Sunday, November 26th, 2023
There’s so much strong stuff being published in Tablet but I’ll just link to this long and searing piece by Andrew Fox entitled “A Dark Thanksgiving” about his teenage son’s experience at school in Durham in northern Virginia, where Muslims outnumber Jews by a ratio of at least 50 to 1.
I was particularly moved by his mention of his other two children:
My oldest son, who had started a chapter of the Young Democratic Socialists of America at the same high school, refused to hear a word I had to say about Israel, abruptly leaving the dinner table whenever the subject arose. My middle son was hardly any more receptive, pinging me with the moral equivalencies he’d picked up from Instagram posts and then ignoring the long responses I sent in return. Now my youngest son had accused me of betraying him and using him.
This is rough.
Saturday, November 25th, 2023
Watching “The Gaza War on US Campuses’, an episode of Glenn Loury and John McWhorter’s The Glenn Show, there are two guests today: Daniel Bessner and Tyler Austin Harper. And all I can say is: hoo boy that Daniel Bessner is a piece of work.
You have to be aware that one side is a nuclear-armed power with one of the most advanced militaries in the world, the other side is not. There’s not an excuse for any of the brutalities that Hamas committed and particularly all of us in this liberal bourgeoisie context within which we operate, you know, we’re anti-violence in every particular situation, this is why you have this “Do you condemn Hamas” argument.
It goes on. His poor mama; if this Jewish American is the future, God help us all. For a start, does he not see that his dismissiveness towards opposition to violence as being a merely liberal bourgeoisie fancy must, if he is being intellectually honest, apply at least as much to the violence visited by Israel upon Gaza, which he condemns, as it does to the violence visited by Hamas upon Israel, which he all but excuses?
Wednesday, November 1st, 2023
Love it! Finally someone uses this rhetoric on someone else and it’s a doozy! As reported by The Times of Israel, this is Foreign Minister Eli Cohen to the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Mirjana Spoljaric:
The Red Cross has no right to exist if it does not succeed in visiting the hostages being held captive by the Hamas terror group.
Similarly, Israeli universities have written to universities in the USA and Europe to demand a “sea change in clarity and truth in academia on the matter of Israel’s war against Hamas”.
Thursday, August 3rd, 2023
Saturday, July 15th, 2023
Glenn Loury and John McWhorter conduct a tour de force conversation on the affirmative action ruling.
Monday, June 12th, 2023
Contrast the tone of this Yahoo News article “Anti-LGBTQ backlash rattles US pride events” with every single one of the comments as far as I read, which was a few dozen.
Saturday, March 25th, 2023
- its core demand: are you going to believe me or your lying eyes?
- describes the ongoing cultural revolution which defines reality by its usefulness in achieving left-wing goals
Thursday, March 2nd, 2023
In 1987 I attended a Telluride Association Summer Program. In 2020 I was shocked to read that in the wake of the George Floyd protests, Telluride had limited its TASP offerings to “Critical Black Studies” and “Anti-Oppressive Studies” seminars. In this article, Vincent Lloyd, a black professor who had taught at a TASP in the past, relates how he was cancelled by the students. The irony would be delicious if the seeming disintegration of American largesse and leadership in education were not sad and scary.
Thursday, February 2nd, 2023
What a tweetstorm by Hussein Aboubakr Mansour, self-styled “grand cultural architect of the post-Palestine Middle East”, on the main issue of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: the Leftist notion that first-world colonization justifies any behavior. Israel’s contribution, he notes, is that we “accept the Palestinian self-dehumanization as the ontological truth of the Palestinians: final, exclusive, and irreversible, and not as humans who are trapped into a terrible story made up by generations of mad intellectuals and sadistic tyrants.” Perfetto.
Friday, August 26th, 2022
Great interview at Berkeley with alum and local Oakland boy Craig Federighi [Dec 2019].
Wednesday, July 20th, 2022
The virtues involved in being a good driver —the mix of independence and cooperation, knowledge and responsibility — really are virtues well suited to citizenship in a sprawling and diverse republic.
