as a space power. In a speech in the first episode, the crew express their pride at being the first British mission, while paying tribute to their American predecessors in the Apollo missions. The Ealing comedy The Mouse on the Moon did something similar. And yet Britain at the time had been the third space power. Only a few years before, the British rocket Black Arrow had been successfully launched from Woomera in Australia, successfully taking a British satellite into orbit.

Personal Conflicts

There are also conflicts over the cleaning and ship maintenance duties, personal taste in music – Mattocks irritates Ackroyd by playing Tubular Bells, publicity or lack of it – in one episode, the crew are annoyed because it seems the media back on Earth have forgotten them – and disgust at the limited menu. Mattocks is also shocked to find that Foster has been killing and dissecting the mice he’s been playing with, and is afraid that she’ll do it to the dog. Sexism and sexual tension also rear their heads. Mattocks fancies Foster, but Ackroyd doesn’t, leading to further conflict between them and her. Foster, who naturally wants to be seen as an equal and ‘one of the boys’ tries to stop this by embarrassing them. She cuts her crew uniform into a bikini and then dances erotically in front of the two men, before jumping on them both crying ‘I’ll have both of you!’ This does the job, and shames them, but Beadle, watching them gets a bit too taken with the display, shouting ‘Work it! Work it! Boy! I wish I was up there with you boys!’ Foster also objects to Mattocks because he doesn’t help his wife, Valerie, out with the domestic chores at home. Mattocks also suspects that his wife is having an affair, which she is, in a sort-of relationship with Beadle. There’s also a dig at the attitudes of some magazines. In the press conference before the three go on their mission, Foster is asked by Woman’s Own if she’s going to do any cooking and cleaning in space. Beadle and his team reply that she’s a highly trained specialist no different from the men. The joke’s interesting because in this case the butt of the humour is the sexism in a certain type of women’s magazine, rather than chauvinist male attitudes.

Cold War Espionage

Other subjects include the tense geopolitical situation of the time. Mattocks is revealed to have been running a secret espionage programme, photographing Russian bases as the station flies over them in its orbit. The others object, and Ackroyd is finally able to persuade Beadle to allow them to use the technology to photograph illegal Russian whaling in the Pacific. This is used to embarrass the Russians at an international summit, but the questions about the origin of the photos leads to the espionage programme being abandoned. The crew also catch sight of a mysterious spacecraft in the same orbit, and start receiving communications in a strange language. After initially considering that it just might be UFOs, it’s revealed that they do, in fact, come from a lonely Russian cosmonaut. Foster speaks Russian, and starts up a friendship. When Mattocks finds out, he is first very suspicious, but then after speaking to the Russian in English, he too becomes friends. He’s the most affected when the Russian is killed after his craft’s orbit decays and burns up re-entering the atmosphere.

Soft Drink Sponsorship

There are also digs at commercial sponsorship. The mission is sponsored by Ribozade, whose name is a portmanteau of the British drinks Ribeena and Lucozade. Ribozade tastes foul, but the crew nevertheless have it on board and must keep drinking it. This is not Science Fiction. One of the American missions was sponsored by Coca Cola, I believe, and so one of the space stations had a Coke machine on board. And when Helen Sharman went into space later in the decade aboard a Russian rocket to the space station Mir, she was originally to be sponsored by Mars and other British companies.

God, Philosophy and Nicholas Parsons

The show also includes arguments over the existence or not of the Almighty. Mattocks believes He exists, and has shown His special favour to them by guiding his hand in an earlier crisis. Mattocks was able to save them, despite having no idea what he was doing. Ackroyd, the sceptic, replies that he can’t say the Lord doesn’t exist, but can’t see how God could possibly create Nicholas Parsons and Sale of the Century, one of the popular game shows on ITV at the time, if He did. As Mattocks is supposed to be guiding them down from orbit, his admission that he really didn’t know what he was doing to rescue the station naturally alarms Foster and Ackroyd so that they don’t trust his ability to get them down intact.

Red Dwarf also has its jokes about contemporary issues and politics. Two of the most memorable are about the hole in the Earth’s ozone layer being covered with a gigantic toupee, and the despair squid, whose ink causes its prey to become suicidal and which has thus destroyed all other life on its world in the episode ‘Back to Reality’. Other jokes include everyone knowing where they were when Cliff Richard got shot. Red Dwarf, however, is much more fantastic and goes further in dealing with philosophical issues, such as when Rimmer is incarcerated in a space prison where justice is definitely retributive. If you do something illegal, it comes back to happen to you. This is demonstrated when Lister follows Rimmer’s instruction and tries to set his sheets alight. He shortly finds that his own black leather jacket has caught fire.


