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I migranti di Fahrenheit migrano ancora… (IV inbloggazione)

Va’ e non peccare più!

Sembra che nella prossima enciclica Papa Francesco adombri la riabilitazione di Lucifero, in fondo è un buon diavolo, nella sua bestemmia riecheggia una presenza divina ma soprattutto non pratica il pettegolezzo (il che è tutt’altro che secondario). Inoltre, se non liberiamo l’inferno anche dei custodi non potremo mai davvero dire che è “vuoto”.

Gli oppositori del Santo Padre (dai sedevacantisti alla fondazione Lepanto) invece affermano che l’inferno non è mai stato tanto gremito come oggi: il mondo moderno è essenzialmente diabolico e il diavolo è un gran seduttore.

Per avere una visione più equilibrata del peccato, meglio rivolgersi al mondo laico, per esempio al Tyler Cowen di “Avoiding the Seven Deadly Sins”: oggi si pecca molto di più, è vero, ma non è detto che i flussi verso l’inferno siano aumentati, ad essere aumentate sono le tentazioni che porta con sè la  strepitosa ricchezza che stiamo accumulando da duecento anni. Bello fare i santi senza tentazioni!: ma il giudizio divino fa la tara a queste cose. Insomma, i peccatori di oggi sono solo più visibili rispetto a quelli di ieri, non più numerosi.

Cosa rende tanto peccaminoso il mondo contemporaneo?: tra le altre cose, la rete.

La rete realizza una barocca moltiplicazione del possibile, facilita l’incontro tra domanda e offerta e fa fiorire mercati con oggetto peccaminoso che prima non potevano nemmeno esistere per mancanza di clienti rintracciabili. 

Il web “crea” persino peccati nuovi: il peccato di “bolla”, per esempio. Chi si costruisce e vive nella propria “bolla” taglia le sue relazioni con l’esterno adattandosi ad un comodo quanto sterile isolamento.

Solo oggi, tanto per dire, puoi avere una fidanzata immaginaria

… Instead of courting a real woman, some men prefer “imaginary girlfriends.”…Once a week these imaginary girlfriends—played by real women— will send you cards, e-mail, letters, or whatever else is needed to establish proof of a long-distance relationship. The idea started when a twenty-two-year-old named Judy, from Wichita Falls, Texas, posted her “imaginary” services on eBay; since then the idea has spread. At Imaginarygirlfriends.com, after the period of hire has ended, the customer is responsible for splitting up with the imaginary girlfriend. The girlfriend will write a letter expressing her sorrow and begging to be taken back… The very beautiful Erica, from Vancouver, offers: Services: Letters, e-mail, custom photos with letters, custom digital photos with e-mail, video chats via Yahoo webcam if possible. Price $45 per two month period…

In Giappone va di moda il “fidanzato a pezzi”: se vuoi essere abbracciata ti compri un suo braccio (non è necessario portarselo a casa tutto)… 

… Some Japanese women are content with less than a full man. Such women can buy a “Boyfriend’s Arm Pillow” to embrace their necks while they sleep at night …

Accennato alla fiorente industria della “bolla”, ci sono poi i sette peccati tradizionali, quelli di cui parla Dante nell’Inferno e Papa Gregorio prima di lui.

Quanto alla superbia: i ricchissimi e avidi manager possono guardare la legge dall’alto in basso frequentando costosissimi corsi su come cavarsela al meglio una volta in gabbia qualora dovesse succedere…

… Top executives can take a class for $10,000 or more to learn how to cope with life in prison. The class teaches the following: 1. Meditation and physical-exercise routines. 2. Getting used to the fact that nothing changes and everything is outside your control. 3. Discarding addictions and vices. 4. Bringing a cheap watch. 5. Not making eye contact 6. “If you are going to hurt somebody, drag them into your cell, because then you have an excuse that they invaded your privacy.” The entrepreneurs claim they have had twelve clients a year for the last two years…

Per gli avidi si aprono molte lucrose possibilità nel mondo dei rapimenti, specie in Colombia e in Messico…

… Until the recent rise in safety, $1 million worth of Colombian kidnapping insurance cost $20,000 to $25,000 a year. Many people and companies buy much larger policies, for fear that the local kidnappers consider a ransom of less than a million to be a joke…

La triangolazione assicuratori-criminali-polizia fa girare un business mica da ridere minimizzando i rischi per tutti, vittima compresa…

… A victim is most likely to win a safe release when kidnapping is done in conjunction with the police. This minimizes the chance of misunderstandings and makes sure that everyone is on the same page… In Mexico the kidnappers and the insurance companies have a close working relationship… kidnappers prefer to grab someone with insurance. That is their incentive, since the transaction runs more smoothly and everyone behaves professionally… The company “regularizes” the kidnapping experience, but at the same time this makes many kidnappings more likely and thus brings more sin…