Thursday, June 16th, 2022
So Marc Andreessen’s interview with Tyler Cowen is making some waves because he seemed unable to justify Web3 (see tweets from Ian Bremmer, and, more predictably caustically, Nassim Nicholas Taleb). Personally I think Andreesse ha’s made the case better elsewhere, for instance, saying that if the internet had originally had a money layer then we’d never have had spam. But for me, as the developer of a new RSS reader, I was more interested in Tyler’s question about RSS:
Tyler Cowen: Do you still use an RSS reader?
Mark Andreessen: I do. This is actually an exciting moment on that topic for those of us who love these things. I use Feedly, which I like a great deal. It’s a guy. The guy who does it is a guy who used to work for us, a wonderful guy. I think it’s a great product and the inheritor of the now-lost Google Reader, the ruthlessly executed Google Reader.
This is talking about books, but Substack — one of our companies — has a new reader. It’s primarily for reading Substack. It basically is recreating, in my view, the best of what Google Reader had. That’s the other one that is getting a lot of use right now. I use both of those.
TC: Why does RSS at least seem to be so much less important than before?
MA: RSS is one of those things. I would say this gets into a broader, overarching, huge debate-fight happening in the tech industry right now. Internet got built on two models, which are diametrically opposed.
So Marc Andreessen uses Feedly and Substack! I wonder why both. I also want to know which reader TC uses — I seem to recall him saying that he does use one. The man seems to reply to hoi polloi — maybe I’ll ask him.
Incidentally I was surprised that this was not one of the better Conversations with Tyler. It didn’t really warm up into a good actual converation. For instance, I’d have thought MA would have asked TC, the world’s most renowned information omnivore, which RSS reader he uses. MA came across as a bit robotic, whereas I hadn’t gotten that impression from him before.
Wednesday, June 8th, 2022
To paraphrase Shakespeare’s Mark Antony in Julius Ceasar speaking of Brutus: “And in 2022 the United States is a serious country.” Upon receiving a Bradley Prize, Wilfred M. McClay, Professor of Classical History and Western Civilization at Hillsdale College, begins (as published in the redoubtable City Journal):
A few years ago, I was fortunate enough to have dinner with a very wise friend, here in Washington, at his favorite seafood restaurant near Dupont Circle. I remarked that he seemed to be spending more and more of his time in a certain foreign country. He acknowledged the fact, paused for a moment, and then said: “I want to live in a serious country.” It may be relevant to point out that the foreign country in question is Israel, where seriousness is an existential requirement. But it is equally important to point out that the gentleman in question is an American patriot of the highest order, the author of distinguished books on the subject. For him to say such a thing was therefore, for me, a very serious matter.
Tuesday, May 17th, 2022
So it seems that video gaming positively impacts childrens’ intelligence
We analyzed 9855 children from the USA who were part of the ABCD dataset with measures of intelligence at baseline (ages 9–10) and after two years. At baseline, time watching (r = − 0.12) and socializing (r = − 0.10) were negatively correlated with intelligence, while gaming did not correlate. After two years, gaming positively impacted intelligence (standardized β = + 0.17), but socializing had no effect.
Monday, May 2nd, 2022
Rich Dad Poor Dad
Robert T. Kiyosaki
Perusing the library, I realized I had not read this classic. Well, it’s exciting, and successfully inculcates the importance of assets vs earned income. The author’s preference is to avoid the hard work of running a business and instead use salaried income to buy stocks, and with any winnings, buy real estate — or finding other creative ways to finance the purchase of real estate. That’s the financial technique, but there are personal techniques as well, such as differentiating between poor (an identity) and broke (a situation), and exchanging the thought “I can’t afford it” to “How can I afford it?”. Nice, and one I wouldn’t mind to have available permanently.
Some choice quotes:
Savings are used only to create more money, not to pay bills.
I use my desire to consume to inspire and motivate my financial genius to invest.