Red Dwarf is able to go much further in exploring these and other bizarre scenarios as it’s definitely Science Fiction. Astronauts is, I would argue, space fiction without the SF. It’s fictional, but based solidly on fact, including generating gravity through centrifugal force. But critically for any comedy is the question whether its funny. Everyone’s taste is different, but in my opinion, yes, Astronauts is. It’s dated and very much of its time, but the humour still stands up four decades later. It had me laughing at any rate.




























Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 22/05/2020 - 10:44pm in



One thing I’ve found a bit more time to do under lockdown is to listen to more music, and on the back of reading Richard Powers’s The Gold Bug Variations, I’ve been listening to different recordings of Bach’s Goldberg Variations every day. Very calming and sometimes transporting. The trouble is, though, that as someone who likes music, who has read quite a bit about it, who goes to the occasional concert, I am also somewhat unmusical. My attempts in middle-age to learn the piano were not crowned with success and my elderly teacher was really quite vocal in his denunciations of my incompetence. (A welcome side-effect though was that my children have managed to become musicians.) So how, among the bewildering variety of performances on different instruments – all of which are available at the click of a mouse – to pick what is “good” to listen to? How far do you trust the experts and their recommendations? And what if you find yourself liking things that the musically competent condemn and disliking things that they praise as exsquisite. Such are the anxieties of the aesthetic inadequate faced with art and the judgement of the acknowledged cognoscenti.

So what have my listenings prompted so far by way of inexpert conclusions? First, that I am pretty allergic to the sound of the harpsichord — something I knew already — though I accept that you sometimes hear things in the music that you don’t when listening to a piano performace. Second, that neither of the celebrated performances by Glenn Gould really do it for me: the first sounds too dry, in the second I find the humming too distracting. Third, that there is an extraordinary degree of variation in the playing, such that it can seem like different pieces of music are being performed (most obviously in something like Wilhelm Kempff’s ornamentless performance of the Aria as contrasted with most others). Finally, that it turned out to be really important to me how a particular variation (XIII) is performed. Some of the renditions are extraordinarily soulful and affecting and some seem like technical exercises that lack such meaning. For what its worth, I’ve most enjoyed performances by Tatiana Nicolaeva (a concert in Stockholm), by Murray Perahia, and by Maria Tipo. I have on LP or CD the 1955 Gould, a Rosalyn Tureck and the Charles Rosen, but I haven’t revisited the last two yet. What do Crooked Timber readers suggest?

Radio 4 Tackles Bad Culture

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 21/05/2020 - 6:01am in

Ho ho! According to next week’s Radio Times for 23rd – 29th May 2020, next Saturday’s The Archive will be on the subject of Bad Culture. This is the type of music, art, literature, film, TV or whatever which is so bad that it’s entertaining. The blurb about it in the Radio Times reads

Steve Punt is joined by Grace Dent, Robin Ince and Laura Snapes to analyse why seemingly bad culture can be so enjoyable, looking at the films of Michael Winner, the songs of Astley and the poetry of Danielle Steele.

The programme’s Archive on 4: So Bad It’s Good?, and it’s on Radio 4, Saturday 23rd May, at 8.00 pm.

Robin Ince, who presents The Infinite Monkey Cage on Radio 4 with Brian Cox, wrote a book a few years ago, The Bad Book Club. This was about some of his favourite terrible books, one of which was the autobiography of John Major’s half-brother, Terry Major-Ball. But people have been particularly bad films for a very long time. I think that goes back to the ’70s at least, when Michael Medved, before he morphed into a right-wing pundit, published The Golden Turkey Awards about some of the worst movies ever made. Then in the early ’80s he presented Channel 4’s The Worst of Hollywood, which screened some of the classics of Bad cinema. These included Ed Wood’s Plan 9 From Outer Space, Godzilla Versus the Smog Monster, The Wild Women of Wonga and Santa Claus Conquers the Martians.

