David Thompson
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April 17, 2016

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[+]

and which was opened without Wi-Fi.

Lol.

David

Lol.

When it comes to lefties running media businesses, there’s a long tradition of dogmatic impracticality and inadvertent comedy. See, for instance, Vanessa Engle’s excellent documentary series Lefties, particularly the episode A Lot of Balls, which recounts the attempt by socialists to launch a “radical” Sunday tabloid in 1987. It’s linked below in four parts and is well worth watching in full:

One.
Two.
Three.
Four.

Seriously, if you’ve an hour to spare, it’s eye-widening stuff.

james

If you want confirmation that our schools and universities may be part of the problem ...

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/university-students-are-struggling-to-read-entire-books-a6986361.html

see last paragraph in particular.

(seen via Insty)

abacab

Lizzy Kelly, a history student at Sheffield added: “Students might be more inclined to read what academics want them to if our curricula weren’t overwhelmingly white, male and indicative of a society and structures we fundamentally disagree with because they don't work for us.”

Le sigh.

Seems like British SJW's are learning fast from their Colonial cousins...

Andy

When the Russians,Chinese and South Koreans et al see how the Western education system is collapsing under the weight of its own absurdity they must be rubbing their hands with glee, because you can bet your ass their schoolkids are not wasting their time with this kind of nonsense.

Jason

“Students might be more inclined to read what academics want them to if our curricula weren’t overwhelmingly white, male and indicative of a society and structures we fundamentally disagree with because they don't work for us.”

Or if academics would just assign reading that was actually, you know, *interesting*. Our (U.S.) high schools always seemed to operate on the premise that all reading should be painful, boring, and designed to inculcate a positive hatred of the written word in the student.

Fortunately I'd long before discovered SF and Fantasy, so _The Great Gatsby_, _A Separate Peace_, and all the other gloomy, boring crap they foisted off on me was unable to do more than teach me that English instructors had lousy taste in fiction.

As for college level reading, I seem to have blanked all that from my memory, so I can't comment on it. I doubt it was any better.

Trevor

Students ...

The main problem is surely that there are too many of them. Other Half tells me he'd like to see the higher education sector decimated. I disagree: it should be reduced to - not by - a tenth of its current size.

Nikw211

When it comes to lefties running media businesses, there’s a long tradition of dogmatic impracticality and inadvertent comedy.

What’s particularly infuriating about that excellent documentary on A Lot of Balls is the figure of Alan Hayling.

An Oxford revolutionary Marxist middle class radical type, this was the guy who dropped out of a graduate training scheme at the BBC to go and mix with 'the people’ at a Ford car factory, for which read stir up as much resentment and strike action as possible.

After failing to get the Revolution off the ground at Ford, he went onto even greater failure with the News on Sunday, where he was a leading figure, pissing millions and millions of pounds down the drain on an obvious white elephant.

What was to become of him? Yet more failure?

Of course not.

In spite of having earlier dropped out of a highly sought-after place on a graduate training scheme - the kind of scheme that typically has hundreds of applicants for every single place - the BBC welcomed him back with open arms as a producer, later promoting him to Head of Documentaries.

Because obviously, why wouldn’t you give a job to a drop out failed Revolutionary who’s just squandered a shite load of money on an absolutely ridiculous project that anyone with any intelligence must have known was going to end in ignominious disaster from the concept alone.

And where is he now?

He’s currently in the Revolutionary vanguard private enterprise as Editorial Director of the production company Renegade Pictures of which he is the principle founder.

I wonder how many of his former assembly line colleges from Ford he still sends Christmas cards to?

What an absolute cunt.

I met a young student in my local pub recently who’s about to graduate and is very interested in becoming a film maker and who is also a bit of a social justice warrior type … perhaps I should suggest to her that she apply for a job with Hayling so that she can stir up resentment among his employees and encourage them to go on strike at every opportunity.

I mean it’s for the Revolution so presumably Hayling will approve? No?

(Vanessa Engles is a brilliant film maker by the way.)

Jonathan

Modern education is hopelessly tainted by white supremacy and the “white imperial gaze,...

I wish we did have a 'white Imperial gaze', my choice would be Emperor 'Shitlord-in-Chief' Justinian:

Nikw211

If you want confirmation that our schools and universities may be part of the problem …

James,

The last paragraph is rather spectacular, but I’ve a few misgivings about the article itself.

Surely one of the key skills that is gained from a university education (especially in the arts, humanities and social sciences - AHSS) is that you gain an ability to be able to survey huge amounts of text and single out the most relevant ones for your argument, your research needs and so on?

