Hey, That’s Paul Krugman (or, I’m a Nerd)

I was flicking channels the other night and recognized a face.

Paul Krugman. Nobel Peace Prize winning writer and attendee/keynote speaker at this year’s World Science Fiction Convention in Montreal.

Does that seem like an incongruous juxtaposition?

Only because you have a preconceived notion of what a science fiction convention entails.

I am okay with it because it is beyond my control. Judging is just something that everyone does. I endured years of ridicule before turning doubting friends onto Buffy and Angel.

I am a patient woman.

Krugman was one of many talking heads interviewed for the documentary Inside the Meltdown. It is absolutely fascinating how hubris, moral fortitude and staunch convictions can be so devastating in an era when all the rules have been turned on its head (and yet things are still frighteningly familiar). The interconnectedness of all that we hold dear as immovable pillars of society as we know it are really only as immoveable as the quicksand upon which it rests.

I have to admit that his name was not immediately recognizable to me until the convention- even though I would have read many of his articles in The New York Times online. I only decided to attend the discussion between Krugman and Charlie Stross (Hugo Award winning writer) upon the recommendation of my brother. He had me at Nobel Peace Prize winning….

But I recognize him now.

I was doing a random search for Krugman and Stross and fortuitously stumbled across a transcript of the conversation. Of course I made notes throughout their conversation but I desperately hoped someone would post a tape of the conversation or an audio recording. For anyone interested I would highly recommend a look. A tape would be better (to capture the cadence and nuance, the subtle hilarity and the seriousness of the conversation, the audience interaction) but beggars and all.

Of course I will read the transcript (I can’t believe this conversation took place 20 days ago!) save it on my computer and print out a hard copy but the one thing that stayed with me was Krugman’s surprise over the draw of fundamentalism. What does that say other than the fact that I am old and have an attention span greater than that of a flea- no offence to fleas or flea-like attention spans.

He mentioned how times of uncertainty tend to pull people towards the “safety,” routine, order, “certainty” that can be found in fundamentalist thought and teachings. Those are my parentheses, not his (denoting my uncertainty over the validity of this belief though not to the desire for this kind of security). Krugman was specifically astonished by the increasing numbers of young people drawn to ultra-orthodox Jewish communities.  I have actually read about this online but never really made the connection to this as a reaction to times of uncertainty.

Very interesting- something to be explored further in the context of what is happening now, what has happened in the past and what could happen in the future.

Okay, I think I may have just cemented my status as a total nerd.

I think I’ll stop now….


~ by angryegg on August 26, 2009.

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