Ed Wood was the stunningly bad director who also gave the world Glen/Glenda or I Changed My Sex, and Robot Monster. The costume for the latter creature was a gorilla suit with a diving helmet stuck on top. The guy who played it did so because he owned the gorilla suit. I think it’s also in Robot Monster that there’s a 2 minute segment of dinosaurs going on the rampage for no reason at all. It’s because Wood’s studio was right next to that of stop-motion animation master Ray Harryhausen. Harryhausen was responsible for a string of SF/monster movies, including Earth Versus the Flying Saucers, as well as the sequence in the Seventh Voyage of Sinbad where the Arab sailor fights an army of skeletons. Wood used to go round to Harryhausen and use any material that the other director had no use for after editing. That day Harryhausen had cut 200 feet of film out of a film about dinosaurs, and gave it to Wood when he asked him if there was anything he could use. Glen/Glenda is about a man struggling to come to terms with his transvestism. It’s a serious subject, which in the hands of a good director would no doubt be highly praised by critics. But this was made by Wood, so it’s abysmal. Like Plan 9 From Outer Space, it has Bela Lugosi in it. He plays God in a dream sequence in which he says ‘Dance to this, dance to that, but beware the little green dragon sleeping on your doorstep.’ This makes no sense at all. The film is, however, one of Alice Cooper’s favourites, or so he told Muriel Grey on Channel 4’s pop programme The Tube a long time ago. When she asked him ‘Why?’, he replied that it was because it made him wonder just what he had just watched because it was so weird. Her reply was classic: ‘You’re a strange boy, Alice’. Yes, and he’s made a whole career out of it. Wood was himself a transvestite with a passion for cashmere sweaters, a fact not lost to the makers of the ’90s film biography of him.

Since The Worst of Hollywood has come Mystery Science Theatre 3000. This is an SF look at Bad Films, in which the crew of an orbiting satellite a thousand watch, and make rude remarks about, terrible movies. The SF author, Jack Womack, responsible for a series of books set in a violent, dystopian future Ambient, Random Acts of Mindless Violence, Heathern and Elvissey, is also an aficionado of weird and Bad books. He supplied a list of some of his favourites in his personal collection, with his comments on them, in an interview he gave in the ’90s to the Science Fiction magazine, SF Eye. They included Bottom’s Up with the Rear Admiral: Memoirs of a ProctologistThe Elvis Image, which is about a journalist crisscrossing the deep south in search of Elvis impersonators, and Behold! The Protong!!! by Stanislaw Szuchalski. Womack described this as ‘America’s greatest eccentric tells you why Communists are descended from the Yeti’. 

A few years an academic did a study of the type of people who deliberately went to see bad movies. He found that they tended to be of above average intelligence, and also watched transgressive cinema. You know, like the films of John Waters and some of the other cinematic horrors Jonathan Ross discussed in the ’80s in his Channel 4 series, The Incredibly Strange Film Show. They like those for the same reasons they enjoy terrible films, because both provide an experience that is outside the mainstream.

This could be a very funny, interesting programme about some truly awful cultural productions. But will it include any clips from Wood’s wretched oeuvre? 

Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 18/05/2020 - 11:53am in

CB’s visit to Madison a couple of years ago coincided with a concert by the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, which I had managed to convince my entire family to attend, so he came too. Also in attendance were the only two undergraduates whom I’d convinced to come along. They both said, later, that they only came to humour me, and had assumed it wouldn’t be very good. But during the interval they were both wide-eyed and one said “why doesn’t everybody come to this? Why aren’t they really famous?”.

Both those students graduated this month, having both taken the smaller class referred to here. They, and I, convinced a remarkably large number of their classmates to get tickets for a performance in late March. (I think they were more persuasive than I was: one of them insisted that “Harry Brighouse told me to go to this concert and now I know that I should always do what he tells me to do, and so should you”). The plan was to all go to dinner beforehand, and then attend the concert as a kind of field trip. On the final occasion we all met in person nobody was quite sure whether we’d meet again (maybe that’s not true — I think I knew, because I asked one of the seniors if it was the last time I would see her) but we all knew that the concert was vanishingly unlikely, and in subsequent zoom class sessions several people said, several times, that was one of the things they regretted.