In that sense, students should be given reading lists that they couldn’t possibly work through cover to cover and, in fact, they are not even supposed to - if they get a list of 30-50 books on a given theme, surely it’s to give them a broad range of different angles they can approach it on?

“Students struggle with set texts, saying the language or concepts are too hard”.

Although the woman interviewed by the times is an environmental geographer, I have to say I have some sympathy with students in AHSS subjects as they nearly always have to deal with impenetrable bollocks by the likes of Gayatri Spivak such as this:

    The “planet” is, here, as perhaps always, a catachresis for inscribing collective responsibility as right. Its alterity, determining experience, is mysterious and discontinuous—an experience of the impossible. It is such collectivities that must be opened up with the question “How many are we?” when cultural origin is detranscendentalized into fiction—the toughest task in the diaspora.”
Jonathan

And Paul Sperry on the consequences of government-mandated racial favouritism in school discipline policy.

Do the words:'Hoist' and 'Petard' exist in the vocabulary of American Teachers Unions?

Liz

Seriously, if you’ve an hour to spare, it’s eye-widening stuff.

Eyes widened. Thanks for the links, David.

David

After failing to get the Revolution off the ground at Ford, he went onto even greater failure with the News on Sunday, where he was a leading figure, pissing millions and millions of pounds down the drain on an obvious white elephant.

One of my favourite moments in the film is the recollection of the big launch, with the paper’s first edition about to go to press - and most of the staff out of the office on a deafness awareness day. Another is when Hayling says, apparently in all seriousness, “Clearly we weren’t trapped in a leftwing bubble.”

mojo

Oh christ, here we go again. The Educators.

R. Sherman

The main problem is surely that there are too many of them. Other Half tells me he'd like to see the higher education sector decimated. I disagree: it should be reduced to - not by - a tenth of its current size.

Your OH is correct, I believe. See, e.g. The Atlantic from a few years ago, where the author, and adjunct English professor in the U.S., questions the morality of allowing everyone into American colleges and universities, (requiring most of them to borrow huge sums in order to fail miserably.)

Cambias

Decimated -- ideally with excessive and grotesque brutality, too. They've earned it.

Tanker

Why are SJWs so racist as to encourage non-whites to be utter failures, good only for the plantation?

Mike

Dr Heather Hackman described them as traits chosen and emphasised to favour whites to the detriment of non-white groups, who are forced to assimilate ‘white’ traits such as good discipline and goal orientation or else be left behind.

Can't decide if these people are insane or just evil.

David

Can’t decide if these people are insane or just evil.

I suppose it could always be both. I mean, logically, it’s hard to see how encouraging black students to plan ahead and turn up on time gives some crushing advantage to white students. Ditto speaking and writing in ways that are comprehensible and expected by employers. To claim that these very basic skills are in some way racist and oppressive does indeed sound insane. And on the other hand, if you actually wanted to sabotage young black people’s prospects and all but ensure that their lives are defined by failure, poverty and exploitable resentment, this kind of vile identitarian voodoo would be an ideal way to go about it.

A coincidence, I’m sure.

Trevor

Dr Heather Hackman ...

...proudly tells us she ... allowed students to write in non-standard English or even foreign languages she herself couldn’t read. But then, an enlightened educator doesn't really need to understand what students write: "All I need to know is that you’re thinking about it ..."

Would this fighter against Whiteness genuinely like this pedagogical approach to prevail in medical schools or departments of engineering, I wonder?

David

Would this fighter against Whiteness genuinely like this pedagogical approach to prevail in medical schools or departments of engineering, I wonder?

The following, by John Ellis, bears some repeating:

Just as Pinocchio went off to school with high hopes, only to be waylaid by J. Worthington Foulfellow, minority students are met on the way to campus by hard-left radicals who claim to have the interests of the newcomers at heart but in reality prey on them to advance their own selfish interests. Of course, what black students need is the same solid traditional education that had raised Irish, Italians, and Jews to full equality. But that would not serve the campus radicals’ purpose. Disaffected radicals want to swell the ranks of the disaffected, not the ranks of the cheerfully upward mobile. Genuine progress for minority students would mean their joining and thus strengthening the mainstream of American society - the mainstream that campus radicals loathe.

The victims of such hucksterism, the black and Hispanic students who really internalise it, typically imagine themselves as radical titans who are subverting “whiteness” and speaking truth to power. They are in fact merely dupes, something to be exploited and then discarded to sustain the egos and careers of resentful mediocrities.