In tutt’altro settore, una miniera d’oro puo’ rivelarsi la caccia agli errori ortografici su ebay, in modo da partecipare ad aste di un certo valore dove si vince facile…

… Alert arbitrageurs search eBay for misspelled and thus misplaced items. So if the lister made a mistake in the item description there will be few opposing bidders… One searcher bought Hubbell electrical cords for a tenth of their usual cost by searching for “Hubell” and “Hubbel” electrical cords. That same individual bought Compaq computers by looking for “Compacts” instead. One reporter’s hour-long search turned up dozens of items, including “bycicles,” “telefones,” “mother of perl,” “cuttlery,” “bedroom suits,” and “antiks.”… There is now a Web site, eBooboos.com, devoted solely to finding and publicizing spelling mistakes on eBay…

la lussuria è uno dei peccati con più tentazioni. Sui siti messicani trovi prostitute veramente low cost (anche se ottuagenarie)…

…In Mexico City there are hundreds of prostitutes in their sixties, seventies, and even eighties; eighty-five is the oldest age cited. One woman claims that: “an antique can be more valuable than something new.” Usually the price is $5 or less…

Ci sono siti specializzati in “alibi per adulterio”…

… For a $34 minimum a Russian company (SounderCover) will provide an alibi for the absence of an adulterer… The service can mimic traffic, construction noises, the circus, or the drill of a dentist…

Così come ci sono i contratti pre-matrimoniali, ci sono anche i contratti pre-rapporto sessuale. Diversi si ti li mettono a disposizione ad un costo abbordabile…

… Celebrities, athletes, and others can buy consent forms for their casual sex partners. The form vouches that the other party agreed to the sex, thereby avoiding subsequent charges of rape… lawyer Evan Spencer, who drafted the “pre-sexual agreement” form for Protect Condoms, Inc. According to the president of the company, they rapidly sold more than 4,000 forms at $7.99 per form. Each package comes with two condoms…

Alcol. Ubriacatevi pure!, tanto c’è chi – dietro lauto compenso – gestirà i vostri affari mentre siete sbronzo…

… We have all known people who make phone calls when they shouldn’t, especially when they are drunk. A survey of 409 people by Virgin Mobile found that 95 percent had made drunk calls, mostly to ex-partners (30 percent), 19 percent to current partners, and 36 percent to others, including their bosses… To alleviate the drinking-and-dialing problem, a phone company in Australia started offering customers blocked “blacklist” numbers, which they select before going out to drink. In Japan they sell a mobile phone with a breathalyzer, to see if you are really fit to drive home, or for that matter to make a phone call…

L’invidia è qualcosa che riguarda tutti e ci guida nell’acquisto dell’auto come nella scelta della vacanza. Un potente mercato è nato per tacitare questo demone.

Volete passare una giornata da sogno a New York (solo per il gusto di raccontarla, ovviamente)?:

PartyBuddys, the creation of two New Jersey entrepreneurs, promises to “make normal people feel fabulous for the night.”… the one-night package offers a special “party buddy” guide to bring clients past “crowds of jealous bystanders,” limousine transportation, and special treatment at six fashionable Manhattan nightclubs, including free drinks. One night costs $350 a person and up; the maximum package goes for $1,200 per person. A personal bodyguard runs an extra $45 an hour… at least 60 percent of their business comes from middle-aged professionals who are visiting New York but have never been to the city’s nightclubs… imagine themselves as one of “the cool people” they see on TV. New Yorkers, of course, consider this the epitome of uncoo…

Volete più ospiti alla vostra festa? In tempo di “bolle” e famiglie striminzite ce n’è sempre bisogno…

… A report from India tells of a firm that rents out wedding guests… They are told to dance and make small talk, and show a knowledge of the marrying couple… “The breaking up of joint families and lack of affection among relatives also creates a demand for paid guests.”

Gola. In Cina esiste un ristorante che cucina solo peni (di animale)…

… there is a restaurant in China that specializes in serving different kinds of animal penises, braised, fried, and steamed…

Si moltiplicano poi ovunque le gare dei “mangioni”, alcune mirano a diventare disciplina olimpica. Non mancano nemmeno le star del genere…

… The World Grilled Cheese Eating Championship offers a $3,500 prize to the contestant who can down the greatest number of grilled-cheese sandwiches in ten minutes. The 103-pound Korean-American Sonya (“The Black Widow”) Thomas won with twenty-three… Jason Fagone’s 302-page study of eating competitions, Horsemen of the Esophagus, used the words “violent” and “assault” to describe the contestants’ methods of consumption… She worked at Burger King and would like to own a fast-food restaurant some day…

L’ ira è un peccato un po’ sottovalutato. Ma il mercato non lo sottovaluta affatto: l’offerta di killer e quant’altro è notevole e spesso fatta alla luce del sole.

