URLs du Jour


[Pander Bears]

  • Our Eye Candy du Jour… is just one panel from today's Calvin and Hobbes rerun at GoComics, and I hope nobody sues me.

    For the record, I don't want to be pandered to, but a candidate committed to free-market capitalism, reducing government spending, entitlement reform, etc., would get my vote. Realism about the 2020 election would be nice, too.

    And, yeah, without candidates to vote for, I might stay home.

  • One of the first things to learn is what a "duvet" is. Maya Sulkin is a Barnard senior, and she has some advice. Dear College Freshman . . ..

    It’s time to make some Important Choices. By now, your new “.edu” inbox is overflowing with emails from administrators asking you about your preferred dining options—Are you vegan? Do you want your meals to-go? Are you sure you’re not a vegan?—and roommates—How do you feel about night owls? How clean do you expect your new BFF to be? Is it okay if this person smokes?—and all the clubs you might join: Badminton, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Glee, Ski Racing, ChicanX Caucus, Anime Society . . . you name it, they’ve got it.

    Then, there’s your dorm. You’ve probably spent hours, as I did, on Amazon and Dormify, shopping for the perfect dorm room essentials until even when you close your eyes, you’re seeing floral-printed duvets. Once you’re on campus, you’ll have to choose your spot in the library, your seat in the lecture hall, your on-campus gym.

    But before you devote untold hours to mapping out exactly how you think the next four years of your life will go, I want to offer you this thought from a college senior who learned it the hard way: None of these decisions really matter.

    They’re not important because they’re not real. They might feel like actual choices—I know they did to me when I started school. But I have come to understand them as fake ones—ones that distract us all from the fact that college has become a place where students no longer make real intellectual and moral choices, the choices that actually matter.

    I think Maya's advice might be slanted a bit toward the female-identifiers. Although young men might also be doing the floral-printed duvet shopping these days, I'm very out of touch.

    Maya's story is interesting and it's good to know there's at least one independent mind at Barnard this school year.

  • Martin Gurri continues to be right. And Victor Davis Hanson updates his thesis: How middle class now view their rulers with rightly earned disdain.

    Elites have always been ambiguous about the muscular classes who replace their tires, paint their homes, and cook their food. And the masses who tend to them likewise have been ambivalent about those who hire them: appreciative of the work and pay, but also either a bit envious of those with seemingly unlimited resources or turned off by perceived superciliousness arising from their status and affluence.

    Yet the divide has grown far wider in the 21st century. Globalization fueled the separation in a number of ways.

    One, outsourcing and offshoring eroded the Rust Belt interior, while enriching the two coasts. The former lost good-paying jobs, while the latter found new markets in investment, tech, insurance, law, media, academia, entertainment, sports, and the arts making them billions rather than mere millions.

    So, the problem was one of both geography and class. Half the country looked to Asia and Europe for profits and indeed cultural “diversity,” while the other half stuck with tradition, values, and custom — as they became poorer.

    The elite found in the truly poor — neglecting their old union-member, blue-collar Democratic base — an outlet for their guilt, noblesse oblige, condescension at a safe distance, call it what you will. The poor if kept distant were fetishized, while the middle class was demonized for lacking the taste of the professional classes and romance of the far distant underclass.

    Second, race became increasingly divorced from class — a phenomenon largely birthed by guilty, wealthy, white elites and privileged, diverse professionals. For the white bicoastal elite, it became a mark of their progressive bona fides to champion woke racialism that empowered the non-white of their own affluent class, while projecting their own discomfort with and fears of the nonwhite poor onto the middle class as supposed “racists,” despite the latter’s more frequently living among, marrying within, and associating with the “other.”

    VDH's rhetoric may seem a little overheated and his points overstated. I'm a bigger fan of "globalization" than he is, to say the least. But he's got his finger on something definite.

    His third reason that the middle disdains the elite has nothing to do with globalization: "The masses increasingly could not see any reason for elite status other than expertise in navigating the system for lucrative compensation."

    [Martin Gurri reference explained here.]

  • Unintentionally llustrating VDH's thesis. Our state's senior senator was rapturous enough about a news story that she just had to retweet:

    It seems the photographer caught the teacher over there on the left wondering whether she used enough deodorant this morning.

    From the AP story:

    With Prince’s “Raspberry Beret” blaring in the background, about 20 New Hampshire educators grabbed wooden sticks and began pounding their tables to the beat.