Sort-of-Mad Max

Apropos of interesting reading material and the professional pedagogue's distaste for it:

As a freshman in high school English class, circa 1971, I aced a grammar exam that everybody else in the class flunked.

Not from my native genius, sad to say, but from an intensive class in grammar in grade school that resulted from a parent's complaint that the kids were not being taught the basics like in them thar olden days.

The teacher said to us he figured if our parents really wanted us to learn English grammar, well, then we'd just diagram sentences until our heads exploded. Hence my expertise.

Well, as a reward for my A, and as an example to the less grammatically adept, the teacher allowed me to read a book whilst the rest of the class diagrammed sentences.

So I showed up with 'Stranger in a Strange Land', by Robert A. Heinlein, which I was currently reading.

Oh, no. That won't do, young man. You can't just read THAT.

So I was handed a copy of Robert Louis Stevenson's 'Kidnapped'.

I had already read 'Kidnapped'. When I was seven years old. And I had no interest in reading it again.

But I ripped right through it anyway, and brought in my copy of 'Rise and Fall of The Third Reich' next.

THAT was okay. My point in bringing that particular book sailed right over the teacher's head, too.

She was just concerned it might be a little too 'adult' for a thirteen-year-old.

'Oh, that's OK.' I told her. 'I'm still about 600 pages away from where Hitler shoots himself and the rest of them get hanged.'

She left me alone after that.

tolkein

These progressives hope that when the current society breaks down, they will be the Bolshevik vanguard swept to power. Forever.
Then society will b e organized to suit the new leadership of society. They don't see 1917, or Cambodia as failures, but as how-to lessons.

Bill de Haan

Or if academics would just assign reading that was actually, you know, *interesting*. Our (U.S.) high schools always seemed to operate on the premise that all reading should be painful, boring, and designed to inculcate a positive hatred of the written word in the student.

This, so very much. I'm Canadian, and this applies, times a hundred.

Canadians complain that Canadian books and movies are ignored in favour of American. This is largely true. Of course, much of it is the natural result of comparing ourselves to a superpower with ten times the population. Our academia, however, will simply not have it, and intends to put Canadian authors through sheer force of will, and by making all students read our "native" authors.

"Native" doesn't mean Inuit, and native peoples, of course. Oh, no. It's all intelligentsia, left-leaning authors like Margaret Atwood and Margaret Lawrence, who are "passed over" by the American publishing complex due to the facts that their books don't sell, because of an evil conspiracy, and, as one teacher admitted in a moment of candor, the books are generally, you know, not very good.

I had to read "The Stone Angel" in grade 12. Imagine a grouchy, petty, vindictive, mean-spirited old woman writing a self-pitying memoir about how everyone was oh so mean to her (because she was an absolute bitch), and then watch the class attempt to write a sympathetic review. There was more creative writing take place in my class than in the book. Even the teacher admitted that the book's protagonist was "difficult" (ie. hateful) and that we should "look past that" (ignore what we'd read) to write a positive review.

It turned out that there was some government program looking for positive book reviews. They couldn't find any, so they were trolling high schools. All the students were panning these horrid, gloomy books written about a bunch of "mean old biddies" (one classmate's summary of the syllabus), so the school board "encouraged" positive reviews.

While students were struggling to read page after insufferable page of this indulgent crap, most were wolfing down things like Lord of the Rings and popular teen books in one tenth the time, on their own time, because they weren't a struggle to read.

Min

"University of Wisconsin police apologize for going into a classroom to confront a student about graffiti on campus."

http://althouse.blogspot.co.uk/2016/04/university-of-wisconsin-police.html

Some racist graffiti is more equal than others.

David

Some racist graffiti is more equal than others.

The arresting officer shows extraordinary patience. I’m not sure what it is the police are supposed to be apologising for.

I notice Mr McDonald, a student of public relations, blames his numerous acts of vandalism and aggressive behaviour – including threatening to kill someone who tried to intervene - on “white supremacy,” “slavery,” and society at large. Something tells me his adult life will not be a glorious one. And these, of course, are the stupefying, pernicious, morally blunting effects of the Angry Studies racketeers. How proud they must be.

Min

a student of public relations,

Snork. Missed that.

Kohflot

"Seattle’s Community Police Commission wants the city to allow public drinking in designated areas as a way to reduce unequal enforcement."

http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/allow-designated-areas-for-public-drinking-panel-tells-seattle/

David

Missed that.

I’m not sure it’s a job for which he’s terribly suited, all things considered.

Spiny Norman

Tanker,

Why are SJWs so racist as to encourage non-whites to be utter failures, good only for the plantation?

