James Surowiecki, you may know, also writes astute financial columns for the New Yorker. He’s a cool dude, great writer, and easy on the eyes.
In 2004 he wrote a book called “The Wisdom of the Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economies, Societies and Nations.”
I betcha you can guess the thesis. I’ll count to 10. OK, time’s up. The thesis is thus:
Large groups of people are smarter than an elite few, no matter how brilliant–better at solving problems, fostering innovation, coming to wise decisions, even predicting the future.
Unfortunately – and, admittedly I have not read the book; nor will I – he’s wrong.
“The masses,” as James Madison infamously said in the Federalist Papers #69, “suck.” That harsh indictment is why he wrote the Papers under an alias***; he didn’t want to poison is “man of the people” brand. (On his deathbed, his last words were “From my trembling lips to my Creator’s ears, I am more ‘real’ than Adams.”)
That’s also why, when the Constitution was written, the Presidency, the US Senate, and the Supreme Court were all appointed!
That’s right: the only direct voting was for that sulfuric inbred backwater called the House of Representatives, and even then, you had to be a white male landowner to vote. Heck, you couldn’t vote for your own Senator until like, 1920 or whatever.
And there’s a reason for this: the masses are irrational, stupid, violent, smelly, etc.
Look at the French Revolution, the Whiskey Rebellion, or, if it’s a modern analog you crave, that viral YouTube video that Debby in HR is cracking up and snorting over while trying to eat potato salad at her desk (yep, it’s that video with the Korean guy in the bathroom.)
Madison nailed it: the masses suck.
But…there’s an exception to every rule. And this exception is a Sanskrit word that means “the ever turning wheel of life,” aka, Samsara, aka, the movie we’ll be showing here on Oct. 20th. $10; 7:30 pm. And the last movie of the season!
The movie rules – and, admittedly, I have not seen it; but I will – because the wisdom of the crowds, as gauged on Rotten Tomatoes, told me so. I mean, check out some of these reviews:
– “Achingly beautiful and visually transfixing, Samsara offers a transporting vacation from the usual multiplex fare. It’s a movie to get lost in,” Rene Rodriquez, the Miami Herald
– “Fricke’s Super 70 Panavision camera gives us ravishing images without comment, allowing us to infer whatever connections we choose,” Colin Cover, Minneapolis Star-Tribune
– ‘The world “Samsara” gives us is strange and beautiful, and in places disturbing, but it also seems manageable, even in its vastness, and perhaps too easily consumed through beautiful images,” AO Scott, NY Times.
And of course, the trailer, which speaks for itself:
SAMSARA Theatrical Trailer from Baraka & Samsara on Vimeo.
See? The masses rule! It’s enough to make the Founding Fathers feel like myopic d-bags. (I mean, the Electoral College? Really guys?)
So come on down for what will be an incredible cinematic experience – the last one until June 2013. That’s Oct. 20th, 7:30 pm, and again, more info here!
*** Madison’s alias was “Pow R. Toc H,” named after the Pink Floyd jam.