Varieties of Snowflakes

I was pleasantly surprised that New Yorker editor David Remnick and Berkeley law professor Melissa Murray continue to support the First Amendment, even if some of her students do not. Remnick gives Historian Mark Bray (author of Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook) a tough time about the role of violence in political movements. After Charlottesville, the Limits …

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Normies Lament

Ezra Klein talks to Angela Nagle. It’s still normie normative, but Nagle has at least done some homework. Click the link below to hear the podcast. From 4Chan to Charlottesville: where the alt-right came from, and where it’s going Angela Nagle spent the better part of the past decade in the darkest corners of the …

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The Bannon Channel

Rumor has it that Bannon will start a Breitbart TV channel to rival Fox News. Given the success of YouTube- / pod-casters like Joe Rogan (5 million downloads per episode), it’s plausible this could be done with very modest capex (the channel could start out as pure streaming and only go to cable later). Billionaire …

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Oliver Stone confronts Idiocracy

See earlier post Trump, Putin, Stephen Cohen, Brawndo, and Electrolytes. Note to morons: Russia’s 2017 GDP is less than that of France, Brazil, Italy, Canada, and just above that of Korea and Australia. (PPP-adjusted they are still only #6 in the world, between Germany and Indonesia: s-s-scary!) Apart from their nuclear arsenal (which they will …

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SubAltern Homesick Blues

New York Magazine seems to have dedicated an entire issue to the Alt-Right. If you don’t recognize any of this subterranean internet stuff you should probably have a look. Somehow they left out the Illuminati, though. See The Paranoid Style in American Politics and Subaltern Postcolonial Gramsci Homi Bhabha Babble. BEYOND ALT: THE EXTREMELY REACTIONARY, …

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Michael Anton: Inside the Trump White House

Michael Anton is head of strategic communications for the National Security Council. See related Politico article. The Atlantic: Michael Anton warned last year that 2016 was the Flight 93 election: “Charge the cockpit or you die.” Americans charged. Donald Trump became president of the United States. And Anton, the author of that now-notorious essay, is …

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A Professor meets the Alt-Right

A Professor meets the Alt-Right Thomas Main, Professor in the School of Public Affairs at Baruch College, is working on a book about the Alt-Right, to be published by Brookings. Below you can listen to a conversation between Main and prominent Alt-Right figure Mike Enoch (pseudonym). It’s an interesting encounter between academic political theory and …

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Ratchets Within Rachets

For those interested in political philosophy, or Trump’s travel ban, I recommend this discussion on Scott Aaronson’s blog, which features a commenter calling himself Boldmug (see also Bannon and Moldbug in the news recently ;-) Both Scott and Boldmug seem to agree that scientific/technological progress is a positive ratchet caught within a negative ratchet of societal and …

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Shift Commission on Work, Workers, and Technology (New America Foundation and Bloomberg)

I spent yesterday at this event. If you look carefully you can see Tim O’Reilly in one of the photos below. New America and Bloomberg are convening the Shift Commission on Work, Workers, and Technology to bring together a community of leaders from different disciplines — technology, business, policy, civil society, academia, and others — who want to understand …

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Crazy like a fox

Trump Unstoppable? Matt Taibbi writes in Rolling Stone. (Does Rolling Stone still exist? It’s only a matter of time as the lawsuit(s) over the UVA fraternity rape hoax work their way through the system.) See also Trump: the Master Persuader and American and Chinese Oligarchies. How America Made Donald Trump Unstoppable: … It turns out …

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Elite schools, birthright, and credentials

In mixing together the truly talented with the rich and powerful, elite US universities perform a useful service to both groups. Khan is discussing themes related to his book Privilege: The Making of an Adolescent Elite at St. Paul’s School. See also Credentialism and elite employment , Credentialism and elite performance, and Defining Merit. Bloomberg View: Save …

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Microaggressions, Moral Cultures, and the Culture of Victimhood

Two sociologists theorize the campus culture of victimhood as a transition to a third moral culture, supplanting earlier cultures centered around honor and dignity. Their theory gives a possible explanation for why a well-meaning liberal like Yale Professor Christakis has such difficulty communicating with protestors in the videos above. Christakis is focused on logic, rationality, …

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Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers

Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers, by Tom Wolfe. First appeared in Cosmopolitan magazine, April 1971. (The Sixties lasted well into the Seventies!) Collected, together with Radical Chic, in this Farrar, Straus and Giroux edition (2009). Tom Wolfe understands the human animal like no sociologist around. He tweaks his reader’s every buried thought and prejudice. He sees through …

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Struggles at Yale

I used to eat at Silliman College (one of Yale’s residential colleges) with other physics professors, mainly because it was the closest cafeteria where we could get a free lunch. The free lunches were meant to encourage us to mingle with undergraduates at the college. But I was one of few professors that actually enjoyed …

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W-2s don’t lie

These numbers are derived from aggregate W-2 incomes for 158 million working Americans (see link for full table). The “raw” average wage, computed as net compensation divided by the number of wage earners, is $7,050,259,213,644.55 divided by 158,186,786, or $44,569.20. Based on data in the table below, about 67.2 percent of wage earners had net …

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Lackeys of the plutocracy?

This essay is an entertaining read, if somewhat wrong headed. See here for an earlier post that discusses Steve Pinker’s response to Deresiewicz’s earlier article Don’t Send Your Kid to the Ivy League. The Neoliberal Arts (Harpers): … Now that the customer-service mentality has conquered academia, colleges are falling all over themselves to give their students …

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Citizenfour and Sisu

NYBooks: … In an interview about Citizenfour with the New Yorker reporter Jane Mayer, Snowden has said that his action seemed to him necessary because the American officials charged with the relevant oversight had abdicated their responsibility. He meant that President Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder, and the intelligence committees in the House of Representatives …

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Lean in, freeze eggs 2

Facebook and Apple to offer oocyte cryopreservation in benefits package. See also Lean in, freeze eggs. New Yorker: … Earlier this year, Facebook began offering twenty thousand dollars’ worth of oöcyte cryopreservation to female employees as part of its health-insurance plan. Next year, Apple will offer its employees a comparable package. (A single cycle of …

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Excellent Sheep and Chinese Americans

Two recent podcasts I recommend. I disagree with Deresiewicz on many points (see my comments on Steve Pinker’s response here and here), but the discussion is worth a listen. Do the Best Colleges Produce the Worst Students? As schools shift focus from the humanities to “practical” subjects like economics and computer science, students are losing the ability to think …

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