Because they're "Progressives" who really have always been Eugenicists. They've never quite given it up; thanks to their erstwhile fellow travelers in Germany c. 1933-45, they just can't admit it publicly anymore, so they invent foggy euphemisms that they believe might fly over the heads of us peasants.

Spiny Norman

David,

...logically, it’s hard to see how encouraging black students to plan ahead and turn up on time gives some crushing advantage to white students.

It doesn't, in itself, give whites an "advantage" so much as they (the Educators™) do not believe black students are capable of it. They are (unwittingly?) employing the same overtly racist concepts the Klu Klux Klan used a century ago, ergo, blacks are inherently savage and can never be truly civilized.

David

It doesn’t, in itself, give whites an “advantage” so much as they (the Educators™) do not believe black students are capable of it.

Among leftist educators, that does seem to be a recurring theme.

[ Added: ]

Apparently, we’re supposed to believe that there can never, ever be statistical differences in ability between racial groups and that any disparity in outcome can only be due to racism, to which white people are somehow uniquely prone, while simultaneously accepting that even basic punctuality is an unreasonable expectation for those deemed sufficiently brown and exotic.

Trevor

I’m not sure what it is the police are supposed to be apologising for.

David, you really can be quite the brute sometimes. They "ambushed" the classroom, which was not just any old room - they violated the sanctity of a space where Afro-American Studies was being celebrated. It's difficult to think of anything equivalently outrageous - perhaps failing to succumb to paroxysms of wonderment on seeing the Benin Bronzes comes close?

David

David, you really can be quite the brute sometimes.

Heh. I’ve booked myself an hour on the shaming carousel.

Steve E

What an absolute cunt.

Yes, but on the plus side, as he's moved up the socio-economic ladder his hair colouring has improved vastly from boot black to Nice & Easy #121A Natural Deep Brown. Oh vanitas vanitatum.

rabbit

Surely the emphasis on mathematics in our school systems is designed to sustain East Asian privilege.

Bill de Haan

Surely the emphasis on mathematics in our school systems is designed to sustain East Asian privilege.

I'm currently amused by a colleague who is third generation Canadian of Asian ancestry, who holds very SJW-ish views. She's all for "social justice", against "white privilege", etc., and is now shocked to discover that her children are being discriminated against in university admissions, because they're good at math and science.

Now, these kids aren't exceptional, but they are respectable, certainly in the top 25%, probably in the top 15%. However, they are being scored against classes of "disadvantaged ethnicity". Suddenly those good marks aren't a result of her kids being smart, and hardworking, and having good study habits, it's "privilege".

When she asked the guidance counselor how Asian kids could have white privilege, the counselor patiently explained that lots of Asian kids got good marks, so, duh, obviously they were privileged, ipso facto.

Suddenly, she's not so fond of SJW behaviour, for some reason.

Fred the Fourth

"white traits such as good discipline and goal orientation"

Wow. Somebody better alert the ancient and modern Chinese and Japanese cultures that they are "white". Also, somebody better tell the local white families fleeing the local public schools (which are now dominated by SE and SW Asian kids) that it's all an illusion. The spread of historical ignorance and magical thinking is dooming us all.

mojo

$15/hr minimum wage? Unexpected consequences bite the big unions:
http://www.wsj.com/articles/massive-robots-keep-docks-shipshape-1459104327

Jess

Spent a happy hour in your archives. Tip jar hit.

David

Tip jar hit.

Always appreciated. Make yourself at home.

Wait. Only an hour?

rabbit

Bill de Haan:

The SJWs love to rail against white males. And so they should. We are Satan's spawn, every one us, even those gelded wonders who profess to be feminists. (I'm being overly harsh -- they're just doing what they have to do to score some poontang. Hat's off to them.)

But the movement in higher education to set higher standards for "over represented" groups means that the most discriminated group in university admissions is women of East Asian ancestry.

A perverse ideology produces a perverse result. Quelle surprise.

AW

Apparently, we’re supposed to believe that there can never, ever be statistical differences in ability between racial groups and that any disparity in outcome can only be due to racism, to which white people are somehow uniquely prone, while simultaneously accepting that even basic punctuality is an unreasonable expectation for those deemed sufficiently brown and exotic.

You're not supposed to notice the contradictions, David. You're supposed to just do as they say. :^)

pst314

"Can’t decide if these people are insane or just evil."
"I suppose it could always be both. I mean, logically, it’s hard to see how encouraging black students to plan ahead and turn up on time gives some crushing advantage to white students."

