The Tipping Point Cometh? Maybe?

I speak of the tipping point, when toleration of what is euphemistically termed ‘gender-affirming medical care’ for minor children and teens (otherwise known as chemical and surgical mutilation) flips hard over from the trendy, laudable and even fashionable into the “Oh, Hell NO!” side, after so many years of being put out there as trendy, laudable, etc. by all super-tolerant, oh-so-progressive activists in the media, politics and the oh-so-superior intellectuals.

It all rather reminds me of the great satanic day-care ritual abuse panic of the mid-1980s, where a combination of guilt-stricken parents, manipulative “experts”, amoral prosecutors, buffaloed law enforcement and a news media panting for sensational headlines all combined in a great storm of panic … a panic which everyone eventually realized, with a sense of mild shame was wholly without grounds. But not before a lot of innocent people were railroaded, tried, found guilty and had their lives and livelihoods thoroughly wrecked. Only a very few news reporters stood against the panic. One of those few was a woman reporter for, of all things, New York’s uber-lefty tabloid, the Village Voice, who was following a local case, and basically saying, “Hello! How is this even remotely possible, the baroque and improbably ornate stories of abuse that these kids are reporting? Seriously – are you all out of your minds?!” (Yes, I read the Village Voice – the Stars and Stripes bookstore carried it, along with all the other periodicals. I liked Nat Hentoff’s column.)

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Why I’m Not Pledging

The local public radio station here – in concert with all the other public radio stations across this blessed land of ours – is having their fall pledge drive this week. And I am defiantly not pledging to support. I am willfully and maliciously denying them my dollars and support, in spite of all their blandishments and incessant, unrelenting guilt trips. This, in spite of the fact that I worked part-time for the classical music side of that enterprise some decades past, before all the part-time announcers were let go. I thought for weeks that it was only me, that my announcing work was unsat. Honestly, I wouldn’t have been surprised if that was the reason, as I had gone very rote and mechanical over announcing the name of the piece of music up next, the composer and performing orchestra or soloist, and throwing in a bit of relevant information about the piece. No, it wasn’t me, as I later found out; they left all the other part-time shift announcers go – the girl who worked during the week at an animal shelter, the woman who was a mainstay of the local little theater group, the guy who was a full-time writer for various little local publications. All of us were served notice; a kind of Friday Night employment massacre.

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It’s Called Acting, Dear Boy

Or so Laurence Olivier is supposed to have said to Dustin Hoffman, during the filming of The Marathon Man, when Hoffman got a little too deeply immersed in his role.

It’s acting – convincingly pretending to be a person you are not; experiencing events and emotions on the stage or screen that the actor might or might not have really experienced. It’s pretending, in the service of storytelling. In our current over-the-top state of extreme wokery, any kind of illogical insanity seems to rule; in this latest example, an American soprano singer, one Angela Blue, has made a great show out of quitting an opera performance, because of her objections to another opera performance and singer in the same venue. Angela Blue objected vociferously to Russian soprano Anna Netrebko singing in the title role of Aida, while made-up to appear as … gasp … Ethiopian. (A production design originated by the late Franco Zeffirelli, as an aside.) Angela Blue, who is African-American, terms it as ‘blackface’, although comparing serious grand opera to the buffoonery of vaudeville minstrel shows of a century ago is considerable of a stretch. What adds an interesting twist to this, is that the opera performance which Angela Blue walked away from was La Traviata, and her role as Violetta – a French courtesan, and in the original concept, a woman not of any color save lily-white.

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Academic Malpractice

The post at Legal Insurrection (link) says in part, that the goal is to “…to equalize test scores among racial groups, OPRF will order its teachers to exclude from their grading assessments variables it says disproportionally hurt the grades of black students. They can no longer be docked for missing class, misbehaving in school or failing to turn in their assignments, according to the plan.”
So basically, this is an administrative rubber-stamping a passing grade on the report cards of black students who can’t be arsed to attend class, behave properly as students when they do, or turn in required assignments. Frankly, one wonders why such students even bother with school anyway, if they are so vehemently disinclined towards the life intellectual, but truant law and free daycare for such parental units as they have probably account for it, as well as money for butts in seats on the part of the school itself. At this rate of scholastic malpractice, urban schools might just as well hand out high school graduation certificates as if they were Pokemon cards, one to a customer and save themselves time and effort in the classroom. Any serious education of pupils appears as merely a happy afterthought to a means of employing large numbers of administrators, assistant principals and teachers whose union membership is vastly more important to the powers that be than imparting knowledge to that handful of rare-as-hen’s-teeth pupils who seriously want to learn.

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Worthwhile Reading and Viewing

Much political anger is based on attributing to opponents views that they don’t actually hold, according to this study, summarized and discussed on twitter here.

Paul Graham, who himself writes some interesting essays, says:

No one who writes essays would be surprised by this. When people attack an essay you’ve written, 95% of the time they do it by making up something you didn’t actually say, and then attacking that.

The skill of surgeons varies tremendously, with bottom quartile surgeons having over 4x as many complications as the best surgeons in the same hospital…so says this study.  And surgeons are keenly aware of who is good & who is bad – their rankings of others are very accurate.  Summarized and discussed on twitter here, where there is also a reference to the classic study  showing 10X range among programmers, and another study measuring the impact of managers on revenue performance in the game industry.

Some innovation stories from small US manufacturers, and a shop-floor driven tooling innovation at GE Aviation.

Speaking of tools, here’s a study suggesting that using mechanical tools improves language skills.

The limits of narrative, at Quillette.

Ryan Peterson, CEO of the digital freight forwarder Flexport, discovered an AI tool that lets you create art without being an artist, and has been having fun with it.