I know that plenty of people deserve more attention than my students (though — while all of them are healthy, several of them have been through awful things this semester). But when I noticed that the UOGB was producing some wonderful lockdown performances on youtube, I thought I’d just contact them and ask if they’d consider dedicating something to my students, just to cheer them up. In my letter I gave them ample opportunity to decline — indeed, I deliberately wrote the letter so that it would be easy to ignore. But after a couple of weeks their manager got back to me saying she’d talked to several members and that although they never do request they were considering doing something. Then last week she told me that something would be posted online on Sunday and I should watch it. It did seem slightly awkwardly phrased and cryptic, but I just thanked her and prepared to watch it and send the link to my students. And its not exactly what I had expected. I got a text from a student after the video went live saying: “Hi wait I can’t believe you had already emailed the orchestra!!! I emailed them last week to give you a shoutout in the video! you were one step ahead of me!”

Never trust a NAIRU estimate

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 13/05/2020 - 4:01pm in



It is Wednesday, so only some snippets today as I have deadlines and some travel to deal with. We have been finalising a Report on our latest estimates of the investment required to introduce a full-scale Job Guarantee in Australia. As part of that work, I have been going back through my NAIRU (Non-Accelerating Inflation Rate of Unemployment) estimates and updating data. I am also going to talk about that a bit in my presentation to the Economic Society of Australia tonight. That talk is about ultimately aimed at explaining the inflation fighting mechanisms inherent in the Job Guarantee, which is a centrepiece of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT). But to understand why that option is superior in efficiency terms, one has to know what the alternative buffer stock mechanism is. And that, of course, is the NAIRU orthodoxy. Also today, I am announcing some more detail about our plans to launch MMTed Q&A, as a weekly live program that will help people interested in our work to achieve better understandings. And some RIP style music with a suprising inflation result! Who could ask for more on a Wednesday. Tomorrow, the ABS release the Labour Force data and we will see how bad things have become in the Australian labour market over the month (more or less) just gone.

The aim of my talk tonight is as follows:

To discuss “flattening the Phillips Curve”, full employment, the role of price anchors and automatic stabilisers versus discretionary fiscal policy, how the ‘price rule’ of stimulus contrasts with the ‘quantity rule’ of conventional Keynesian pump-priming, and the choice between unemployed buffer stocks (the NAIRU) and employed buffer stocks (the NAIBER) in inflation management policy.

As I understand it all are welcome to join and you can book to join on-line – HERE.

The event starts at 18:00 (Australian Eastern Standard Time)

I have written about the NAIRU before and have done years of work on the topic:

1. My PhD thesis included a lot of technical work (theoretical and econometric) on the topic and buffer stocks.

2. In my 2008 book with Joan Muysken – Full Employment abandoned – we analysed the technical aspects of the NAIRU in detail.

3. Many refereed academic papers.

4. The following blog posts

(a) The NAIRU/Output gap scam reprise (February 27, 2019).

(b) The NAIRU/Output gap scam (February 26, 2019).

(c) No coherent evidence of a rising US NAIRU (December 10, 2013).

(d) Why we have to learn about the NAIRU (and reject it) (November 19, 2013).

(e) Why did unemployment and inflation fall in the 1990s? (October 3, 2013).

(f) NAIRU mantra prevents good macroeconomic policy (November 19, 2010).

(g) The dreaded NAIRU is still about! (April 6, 2009).

I don’t intend rehearsing the narratives in those blog posts again.

But here is an updated graph from 1960 to 2020 showing the old Australian Treasury TRYM estimates of the NAIRU, the current OECD estimates, and the actual unemployment rate.

The OECD data starts in 1985. The TRYM model was discontinued in 2011.

You can see the problem clearly without having to understand anything much.

If two agencies estimate the same concept that come up with the red and green lines, then something is amiss.

It turns out that lots is amiss.

While I won’t go into all the discussion that I covered in the blog posts referred to above, the following points are worth noting:

1. Proponents of the NAIRU as a useful policy construct have never explained the sudden jump from 1974 which coincided at the time with the rise in the actual unemployment rate.

The latter occurred as a result of the recession that followed the OPEC oil price hikes and was clearly understood in terms of a negative spending shock exacerbated by contractionary policy.

But conceptually shifts in the NAIRU have to be driven by shifts in microeconomic factors – the so-called structural factors, which are invariant to the economic cycle.

Why is that important?

Because if the structural factors (attitudes towards work, regulations such as minimum wages, income support levels, taxes, etc) fully determine the NAIRU and they are invariant to the economic cycle, which is driven by spending, then it would be difficult for the government to use expansionary fiscal policy to reduce the unemployment rate without incurring accelerating inflation.

That is exactly the notion that defined the entry of Monetarism and the Natural Rate Hypothesis (NRH) into their literature.