A significant factor--at least here in the States--is the failure of the utopian dreams of sixties leftists: Thanks to the tearing down of racist laws and customs such as segregation, blacks were going to all become instantly successful and in all fields. In order to explain away the persistence of failure and crime it was necessary to invent increasingly complex theories of victimology--deferents and epicycles of leftism, so to speak.
Another equally important factor is encapsulated in the cartoon of two dogs drinking in a bar [pub] in which one says to the other, "It is not enough that dogs succeed. Cats must also fail." It is not enough that poor people escape poverty: Those who have already succeeded must be brought low. In order to do so the culture that produces success must be destroyed.

pst314

"The arresting officer shows extraordinary patience. I’m not sure what it is the police are supposed to be apologising for."

The insanity and evil of the left is a wonder to behold:
On the one hand, it is an act of violence to chalk a pro-Trump message on a sidewalk, and asking a black student to be quiet in class and to turn in homework is a provocation to justifiable violence.
On the other hand, throwing bags of urine and feces at police is not a provocation to violence.

Bill de Haan

rabbit:

But the movement in higher education to set higher standards for "over represented" groups means that the most discriminated group in university admissions is women of East Asian ancestry.

I am shocked, shocked to discover that there is gambling taking place in this establishment.

A perverse ideology produces a perverse result. Quelle surprise.

Exactly so. My friend was stunned to discover what constitutes "privilege". Not money, not access, not even physical resources for learning. No, her sin was providing a stable home environment. By an overwhelming margin, lower class/poor/ethnic families are single family homes. Barely 10% of children have a father figure. Therefore, remaining married, and having a father present to help raise her children with her is considered privilege, because the majority of children her children compete against don't have a father around.

The counselor apparently even used the word "unfair" to describe her staying married.

When she asked what other metrics were used to determine privilege, apparently, there were none. So, a poor Asian family that stays together and instills a work ethic is deemed privileged.

With incentives such as this, it's unsurprising that the universities are now reeling from student demands. Their review system is weighted to ensure that their student body has been rewarded for poor life decisions, bad behaviour, and blaming their problems on others all their lives.

Darleen

So I showed up with 'Stranger in a Strange Land', by Robert A. Heinlein, which I was currently reading.

Yep ... that was the reading material of choice among those of us that wanted to give our English teachers fits.

The only other book that caused them more indigestion and pearl-clutching was Atlas Shrugged, which I read when I was 12. The look of horror on my teacher's face was priceless.

(high school, class of '72)

David

My friend was stunned to discover what constitutes “privilege”... her sin was providing a stable home environment.

It reminds me of the mental rumblings of Marxist philosopher Adam Swift, who insists that reading to your children causes “unfair disadvantage” to the children of parents who are negligent and stupid, and should therefore induce feelings of guilt and discomfort. To our Marxist intellectual, being a competent, caring parent is something to atone for, being as it is an act of class oppression.

And once again leftist piety leads to a moral boneyard.

Bill de Haan

The only other book that caused them more indigestion and pearl-clutching was Atlas Shrugged, which I read when I was 12.

Ugh. I read that at 14, when I was stuck in an ice hockey rink overnight. The power was out, I couldn't get a ride until the next day. The choice was stay inside at about 45F, where the only reading material was Atlas Shrugged, or go outside in -40 weather in the middle of the night.

It was a close call, actually. I remember there were numerous 50+ page speeches that just kept going. Politically interesting, intellectually challenging in parts, hideously written, and painful to read.

The look of horror on my teacher's face was priceless.

The book that most horrified my teacher was Toland's Hitler biography, which I was reading in grade 7 during lunch. I got "the Germans are our friends now" speech, and was told I shouldn't be biased by outdated stereotypes. That was from, of all things, my history teacher. He told me I should be reading more recent and relevant history.

So, the next day I came in with my copy of the Gouzenko Transcripts. He was offended, because his wife was Russian. "Great", I said, "could you ask her a few things? I've got some questions".

dan

Is privilege a bad thing? My grandparents were starving refugees...I'm absolutely delighted to be privileged. The more privilege the better.

KevinB

My ex-wife, pure Chinese, used to despair when either of our two daughters didn't work hard enough at school, figuring that they could do 'just enough' to get by (since they were both extremely bright): "White people disease".

So, we're damned if we worked too hard and succeed (white privilege) or if we don't work hard enough and fail (white people disease). What's left? Working hard and failing? Or not working hard enough and succeeding? Personally, I'd prefer the latter, but it continues to elude me.

