Monday, March 18, 2019

Andrew Yang and "normal"

Andrew Yang, a businessperson named by President Obama as a Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship, is running for president in the Democratic primaries. NBC News has a profile of Yang which says (emphasis added):

The author of a book called the "The War on Normal People," Yang launched his campaign around a pitch for a type of universal basic income. His "Freedom Dividend," which would provide a $1,000 monthly check from the government to each U.S. citizen over 18, is tied to his belief that automation and artificial intelligence are poised to eliminate millions of jobs, such as truck driving. Trying to do something about that doesn't make him radical — it makes him, as he says, "a fairly normal guy."

"I've got a wife and two kids and I'm running for president to solve the problems of this era," Yang said. "We have this sinking feeling that our government is way behind the curve, and I'm trying to catch us up. I'm a lot more of a normal American than I have a sense that most people believe just by looking at me from afar."
Yang's repeated talk of "normal" reminds me of a scene in Stanley Kubrick's great movie Lolita (1962), where Peter Sellers talks at length to James Mason:
I said to myself when I saw you — I said, "That's a guy with the most normal-looking face I ever saw in my life!" . . . It's great to see a normal face, because I'm a normal guy. It'd be great for two normal guys like us to get together and talk about world events — you know, in a normal sort of way. . . .