It is the causality that underpins their argument that there is only one unique unemployment rate consistent with stable inflation and fiscal policy adjustments (classic Keynesian policies) are unable to influence that rate and only cause inflation if the government tries to influence the level of unemployment.

The game is thus to accept that for given structural parameters, the unemployment rate where inflation stabilises is the ‘natural rate’ and if the government feels it is too high then they have to engage in structural changes which include reducing (scrapping minimum wages), reducing trade union bargaining power, cutting corporate taxation, increase the strength of activity tests for unemployment benefit recipients and even scrapping the benefit altogether.

You can see how the NAIRU is such a powerful pillar of the neoliberal deregulation agenda.

But, even if structural factors are determinant of the NAIRU, it remains the fact that if they are influenced in any way by the economic (spending) cycle, then the NAIRU becomes sensitive to government spending shifts and the whole Monetarist-NRH story crumbles.

That is what the concept of hysteresis was about. That was one of the things my PhD contributed – I was one of the first to develop that concept in the literature in the 1980s.

The idea is that structural shifts accompany cyclical shifts and so there is no determinant NAIRU and estimates of it will just follow the actual unemployment rate up and down in some lagged fashion depending on the econometric technique used to estimate it.

And, when one examines the alleged structural factors (proposed by proponents of the NAIRU concept) using all sorts of statistical and econometric tools – from simple linear regressions to advanced techniques (non-linear, filters, etc) the overwhelming result is that the structural variables, are, themselves, highly sensitive to the economic cycle.

Which means if the actual unemployment rate falls, the estimated NAIRU falls (and vice versa).

Which means that if governments stimulate the economy using fiscal policy and reduce the unemployment rate, they create their own non-inflationary space in the process.

Please read my blog posts:

(a) A Job Guarantee job creates the required extra productive capacity (October 2, 2013).

(b) Long-term unemployment – stats and myths (August 17, 2009).

2. The reliability of the NAIRU estimates are low (see below). The NAIRU is what we call an unobserved variable so it has to be estimated using proxy indicators.

The problem as I show below is that the usual statistical estimates are so imprecise – very large confidence intervals.

So we sometimes see estimates of between 4 and 12 per cent being within points of statistical indifference – meaning the estimates are useless for policy making.

3. We always see the pools of long-term and short-term unemployment being accessed by employers when there is strong enough employment growth, which means that there are no structural impediments to growth as a result of a large pool of long-term unemployment.

The so-called ‘irreversibility hypothesis’ claimed that the long-term unemployed require extensive re-training before they are ready for work.

Further, if the government tries to stimulate employment growth to reduce the long-term unemployment rate, the irreversibility properties will mean that wages growth will rise strongly as employers compete for skilled workers and ignore the long-term unemployed and inflation will result.

The long-term unemployed thus represent a constraint on non-inflationary growth and the only solution is to force them to upskill through various rules on their income support payments, including cancellation.

The proposition that there were structural impediments (and elevated NAIRUs) was the centrepiece of the OECD’s Jobs strategy in the 1990s that developed the idea of full employability and a focus on supply-side explanations for mass unemployment (lazy workers with poor attitudes that didn’t have skills, etc).

Like most of the mainstream dogma, the concept failed as soon as data was applied to it

4. What we end up with is the observation that the estimates of the NAIRU provided by agencies all around the world really just track the actual unemployment rate and provide no independent information upon which to base policy shifts.

We can get as good a NAIRU estimate using a moving-average filter of the actual unemployment rate. And, of course, that provides nothing new by way of information or theoretical rigour.

But the central bankers and treasuries around the world continue to plug away with attempts to estimate it.

The reason is that without it, they have no capacity to link activity (the real economy) with price movements (the nominal economy).

And without that, their antagonism to fiscal policy and their bias towards monetary policy as the principle counterstabilisation tool has no foundation.

In June 26, 2019, the RBA held a so-called ‘Teacher Immersion Event’ and a paper – Understanding the NAIRU – was presented.

These graphs were shown.

First, the changing NAIRU estimates relative to the actual unemployment rate.

Second, the confidence intervals around the estimates from the early 1980s to 2019.

The general impression is that essentially, the NAIRU follows the unemployment rate with some lag.

There are high standard errors when the actual unemployment rate is moving about a lot.

And in 1997, the RBA published a Research Paper – Is the Phillips Curve A Curve? Some Evidence and Implications for Australia – which produced this graph (Figure 8).