Chester Draws

Fortunately I'd long before discovered SF and Fantasy, so _The Great Gatsby_, _A Separate Peace_, and all the other gloomy, boring crap they foisted off on me

So in a thread where we are bemoaning, among other things, the inability of the modern youth to read hard books, you are complaining about being made to read hard books!

The Great Gatsby is a brilliant introduction to literature. Short, well written and not clogged up with philosophy -- but nonetheless not shallow. If that is too hard for you, then you have low standards of difficulty.

And in any case, some of the point of English teachers giving hard books is so that people don't turn up at University only able to read what they like.

It's meant to broaden horizons, so that middle-class whites might actually be exposed to the non-dominant culture rather than sitting in a bubble. And also to force closed minority groups to see some of the rest of the world, so that they might see beyond their ghetto.

Next you'll be complaining the nasty Maths teacher made you do Algebra.

Jason

So in a thread where we are bemoaning, among other things, the inability of the modern youth to read hard books, you are complaining about being made to read hard books!

No, I'm complaining about being made to read *boring*, *crappy* books, especially at an age where getting students to read *anything* is often challenging. Lord of the Rings I read several times in Junior High school. Atlas Shrugged I read several times in HS (yes, the characters were two-dimensional and the plot simplistic, but at least it *had* a plot, and characters who did stuff other than throw pointless parties). I've read lots of stuff, much of it more difficult, and more interesting, than _The Great Gatsby_, or _A Separate Peace_.

When people start talking about "great literature" it generally translates as "critically acclaimed snooze-fest".

Hal

See, for instance, Vanessa Engle’s excellent documentary series Lefties, particularly the episode A Lot of Balls, . . . It’s linked below in four parts and is well worth watching in full:

Ah, Hang on there, watch it in four parts?!?!?

Unless there actually is something I'm completely missing, one can watch A Lot of Balls in one sitting . . . and can do the same with at least one of the other two parts of the series---The episode entitled Property Is Theft seems to be undergoing a bit of ownership discussion on YouTube at the moment . . .

David Taylor

It seems ironic that the Graun is financed by a trust that I'm guessing invests in various businesses and is basically a machine to reap the benefits of capitalism.

Maybe that's why he's running it down. No doubt the Graun can survive on his idealism.

Hal

"Seattle’s Community Police Commission wants the city to allow public drinking in designated areas as a way to reduce unequal enforcement."

I find the taste of alcohol to be utterly ghastly, so the issue is rather academic for me, but unless I'm rather mistaken, public drinking in designated areas is already entirely established with such names as tavern, bar, pub . . . . . . .

Bill de Haan

When people start talking about "great literature" it generally translates as "critically acclaimed snooze-fest".

I remember, decades ago, seeing a comic strip (Shoe, I believe it was), where a character had to write a book report.

The character wrote "Despite being a classic book in English literature, surprisingly, Moby Dick is actually a good book".

Too often, the "classics" strike the right chords with what educators think should be classics, regardless of what the readership thinks. The modern equivalent are the various film festivals, where critics swoon over obscure films that the public will never see, and be none the less for it.

Absolutely, some literature is dreary, because some are more significant for their place in history than their prose. And of course, language and tastes change; what was enjoyable and in fashion 300 years ago may be incomprehensible today.

But I agree, reading the Great Gatsby was a chore. Not because it was difficult, but because it was deathly dull, and filled with pretentious characters we were expected to adore, but for the most part, I couldn't care less about.

Hal

David?

. . . Apparently, we’re supposed to believe that there can never, ever be statistical differences in ability between racial groups . . .

Can you cite specific references, studies, etc.?

I've seen commentary of a sort come up elsewhere in a different discussion, where assorted uncited studies were merely told of, where when I've tried doing some bits of Googlemancy so that I could read for myself the original commentary on DNA and intelligence, all I get is immense handwaving in all directions, with totally conflicting claims and rather general references being pointed at.

So far, all I've got---and all such basically from my ongoing direct experience---is that when one individual is clearly more intelligent than another one, the clearly smarter one is simply processing information better and faster than the other. At all times in such, the DNA involved remains utterly unrelated and pointless to bring up, one can only move on to the next individual, and there is no way to extend out to groups based on ancestry . . .

Also so far, the only time I've encountered a viable assessment of intelligence based on a group is when the group description is social or culturally based, as in noting that if hipsters were capable of having functioning synapses, they wouldn't be hipsters.

At the very least, something in the form of see nameofstudy by nameofauthor, wheretofind should be informative . . . and at the very least, such a citation could certainly be in the category of Build a man a fire, and he’ll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he’ll be warm for the rest of his life.. . . .

