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  • Worthwhile Reading & Viewing

    Posted by David Foster on June 14th, 2015 (All posts by )

    Jerry Seinfeld and the Progressive Comedy Pause

    Do political beliefs drive partisanship, or does partisanship drive political beliefs?

    Blackboards, report cards, and newspaper clippings from 1917 discovered behind walls of an Oklahoma City school

    What overparenting looks like from a Stanford dean’s perspective

    The conservatory under a lake

    Some pictures of Japan

    The rise of the new Groupthink, and the power of working alone

    The coming of the Cry-bullies

    Girlwithadragonflytattoo visits an art museum

    Marco Rubio’s boat versus John Kerry’s boat. The NYT is making much of Rubio having spent $80K on a boat.

    There has been much talk of late about the influence of money in politics.  Rarely mentioned is the power of in-kind contributions, such as that represented by the NYT’s predictable favorable coverage of Democratic versus Republican candidates.

    How much would it cost to buy the advertising equivalent of NYT’s support for, say, Hillary Clinton?  The answer has to be at least in the hundreds of millions of dollars.


    12 Responses to “Worthwhile Reading & Viewing”

    1. David Foster Says:

      The link on political beliefs and partisanship won’t work for most people, as it is to a Ricochet members-only post…I was hoping the post would be promoted to the main page, but evidently it didn’t happen.

      Here’s a link to an accessible article on the research:

    2. dearieme Says:

      I wonder whether “overparenting” is mainly – presumably not exclusively – an American phenomenon. If so, why?

    3. David Foster Says:

      Dearie…there have been several articles lately favorably contrasting French parenting styles with American approaches.

      About 15 years ago, I was in Paris, walking around somewhere near the Sorbonne. It was about noon, and a bunch of little French girls came running out of their school. They were very excited about something, and crowded around me, wanting to tell me about it…unfortunately, I’ll never know what it was, as I don’t speak French.

      It struck me that this would be very unlikely in the US, given all the fear inculcated about interacting with unknown adults, especially male adults.

      OTOH, I’ve also seen a few articles lately…can’t remember where…suggesting that the same sort of helicoptering nuttiness is starting to take root in France.

    4. Mike K Says:

      “Thus, policy positions were not driving partisanship, but rather partisanship was driving policy positions. Voters took whichever position was ascribed to their party, irrespective of the specific polices that position entailed.”

      Classic Low Information Voter behavior.

      One problem we have, and which I addressed in another post, is that many do not understand what our party stands for. Certainly, by watching what politicians do, you can’t always tell.

    5. David Foster Says:

      MK…is it (always) a low-information-voter problem, or is it that to an increasing number of people…including some who are fairly well-informed..their political affiliation has become so core to their identity that they have strong filters in place to exclude challenging information?

    6. David Foster Says:

      Dearie…related to French and American parenting styles:

    7. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      There has been much talk of late about the influence of money in politics. Rarely mentioned is the power of in-kind contributions, such as that represented by the NYT’s predictable favorable coverage of Democratic versus Republican candidates.

      Or the change in NYT slant on Mexican illegals once their funding came from a Mexican billionaire. Leftists are sure money in politics corrupts because they are completely corrupt. Projection.

    8. dearieme Says:

      “the same sort of helicoptering nuttiness is starting to take root in France” in accord with the dictum that the only American habits that spread are the bad ones.

    9. Kirk Parker Says:

      It’s not all the often that an article goes off the tracks right in the very first sentence, but there it is:

      A heightened level of parental involvement in the lives of kids obviously stems from love

      Oh for the love of Ghu… no it’s not at all obvious, there could be a hundred different reasons that are worth looking into. Honestly David, if it weren’t for your well-deserved reputation as a person who provides pointers to wonderfully interesting stuff, I would have quite right there.

    10. David Foster Says:

      Kirk…”obviously stems from love” is obviously a ridiculous assertion…I wonder if she really believes it or just thought she had to say it…still, give her credit for writing about this problem.

      Many parents are desperately afraid that their kids will not get the credentials and “skills” they (the parents) think are needed to succeed in an increasingly-competitive world (picture a greased pole instead of a ladder), but they fail to understand the importance of meta-skills, or what used to be called “character”…and their helicoptering greatly undercuts the development of same.

    11. dearieme Says:

      Well said, David. I am weary of chumps referring to “skills” that are largely a matter of character or, indeed, simply ability.

    12. David Foster Says:

      In his little book Generals and Generalship, Field Marshal Lord Wavell commented on the British practice of testing military equipment by dropping it off a tower and then burying it in the mud for a few day…and continued:

      “Now the mind of the general in war is buried, not merely for 48 hours but for days and weeks, in the mud and sand of unreliable information and uncertain factors, and may at any time receive, from an unsuspected move of the enemy, an unforseen accident, or a treacherous turn in the weather, a bump equivalent to a drop of at least a hundred feet on to something hard. Delicate mechanism is of little use in war; and this applies to the mind of the commander as well as his body; to the spirit of an army as well as to the weapons and instruments with which it is equipped.”

      I think this is also true in business and other kinds of work organizations…not a much as in warfare, but resilience is still vitally important. If you can’t be (metaphorically) dropped a tower and buried in the mud for a while…and then get up, make decisions, and take action…you will be of limited value in executive positions and also in many kinds of non-managerial work.

      And one doesn’t develop this kind of resilience when every time you get less than an “A” on a test, mom and dad are in the principal’s office demanding that Snowflake get a better grade.