Sunday, February 20th, 2022
America today: the fractious school board meeting. I blame, well, so many things. Corn subsidies? No-fault divorce? The lack perhaps of a dietary component in Protestantism? But despite the madness this video shows that the will to civility still remains, which is a tendril for hope.
Monday, January 31st, 2022
One main worry exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic is erosion in faith in science. While some of our denizens have pursued wantonly contrarian beliefs, others got busy blithely eroding core tenets. The Royal Society is warning that all this is dangerous. Its first prescription: “investing in lifelong information literacy programmes”.
The solutions are deep because the problems are; we live in an information glut yet there has been no parallel explosion in education — indeed rigor has likely lessened alongside national priorities skewered due to intemperate new orthodoxies which are due in turn to I know not what.
Yet some heartening news, as related in “Inside Operation Warp Speed: A New Model for Industrial Policy”, which happened under Trump. If we can optimistically harness the former President as a metaphor for Western civilization, perhaps the outlandish demeanor belies sound and enterprising deeds.
At any rate, this is the big shit.
Sunday, January 9th, 2022
We will never inherit the universe until we learn how to live with radiation—and that means studying it honestly.
J. Storrs Hall, Where is My Flying Car
Saturday, November 13th, 2021
Last month Harvard put on a performance of Macbeth “designated to be an exclusive space for Black-identifying audience members”. Horrible, yes; illegal, surely?
Thursday, October 7th, 2021
Human egalitarianism was a social revolution within the primate order.
Sarah Chayes, Everybody Knows: Corruption in America
Sunday, September 26th, 2021
It’s tough living in a place where everyone think it’s ok to be an asshole.
Gavriel Peretz [on Israel]
Tuesday, July 6th, 2021
Wednesday, April 28th, 2021
From the banned books department (the author’s When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment cannot be found on Amazon), on the battiness of trans ideology.
I came to this article after seeing the phrase “gender assigned at birth” on my child’s school acceptance form and googled for when “assigned” became the de facto usage even here in the seemingly more sensible UK instead of, say, “registered”.
Friday, December 11th, 2020
I’ve been surprised and disappointed by just how many people are hesitant to take up the COVID-19 vaccines now coming online. In this concerned Nautilus article “How to Build Trust in Covid-19 Vaccines”, the authors take on the issue with sober good sense, eg:
Mandatory vaccination policies should be avoided because they could backfire. More acceptable would be tying vaccination status to travel or access to public places.
Wednesday, October 14th, 2020
Larry McEnerney on 40 years of teaching expository writing at the University of Chicago’s Little Red Schoolhouse.
Wednesday, September 23rd, 2020
The New York Times abandons key claims of the 1619 Project, as reported by the World Socialist Web Site — this stuff it seems is too kooky even for them.
In a rather fine essay for Commentary Magazine, Hussein Aboubakr writes:
Palestine was never merely a disputed geographical territory, it was a claim to the absolute fulfillment of the Islamic political vision, an eternal moral truth, secularized in Arab nationalism and sanctified in Islamism.
He then proceeds to show us a hopeful vision for what the post-Palestine Middle East might look like senza this murderous Arab dream.
Sunday, September 20th, 2020
I do consider Jonah Goldberg overrated, but he nails it regarding the US DoE calling out Princeton’s woke bullshit:
Princeton: Take our confessions of systematic institutional racism seriously but not literally.
Sunday, July 26th, 2020
Wednesday, July 15th, 2020
“There is no linguistic justice without racial justice,” as quoted in The Linguistic Society of America’s open letter to call to remove Steven Pinker.
What a fakakta — China must be licking its chops as we stand around pissing on each other’s piss.
Monday, June 15th, 2020
David Goldman produces a fact-filled yet overarchingly-theoried analysis of the mid-pandemic race-themed disturbances. Like for Palestinians, he argues it’s about humiliation. Goldman is sympathetic but not sycophantic, analytic but not caustic.
Sunday, April 19th, 2020
Tuesday, March 10th, 2020
Benjamin Schwarz decries the University of Chicago’s English Department for toeing the woke line, despite the Chicago Principles (it’s great to see my alma mater’s font again, and saying such things).