    Emily Daniels, who was leading a two-day workshop on burnout, encouraged the group including teachers, school counselors, occupational therapists and social workers to stand up inside a hotel conference room. Before long, the group was banging on walls and whatever else they could find. Laughter filled the air. A few started dancing.

    “Rhythm making offers the body a different kind of predictability that you can do every single day,” said Daniels, a former school counselor who created The Regulated Classroom which trains teachers on how to manage their own nervous system and, in turn, reduce stress in the classroom.

    "The Regulated Classroom" has a website, and reveals the per-person cost of the "two-day workshop" to be $999. I'm sure Ms. Daniels would love to bring her wooden sticks to a hotel meeting room near you. Or, barring that, you could shell out for (by which I mean, "spend taxpayer money on") the Regulated Classroom Toolkit, which includes

    (1) Capeable™ weighted scarf
    (1) Capeable™ magnetic focus fidget
    (1) Mad Mattr™
    (5) Mesh and marble fidget
    (3) Koosh balls
    (1) Massage roller ball
    (3) Squishy stress balls
    (2) Essential oils
    (5) Stretch noodles
    (3) Resistance spiky rings
    (2) Monkey foam 
    Calming tea

    It's only $329! Buy now!

    Who paid for the group "banging on walls and whatever else they could find"? It's a safe bet that you did, one way or the other. Coincidentally, I read a National Review magazine article (I assume very deep behind the NR paywall): Schools Are Wasting Covid Cash. It details how schools around the country are desperately looking to spend the "free" money Uncle Stupid doled out in pandemic relief. So-called ESSER (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief) funds seem to be the primary channel of willy-nilly spending. I assume Senator Jeanne is tweeting this because she voted for the funding.

    Were I more diligent, I'd try to nail this down further.

    I'm very sympathetic about New Hampshire teachers. Pun Daughter is one, after all. But come on.

  • Speaking of sticks… We got your Kevin D. Williamson with another angle addressing what VDH was talking about: Biden’s Student-Loan Wipeout Sticks It to the Poor. He notes the parties have literally switched sides in the Great Class Struggle.

    Of course, many Democrats remain culturally disinclined to actually join such an atavistic institution as a country club, and many of them would be embarrassed to admit living in a gated community. Instead, they live behind invisible gates — gates made out of money: The ten wealthiest ZIP codes in the United States are solidly Democratic, the wealthiest communities in the United States tilt heavily Democratic in their political donations, Americans in households earning more than $220,000 a year are more likely to be represented by Democrats than by Republicans, and you have to work your way pretty far down the list of the wealthiest Americans before you round up more than a handful of Republicans: Bezos, Zuckerberg, Gates, Page, Brin, Ellison, Buffett, Balmer — don’t expect to meet any of these guys at the next meeting of the vast right-wing conspiracy. Any Republicans? You can score a “maybe” with Elon Musk and a “technically, temporarily” with Mike Bloomberg. You may find some Republicans down at the local Walmart, but Alice Walton is writing fat checks to Democrats from her Manhattan penthouse. Wall Street? Democrats. Silicon Valley? Democrats. Hollywood? You aren’t really asking, are you?

    But the Centurion-card set isn’t the really important Democratic demographic. They don’t have enough money. Sure, they have tons (literal tons, if you put it into $100 bills) of money on a per capita basis, but there aren’t very many of them. The real money, counterintuitively, is to be found not among the gazillionaires but among that class of Americans occupying the sweet spot between plentiful and comfortable.

    Hence, the Democrats’ effort to move Heaven and Earth — micturating vigorously and voluminously upon the Constitution from a great height along the way — to put ten grand into the pockets of millions of well-off Americans in the form of student-loan forgiveness. That Joe Biden’s autocratic unilateralism will be found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court I am confident, but that won’t change the underlying political dynamic.

    There is no need to rehearse all the economics here in detail, but the move disproportionately benefits high-earning Americans at the expense of — everybody else. There isn’t any real economic case for it, and the political case for it is only the great infantile cry that sustains all such political escapades: “Baby want!

    Baby want, baby get.

    This is what happens when a cohort gets taught by people who need essential oils, monkey foam, and calming tea to do their freakin' jobs.

Last Modified 2024-01-30 7:22 AM EDT