Hal

. . . The book that most horrified my teacher was Toland's Hitler biography, which I was reading in grade 7 during lunch. I got "the Germans are our friends now" speech

Once all the Germans were warlike and mean,
But that couldn't happen again.
We taught them a lesson in 1918
And they've hardly bothered us since then.
---Tom Lehrer

Oh, for those just being introduced to Lehrer, he's a retired uni instructor, of mathematics.

Hal

I remember, decades ago, seeing a comic strip (Shoe, I believe it was), where a character had to write a book report.

The character wrote "Despite being a classic book in English literature, surprisingly, Moby Dick is actually a good book".

Oh, definitely Skyler, that . . .

David

Can you cite specific references, studies, etc.?

I don’t follow the literature closely as I don’t find the subject of much interest, except, for instance, insofar as it touches on the dissonance mentioned upthread. I.e., where an insistence that diversity of outcome can only be due to racism somehow coexists with the idea that some ethnic groups can’t be expected to cope with deadlines or even turn up to class on time.

The charged and taboo nature of the subject makes it difficult to research or even discuss dispassionately, and researchers may simply avoid the subject for fear of being assailed with accusations of dastardly intent, or losing funding, etc. See, for example, this. Even acknowledging heritable differences within a single ethnic or geographical group, or between the sexes of a group, is likely to be met with disapproval among some. And so for a non-technical reader it isn’t the easiest subject on which to arrive at an unequivocal, evidence-based position.

There’s a chapter on ethnic and geographical differences in test scores in Herrnstein and Murray’s The Bell Curve (pp 269-315), which, while often attacked ignorantly and for political reasons, is carefully argued and has extensive annotations and data sources. See also this. There are also papers on the subject by Linda Gottfredson, who, again, seems thorough and conscientious. That said, I read these some time ago and I can’t comment decisively on the methodology, but to a laymen’s eye there does appear to be some non-trivial aggregate difference to argue about.

[ Links added. ]

David

Franklin Einspruch on the Marxist view of free speech:

Theory indicates, and history shows, that this [Marxist] conception of rights grants them to whoever possesses the authority to define oppression. The broad aggregates of humanity that are possible under collectivism, conceived as the proletariat, the people, genuine equals, or what have you, become the pretext for persecuting anyone who fails to get in line. Either representation of the collective will is entrusted to an individual, and that individual turns out to be Lenin, or rights turn on the whims of the democratic process and we've arrived at the cartoon in which two cheetahs and a gazelle vote on who is going to get eaten. There are only individual rights and we do not submit them to negotiation by the collective.

pst314

Too often, the "classics" strike the right chords with what educators think should be classics, regardless of what the readership thinks.

Often the books were very popular in their day. But tastes can change in many ways.
Also: teaching can take all the fun out of a book simply because the student is reading the book not to enjoy the story or the process of learning things, but rather to passing tests and getting good grades. I have first-hand experience of this, where I did not particularly enjoy books assigned by various professors, but greatly enjoyed them when I reread them a few years later.

sackcloth and ashes

Alan Rusbridger got paid nearly £400K a year to edit a paper that was losing readers and revenue hand over fist, and was having to lay off staff left right and centre. The day he quit his job he walked out of King's Place with cheers and rounds of applause.

Some people deserve a boss like that.

'“Students might be more inclined to read what academics want them to if our curricula weren’t overwhelmingly white, male and indicative of a society and structures we fundamentally disagree with because they don't work for us.”'

Any student who thinks that should be told that they belong in a kindergarten, and not a Uni.

Civilis

Compare and contrast time!

Students might be more inclined to read what academics want them to if our curricula weren’t overwhelmingly white, male and indicative of a society and structures we fundamentally disagree with because they don't work for us.

The facts are stark: in every state and in every grade, boys are trailing behind girls in reading, according to a 2010 report by the Center on Education Policy, which called this lag, “the most pressing gender-gap issue facing our schools.”
http://www.greatschools.org/gk/articles/why-so-many-boys-do-not-read/
(Via Ace)

Tim Newman

Seriously, if you’ve an hour to spare, it’s eye-widening stuff.

Bleedin' hell, what a bunch of muppets. Blithering incompetence exacerbated by petty infighting: how unpredictable.

David

Blithering incompetence exacerbated by petty infighting

What’s interesting, though, is how often the incompetence and squabbling - and general unrealism - was a result of their own ideology. They weren’t just socialists who happened to be incompetent and unrealistic; they were incompetent and unrealistic because they were socialists.