Ma un vero trarget del mercato sono i pigroni, specie se ricchissimi. C’è chi affitta personale per aprire i regali di natale o mettere il dentifricio sullo spazzolino…

David Beckham and his wife hired a £1,000-a-day butler to open their Christmas presents… Charles had a full-time valet at the age of two and he still has his butler apply toothpaste to his toothbrush…

Chi gioca on-line puo’ affittare un pilota automatico e guadagnare qualche certificato in più da esibire…

… Some people purchase software to play online computer games for them. Why bother? If “you” have played the game, you can wear certain badges attesting to that fact, which leads to prestige in some on-line communities…

Una servitù sempre connessa sembra regalare la pace interiore a molti ricconi…

… Some Ritz-Carltons offer their guests constant e-mail contact with their butlers, who carry around handheld wireless devices…

C’è un mercato anche per i codardi

… The company BSR offers a two-day antiterrorist driving school, which includes surveillance and 180-degree spins. Gift certificates are available…

… specie i paurosi in amore, quelli che non sanno “rompere”. Connesso alla rottura c’è il problema di riavere indietro i regali. Niente paura: per tutto questo c’è chi ci pensa ed agisce per voi…

… Sometimes we are too cowardly to face those we have loved and maybe even still love. At http://www.breakupservice.com, founded in 2002, the writers pen a Dear John or Dear Jane letter designed to end the relationship… But if a letter is too impersonal, better to hire the service for a fifteen-minute breakup phone call, called a “counseling call” by the service… Another of these companies also performs furniture and pet retrieval, for fees ranging up to $400… The now-defunct LadyLoveWriter.com—and its male-oriented counterpart LoveWriter.com—offered to compose “The Gentle Breakup Letter”… It also had to be specified whether the style should be “Light and Casual,” “Straightforward but from the Heart,” or “Super-Romantic.” Erica Klein, the founder of the service, noted, “We’re good at caring and compassion.”…

Avete paura di essere sepolti vivi? Calma, c’è la bara con radiotrasmittente incorporata…

… Taphephobia (or “taphophobia,” depending which spelling convention you follow) is the fear of being buried alive. A Chilean cemetery will build an alarm into a coffin for only $462…

Vanità. Poiché – la cosa è nota – ogni padrone di cane si identifica con il suo cucciolo ai più vanesi tra loro puo’ venire utile una protesi testicolare (per il cucciolo, non per loro) con la quale il figurone è assicurato…

… we can buy testicular implants for our pets. Apparently some pet owners feel their dogs have lost that manly feeling or that dangerous look. To date at least 50,000 people have purchased this product…

E non sto qui a dire quante cose puo’ fare una moglie per suo marito oggigiorno, specie quando si festeggia l’anniversario…

… For her 17th wedding anniversary Jeanette Yarborough wanted to do something special for her husband. In addition to planning a hotel getaway for the weekend, Ms. Yarborough paid a surgeon $5,000 to reattach her hymen, making her appear to be a virgin again. “It’s the ultimate gift for the man who has everything,” says Ms. Yarborough…

Il mercato è ovunque, anche nell’arte

… men who wish to buy paintings made by women’s breasts (N.B.: not paintings of women’s breasts, these are paintings by the breasts) must transact outside the mainstream. The idea, which started on the Internet, allows a small number of buyers to get in touch with the willing but regionally dispersed artistic suppliers…

Le immobiliari sono particolarmente creative, specie dopo la crisi…

For $430 a square foot, a person can buy the air rights for an unfettered view of Central Park. That means no one can build to block the current view. This transaction operates through the standard real estate brokers of Manhattan…

Ci sono poi i mondi paralleli, dove si possono fare buoni affari…

… Some of today’s newest and most innovative markets exist in online computer games. In these “synthetic worlds” it is possible to buy, sell, lend, own property, or for that matter steal. Rewards depend upon performance, and the game prizes are convertible into real-world cash. It has been estimated that all the synthetic economies put together, with about 10 million players, are in value terms about equal to the size of the economies of Bosnia and Herzegovina…

Alcuni mercati sono proibiti e fanno nascere mercati che commerciano i mezzi per eludere i mercati proibiti. Uno dei più singolari è il mercato delle targhe sporche, vengono buone per l’autovelox e non solo…

… One British entrepreneur sells squirt bottles of spray-on mud for license plates. It is ostensibly so the buyer’s vehicle can “look rugged,” but more realistically it is used so police cameras cannot record the license plates of speeding vehicles. The mud is from Shropshire, and it contains secret ingredients so that it sticks to the license plate longer…

