Culture


3
Mar 08

HBO is cruel

All season HBO has been running The Wire (aka one of the top two shows on television) one week ahead of schedule via the Comcast On-Demand service (which I why I subscribe to the thing). For the series finale they ran a one minute teaser saying we have to wait a week. HBO is an evil corporate monster.


31
Aug 07

Adventures in profiling

The New York Times wins the saggy pants headline contest with “The Boxer Rebellion“. It’s about the current mini-craze to outlaw thug-style fashion in some cities. I have no idea why we would want to outlaw this fashion statement. How you dress says a lot about a person, and in this case it says “I’m a ridiculous person who’s wasting my time, and I’ll probably waste yours”. Isn’t it better to know that in the two seconds it takes to see a person instead of the five minutes it might take talking to him?

We should be encouraging this sort of behavior instead of outlawing it. This is America, and time is valuable.


14
Aug 07

Random links from the laptop

  • Christianity and China – history is going to be interesting for a long time to come.
  • Confessions of a BBC Liberal – The politics of it aren’t terribly interesting, but the illustration of groupthink is. It would be interesting to see a breakdown of party affiliation by profession.
  • Nerds One and Two: The Hyperwhite – It seems that someone did research on nerdiness. Some choice excerpts –

    Nerdiness, she has concluded, is largely a matter of racially tinged behavior. People who are considered nerds tend to act in ways that are, as she puts it, “hyperwhite.”

    In a 2001 paper, “The Whiteness of Nerds: Superstandard English and Racial Markedness,” and other works, including a book in progress, Bucholtz notes that the “hegemonic” “cool white” kids use a limited amount of African-American vernacular English; they may say “blood” in lieu of “friend,” or drop the “g” in “playing.” But the nerds she has interviewed, mostly white kids, punctiliously adhere to Standard English.

    The author seems not to realize that the appeal of hyper-proper English is that the rules are memorable and never change, which reduces the aren’t tied to a peer group to stay current. That’s my theory anyway.


13
Jul 07

The start of the Friday In Appreciation Series

I’ve decided to start a more or less weekly series about the people and forces of that don’t get enough credit in our society. I call it the Friday In Appreciation Series.

We live in age when sanctimonious piety rivals hydrogen as the most common thing in the universe. Be it suburbanites railing against city-dwellers not having children, Ultra-Calvinist urbanites railing against Bushies standing in the way of progress, or Muslims from loser countries blaming Danish cartoons for their crappy lives, it’s hard to walk five feet without getting smacked in the face by righteous outrage, backed up by the usual litany of reasons people have for telling other people to run their lives.

But there’s one group that not only walks the walk and talks the talk; they also handle the snakes. Yep, I’m talking about Snake Handlers. It’s refreshing to see someone use the fine print and not bother other people. They actually follow the fine print just because it’s there. They even keep going when their leaders die of snake-bite. Now that’s faith!

Thus I begin the series.


25
May 07

The wheel turns full circle

Feminists arguing that adult women shouldn’t be allowed to make decisions on what to do with their bodies. In this case raising the age of consent to appear on Girls Gone Wild videos from 18 to 21. Oddly, the author supports her argument by pointing out the many lawsuits filed against GGW producers by people who did not consent to be photographed/videotaped. It’s a bit like saying Iraq is a horrible disaster, therefore we need to invade Iran.

I suppose the right of women to control their bodies only applies below the waist.


21
May 07

Monday link roundup


21
May 07

Two from Slate

  • Hitchens on Falwell – a nice vicious hit job, closing with

    It’s a shame that there is no hell for Falwell to go to, and it’s extraordinary that not even such a scandalous career is enough to shake our dumb addiction to the “faith-based.”

  • On Generals – An interesting piece on the lack of turnover at the Pentagon due to the Iraq war. Unmentioned is the lack of turnover as a result of 9-11, which should be the larger clue.

20
May 07

We live in scary times when Bill Maher is right about something

Check out this post from The Agitator. The whole “They hate us for our freedom” bit sounds nice, and is partly true, but it is the most useless adage ever created. If we’re going to reduce the number of terrorists to zero (the goal) we’re going to need to do more than just proclaim our greatness and ignore all specifics. Sigh.


4
May 07

The belated Imus post

I’m not sure whether I said this already in a post or an email, but in any case..

Imus said “Nappy Headed Hos”.

The outrage industry sprang into action, because that is their entire job.

The media covered it, because all of the major players were happy to come to them, and news coverage consisted largely of replaying existing footage, or cutting and pasting press releases. This equaled a cheap to produce (in time and dollars) article or news segment, especially compared to the two wars that are going on right now

People liked it because it was widespread and easy to understand. Anyone could shoot his mouth off to anyone else and not get schooled by someone who knew more about the topic. There was also no personal connection to anyone they knew, so no feelings could be hurt.

There is no deep meaning to the “controversy”.


4
Apr 07

Super Jews are coming! Duck!

Mathew Yglesias links to a Charles Murray article in Commentary about the apparent brainpower edge of the Jewish people. For the most part, Yglesias’ commenters go off on the notion of implied inequality with a few dissents.

To me this is partial proof of evolution. The world has changed to a mostly urban lifestyle, and Jews have been living in cities for much longer than most groups. That would make them more suited to score higher than other groups on what we measure on IQ tests. Jewish culture essentially “chose” the right path to the future.

Throw in non-random mating and the fact that Jewish culture values literacy more than most other cultures and it seems quite reasonable that Jews would score higher on whatever test the psychologists can throw at them.

None of this matters much (yay minimalist view of politics) but it is interesting. I imagine it is as unprovable as are most other evolutionary theories.