It shows the confidence intervals around the estimates of the NAIRU between 1960 and 1997.

Summary: Huge and unusable as a precise policy tool.

According to that research one could be equally confident, in say 1985, that the steady-state unemployment rate was at 9 per cent or 4 per cent (about).

As this recent RBA research paper concluded (Source):

… the path of the NAIRU estimated now can look quite different to the path estimated at various times in the past, even using the same model and data history. The high degree of uncertainty around the NAIRU estimates means new data can change the estimate of the NAIRU for the previous few years …

Because of the uncertainty around the NAIRU, the estimates generated by incorporating new data each quarter can move around much more sharply than the estimates made with the benefit of hindsight and the full history of the data.

This – dynamic graph – from the RBA June Bulletin shows the evolution of different NAIRU estimates as the estimation sample changes.

The most recent NAIRU graph from the RBA with Confidence Intervals is this one. The intervals are still rather large even at low unemployment rates.

So given the actual unemployment rate in that year was 8.2 per cent, the Federal government should have introduced a massive fiscal stimulus to drive the unemployment rate down to 4 per cent, without fear that the inflation rate would rise.

Instead, they drove the fiscal deficit down from 2 per cent of GDP to 0.9 per cent of GDP and over the next two years, GDP growth slumped from 5.3 per cent in fiscal year 1984-85 to 2.5 per cent in 1986-87.

And the unemployment rate hovered above 8 per cent until the 1988, only to rise again above 10 per cent during the 1991-92 recession.

Usefulness of NAIRU estimates for policy: Zero!


As part of the on-going development of our MMTed project, we are introducing – MMTed Q&A – which will be a weekly live program screening on Wednesday nights starting at 20:00 Australian EST.

This will be at:

10:00 Dakar
11:00 London
12:00 Paris
13:00 Helsinki
19:00 Tokyo, Kyoto and Dili
03:00 San Francisco
06:00 New York

The program will run for 30 minutes each week and the format will be around 5 questions will be answered with discussion.

Each week, we plan to bring in some of the MMT experts who can help answer your questions.

If you want to ask a question the process, as a trial, will be to submit your enquiry via the – MMTed Q&A – page.

We do not guarantee that your question will be answered but we will do our best.

Only submissions will valid E-mail addresses will be accepted.

The first program will be broadcast on Wednesday, May 20, 2020 at 20:00 Australian EST.

The links to the live stream each week will be published in advance on the site and via Twitter and on this blog site.

Let’s see how it turns out.

Call for MMTed Support

I imagine the current crisis will put a halt on people donating to causes.

But we are making progress in developing the program that will become – MMTed.

But we still need significant sponsors for this venture to ensure that we can run the educational program with negligible fees.

If you are able to help on an ongoing basis that would be great. But we will also appreciate of once-off and small donations as your circumstances permit.

You can contribute in one of two ways:

1. Via PayPal – which is our preferred vehicle for receiving donations.

The PayPal donation button is available via the MMTed Home Page or via the – Donation button – on the right-hand menu of this page (below the calendar).

2. Direct to MMTed’s Bank Account.

Please write to me to request account details.

Please help if you can.

We cannot make the MMTed project viable on a sustainable basis without funding support.

We will always maintain strict anonymity with respect to donations received, except if the donor desires to be publicly associated with the venture and gives their permission in writing to appear on the Donors Page.

Music – RIP Little Richard

Over the weekend just gone – Little Richard – died aged 87.

He was more than a pioneer of R&B and what followed. But, importantly, he forced white America to accept so-called ‘cross-over’ artists at a time when segregation was breaking down.

Here is a detailed report of his career from Rolling Stone – Little Richard, Founding Father of Rock Who Broke Musical Barriers, Dead at 87

The song – Lucille – is built on a driving riff, perfect tenor sax solo (from – Lee Allen, not too much flash piano jangling, Fender guitars and Little Richard.

This is from February 1957 – a glorious period of modern music – and this is my favourite Little Richard track.

The Everly Brothers recorded a rather sterile version on their “That’s Old Fashioned” album.

The Beatles recorded a version on their Live at the BBC “Pop Go The Beatles” Album (Volume 2) (recorded on September 17, 1963) – no match for the original.

Deep Purple used to play the song – poorly.