A volte non è tanto l’oggetto del mercato ad essere peccaminoso ma la pratica mercantile in sé. Per esempio: non si capisce perché ma troviamo disdicevole negoziare i posti in coda…

… Felix Oberholzer-Gee, a professor at Harvard Business School, conducted some field experiments about whether a market might develop for places in line. Some economists might think that buying a place in line is a natural thing to do… Oberholzer-Gee and a team of experimenters… They went to long lines and offered cash payments of up to $10 if they could cut in line, jumping ahead of some of the others… most people would not take the money. They took a high offer as a signal of desperation and thus felt sorry for the interloper and let him cut in for nothing. (Students and women were more likely to take the cash; men were more likely to “act magnanimously.”)… people felt it was not right to receive cash for an early spot in line…. people in the queue felt only limited generosity. When a second experimenter—this time the professor himself rather than his assistant—tried to buy his way into the line, those in the queue grew upset…

Oppure, prendiamo il sesso. Il sesso ci rende felici: perché non ne compriamo di più visto che ne abbiamo a disposizione quanto ne vogliamo? Mistero. Ecco otto possibili spiegazioni… 

… Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman—based on intensive time diaries—looked at which activities make us happiest. It turns out that sex and time spent with friends (not spouses, unless perhaps we are having sex) are our favorite and most enjoyable ways of spending time… A second study, by economists David Blanchflower and Andrew Oswald, supports the view of a connection between sex and happiness… If sex is so much more fun than the alternatives, why don’t we have more of it?…Maybe the potential partner is not interested right now but, hey, is that not what trade is for?… 1. The long-term lifestyle costs of being “more open to trading sex” involve a loss of integrity and control… 2. We have enough sex, and more sex would be much less fun3. Freud was right and we are repressed4. Sex stops being enjoyable when we do it “to close a gap between marginal utilities.” It requires spontaneity 5. Sex isn’t as much fun as the studies indicate… 6. People want their sex to consist of peaks, rather than seeking to maximize lifetime pleasure. Thomas Schelling once told me he does not always listen to Bach, even when he feels like doing so. He wants to keep it as a special experience7 people feel shame about paying or receiving money in too explicit a fashion (see also #4). We therefore spend our time competing for social status, rather than just trading for more sex… 8. During and after marital fights, we often “stick to our guns.” Some of our stubbornness is for purposes of deterrence and precedent-setting. If we give in too easily, we will find it harder to win a good bargain the next time around…

Così come c’è il mercato della tentazione c’è anche quello dell’autocontrollo. I golosoni posso ficcarsi in gola certi affarini commerciati da una srl di Atlanta…

… One device, called the DDS System, resembles a small retainer that you put into your mouth before mealtime. It fills much of the upper cavity of the mouth and forces the wearer to eat more slowly and take smaller bites. The product is marketed by Scientific Intake of Atlanta… The makers claim the effect on speech is “minor”; the effect on your pocketbook is $400 to $500…

La dipendenza da porno ha diversi rimedi…

… Other gimmicks come from digital culture. For instance, pornography addicts can download free “accountability software” known as X3. Once installed, X3 sends an e-mail every fourteen days to a chosen recipient or recipients. That e-mail lists every Web site that the person has visited on the computer…

Ma questi trucchetti ci distraggono dalla vera soluzione: rafforzare la propria forza di volontà.

Ecco allora due semplici consigli per non cadere in tentazione…

First, cultivate a healthy self-image and a set of narratives about who you are and why it is important to contribute to society, rather than yielding to every temptation… Second… Forget about the imaginary girlfriend, the Russian alibi for adultery, and the Mexican prostitutes. Just go out and look for some sweet, old-fashioned romance. Yes, virtue is its own reward, but virtue also should be fun. Go out and use markets to make virtue fun. Buy a nice home for you and your family… Third…

E se questo non basta? Se la tentazione vi fa capitolare? Molti virtuosi vi emargineranno, ma non il mercato, su di lui potrete ancora contare: per uno sfogo bagnato da qualche lacrima si renderà disponibile il bar dei rimpianti. E’ un po’ fuori mano (in Cina) ma c’è. Ormai c’è tutto!…

… The truly regretful in the Chinese city of Nanjing can visit a “crying bar.” There’s a sofa, some tables, and a great deal of tissue paper. For about $6 an hour, customers can sit and cry. The owner, one Luo Jun, claimed he hit upon the idea from customers of a previous bar. They wanted to cry, but they had no venue for this desire. The crying bar solves their problem by making the show of maudlin emotion socially respectable and indeed socially expected…

PECCATO

 

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