David

Blithering incompetence exacerbated by petty infighting

It’s funny, watching the film again. There’s so much inadvertent comedy, obliviousness and utterly casual arrogance. For instance, the scene in which Henry Stewart, the paper’s finance officer, boasts of their having raised £6.5 million for the venture, as some great proof of their commercial viability and of “shattering myths” of leftist incompetence and profligacy, when in fact most of that money was siphoned from unwitting taxpayers via a corrupt GLC and from local authority pension funds. And all of which was pissed away on a two-month vanity project.

Bill de Haan

They weren’t just socialists who happened to be incompetent and unrealistic; they were incompetent and unrealistic because they were socialists.

I was thinking that the opposite is true, that incompetents naturally gravitate toward socialism, rather than socialism inducing incompetence. But on reflection, both appear to be true, actually.

If you're no good at something, it's natural to prefer an environment where your incompetence is not graded, and you are shielded from the effects of it. But when you are good at something, if you're in a system where your skill and expertise are not rewarded, there is no incentive to make any effort to excel, and your output will drop to the the lowest acceptable level.

Rather symbiotic, actually.

David

But on reflection, both appear to be true, actually.

Yes, I think so. Leftism attracts incompetence and unrealism, and then repeatedly excuses it.

Tim Newman

They weren’t just socialists who happened to be incompetent and unrealistic; they were incompetent and unrealistic because they were socialists.

Exactly! They could have had a hundred goes at it, with the same result. And I like the way that the "founders" - who had a Golden Share simply gifted to them for having the right political ideology - refused to give it up when the bloke who had poured half the money in wanted to take it over to try to get it back on its feet. It didn't surprise me one jot that they were Scousers.

PiperPaul

"Leftism attracts incompetence and unrealism"

They're really good at slogans, protesting, shaming and misdirection though.

dcardno

Blithering incompetence exacerbated by petty infighting

It seemed to me that their finance director got the position because he could set up a spreadsheet, although he had no actual experience in running a business, or in financial management or reporting. No wonder it went sideways. That, of course, and the fact that none of them had any experience in doing the jobs they were assigned to. The only one who did got thrown under the bus by the guy who buggered off to Australia in the midst of the launch planning "well, it was clear he wasn't acknowledging me as the Editor-in-Chief when I returned - he sniffs. Of course he wasn't you great bloody fool - because you didn't act like one!

All-in-all, a very amusing hour or so...

BackwardsBoy

I wonder what these esteemed educators teach their own children?

UnacceptableThoughts

Vanessa Engle’s excellent documentary series Lefties, particularly the episode A Lot of Balls, which recounts the attempt by socialists to launch a “radical” Sunday tabloid in 1987.

That was a great watch. I did some googling to get some more background on the News on Sunday project, and came across this account, written by one of the people who were involved from the start:

https://bigflameuk.wordpress.com/2010/09/12/the-news-on-sunday-project/ .

It's all pretty entertaining, and it confirms once more the completely unacceptable belief that stereotypes often have some sort of basis in reality:

I believe we created an environment in which it was impossible to succeed. It was full of endless meetings, back-biting, lack of clear responsibility and a sense of blame if you got things wrong. The debate over “No tits” became so heated that there were groups of people who wouldn’t talk to you if they suspected you of supporting it. You had to watch what you said and who you said it to. It was, with hindsight, what you would expect if you put a group of 80s lefties in charge of running an organisation. And I include myself in that.

How much more stereotypically leftist could they have been?

David Taylor

I just stumbled across #greenpartyfeminism. https://twitter.com/hashtag/greenpartyfeminism?src=hash

A sub-group of the (UK?) greens decided 'women' was not inclusive enough as it did not encompass everyone who does not identify as 'male'. So they determined 'non-male' was a better term. So they really want to be 'Greens, anyone who isn't cis-male.'

Aside from the clear stupidity of it, it seems like they have just inverted the inclusiveness to exclude only cis-males (including gay ones I assume).

So they're exluding 50% of the population. Not very inclusive.

How do these people manage to get dressed and have breakfast, never mind make it out the front door and drive something or catch public transport?

There is just too much stupid.

David

How much more stereotypically leftist could they have been?

I think the thing to bear in mind is that leftism is a self-flattering ideology, or rather, a self-flattering bundle of attitudes, and therefore tends to attract people who are quite vain, if not outright narcissistic. The clichés, incompetence and general obliviousness pretty much follow from that.

Tim Newman

What also amused me is that they launch a newspaper to deliver hard-hitting critiques of the Thatcher regime, and their first story is...about a man from Brazil who sold a kidney. You couldn't make it up.

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