Horatio Alger? Yes, Horatio Alger…

When Idols Fall
For those generous souls who were taken aback by the assertion in the last Out There posting that author Horatio Alger, Jr. was a pederast, you may wish to read this careful explanation of why the young Unitarian minister left his Brewster, Mass. parish so hastily.
And on a More Cheerful Note…
Have you heard about the fascinating blind study that demonstrates that drinkers prefer wine they think costs a lot more to the exact same vino at a giveaway price? (“Scientists prove that paint dries slowly.”)
Brain scans show that it’s not just a silly whim: neural “pleasure centers” actually go rat-tat-tat when the drinkers think they’re getting something that’s top-of-the-line. Yet maybe the response has more to do with the distinct thrill, one that every bargain-hunter knows, of getting something for nothing. The more expensive the freebie, the more you’ve ripped the system off.
The next step? Apply the logic of this discovery to museum and performance admissions. For example, MoMA should raise its $20 ticket price to $100, but collect from only one out of five and let the other four visitors walk in, gratis. Total proceeds would remain the same.
“It must be the best art in the world,” they all will say. And the ones who didn’t pay a dime will enjoy themselves even more.
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