Many of my R&B bands in the past played to the song – obviously well (-:

I heard a live version of this from Leo de Castro at the Palais Theatre in St Kilda (Melbourne) when I was a teenager as a preliminary act to the release of D.A. Pennebaker’s film – Monterey Pop (1969). It was memorable.

The lead guitar player on this recording of Lucille was none other than – Roy Montrell – who was one of the defining forces in R&B. I learned a lot of licks listening to him playing.

The year before Little Richard released Lucille, Roy Montrell had recorded his own single – (Everytime I Hear) That Mellow Saxophone – watch that video and you will not stay seated for long.

A really defining sound from the late 1950s.

While Lee Allen played on Lucille, tenor on this recording was from – Alvin ‘Red’ Tyler – who was a premier R&B and then neo-bop sax player.

In October 1957, Little Richard performed in Newcastle, NSW (where I mostly live now but didn’t then).

While he was in town, he apparently decided to reaffirm his “commitment to God”, while “aboard the Stockton ferry”, which runs daily across the harbour (Source).

Apparently, as an expression of this renewal, he threw his rings into the harbour water and cancelled the second scheduled concert.

The story is somewhat blurred and alternative versions have him throwing them from a train as it went over Carrington Bridge (across the Hunter River which flows into the Harbour).

Here is a advertisement from the Newcastle concert.

All the R&B – Rock’n’Roll stars emerging were on the bill.

Note the ticket price – 10 shillings (before Australia went decimal).

What would that be worth now? About $A16.20. Pretty cheap for a concert given that you don’t get a ticket for under $A100 these days to a major concert.

That is enough for today!

(c) Copyright 2020 William Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.

Win a Jingle for Your Course

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 12/05/2020 - 12:14am in

Daniel Groll, associate professor of philosophy at Carleton College, has been creating videos of short jingles written to promote online courses he and his colleagues are teaching.

Groll, whose musical c.v. includes the rock group The Counterfactuals and the kids’ music duo Louis and Dan and the Invisible Band, goes minimalist on this new project, making most of the music using a stylophone:

Here’s the jingle for his medical ethics course:



It’s Medical Ethics 222
It’s Medical Ethics Online
We can’t be together, we’re so far apart
But we’re making the best of a very tough time

Discussion and readings
Done via Zoom meetings
The class is all online

Yes it’s medical ethics 222
We’re making the best of a very tough time

And here’s one he did for Biology 126: Energy Flow in Biological Systems:



How does energy flow
In biological systems, where does it go?
The point of this course is to let you know
Just how energy flows.

Carbon sequestration, cycles Calvin and Krebs
Digestion, food webs, membranes and nutrients
Stoichiometry, movement and atp
You’ll learn what this all means in intro to biology

Through the magic of Zoom it will all work out fine
Energy flow in biological systems…online

Now I know what you’re thinking: “How can I get one of these jingles for my course this fall?“.

Well, dear reader, you’re in luck, for you have a chance to win a jingle, made by Professor Groll in consultation with you, right here on this website. All you have to do is put a comment on this post with a key term or phrase from your course and a word or phrase that rhymes with it. Include your name and the name of your course, too. Submissions will close on Friday. We will pick a winner at random and announce it next week.

The post Win a Jingle for Your Course appeared first on Daily Nous.

Robert Smith’s Lockdown Diary

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 09/05/2020 - 8:13pm in


Music, NHS, poem, poetry, writing

I don’t know if Monday’s blue.
It could be Tuesday. Wednesday, too.
Or Friday, I don’t have a clue.
But Thursday’s when I clap.

Monday, I don’t want to blame.
Tuesday, Wednesday not defame.
Nor Friday – every day’s the same,
But Thursday’s when I clap.

The weekend’s scrapped.
No Saturday, Sunday. It’s left a gap.
Thursdays, I never cease to clap.

I don’t know if Monday’s black.
A weekly schedule’s what I lack.
My sense of time’s not coming back,
But Thursday’s when I clap.

Chronologies I disavow.
Tuesday’s Wednesday, I don’t know how.
Friday’s just like Monday now.
But Thursday’s when I clap.


Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 09/05/2020 - 7:38am in



As a paean to the boom, our building, Maker Towers B, had been named after its builder, who was called, tautologically, Maker. In spite of hating the new apartment, just as, in a different way, I’d hated school, I began to spend a lot of time in it. The ostensible reason was to practice. But it was also to withdraw from Bombay, a city that had formed me but whose cosmetic “Westernization” I’d always judgmentally distrusted, and which I now took against intensely.