Sunday, March 1st, 2020
Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of an Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader
Brent Schlener and Rick Tetzell
Although the simple thesis gets repeated interminably, nonetheless it’s a nice one: that Steve Jobs’s greatness stems muchly from his constant becoming, constant learning, constant trying to overcome himself (hence the title, which can be read as descriptive).
It’s great to be in his company, which you feel you are, as one of the authors was himself repeatedly so for decades.
One thing new to me was Pixar’s role in maturing Jobs; we don’t often read about who and what shaped the shaper.
Saturday, December 14th, 2019
Labour is now populism for the lightly-educated middle-classes, argues John Gray with stonking cogency — and, it turns out a month later at the December 2019 election, accuracy. Until 2008 the Professor of European Thought at the London School of Economics, Gray has been referred to by one Nassim Nicholas Taleb as “prophetic”.
Sunday, October 20th, 2019
Dr Alex Joffe notes that while the West’s working classes are still relatively sensible, “in Western social and information environments saturated with virtue-signaling, [grafting BDS onto contemporary concerns and movements”:https://besacenter.org/perspectives-papers/bds-antisemitism-class/ is] having some success with members of the image-conscious, predominantly white middle class.
Tuesday, September 17th, 2019
This Gates Foundation presentation on global inequality is clear, straightforward, well-written, nicely illustrated with animated graphs, and surely worth the time of anyone who can access it.
Saturday, June 15th, 2019
Who were the Icelandic Eurovision nutjobs? Very much sons of privilege.
Saturday, June 8th, 2019
Wednesday, July 11th, 2018
Well, this an extravaganza of an article, practically a short book, on the American 9.9%.
Saturday, April 21st, 2018
In Amtrak’s magazine The National, Deep Springs alum David Schisgall welcomes the College’s new overlordettes, for in July 2018, after years of legal wranglers and decades of dusty nazal-gaving, the College will go co-ed.
Saturday, April 7th, 2018
From 2014: The Economist introduces us to Sebastian de Grazia’s 1962 Of Time, Work and Leisure. Increasingly, leisure is not for the rich but for the poor.
Wednesday, March 7th, 2018
Jordan Peterson and Camille Paglia light up a brightly-lit room for 1 hour 43 minutes.
Tuesday, March 6th, 2018
A review of the new disenchantment with our overly-enchanting digital lives by one Arianna Huffington of all people.
Tuesday, January 16th, 2018
If you read one brief op-ed piece this year, surely it must be Of Crudeness and Truth by Andrew Klavan in City Journal. “For Nurse Ratched, read Hillary Clinton, CNN, The New York Times, Yale University, Twitter, and Google/YouTube —— all the tender ministers of polite silence and enforced dishonesty. If Donald Trump’s boorishness crashes like a bull through the crystal madhouse of their leftism — well, good. It’s about time.” Like other forms of tyranny, at first we found political correctness amusing. One consequence of it: this risky presidency.
Wednesday, December 27th, 2017
When Google analysed their hiring, they were surprised to find that “among the eight most important qualities of Google’s top employees, STEM expertise comes in dead last.” Instead, “The seven top characteristics of success at Google are all soft skills.” One smart commenter points out that since everyone will have the STEM skills anyway, these other things are the only differentiators.
Sunday, December 24th, 2017
Jonathan Haidt lists the centrifugal and centripetal forces acting on American society in his essay Age of Outrage. I learned a new word: “intersectionality”.
Wednesday, November 9th, 2016
“The press takes [Trump] literally, but not seriously; his supporters take him seriously, but not literally.’ Salena Zito in this September 23 article in The Atlantic. What a thing.
Also Democrats, Trump, and the Ongoing, Dangerous Refusal to Learn the Lesson of Brexit by Glenn Greenwald in The Intercept.
And What I learned after 100,000 miles on the road talking to Trump supporters by Chris Arnade in The Guardian.
Thursday, October 20th, 2016