"Yes! You too can be a brain surgeon, with the new Brain-O-Rama surgeon’s helper, a revolutionary new tool from the makers of the incredible Gung-Ho knife!! For just $49.45, you get the Brain-O-Rama scalpel, a rubberized dummy to learn your way around the skull, and complete instructions with helpful anatomical diagrams. You’ll be taking care of tumors in 30-days or less, or your money back!!!!!"

it seems like i’m being ridiculous. i am. and so are half the people trying to sell the latest [insert noun here] made easy products or books or tools or 12-day-tutorial-magic-or-your-money-back courses.

just because i know where your prefrontal cortex is, or because i’ve heard of broca’s area, you wouldn’t want me cutting into your brain with the best scalpel in the world. it wouldn’t make any difference, even if i had read the Dummies book and had seen "Extreme Autopsies" on FOX last week.

and yet people keep talking about making hard things easy, and others keep falling for it. books keep selling that demystify the mystical and show how, gosh, well, it turns out that brain surgery is easy after all, and we were just foolin’ ya so we could keep the money for ourselves (ha!).

i could make jokes all day long, but i believe this kind of behavior, and the thinking behind it, has consequences. it devalues the effort required to create things of value or utility, or to provide important services. in turn, it reduces the perceived value of the fruits of these labors. it cheapens the world and destroys our appreciation of people and the beauty they often create.Read More →

exclamations of the general form, "look ma, no [insert noun here]" are invariably followed by disasters of one variety or another (e.g., broken limbs, scraped knees, poked out eyes, hindenburg-style vapor cloud explosions). they indicate a certain hubris on the part of the utterer, and mother nature is not one to let these sorts of things slip by unchecked.Read More →