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Current Events

“a girl in a convertible is worth five in the phone book.”

By Asides, Business and Current Events

In these days when capitalism seems like the cause of all our problems rather than the solution to them, it is more than educational to read the latest letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders from Warren Buffett, an old school capitalist who believes that money should be made by adding value — for customers, shareholders, staff and society at large.

As always, Buffett’s letter is full of quotable portions but I was particularly taken by this segment on the Berkshire Hathaway railroad BNSF:

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UK Film Council shuttered

By Asides, Cinema and Current Events

In New Zealand we have a conservative government and our Film Commission has just been reviewed. In the UK, the new Conservative-Lib/Dem government decided to just shoot theirs in the head:

This decision could prove devastating to an entire generation of film-makers; for all its ups and downs, the Film Council has got involved with the likes of Armando Iannucci, Andrea Arnold, Lynne Ramsay, Peter Mullan, Sam Taylor-Wood, Kevin McDonald and Pawel Pawlikowski. How much credit the council can take for their film-making is up for debate, but it has at least functioned as the connective tissue between such disparate talents.

(There’s a section on the demise of the UK Film Council in The Guardian and more reaction at the excellent aggregator Mubi.com/Notebook.)

Lucky

By Current Events

Despite my fervent desires to the contrary, John Key hasn’t done much wrong in his first two weeks as PM but I was disappointed with this comment about Flight of the Conchords, quoted in Stuff this morning:

I think they are great actually,” he said of the Grammy Award winning artists. “They are a great example of a Kiwi export that ends up being picked up on the world stage … they are taking a bit of humour and music to the world. We are lucky to have such talented individuals.”

Does Key really think that producing this sort of talent (and the global reach and ambition that is also required) is a result of luck? Or is it more to do with the dramatic increase in support of our creative sector over the last nine years, support and commitment that allowed talent like Bret and Jemaine to consider careers here and overseas. If it’s just about luck, why support our artists at all?

This reminds me of a story told to me by F&S commenter Gary H. He was a relieving teacher at Parkway Intermediate in Wainuiomata and sometimes played guitar and sang songs in class. In the staff room one day another teacher said, “Gary, you’re so lucky you can play that guitar in class” and he thought to himself, I taught myself to play it and practiced for hours and hours to get good at it. Luck has nothing to do with it.

I miss Jed Bartlet

By Asides, Current Events and TV

Aaron Sorkin imagines former President Jed Bartlet giving Candidate Obama a pep talk:

BARTLET That was a hell of a convention.

OBAMA Thank you, I was proud of it.

BARTLET I meant the Republicans. The Us versus Them-a-thon. As a Democrat I was surprised to learn that I don’t like small towns, God, people with jobs or America. I’ve been a little out of touch but is there a mandate that the vice president be skilled at field dressing a moose —

Like finding a lost episode of “The West Wing”, this has made my day.

[via Maureen Dowd’s column in the New York Times]